Les Ziffren, UP, circa 1927

Believed to be the senior ex-Unipresser at the time of this writing in September, 2006, Lester Ziffren celebrated his 100th birthday on April 30, 2006 (below):

 

 

Ziffren was with United Press in New York, Buenos Aires and Madrid for about a decade in the mid/late 20's to the mid 30's and was among the correspondents reporting on the what many historians consider to be the warmup for World War II, the Spanish Civil War..

 

Ziffren reads his nightly broadcast to the United States, "Spain by Day." He was the United Press correspondent in Spain from 1933-1936.

 

Ziffren left UP for Hollywood, where he worked in the motion picture industry for a decade and a half, writing several of the Charlie Chan mysteries produced at 20th Century Fox in the early 1940's. (See http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0956342/ .) He took time out for government service during WWII.

He later worked for the State Department in the 1950's and in public relations in New York in the 1960's.

Below are links to two Adobe Acrobat files recalling his days reporting the start of the Spanish Civil War.

Both are the result of research by David Wurtzel, a London lawyer and Ziffren relative by marriage.

In journalistic format, with pictures: Ziffren's diary recollections of the start of the Spanish Civil War, from the September 2006 issue of History Today: ( ziffren1936.pdf )

Similar material, in more academic format, prepared for the International Journal of Iberian Studies, ( ziffren-iberia.pdf )

(Courtesy of Les Ziffren's daughter, Didi Hunter, herself formerly of UPITN in New York (NXT); Mr. Wurtzel and the credited publications.)

 

Ziffren, second from left, at 2000 Downholders Convention in New York on Nov. 17, 2000

The others are later staffers of UPI's LatAm desk and bureaus .. Norberto Svarzman, Dan Drosdoff and Enrique Durand.

(Photo by Marty McReynolds)

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A more detailed look at the career of Les Ziffren, also by David Wurtzel, with a photo gallery featuring additional pictures from this collection can be found at the site of the University of Missouri School of Journalism:

http://journalism.missouri.edu/news/2006/04-24-lester-ziffren.html