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Clare and the refugees

ClareHollingworth_Poland_1939The story of the FCC’s doyenne correspondent Clare Hollingworth’s great scoop of the outbreak of World War 11 in Poland in 1939 – during her first week as a journalist – is well known. However, what is less well known is “during the spring and summer that year Clare played an important part in rescuing around three thousand people from under the very noses of the Nazis”, according to Clare’s great-nephew, Patrick Garrett, in his new biography, “Of Fortunes and War, Clare Hollingworth, first of the female war correspondents”.

The photo, above, which appeared on Facebook on August 9, of a group of refugees from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Eastern Europe was taken by Clare in Katowice in Poland. The Facebook piece called for folk to circulate the photo in the hope someone might recognise ancestors. More photos are promised.

“These were refugees facing immediate arrest, or worse, as the Nazis tightened their grip on eastern Europe,” Garrett wrote. “Clare’s job was to try to help these very frightened people who were on the Nazis’ wanted list to find a safe haven. This she did despite nightmarish logistical difficulties, lack of funds and baulky bureaucracies. It is an amazing account of sheer, bloody-minded persistence on Clare’s part – qualities that would serve her splendidly in her journalism.”

A review by Jonathan Sharp of Garrett’s book will appear in the next issue of The Correspondent.

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