Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Jack Halpern Papers - Catalogue available

The Jack Halpern Papers were donated to the Institute of Commonwealth Studies by Jack Halpern’s widow. We're pleased to announce that a PDF version of the list for this collection has been added to the collection level description on the ULRLS Archives database: PDF list

Jack Halpern worked primarily as a journalist, writer and editor and this collection largely consists of Halpern’s writing on Southern African affairs and race relations in the period between 1958 and 1970, as well as personal correspondence for this period.

Jack Halpern was born in 1927 in Berlin. Because of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, his parents emigrated to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was educated. His interest in the problems of developing countries was stimulated by two and a half years spent in Israel. Returning to South Africa he became a journalist and married. After editing technical and industrial journals he became Editor and Publications Officer of the South African Institute of Race Relations. In 1960 he was appointed editor of the 'Central African Examiner' in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, and became the Central African correspondent of the 'Observer', the 'New Statesman', 'Dagens Nyheter', and 'Politiken'. In September 1963 with the Rhodesia Front in power, he and his wife were arbitrarily expelled from the disintegrating Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland by the Prime Minister, Sir Roy Welensky. After arriving in Britain, Halpern served as Secretary-General of Amnesty International, 1964-1965, and, writing under his nom-de-plume of James Fairbairn, as Africa Correspondent of the 'New Statesman'. He died on 11 May 1973.

The collection includes correspondence and papers on South African politics, the High Commission Territories (Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland), Lesotho, Botswana, the Central African Federation, Malawi, Zambia, Rhodesia; material on the Pearce Commission, 1971-1972; statements, correspondence and cuttings on Halpern’s expulsion from Rhodesia; and correspondence and papers relating to his work in exile in the United Kingdom ,for Amnesty International and other organisations, as well as drafts and notes for Halpern's book South Africa's Hostages. Material in the collection includes drafts of articles by Halpern and press cuttings; notes; correspondence; political party material; photographs; and family and personal correspondence.

The papers include correspondence with Baruch Hirson, Commonwealth Press Union, Colin Legum, Ruth First, Julius Lewin, all of whom also have collections deposited in the Institute of Commonwealth Studies Archive.

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