Hella Pick

Sun, Jun 13, 2021, 9:00 AM UTC

Hella Pick

Chaired by: James Naughtie

'A remarkable personal journey, by one of the great political correspondents of our world.' Philippe Sands

Hella Pick was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1929. A Kindertransport evacuee at the age of eleven - number 4672 - with her mother who followed her to Britain three months later, she experienced the struggles of life as a Jewish refugee. Defying expectations that she would become a teacher, she went to the London School of Economics, and began a career in journalism. Over nearly four decades she covered the volatile global scene, first in West Africa, followed by America and long periods in Europe. In her thirty five years with the Guardian, she reported on the end of Empire in West Africa, the assassination of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King's march from Selma to Montgomery, the Vietnam peace negotiation in Paris, the 1968 student revolt in France, the birth of the Solidarity movement in Poland, and the closing stages of the Cold War. A request for coffee on board a Soviet ship anchored in Malta led to a chat with Mikhail Gorbachev. A request for an interview with Willy Brandt led to a personal friendship that enabled her to come to terms with Germany's Nazi past.

Now 92, her intensely touching story is also a clarion call for preserving professionalism in journalism at a time when social media muddy the waters between fact and fiction, and between reporting and commentary.

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Scottish Portraits as Biography Episode 4 will follow this event: David Eustace on photography as portraiture starring John Byrne and others