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The words of David Maxwell Fyfe woven with musical settings of poems that inspired him.

Words selected by Tom Blackmore    Music by Sue Casson

 

Narrator – Robert Blackmore

Singers – Lily Blackmore, Jessica Holgate and Sue Casson at the piano.

 

 

David Maxwell Fyfe’s year at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials as pre-eminent British prosecutor provided him with a unique insight into the way in which humanity had degraded itself over years of barbarity, and a determination to put in place a living instrument of law to prevent its’ repetition.

 

In writing of his beliefs, he often quoted poetry to reinforce his message.

His quotation of Rupert Brooke’s sonnet at Nuremberg was the starting point for our song cycle. We have sought to match his words of inspiration with words that inspired him,

poetry of his youth that conjured an idyll which he sought to restore.

 

In the accompanying films, these words appear on screen to represent what was in his mind.

We have added a Prologue and Epilogue to frame his story with our own interpretative words, so to avoid confusion, they are not on screen.

 

 

PROLOGUE 

 

NATURAL LAW 

Throughout his life Maxwell Fyfe affirmed his belief in natural justice. In 1957 he gave this speech in Westminster Hall to the American Bar Association during a visit to dedicate their monument to Magna Carta at Runnymede.

Magna Carta – words translated from its’ conclusion

 

FAMILY HISTORY

A tragedy that inspired Maxwell Fyfe’s passion for human rights.

Don’t cry in your sleep bonny babe – trad / words Jim McClean

Albion – words by Sue Casson

 

PERSONAL HISTORY & A WORLD WAR 

Maxwell Fyfe was born and brought up in Edinburgh. He visited England only once before he was 18 and came to Oxford during the latter part of WWI. Oxford University, Northern Circuit in Liverpool, MP and KC in London. The Parliament of 1935 constituted months after his winning of a byelection sat until the end of WWII.

 

Non Semper Imbres – by James Logie Robertson

Sergeant o’ Pikes – by Neil Munro (sung by Andrew Bolton)

Safety Canon

 

JUSTICE  

As Attorney General in the post-war government, Maxwell Fyfe chaired the London Conference which established the Tribunal to try major war criminals. Now in opposition, he was asked by Hartley Shawcross to lead the British Prosecution in Nuremberg.

 

Blow out you Bugles – words taken from Rupert Brooke’s War Sonnet III The Dead

 

EVIDENCE  

The early months in Nuremberg were spent forensically studying the evidence left by the Nazi regime, and confronting the terrible atrocities revealed within.

 

These Hearts - words taken from Rupert Brooke’s War Sonnet IV The Dead

 

CROSS-EXAMINATION  

March 1946 cross-examination of the Nazis. Atticus reported in The Times:

‘The genius of the place is Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, who so far excels the other prosecutors that he has almost played them off the stage.’

 

Now God be Thanked - words taken from Rupert Brooke’s War Sonnet I Peace

 

REFLECTIONS FROM ZIRNDORF 

Billeted in Zirndorf, just outside Nuremberg, Maxwell Fyfe reflects on law’s purpose in serving mankind and facing even its’ darkest character.

Non Semper Imbres – by James Logie Robertson

 

CONCLUSIONS

On the 28th August 1946 Maxwell Fyfe gave his first speech at Nuremberg. It was the closing statement for the UK prosecution against the Nazi organisations.

He ended the speech by quoting Rupert Brooke’s The Soldier.

 

The Soldier War Sonnet V – by Rupert Brooke

 

SAFETY  

Looking into the future, to see how the past is easily forgotten.

Proposing Human Rights as a means of practical remembrance.

 

Magna Carta theme

Safety - words taken from Rupert Brooke’s War Sonnet II Safety

 

CONVENTION

Applying Human Rights as a means of uniting the Europe Assembly post WWII, Maxwell Fyfe works in Strasbourg to realise the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

There are Waters - words from Brooke’s War Sonnets II Safety and IV The Dead

The International Magna Carta - words taken from Magna Carta, sung alongside Maxwell Fyfe’s draft wording for the European Convention.

 

EPILOGUE

This I believe.

In the early 1950s Maxwell Fyfe outlined his beliefs in a talk for

Ed Murrow’s CBS radio programme.

Ed Murrow later became famous for taking on Senator McCarthy

and his oppression of perceived communists in Hollywood.

 

All Shall be Well  – words taken from Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich

 

 

‘telling ideas in story and song’

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CONCEIVED AND DIRECTED BY TOM BLACKMORE