Peter Fraenkel

Peter Fraenkel headshot
Peter Fraenkel was born in 1926 in Breslau (now Wrocław) into a German Jewish family of lawyers. The family succeeded in emigrating only days before the outbreak of World War II. Most countries had by then closed their doors and they found themselves in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). There followed years of poverty with Fraenkel senior making a meager living as a dry cleaner. “N.R.” did, however, turn out to be better than anticipated. One of the unforeseen outcomes in this racist society was that whites rallied in support of fellow-whites: the colonial government lent Fraenkel funds for his university studies even though he was still classified as “enemy alien”.

After graduation from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa in 1949, he joined the Central African Broadcasting Service, the first radio station to concentrate mainly on educational programs in African languages. However, as racist white-settlers movements appeared to become dominant, Fraenkel uprooted himself again in 1957 and moved to England where he joined the BBC as a scriptwriter. Later he became Greek Program organizer, Head of East European Services and, finally, Controller of European Services. In retirement he worked on AIDS prevention campaigns.

Fraenkel translated and edited the memoirs of his great-great-grandfather B.L. Monasch, a 19th century publisher/printer of Jewish books of devotion. His own writings include
Wayaleshi, about broadcasting in Africa; No Fixed Abode and several radio plays submitted to the BBC under a nom-de-plume to obscure his seniority in that organization.

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