My week in writing

alex-falk“I’d never heard of them and I thought I’d heard everything about the Holocaust,” explained author Diane Ackerman to me, as she told me about the story behind her book The Zookeeper’s Wife. Well, quite; I was amazed to learn more about this woman who sheltered Jews in the cages of the Warsaw Zoo to save them from the Nazis, and delighted to cover it in the JC this week.

Less prosaically, I reported on the consequences of data protection law on the role of religious chaplains and faith visitors at British hospitals; whereas once staff were willing to point volunteers in the right direction, this is no longer the case. Staying with the subject of hospitals, I covered the campaign to have the cafe at Stoke Mandeville renamed in honour of the Paralympic pioneer Ludwig Guttmann.

I also reported on the opening of the Uefa U-21 tournament in Israel this week, and looked back in history at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 60 years ago this week. Speaking to photographer’s assistant Alex Falk, who was one the scene for it, we both marvelled at how he was a witness to history, and yet it barely fazed him at the time.

In Comment, I wrote on why the suffragette campaign and how it was viewed by the naysayers should offer us a lesson for today. “Of course prudence is necessary,” I said. “But we should still be wary that our instinct for caution does not put us on the wrong side of history.”

And in Optima, I wrote about the modern marriage of technology and domesticity, asking whether the two really work together.