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HomeNewsHenry Kamm, Pulitzer-Successful New York Instances Journalist, Dies at 98

Henry Kamm, Pulitzer-Successful New York Instances Journalist, Dies at 98

Henry Kamm, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning overseas correspondent for The New York Instances who lined Chilly Battle diplomacy in Europe and the Soviet Union, famine in Africa, and wars and genocide in Southeast Asia, died on Sunday in Paris. He was 98.

Mr. Kamm’s son Thomas confirmed the demise, at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

From the continent he had fled at 15 to flee Nazi persecution throughout World Battle II, to the battlefields and killing fields of what was then referred to as Indochina, Mr. Kamm was the consummate star of The Instances’s overseas workers: a quick, correct, trendy author, fluent in 5 languages, with international contacts and reportorial instincts that discovered human dramas and historic views within the day’s information.

His early displacement deeply influenced his 47-year profession with The Instances, Thomas Kamm, a former Wall Avenue Journal correspondent, stated in an electronic mail in 2017. It “explains the curiosity he at all times confirmed all through his journalistic profession for refugees, dissidents, these with no voice and the downtrodden,” he stated.

Henry Kamm gained the 1978 Pulitzer Prize in worldwide reporting for articles on the plight of refugees from Southeast Asia who fled their war-torn homelands in 1977 and braved the South China Sea. Many sailed for months in small, unsafe fishing boats, struggling horrendous privations, solely to search out themselves undesirable on any shore.

In interviews with tons of of the refugees — “boat individuals,” as they had been known as, who had sought security within the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Japan — Mr. Kamm wrote of the despair of males, girls and youngsters whose escape from possible demise had led to ordeals of close to hunger, terrors of drowning on the excessive seas and crushing rejection because the world turned them away.

“Within the unhappy image of the wanderings on land and sea of tens of hundreds of refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia because the finish of the Indochinese struggle two years in the past,” Mr. Kamm wrote from Singapore, “nothing exemplifies so totally all of the ironies and ache of people that thought they had been selecting freedom and wound up in a limbo of hostility or indifference from these from whom they anticipated assist.”

A decrepit freighter driving at anchor out in Singapore Harbor, he wrote, was laden with 249 Southeast Asian refugees who had boarded the ship in Thailand and had lived on its open deck, by way of pitching storms and cruel days of baking solar, for 4 months, discovering no haven in port after port.

“At first they waited to go to a rustic that may give them a house,” Mr. Kamm wrote. “Then they lowered their hopes to discovering a rustic that may acknowledge their existence and allow them to ashore a minimum of briefly till one authorities or one other determined to allow them to come to remain.”

Due to Mr. Kamm’s experiences, the Pulitzer judges famous, america and several other different nations finally opened their doorways to the Southeast Asian refugees.

Mr. Kamm later wrote two books about Asia. In “Dragon Ascending: Vietnam and the Vietnamese” (1996), he portrayed a nation struggling underneath communism and recapitulated its struggle with america within the perspective of a 4,000-year historical past.

His e-book “Cambodia: Report From a Stricken Land” (1998) traced that nation’s descent into barbarity, from the homicide of tens of millions of its personal residents by the Khmer Rouge within the late Nineteen Seventies by way of the many years of financial and social struggling that adopted.

“Kamm’s account of Cambodia’s lengthy tragedy is spare, blunt and indignant,” Arnold R. Isaacs wrote in The New York Instances E-book Overview. “Primarily based nearly solely on his personal reporting, it attracts little if any materials from the work of different journalists and historians. That this seems to be a energy, not a weak point, is a tribute to the standard of Kamm’s journalism over time.”

He was born Hans Kamm in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw in Poland) on June 3, 1925, to Rudolf and Paula (Wischnewski) Kamm. The boy grew up fluent in German.

His Jewish father was arrested in Nazi roundups of Jews following the occasions of Crystal Evening in November 1938, however was launched from the Buchenwald focus camp given that he depart Germany, which he did in Could 1939, making his option to England and america, the place he settled. Hans and his mom, after a protracted, fearful await visas in Breslau, crossed Europe in a sealed prepare to Portugal and reached New York on a Portuguese ship in 1941.

Hans attended George Washington Excessive College within the Washington Heights part of Manhattan and realized English. In 1943, he was naturalized as an American citizen underneath the title Henry Kamm. Turning 18, he enlisted within the World Battle II Military and fought the Germans in Belgium and France, the place he realized French.

Discharged in 1946, he attended New York College and graduated in 1949 with a level in English. Impressed by his information of overseas affairs and language expertise, The Instances employed him as a replica boy.

Over the following decade, Mr. Kamm was a newsroom clerk after which a replica editor in New York, however had three bylined articles, two in 1958 about developments within the recording trade and a 1954 first-person account of island-hopping journey within the Lesser Antilles, an island chain within the japanese Caribbean.

In 1950, he married Barbara Lifton. That they had three kids: Alison, Thomas and Nicholas. The couple separated within the late Nineteen Seventies and had been divorced a few years later. Because the ’70s, Mr. Kamm had lived with Pham Lan Huong, with whom he raised her son, Bao Son. Excluding Pham Lan Huong, who died in 2018, all of them survive Mr. Kamm, together with 10 grandchildren.

After The Instances started a Paris-based worldwide version in 1960, Mr. Kamm was despatched there as an assistant information editor. In 1964, he grew to become a overseas correspondent and started protecting tales throughout Europe.

He was assigned to cowl Poland full time in 1966.

In 1967, he wrote from Lidice, within the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (now the Czech Republic), of the lingering horrors of the 1942 bloodbath of 173 males as a reprisal for the assassination of a Nazi official. And in a go to to Auschwitz, the place tens of millions of Jews had been killed by the Nazis, Mr. Kamm advised of an previous lady swaying atop the ruins of a crematory the place our bodies had been burned as she learn the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the lifeless.

“The previous lady completed the prayer, kissed the e-book and returned it to the purchasing bag she had held between her ft whereas she prayed,” he wrote. “From the bag, she took a candle that Jews gentle on the anniversary of a cherished one’s demise. She lit it, put it in a sheltered spot deep within the rubble of the furnace, climbed all the way down to the bottom and left silently.”

Mr. Kamm was The Instances’s Moscow bureau chief from 1967 to 1969, and gained a George Polk Award for his reporting from the Soviet Union.

In 1968, he lined the Prague Spring, a interval of liberal reforms — later suppressed by invading Warsaw Pact troops — underneath the Communist chief Alexander Dubcek.

Amongst Mr. Kamm’s finest information sources was his buddy Vaclav Havel, the Czech author and dissident who grew to become the final president of Czechoslovakia (1989-92) and the Czech Republic’s first president (1993-2003).

Mr. Kamm later had assignments in Southeast Asia, Paris and Tokyo, the place he was bureau chief.

Within the Nineteen Seventies, whereas based mostly in Paris, he made frequent journeys to sub-Saharan Africa to cowl devastating droughts, crop failures and famine. Primarily based in Geneva within the Nineties, he reported from many international locations in Europe and Asia.

After retiring in 1996, Mr. Kamm lived in Lagnes, France, close to Avignon in Provence. He later moved to a retirement dwelling within the west of Paris, adjoining to the Bois de Boulogne park.

In 2018, he utilized for and acquired German citizenship — a reconciliation, of types, with the nation he had fled as an adolescent. The archive of his papers, together with some 7,000 Instances articles, is held by the New York Public Library.


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