My sis and I went to watch Attacking The Devil: Harold Evans and the Last Nazi War Crime at the Picture House Cinema (Central London) on Tuesday this week and it was so worthwhile. It’s hard to describe a moving documentary on such an important subject matter with the usual ‘must-see, fantastic’ as the subject matter is so upsetting.
The documentary charts Sir Harold Evans’ rise to the top of newspaper editing which is very inspirational itself but the real gem of this documentary is that is is a masterclass in investigative journalism. Sir Harold Evans describes how he used the power of the media to create positive change for the general population before taking an interest in the thalidomide story and subsequently adequate compensation for the children born with defects.
Sir Harold Evans
The investigative team tasked with the thalidomide investigation were thorough and dedicated over decades. Together with the help of one of the fathers of a thalidomide child they poured over documents in a transatlantic investigation that led, finally, to the discovery of the origins and the scientist behind the creation of the drug. The finger pointed directly at the Nazi concentration camps.
The indifference of the majority in parliament to secure compensation for the victims is tragic and when an apology and compensation was finally won in 2010 it was a small victory.
Thalidomide, for me, is one of the stories that changed my opinion of the medical profession and medicine. Even as a teen after I started reading about the scandal I wouldn’t take medical advice without my own research and questions. I don’t personally know a family that was affected by thalidomide but I’m glad I have followed their progress and I think it showed all of us to beware of drugs.