Thursday, August 30, 2007

Women at Nuremberg: Press

(Part 3 of IntLawGrrls' Women at Nuremberg series)

"Approximately 250 journalists crowded the press section of Courtroom 600 -- on some days such as on opening day, November 20, 1945, or the verdict announcement on August 31, 1946, every last seat was occupied," Peter Heigl writes, in his book Nürnberger Prozesse - Nuremberg Trials, of media coverage of the 1st proceeding, known as the Trial of the Major War Criminals. Reporters hailed from a score of countries, including 80 Americans, 40 Français, 35 Soviets, 20 Poles, 12 Czechs, and 5 Germans. They were joined by broadcasters, photojournalists, and authors, all of whom came to see what was happening at Nuremberg.
This media throng included a number of women, some of whom are profiled in Nancy Caldwell Sorel's The Women Who Wrote the War. Women journalists at Nuremberg included:

Tania Long
During World War II the New York Herald Tribune's assignment of Long to its London office drew this objection from New York Times reporter F. Raymond Daniell, who'd cover the Scottsboro case, among others, before the war: "You don't want a girl. This is a man's job." Long, who'd been born in Berlin and educated in London and Paris, no doubt proved her mettle: within years the couple were married. For decades thereafter they were a dynamic journalistic duo; they're pictured above covering a press conference at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice. While posted in Ottawa in 1954, the couple delivered remarks to the Empire Club of Canada. Long's account of her own experiences and observations on the world's growing interdependence began with this subtle prod to her hosts:
I am greatly honoured to be here today. Indeed I am very flattered to be here, since I understand that it is rare that meetings of this group are open to the ladies.
Daniel seconded the sentiment in his own remarks.
The journalism career of Martha Gellhorn (right) began with a gig covering haute couture in Paris in the Thirties, but the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in the middle of that decade, and, it is said, the urging of her then-husband, Ernest Hemingway, turned her into a war correspondent. Gellhorn reported on the beach at D-Day, at the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, and at the Nuremberg trials. She covered the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama at age 81. When she died 8 years later, an admirer recalled Gellhorn's comment on her own work:
'I wrote fiction because I love to, and journalism from curiosity which has, I think, no limits and ends only with death.'

Englishwoman Cicily Isabel Fairfield (left) took "Rebecca West," the name of an Ibsen character whom she once played, to write novels and nonfiction, including 2 books inspired by the post-World War II trials, The Meaning of Treason (1947) and A Train of Powder (1955).
Victoria Ocampo (right) was an Argentine intellectual and ally of Gabriela Mistral, namesake of an IntLawGrrl. Ocampo's "admirable" dispatches, spiced with accounts of participants' "'tics,'" are part of Testimonios. Series primera y quinta, published in Buenos Aires in 2000.

The oldest daughter of novelist Thomas Mann and his wife, Katia Mann, Erika Mann (right) is described as a "[w]riter, actress, and intellectual refugee from the Third Reich," and "one of the twentieth century's most intriguing nonconformists." This outspoken critic of Nazism
was one of the few women journalists covering the Nuremberg trials who attained access to the defendants. Mann's experience with cabaret irony attuned her senses to the macabre spectacle of unrepentant Nazis treating their trials as a performance. She later commented, 'no spookier adventure could be imagined.'
Paris-based Janet Flanner -- she is pictured at left with Hemingway -- wrote about World War II and its aftermath for the New Yorker. The Indiana-born expat had been a feminist activist and part of the Algonquin Round Table before the war. Her coverage of the postwar trial included this food for thought:

When you look at the startling ruins of Nuremberg, you are looking at a result of the war. When you look at the prisoners on view in the courthouse, you are looking at 22 of the causes.


Still to come in this Women at Nuremberg series: Witnesses, Defendants. Already posted: Prosecutors, Staffers.

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