Veteran journalist Clare Hollingworth, who broke the news of WWII outbreak, dies at 105 | News | DW | 11.01.2017
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Veteran journalist Clare Hollingworth, who broke the news of WWII outbreak, dies at 105

Clare Hollingworth was a rookie reporter for the "Daily Telegraph" when she broke the news that Germany had invaded Poland, heralding the beginning of World War II. She died on Tuesday at her home in Hong Kong.

Family and friends on Tuesday honored late journalist Clare Hollingworth, who witnessed one of the greatest scoops of modern times during her first week working as a reporter for the "Daily Telegraph" newspaper.

In August 1939, Hollingworth reported witnessing German tanks mobilizing to invade Poland, heralding the beginning of World War II. Days later, on September 1, she filed the first eyewitness report of Germany's offensive into Poland to the British newspaper and UK diplomats.

"We are sad to announce that after an illustrious career spanning a century of news, celebrated war correspondent Clare Hollingworth died this evening in Hong Kong," her family said in a statement.

The "Daily Telegraph's" current editor, Chris Evans, said Hollingworth was "an inspiration to all reporters but in particular to subsequent generations of women foreign correspondents."

In a remarkable career spanning decades and continents, Hollingworth went on to report from countries including Germany, Poland, Algeria, Israel, India and China. While spending much of her  career on the front lines of major conflicts, she was also the first journalist to interview the shah of Iran and reported from Beijing during the fall of Chairman Mao.

Clare Hollingworth (unknown/Clare Hollingworth archive)

Hollingworth reported from the front line of many of the 20th century's major conflicts, in Germany, Vietnam and China

Hollingworth, who was one of just a few selected journalists stationed in China during the 1970s, spent the final four decades of her life in Hong Kong.

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong, where Hollingworth was a regular guest and "much beloved member," said that, in the weeks before the outbreak of World War II, Hollingworth had earned the nickname of the Scarlet Pimpernel after helping evacuate 3,500 Jewish refugees from the Polish city of Katowice to Britain.

Speaking to DW last year, Hollingworth's great-nephew and biographer, Patrick Garrett, said that as a rookie journalist, Hollingworth did not immediately realize the "full human dimension - the tragedy of the war" when she reported her historic scoop.

"Clare admitted that it was only when Britain declared war that the full weight of the situation hit her," Garrett said. "When she wondered how long her own home in London would still be standing, before being reduced to rubble."

dm/cmk (AP, Reuters, dpa)