Tag Archives: William Ranallo

56 Years Ago Today

In memory of the 16 who died in Ndola, here is some of the collection from my mother-in-law, Olga Fabry, who carefully saved all the documents and mementos I share here. Vlado was only 40 years old when he died, a man who was very much loved by his family and friends, and my thoughts are with all the relatives around the world who remember their family on this day. The struggle against racism and white supremacy continues for us, let us not forget their example of courage to resist, and to fight for justice.

Program from the first wreath laying ceremony at UN Headquarters, one year after the crash, 17 September 1962:



Invitation from Acting Secretary-General, U Thant, to Madame Fabry:

Letter and commemorative UN stamps from U Thant to Olga Fabry:


Signatures from UN staff were collected from all over the world to fill this two-volume set of books in memory of Vladimir Fabry:

Signatures from UN Headquarters in New York include Ralph Bunche, and his wife Ruth:


Signatures from Geneva Headquarters and a message from John A. Olver:

Telegrams from friends in every country:

Among them, a message of sympathy from the King of Sweden relayed through Ralph Bunche:

And a cable from Jozef Lettrich:

UN cables express the loss of a dear friend and highly valued colleague:


Newspaper clippings from 1961 and 1962, the first one with a photo of Olga Fabry and her mother at the funeral in Geneva, Switzerland:







The investigation will coming up for review in the General Assembly, and for those who think we should give up and be quiet about it already after all these years, Dag Hammarskjold said it best: “Never, “for the sake of peace and quiet,” deny your own experience or convictions.”

Advertisements

“…the dreamt kingdom of peace…”

From the family archive, here is the program from the United Nations memorial service for Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, and the 15 others who died with him, on 17 September 1961, while on a peace mission to Ndola. As the anniversary nears, I send kind thoughts to all who have been touched by this event. Included in the memorial program, held on 28 September 1961, is an address by the late Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold “on the occasion of the United Nations Day Concert, 24 October 1960” – it is one of Hammarskjold’s shorter speeches, but full of his warmth and optimism for humanity, so I have transcribed it here.

To further appreciate Hammarskjold’s sentiment towards music, to feel a little of what he felt when he listened to Beethoven, I have included the Christmas Day 1989 Berlin performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, in celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall – it is perfection, one of the most beautiful and moving concerts of all time.

(click images to enlarge)
UN Memorial program, 28 September 1961

IN MEMORIAM, 17 SEPTEMBER 1961

Dag Hammarskjold
Per Hallonquist
H.A. Wieschhoff
Nils-Eric Aahreus
Vladimir Fabry
Lars Litton
William Ranallo
Nils Goran Wilhelmsson
Alice Lalande
Harald Noork
Harold M. Julien
Karl Erik Rosen
Serge L. Barrau
S.O. Hjelte
Francis Eivers
P.E. Persson

28 SEPTEMBER 1961

UN Memorial program, 28 September 1961, p.2

UN Memorial program, 28 September 1961, back page

“ADDRESS GIVEN BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE OCCASION OF THE UNITED NATIONS DAY CONCERT, 24 OCTOBER, 1960”

It is the tradition that the Organization marks United Nations Day with a concert including the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Today we shall, for the first time in this hall, listen to the symphony in its entirety.

It is difficult to say anything, knowing that the words spoken will be followed by this enormous confession of faith in the victorious human spirit and in human brotherhood, a confession valid for all times and with a depth and wealth of expression never surpassed.

When the Ninth Symphony opens we enter a drama full of harsh conflict and dark threats. But the composer leads us on, and in the beginning of the last movement we hear again the various themes repeated, now as a bridge toward a final synthesis. A moment of silence and a new theme is introduced, the theme of reconciliation and joy in reconciliation. A human voice is raised in rejection of all that has preceded and we enter the dreamt kingdom of peace. New voices join the first and mix in a jubilant assertion of life and all that it gives us when we meet it, joined in faith and human solidarity.

On his road from conflict and emotion to reconciliation in this final hymn of praise, Beethoven has given us a confession and a credo which we, who work within and for this Organization, may well make our own. We take part in the continuous fight between conflicting interests and ideologies which so far has marked the history of mankind, but we may never lose our faith that the first movements one day will be followed by the fourth movement. In that faith we strive to bring order and purity into chaos and anarchy. Inspired by that faith we try to impose the laws of the human mind and of the integrity of the human will on the dramatic evolution in which we are all engaged and in which we all carry our responsibility.

The road of Beethoven in his Ninth Symphony is also the road followed by the authors of the Preamble and of the Charter. It begins with the recognition of the threat under which we all live, speaking as it does of the need to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war which has brought untold sorrow to mankind. It moves on to a reaffirmation of faith in the dignity and worth of the human person, and it ends with the promise to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours and to unite our strength to maintain peace.

This year, the fifteenth in the life of the Organization, is putting it to new tests. Experience has shown how far we are from the end which inspired the Charter. We are indeed still in the first movements. But no matter how deep the shadows may be, how sharp the conflicts, how tense the mistrust reflected in this hall and in this house, we are not permitted to forget that we have too much in common, too great a sharing of interests and too much that we might lose together, for ourselves and for succeeding generations, ever to weaken in our efforts to surmount the difficulties and not to turn the simple human values, which are our common heritage, into the firm foundation on which we may unite our strength and live together in peace.

Medal of Saint Bernard

From the estate of Vladimir Fabry, here are a few items of interest. First, the “Notice of Death” from Ndola, Northern Rhodesia:
(click images to enlarge)
Vlado Notice of Death Northern Rhodesia

The same notice would have been sent to the families of the other crash victims, who should be remembered here for their sacrifice:
H. A. Wieschoff
William Ranallo
Alice Lalande
Harold M. Julien
Serge L. Barrau
Francis Eivers
Per Hallonquist
Nils-Eric Aahreus
Lars Litton
Nils Goran Wilhelmsson
Harald Noork
Karl Erik Rosen
S.O. Hjelte
P.E. Persson

The post mortem of Vlado says his body was badly burned, and that he was identified by a monogrammed signet ring, so it was surprising to find this letter, and to learn I was in possession of at least one artifact from the crash:
Estate of Vladimir Fabry

November 9, 1961
ESTATE OF VLADIMIR FABRY

Memorandum re contents of a sealed package delivered by Geneva Headquarters of United Nations to Miss Olga I. Fabry on October , 1961.

The box was tied with brown cord and the cord sealed with a metal U.N. seal. Attached to the box was an envelope from the United Nations Organization in the Congo marked “Urgent, Confidential”, addressed to Mr. John Olver of the the European office of the United Nations in Geneva. The envelope was marked “If Mr. Olver is absent, to be opened by Mr. A. Marx, Chief of Personnel.”

On opening the envelope it was found to contain a letter marked “Confidential”, dated September 29, 1961 addressed to Mr. Olver and signed by Mr. B. Grunzweig. The letter concerned the estate of the late Dr. Vladimir Fabry and stated that the writer understood that the package contained partially destroyed or burned money, travellers’ checks and notebooks belonging to Dr. Fabry. It was requested that the package be delivered to Dr. Fabry’s family, since it might be possible to recover some of the money contained therein. A copy of the letter is attached hereto.

On breaking the seal and opening the package, it was found to contain an envelope in which the following documents and currency were enclosed, all party burned and in the case of some of the currency, badly burned and difficult to decipher. The badly burned currency was in a separate envelope. On the top of the package of burned currency there appeared to be a partially burned folded bill on which the letters “llars” appeared. From what could be seen of the bill, it appeared to be U.S. currency, the denomination unknown. The bills in this package are compacted and stuck together, and they are badly burned. For that reason no attempt was made to separate these bills in order that the same in their present condition might be presented to the proper U.S. officials for examination.

The other contents of the envelope are the following:

1. A number of identification cards of the late Dr. Fabry.
2. American Express travellers’ checks partially burned on one side although readily decipherable, consisting of seven checks of $20 each bearing serial numbers Z35-790-419/425.
3. U.S. currency partially burned along one side but decipherable, consisting of 3 $10 bills and 5 $1 bills.
4. 2 Swiss 20 franc notes, partially burned along one side but readily decipherable.
5. 3 Belgian franc notes in denominations of 20, 50 and 100, respectively.
6. One singed blank airmail envelope.
7. One St. Bernard’s medal.

Though I have looked, I have found no sign of the burned notebooks. Here is all that remains from the crash, from the last moments of Vlado’s life, one St. Bernard’s medal, which I now carry as my own good luck charm:

Vlado St Bernard Medal 1
Vlado St Bernard Medal 2