The chief interpreter for the American prosecution at the Nuremberg trials after World War II tells his insightful story of dealing directly with Goering as well as his colorful, eventful life before and after the trials. Richard Sonnenfeldt had at least three lives prior to the Nuremberg trials of high-ranking Nazis. A childhood in Germany. Escape to England in 1938, where he was wrongly interned as a "German enemy alien" and shipped to Australia. Arrival in the U.S. at age 17, where he joined the army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge and participated in the liberation of Dachau concentration camp. A defining moment came when at age 22 he was appointed chief interpreter for the American prosecution of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. His pretrial time spent with Hermann Goering reveals much about not only Goering himself but Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler, and Sonnenfeldt was the only American who talked with all the defendants. Several more lives followed postwar: an engineer, he was a principal developer of color TV and computer technology and at NASA was key in the preparation of the first moon shot.
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April 21, 2011
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