Hella Pick

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Hella Henrietta Pick (born 24 April 1929) is a British-Austrian journalist and author of Austrian descent.


Pick went to school in the Lake District. She also studied at the London School of Economics.[1]


From 1961 to 1997, she was on the staff of The Guardian newspaper, working as UN correspondent, Washington correspondent, East-West affairs correspondent, Diplomatic Editor, and Associate Foreign Affairs Editor.

She has been a frequent contributor to BBC news programmes and often appears on German and Austrian television.[2]

IRD contact

Pick was one of around 100 journalists who were contacts for the Information Research Department.

IRD's main targets were in the Third World - "hitting back at Russian propaganda as hard as we could," as Mayhew puts it. It also set out to "be of use to" British media and opinion formers. As well as supplying material to the BBC World Service secret lists were compiled of approved journalists and trade unionists to whom material was offered if not always accepted. More often IRD simply offered quite straightforward research help. Recipients - often experts in their own fields - could and did judge its quality. By the time IRD was finally purged, one of its list contained a cross section of the General Council of the TUC. The journalist list contained about 100 names.
Those we have traced include two Labour journalist MPs, Roderick MacFarquhar and Colin Jackson. There were three writers connected with the Financial Times; five from the Times ; two from the Observer ; five from the Sunday Times ; five from the Telegraph ; six from the Economist ; one from the Daily Mail ; two from the Mirror ; one from the Sunday Mirror ; and one from the Express.
Guardian journalists on the lists included Hella Pick, Michael Simmons, Ian Wright and Victor Zorza.
Other journalists were informally blacklisted as politically undesirable or had assistance withdrawn if they became politically embarrassing.
British introductions to IRD were made discreetly; one distinguished liberal journalist recalls how he was taken to lunch at a London club by his retiring predecessor in the newspaper who passed him on to his IRD contact. All journalists were told as little as possible about the Department. Material was sent to their homes under plain cover. Correspondence marked "personal" carries no departmental identification or reference.
They were told documents were "prepared" in the FCO primarily for members of the diplomatic service, but are allowed to give them on a personal basis to a few people outside the service who might find them of interest...they are not statements of official policy and should not be attributed to HMG, nor should the titles themselves be quoted in discussion or in print. The papers should not be shown to anyone else and they should be destroyed when no longer needed.[3]




  • Hella Pick, Guilty Victim - Austria from the Holocaust to Haider, I.B. Tauris (17 July 2000)
  • Hella Pick, Simon Wiesenthal: A Life In Search Of Justice, W&N; First Edition edition (15 April 1996).



  1. Hella Pick, My family and other enemy aliens, The Guardian, 17 March 2000. Last accessed 10 March 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Hella Pick, University of Sussex. Last accessed 10 March 2020
  3. David Leigh, Death of the department that never was, Guardian Friday 27 January 1978, page 13
  4. Board and Advisors, Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Last accessed 10 March 2020.