This week: a star of Roots, a prisoner who organised an uprising at a Nazi camp and a legend of mountaineering

THE actress Olivia Cole, who has died aged 75, was best known for her role in the landmark 1970s television series Roots, which told the story of the slave trade in America and became one of the most watched television series in history.

Cole played Tildy, the wife of Chicken George, played by Ben Vereen, and became the first African-American to win in the Emmy category of best supporting actress in a miniseries. The series was based on African-American writer Alex Haley's book Roots, which dramatised his ancestors' lives.

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Cole later worked on the Oprah Winfrey-produced miniseries The Women of Brewster Place and LA Law but said she was disappointed that the success of Roots was not followed by more opportunities for black actors and actresses.

She was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and after high school in New York, studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, graduating in 1964.

Her first credited screen performance came in the daytime serial Guiding Light in 1969. She also appeared regularly on Broadway in the 1960s and '70s in plays including The Merchant of Venice and The School for Scandal.

Cole was divorced from actor Richard Venture.

THE war veteran Arkady Waispapir, who has died aged 96, was the last known survivor of the Nazis' Sobibor death camp in Poland. In 1943, he was one of the organisers of an uprising in the camp, in which hundreds of prisoners escaped.

Born in southern Ukraine in 1921, Mr Waispapir was captured by the Germans while serving in the Soviet Army and shipped to the Nazis' Sobibor camp in 1943 because he was Jewish.

He was one of a few inmates spared immediate death in Sobibor's gas chambers, and instead ordered to a work detail. He then helped organise the uprising in October 1943 which led to the death of several guards. About half of the camp's 600 prisoners also managed to escape, although around 100 were caught almost immediately. Of the 200 who made it further, only 47, including Mr Waispapir, survived the war.

Following the uprising, Nazi guards shot the remaining prisoners and razed the camp. Between March 1942 and October 1943, about 167,000 people were killed in Sobibor, almost entirely Jews, according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Mr Waispapir lost his entire family during the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, according to the German Holocaust memorial. He married after the war and had two sons.

Mr Waispapir lived and worked in eastern Ukraine until retiring in 1994 and moving to Kiev.

THE journalist Elizabeth Hawley, who has died aged 94, was known as the unofficial record keeper of mountaineering on eight of the world's 14 highest peaks, including Mount Everest.

Ms Hawley, who had been living in Nepal since 1960, maintained the Himalayan Database, considered the unofficial record book for mountaineering. Nepal and China do not maintain complete records of mountaineering activities. She was respected in the mountaineering community in Nepal and abroad.

Although she never climbed any mountain, she often had the final say in any disputes or claims by climbers.

It was often said that if her record did not say that a mountaineer climbed a particular peak in Nepal, then it never happened.

Mountaineers would often meet her before and after their climbs, when she would make them answer difficult questions.

"She was a legend in the mountaineering community and it is a big loss to all of us," said Ang Tshering, former head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association. "Now our focus should be to continue her work to honour her."

Born in Chicago, she travelled to Nepal in 1960 and later became a correspondent for the Reuters news agency.

Nepal honoured her for her contribution by naming a mountain in the north west after her in 2014. Peak Hawley, which is 20,330ft high, is open for climbers.