21st OCTOBER 2020
A FOREWORD BY
“Law is sometimes seen as dry, but for those who practice it, its purpose is often surrounded by emotion. In The Humans’ in the Telling, the life and work of David Maxwell Fyfe, both as a prosecutor at Nuremberg and as a politician in helping create the European Convention on Human Rights reflects this split. He worked with others to use the law to do justice when faced with the most appalling crimes and to protect future generations from any repetition in a way that was ground breaking. It echoed his deepest personal feelings and outlook born of his own life and family history. The Human’s in the Telling brings this out vividly and is a must for all who want to build a better world.”
November 2020 marks two significant anniversaries. 75 years since the opening of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials,
and 70 since the signing of the European Convention on Human Rights. These events are linked by David Maxwell Fyfe,
a British prosecutor at Nuremberg who later went on to become one of two artisans of the Convention.
To commemorate the anniversaries, members of his family tell the story of his journey from Nuremberg to Strasbourg,
through a song cycle inspired by his life, Dreams of Peace & Freedom.This accompanying scrapbook draws on a cache of
personal papers, letters and photographs that were undiscovered until 20 years ago.
It sets these two family stories, divided by a generation, side by side. An intimate portrait of one of the architects of post-war freedoms and liberties, sits alongside a tale of its’discovery and presentation in words and music,
in a world where those hard-won freedoms are taken for granted and globally under threat.
The places from which Fyfe drew his inspiration are the canvas for both stories.
Love letters exchanged between David and his wife Sylvia in the year he was at Nuremberg,
transcripts from the Trials and contemporary press reports, and the family’s blogs and tweets,
are all organised in one calendar year, so events from different years can juxtapose, chime, jar and illuminate.
At the time of the 2020 anniversaries, the political climate has become increasingly turbulent,
and the issues raised by this forgotten history have become more relevant, topical and controversial.
Against this background these stories seem more important than ever.