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Now on BBC News it's time for Witness with Tanya Beckett.
Hello, and welcome to Witness, with me, Tanya Beckett, here at the
British library in London. We've got another five people who have
experienced extraordinary moments in history.
This month on the programme, a French artist recalls the protests
in Paris in May, 1968. The son of a famous British sailor remembers his
pioneering solo voyage around the world. And we get a personal account
of the launch of the world's most famous photo agency. First, we are
going back to 1939, when a ship with Jewish refugees on-board fleeing
from the Nazis was refused entry by US authorities. And forced to return
to Europe. Gellibrand stills on board. -- Joa Granston.
Prejudice against Jews started virtually immediately after Hitler
came to power. It became clear even to a five-year olds that I am a
nobody. My father and my grandfather were
planning, where could we go? And one of the few countries that took you,
albeit for money, was Cuba. Jews from all parts of the Reich
liquidating their properties, Kim Little generations, and drift into
hamburg... Cuba was a stepping stone to get us come at two get us to the
United States. The voyage was, to me, a two-week delight. I remember,
still to this day, drinking fizzy lemonade, all the things I shouldn't
have done. The treatment on board the ship, and what was happening in
Germany, was a huge, huge contrast. When we got to Havana, immigration
and customs came aboard and they were very pleasant, very nice, but I
learnt my first and only word of Spanish, which was manana.
Everything was "Tomorrow". We left Havana after five days. Captain
showed sailed up and down the Florida coast fairly certain that
Bruce Billson would relent and let the ship come into an American port.
-- certain that result would relent. -- Roosevelt. All to no avail.
Roosevelt was standing for re-election. Rather than have his
political enemies say, you let another 900 Jews in, decided, keep
them out, let somebody else worry. We were going back to Germany, where
there was no hope whatsoever for the Jewish people. My father didn't hide
his emotions very easily. And more than once, he cried. It became known
that four countries were prepared to take us, and this was the
Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom. The sad thing is
that those people who made it to France, the Netherlands, Belgium,
those who were still there wants the Nazis conquered them, they were the
first of the arrested, because they were German Jews. -- once the Nazis
conquered them. Lucky is a word I use many times. If my father and I
had not come to the United Kingdom in 1939, I wouldn't be here now.
Gerald Branson at his home in London. Next, to post-war Japan,
where a musician developed a revolutionary method to teaching
violin to very young children. It would later take off around the
world. Our next witnesses are two brothers, who were two of his first
pupils. VADS here is that from the age of
three, Japanese children can be taught to play simple tunes by ear.
As the Japanese teacher Shinichi Suzuki himself says, they learn to
speak with the violin at the same time they learn to speak their
mother tongue. Still playing violin decades later.
Now, we are going back to 1967 and the moment a British sailor called
Frances CHichester completed an epic solo trip around the world. His son,
Giles Chichester, was in the huge crowds that had gathered to give him
a hero 's welcome when he returned to Plymouth harbour. This was the
scene at Plymouth as a quarter million people had their long wait
rewarded by the privilege of being the first to observe, from the
shore, the approach of Gypsy Mok. A fleet of welcoming boats went out to
meet him. People said he was too old and his boat was too big to him. He
would never manage. Well, of course that was a red rag to a bull. It
made him even more determined to go on and do it. That fleet ensures him
a proud place in the company of the greatest of maritime history. My
father was in his mid- 60s when he planned this voyage. In a way, the
history of this goes back to when he did he is flying in the 1930s. He
had this sense of adventure. So flash forward to the 60s, when he
took up sailing. He made certain that all the saucy needed for the
next 100 days were properly stowed away. -- stores. Gypsy Moth for was
a very narrow boat. No fridge, no mod cons like that. He navigated,
this is critical, using a sextant. Today people use satellite
navigation. That is a big, big difference. From the Cape of good
Hope he will follow the route of the bishops to Australia, turning around
Cape Horn. -- the clipper ships. On the way out he was determined to
celebrate his birthday. He was going to have his 65th birthday en route.
And in order to do that, he took his green smoking jacket, which was made
to him in the 1930s. He obviously took some champagne to celebrate. He
was a very congenial fellow, actually. He enjoyed company. People
may imagine somebody who goes single-handedly solitary and
antisocial. Far from it. Probably the biggest crisis point was in the
southern Indian Ocean in the Roaring 40s. It was gloom all round, when he
radioed that this altar had broke, he was giving up. But he slapped on
it, he devised his own temporary self steering device. -- slapped on
it. And that saved the day. He made only one stop in the
circumnavigation, in Sydney, to mirror the root of the clippers. But
within the first few hours, leaving Sydney, he hit the tail end of a
hurricane. And the boat was knocked over, so that he went way over the
horizontal. He survived that, and he was fascinated, measuring this after
the fact, by seeing the angle at which knives from the galley draws
had stuck in the ballkid on the opposite side. Chichester had
circumnavigated the globe. More than that, he had accomplished the
stupendous foot feat alone. The voyage around the world was just
over 29,000 miles. It took him 226 days sailing time. Perhaps this son
assuming man would have preferred a private welcome. But deeds such as
his demanded a hero's reception. He was a little pottery when he got in,
so I did the celebrating for the family. I confess I stayed up all
night, partying and drinking and having a good time. With Sir Francis
Drake's soared, the Queen was to dub the sailor as Knight Commander of
the British Empire. They decided to have a public investiture, which is
an extremely rare event. This was a bit of a surprise. My father more or
less took it in his stride. The whole thing was the most wonderful
adventure. Giles Chichester talking to us from
his family home in London. Remember, you can watch Witness
every month on our website. Now, to one of the key moments of recent
history in France. In May, 1968, revolution was in the air. Students
and workers took to the streets to demand change. Witness has met an
artist who joined in the protest. The worst street fighting in the
capital since liberation in 1944. Students and police clashed
following extremist political action against the war in Vietnam's. --
Vietnam. It was 1968. Too many people were out in the same moment.
There was a factory strike and universities were a stroke.
Everybody decided to go into the street. It was 6pm at night on the
13th of May. Workers and students were together. Leaders from the
Sorbonne were meeting with leaders of workers organisations to plan
their next move. We've were fighting for our rights and for better lives.
Me and my friend decided to go back and try to get involved in making
posters for the movement. The first thing we did was to organise paints
and brushes and paper for all the people coming down. The area became
very famous and people wanted to posters to stick on the wall. My job
was to work and get the posters out and on the wall. Contact factories.
We had meetings so we could decide which were good and which word. And
a ready had to say something about it. We worked like the workers. We
could make 2000 posters, or maybe one big poster. Factories,
universities, and unions, were now coming together. The government was
trained to separate the people. We thought that was the end of the
society. Instead of that, a new people, new students and workers
came out and could work together. We stay in the French capital for our
far north film. In May, 1947, some of the world's most famous
photographers got together in Paris to form Magnum Photos. -- final
film. Magnum was a committee of spirits. ICQ is a group of lunatics.
Very passionate. -- I think it was. It was set up in 1947 by a few
dealers photographers who suddenly found the world changed, but wanted
to continue operating in the old way and were willing to take risks.
That's me. In January, 1950, I answered this advertisement, and I
think it was for a secretary research International, or something
like that. The active and dynamic party of the group was, who was
already famous from the civil war. -- of the group was Robert Carper.
And his long-time friend, Jim, was an actor in Paris in the 1930s. And
also in the Spanish steel wall. -- civil war. And that group was joined
by George Roger, who was a nonconformist adventurer. I think
they change photography in different ways. When you look at Robert
Carper's wall pictures, he was more concerned with the pictures of
suffering than any glory from the war. -- Robert Capa. I remember
another picture of the independence of Indonesia. And Robert Capa's
pictures from Palestine... They didn't want to be told what to do.
That was more important to them than having a nice fat salary. This was
from a big Magnum show. It was a cooperative at a family atmosphere.
Everybody was very affectionate. When Robert Capa and Chim came in
from Paris, they brought perfume and elegant things. There was never any
idea of you being the boss, or the secretary. A Christmas parties, Capa
would come and dance with the bookkeeper. I don't know whether I
was more enchanted with the personalities of the photographers
than with the photographs. And Magnum Photos is still going strong
today. That is it from Witness for this month will stop next month,
will be at the British Library going through five moments of history. But
from me, for now, thank you for joining us. Goodbye.
We'll do the easy bit first and then I'll give you the forecast,
which is probably the bit you're after, anyway.