A conversation with Philippe Sands and Agnès Poirier
How do the lives of historical figures intersect with our owns?
“Hypnotic, shocking and unputdownable” – John Le Carré
In his latest book, The Ratline, author and human rights lawyer Philippe Sands offers a unique account of the daily life of Otto von Wächter, a senior Nazi officer and his wife. Drawing on a remarkable trove of family letters and diaries, he unveils a fascinating insight into his life before and during the war, and after, when he was on the run until his mysterious death in 1949. A mystery that haunts von Wächter’s youngest son, who continues to believe his father was a good man – what happened to Otto von Wächter, and how did he die?
As a leading human rights lawyer, Sands reminds us that the foundations of international human rights law lie in genocide and crime against humanity. “We are the grandchildren of those people who died and killed during the Second World War and it seems to touch us so very deeply. Is it because of the resonance? There is something going today in Europe and in the world which is causing us to ask the question: is it happening again? Could it happen again?”
In conversation with French journalist and writer Agnès Poirier (Notre-Dame. The Soul of France), Philippe Sands will explore these very burning questions.
Tue 10 Nov 6.30pm
Onsite: £9, members £7
Philippe Sands is Professor of Law at UCL and a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers. He has been involved in many of the most important international cases of recent years, including Pinochet, Congo, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Iraq, Guantanamo and the Rohingya. He is the author of Lawless, Torture Team, East West Street, which won the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-fiction, and The Ratline. He is a contributor to the Financial Times, Guardian, New York Review of Books and Vanity Fair, and makes regular appearances on radio and television. He is President of English PEN and a member of the board of the Hay Festival.
Praise for The Ratline:
“A gripping adventure, an astounding journey of discovery and a terrifying and timely portrait of evil in all its complexity, banality, self-justification and madness. A stunning achievement” – Stephen Fry
Agnès Poirier is a Paris-born and London-educated journalist, broadcaster, critic, and writer. A regular contributor to the British and American media, (The Guardian, The Observer, The Times [London], The Nation, BBC, Sky News, CNN) and the UK editor for the French political weekly Marianne, she is the author of four books about how France and Britain do things in opposite ways, including Touche: A French Woman’s Take on the English. She has taught at the Paris Institute of Political Sciences (Sciences Po) and preselects British films for the Cannes Film Festival. Her latest book is Notre-Dame. The Soul of France.
In partnership with La Librairie La Page