The Human's in the Telling is a story of historic events that has been over 20 years in the making.


When, in 1998, Tom first brought home the boxes of his grandfather's papers that had secretly lain in the vaults of Allen & Overy for over 30 years,

our daughter Lily was 2 years old, Robert not yet born, and we had no idea as he unpacked the collection of papers, letters and transcripts,

what a large part the contents were going to have in our future life together...


This book supports the commemorative performances of Dreams of Peace & Freedom to be given in the build-up to the anniversaries of the opening of The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and the signing of the European Convention on Human Rights in November 2020.


It will also support the outreach programme to young people in human rights organisations in the 47 signatory states to the Convention, as we share our story of our human rights hero to encourage them to share theirs.


Offering more detail and context to the words in the song cycle, The Human's in the Telling, Letters, Transcripts Blogs and Tweets combines further extracts from the letters exchanged between David and Sylvia Maxwell Fyfe, government papers from the National Archive, commentary and observation, to support commemorative performances of Dreams of Peace & Freedom.


In addition, it tells how we, members of his family, have told his story, focusing on Lily and Robert who have grown up with the project and are now its principals. In this scrapbook we informally assemble key documents that are signposts on David Maxwell Fyfe's journey from Nuremberg to Strasbourg alongside our journey researching them. It will bring these parallel stories alive as his letters & transcripts, and our blogs and tweets, are all organised as one calendar year, so that events from different years and stories can juxtapose, chime and jar.


During the time leading up to the 2020 anniversaries, the political climate has become increasingly turbulent, and we are aware that the issues raised by our family history are topical, and more controversial than we may have first thought. On social media we have reflected current events through the prism of our story, and a selection of these are also part of our book, and our story telling.


Against the background of the present political climate, Maxwell Fyfe's journey from Nuremberg to Strasbourg seems more important than ever.

Click to explore chapters from the book below!









“Law is sometimes seen as dry, but for those who practice it, its purpose is often surrounded by emotion. In The Humans’ in the Telling, the life and work of David Maxwell Fyfe, both as a prosecutor at Nuremberg and as a politician in  helping create the European Convention on Human Rights reflects this split. He worked with others to use the law to do justice when faced with the most appalling crimes and to protect future generations from any repetition in a way that was ground breaking. It echoed his deepest personal feelings and outlook born of his own life and family history. The Human’s in the Telling brings this out vividly and is a must for all who want to build a better world.”

MAY button JUNE button Letters, Transcripts, Blogs and Tweets Banner 3