Richard Sonnenfeldt dies


Richard Sonnenfeldt, chief of the interpretation section of the US counsel at the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 1945-46, was born on July 23, 1923. He died on October 9, 2009, aged 86.
Quoting the Times of London obituary:
«As with much at the tribunal, his appointment at such a young age was the result of chance rather than of planning. A German Jew who had fled to America, he was stationed in July 1945 in Austria as a private in a US armoured unit when the passing General "Wild Bill" Donovan, head of the Office of Strategic Services (the CIA's predecessor), asked for an interpreter. Impressed by Sonnenfeldt's American accent, which was free of the guttural inflections that made other German native speakers hard to understand, Donovan whisked him off to the OSS office in Paris. There he began to translate captured documents and interview witnesses for the forthcoming war crimes trials. The venue and list of defendants was decided the next month, and Sonnenfeldt moved to Nuremberg. There he became interpreter initially for John Amen, the principal American interrogator, who had made his name prosecuting New York gangsters. Sonnenfeldt, accordingly, was to spend hundreds of hours in the company of Joachim von Ribbentrop, Rudolf Hess, Albert Speer and other leading Nazis, such as Hans Frank, the governor of occupied Poland, and Ernst Kaltenbrunner, head of Germany's security apparatus».
A very interesting interview with him can be seen here.