May 12, 2012

AWRF 2012: Caroline Moorehead on A Train in Winter

Ana from the Readers Services team went to hear Caroline Moorehead talk about her new book A Train in Winter, in an event chaired by Carole Beu, from The Women’s Bookshop. She reports:
Caroline Moorehead grew up in a home where the only important thing was to write, so she and her brothers all became journalists. She is also a human rights journalist and advocate, who helped start a legal advice centre for refugees and asylum seekers in Cairo.

She started by talking a little about Human Cargo and also her involvement as a human rights defender. She has been to Africa and many other countries, and presented a strong image of refugee camps and detention camps where children are penned together, and the profound psychological effect this has on them.

A Train in Winter is about a group of 230 women working for the French resistance, who were arrested by French police, taken to a fort outside Paris, and from there to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Apparently the book, which I haven’t read yet, is very graphic. Many women died very quickly after arrival, from the horror of what they had witnessed. What made it different for these women was their friendship. This is the main thrust of the novel and the reason why 49 of them survived. If one person was weak, they kept an extra crust of bread for her; at roll-call (where it was sometimes 20 degrees below zero) they formed themselves into squares and kept the weak or sick in the middle for protection.

Caroline Moorehead thinks that ordinary people can make a difference. She says that refugees and asylum seekers are dominated by anxiety, and notes that one of the problems is that nobody asks them what are they interested in. Caroline Moorehead has made and is making a great difference to the lives and conditions of many of these people.

Ditulis Oleh : tosca // 03:00


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