Our popular WHS Talks are held at the Balsam Centre, Balsam Park BA9 9HB (accessed from Memorial Hall Car Park), usually on the last Wednesday evening of the month.
Doors open 6.30pm with the talk starting at 7pm. Our 9 talks throughout the year range widely, covering local and national topics such as the Roman Villa at the Newt, life of a local vet in 20th century, restoration of Earl of Shaftesbury’s house, the Nuremburg Trials.
A brief round-up of previous talks are available if you click the “Previous Talks” button further down this page.
The programme is being constantly developed so do revisit this site, check out our Instagram or Facebook and look out for our eye-catching posters in various locations around the town advising forthcoming subjects.
Entry Charges (per person):
Members and under 18s: free
From time to time Special Talks are being booked. The venue for these is the Memorial Hall. Last year we heard from John Blashford-Snell, and enjoyed a live performance of Flamenco dancing. Charges for these talks differ from the standard Talks charge. Keep an eye on this site for details.
Special Talks (per person):
Members: free (donation welcomed)
Non-members: See listing for prices
“The Voice of Doom” Wolfe Frank, by Paul Hooley
22 June 2022 @ 19:30 - 21:30
A friendship in a small, “sleepy” town in Wiltshire led Mr Hooley to a treasure trove of documentary records about one of the most important events of the 20th century – the Nuremberg trials of 1945.
The son of a successful German industrialist, Wolfe Frank’s path was set by witnessing an instance of early Nazi brutality in 1933. Thereafter, he avoided ever giving the required Nazi salute.
Before long he removed to England. Knowing French and Russian already, he rapidly acquired fluency in English. From internment as an “enemy alien” at the outset of WW2, his language skills soon made him invaluable to the Allies.
At the Nuremberg trials he pioneered simultaneous translation (which is common now on TV reports) thus shortening the duration of the trails, probably by years. The delivery of the verdicts to those on trial was broadcast and, as the person delivering the translation of the verdicts to those on trial, Wolfe Frank earned the soubriquet “The Voice of Doom”.
He kept copious notes of his interactions with those on trial. Indeed, the library of records Mr Hooley was given to work through, ran to many thousand pages and have yielded two books on a fascinating, complex and hitherto little-known key player in the coda of one of the most momentous times in world history.
Those attending came away feeling they had learnt a human dimension to the end of the usually dry facts of this historical event.