Pulitzer-winning New York Times journalist Henry Camm dies at 98

Pulitzer-winning New York Times journalist Henry Camm dies at 98

Henry Camm, the former Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for The New York Times who covered Cold War diplomacy in Europe and the Soviet Union, famine in Africa and war and genocide in Indochina, died in Paris on Sunday. He was 98 years old.

Mr Camm’s son Thomas confirmed the death at St Joseph’s Hospital.

Having fled the continent at the age of 15 to the battlefields and killing fields of Indochina to escape Nazi persecution during World War II, Mr Camm was the quintessential star of The Times’ foreign staff: a fast, accurate, stylish Writer, fluent in five languages ​​with global contacts and reportal flair, who finds human drama and historical perspective in the news of the day.

His initial displacement deeply affected his 47-year career with The Times, Thomas Kamm, a former Wall Street Journal correspondent, said in an email in 2017. This “explains the interest he has always shown during his journalistic career for refugees, dissidents, homeless people.” One voice and the oppressed people,” he said.

Henry Cam won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for articles on the plight of refugees from Indochina who fled their war-torn homeland in 1977 and fought valiantly in the South China Sea. Many endured terrible privations for months in small, unsafe fishing boats, but found themselves unwanted on any shore.

In interviews with hundreds of refugees – “boat people” as they were called – who sought safety in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Japan – Mr. Cam spoke of the despair of the men, women and children who Wrote those who had migrated. Near-starvation leading to possible death, the fear of drowning in the high seas, and the crushing rejection of being rejected by the world.

Mr Cam wrote from Singapore, “Nothing more fully exemplifies this than the sad picture of thousands of refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia wandering over land and sea since the end of the Indochina War two years ago.” The irony and suffering of those who thought they were choosing freedom and were trapped in the bonds of hostility or indifference from those from whom they expected help.

A rickety cargo ship anchored in Singapore Harbor, he wrote, contained 249 Indochinese refugees who had boarded the ship in Thailand and lived on its open deck for four months under fierce storms and merciless days of scorching sun. No stop in port after port.

Mr. Camm wrote, “At first they were looking forward to moving to a country that would give them a home.” “Then they pinned down their hopes of finding a country that would recognize their existence and let them stay on the sidelines at least temporarily until one government or another decided to let them.”

Because of Mr. Cam’s reports, the Pulitzer judges said, the United States and many other countries eventually opened their doors to Indochina refugees.

Mr. Cam later wrote two books about Asia. In “Dragon Ascending: Vietnam and the Vietnamese” (1996), he portrayed a nation struggling under communism and recounted its war with the United States from the perspective of 4,000 years of history.

His book “Cambodia: Report from a Stricken Land” (1998) chronicles that country’s rise to barbarism, from the killing of millions of its own citizens by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s to the economic and social suffering of the decades that followed. Turnt up.

Arnold R. Isaac wrote in The New York Times Book Review, “Cam’s description of Cambodia’s long tragedy is exuberant, blunt and angry.” “Based almost entirely on his own reporting, it draws little material from the work of other journalists and historians. That this has proved to be a strength, not a weakness, is a tribute to the quality of Kamm’s journalism over the years.

He was born Hans Kamm on June 3, 1925, in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław in Poland) to Rudolf and Paula (Wischniewski) Kamm. The boy grew up to be fluent in German and Polish.

His Jewish father was arrested in November 1939 in a Nazi roundup of Jews following the events of Crystal Night, but was released from Buchenwald concentration camp on the condition that he leave Germany, which he did in late 1939. from which he moved to England and the United States. State where he settled. Hans and his mother, after a long, fearful wait for visas in Breslau, crossed Europe on a sealed train to Portugal and arrived in New York in 1941 on a Portuguese ship.

Hans attended George Washington High School in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan and learned English. In 1943, he was naturalized as an American citizen under the name Henry Camm. At age 18, he enlisted in the World War II army and fought the Germans in Belgium and France, where he learned French.

After being discharged in 1946, he enrolled at New York University and graduated in 1949 with a degree in English. Impressed by his knowledge of foreign affairs and language skills, The Times hired him as a copy boy.

Over the next decade, Mr. Cam was a newsroom clerk and then a copy editor in New York, but he had three byline articles, two in 1958 about developments in the recording industry and one in 1954 about a first-person account of an island-hopping trip. were in Lesser Antilles, an island chain in the eastern Caribbean.

In 1950 he married Barbara Lifton. They had three children: Alison, Thomas, and Nicholas. The couple separated in the late 1970s and were divorced several years later. Since the 70s, Mr. Cam was living with Pham Lan Huang, with whom he raised his adopted son, Bao Son. Except for Pham Lan Huang, who died in 2018, they all survive Mr. Cam with 10 grandchildren.

After The Times launched an international edition based in Paris in 1960, Mr. Cam was sent there as assistant news editor. In 1964, he became a foreign correspondent and began covering stories across Europe.

He was assigned to cover Poland full-time in 1966.

In 1967, he wrote about the horrors of the massacre of 173 people from Lidice, a protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (now the Czech Republic), in retaliation for the murder of a Nazi official in 1942. And in a visit to Auschwitz, where millions of Jews were killed by the Nazis, Mr. Kamm described an old woman dangling over the ruins of a crematorium where bodies were burned and reciting the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. Was staying

He wrote, “The old woman finished the prayer, kissed the book, and returned it to the shopping bag she held between her legs as she prayed.” “From the bag he took out a candle that Jews light on the anniversary of the death of a loved one. She lit it, put it in a safe place under the wreckage of the furnace, got down on the ground and quietly left.

Mr. Cam was the Times’ Moscow bureau chief from 1967 to 1969 and won a George Polk Award for his reporting from the Soviet Union.

In 1968, he covered the Prague Spring—a period of liberal reforms—which were later suppressed by invading Warsaw Pact troops under Communist leader Alexander Dubcek.

Among Mr. Cam’s best news sources was his friend Vaclav Havel, the Czech writer and dissident who became the last president of Czechoslovakia (1989–92) and the first president of the Czech Republic (1993–2003).

Mr. Cam was subsequently assigned to Southeast Asia, Paris and Tokyo, where he was bureau chief.

In the 1980s, while living in Rome and Athens, he made frequent trips to sub-Saharan Africa to cover devastating droughts, crop failures and famines. Based in Geneva in the 1990s, he reported from several countries in Europe and Asia.

After retiring in 1996, Mr. Cam lived in Lagnes, France, near Avignon in Provence. He later moved to a retirement home near the Bois de Boulogne park in the west of Paris.

In 2018, he applied for and received German citizenship—a kind of reconciliation with the country he fled as a teenager. A collection of his papers, which includes nearly 7,000 Times articles, is held by the New York Public Library.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

55 − = 54