The story continued, as the family became involved in explorations of Maxwell Fyfe's life. Part history and part family narrative, these were created during the years of the digital boom and human rights cynicism.
We researched through the places he lived and worked. Edinburgh, Dornoch Oxford, Liverpool, London, Nuremberg and finally Strasbourg are at the heart of this story. Each has been visited, revisited and recorded. In many we have performed Dreams of Peace & Freedom. Each has become home. And our record and love of these places is the canvas for our story.
This story began with the unearthing of love letters exchanged between David and Sylvia Maxwell Fyfe while he was prosecuting for the UK at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. 35 years after Maxwell Fyfe's death, boxes of personal papers were unearthed in the vaults of Allen & Overy in the City. Not only did they form an intimate portrait of their lives, but a history of significant times.
Hidden amongst them were speeches, papers and memorabilia, all waiting to share their secrets. Throughout the trials Maxwell Fyfe made important contributions and these are all recorded in transcripts. Most notable was his cross-examination of Goering (' widely considered the most significant cross-examination of modern times' - Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh), and his closing statement aginst the Nazi organisations. But there are also reports from contemporary newspapers, and extracts from ‘The Wishing Doll’, a series of stories written at that time by David Maxwell Fyfe for his daughter Miranda.
I have always been haunted by my grandfather.
I was christened Thomas DAVID MAXWELL FYFE Blackmore.
Having another’s name inserted wholesale inside your own pretty much ensures that the man will be close to your beating heart.
More than that Maxwell Fyfe left a story, boxed up and unsorted, waiting for me.
It is a story that begins just after WWII when, rather than resorting to vengeance, the Allies attempted justice.
It tells of how a forensic study of the raw and sickening evidence of Nazi brutality, and directly confronting those leaders who perpetrated the atrocities, resulted in reflection on how the future could be protected from a repeat of such acts.
Finally, it is a story of how this inspired a convention that united Europe in a protection of rights and freedoms
that was an effort to ensure such barbarism never happened again.
My grandfather was at the centre of this story, a prosecutor who lead the British team at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, and later part of the committee that drafted the European Convention on Human Rights. He describes his part in this history as 'that of an actor given a small walking-on role in a mighty drama: few people may notice him but he sees a good deal.' But over these years he emerged into the spotlight.
Stories are history in the making and this is a story that has been 20 years in the telling.
Tom Blackmore 2019
The film of The Human's in the Telling is a story told by Tom Blackmore, his wife Sue Casson, and their children, Lily Casson and Robert Blackmore. Just as the film follows Maxwell Fyfe's journey from Nuremberg to Strasbourg, so will the accompanying ebook, incorporating more letters, documents and transcripts, accompanied by Tom Blackmore's commentary, together with his family's very personal accounts and photos of their trail of discovery of their significant relation. Visit the pages by clicking on the tiles to discover more.
During this time, and leading up to the 2020 anniversaries, the political climate has become increasingly turbulent, and we became aware that the issues raised by our family history are topical, and more controversial than we may have first thought.
Over time we have confronted these issues head on. Current events are reflected through the prism of our story to further the values embedded within it, and a selection of our social media responses to unfolding parliamentry disarray are also part of our book, and our story telling.