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Editorial Reviews

Richard Sonnenfeldt has lived an incredible life. In this memoir, Sonnenfeldt recounts his numerous brushes with history. The first and central story surrounds his role as lead translator for the Nuremburg Trials. Intimate and thought-provoking, Witness to Nuremberg: The Many Lives of the Man Who Translated at the Nazi War Trials in an insider's account of one of history's greatest judicial episodes. Robert Blumenfeld gives a distinguished performance. Well-rehearsed and fast paced, Blumenfeld succeeds in his reading of Sonnenfeldt's intimate reflections on his past.

Publisher's Summary

In this gripping memoir by the chief American interpreter at the Nuremberg trials, Richard Sonnenfeldt recounts a remarkable life. By the time he was 18, Sonnenfeldt had grown up in Germany, escaped to England, been deported to Australia as a "German enemy alien", arrived in the U.S., and joined the U.S. Army. By age 22 he had fought in the Battle of the Bulge and helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp, when he was appointed chief interpreter for the American prosecution of Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials.

During his service, he spent pretrial time with Hermann Göering as well as other top Nazi leaders like von Ribbentrop, Rudolph Höss, and Julius Streicher, the infamous editor of the anti-Semitic Der Sturmer.

An engineer in later life, Sonnenfeldt was also a principal developer of color TV and computer technology and a key player in NASA's preparation of the first moon shot.

©2006 Richard W. Sonnenfeldt (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

So much more than expected

This story was so much more than I expected. What a life Mr. Sonnenfeldt had! Very well written and narrated. It left me gob-smacked!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Cookie
  • Anacortes, WA, United States
  • 04-08-12

A Whole Life

The Nuremberg chapter of this man's life was just one of the stories told in this book. It is a very comprehensive story of one Jewish German's experiences in an almost "Forrest Gump", "I was there" scenario. Totally amazing.
Sadly, the narrator gave it a reading that was at once braggaocious and defensive as if a super big chip was on his shoulder. I don't think this is what the author had in mind, as it does not come off this way in the written book.
The endings (that go on and on), become a bit preachy, but all in all this a great story that could have been presented better. Still well worth your credit.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Story is great but the performance grated

I really enjoyed the story. Both from the point of view of the historical information and the personal story of the author. The performance however grated on me....a lot. The reader sounded like he was putting on a false posh accent. The story was really good if you can get past the performance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very VERY little trials

This book is about the man and not so much the trials. I was really hoping to learn about these trials. This is not the book for that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Captivating!

Despite the accurate title, I didn’t realise that this book was not just about Richard Sonnenfeldt’s experiences at the Nuremburg trials, but rather a complete biography of his life. If you picked up this book just to learn more about the trials, stop. It’s not the book for you.

Once I realized the subject matter was more about the man, I found the book extremely interesting! I was completely captivated and even missed my subway stop on the way to work one morning I was so engrossed. What a life!

The narration on the other hand was just terrible. After listening for about 15 minutes and debating whether I should return the book (I am SO glad I didn’t) I realised I had lived this negative narration experience before – I recognized the voice. Sure enough, in 2014 I listened to “Escape from Sobibor” and described the narrator as: Monotone, staccato, no emotion, unvarying in pitch, no intonation and mechanical. It all still applies although I have to admit that I did get used to it.

The Epilogue to me felt like a cautionary tale, especially so because it was written long before anyone dreamt of the current mess that is Trump… it was almost prophetic! I found it all very sobering.

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Disappointing

Is there anything you would change about this book?

More about what went on at the trials and less about the author.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

More about what went on at the trials and less about the author.

How could the performance have been better?

Author brags about his American accent and was read by someone with English accent. Reader came across as arrogant.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • MR
  • 04-01-13

What an amazing life

Firstly, the narrators voice takes some getting used to, but once you do the story is awesome. This man went through so much and had such a positive life in such a negative period of history. He turned everything bad that happened to him to his advantage. There was never a dull moment in this and it was interesting to get a first eye look at life after the war.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-09-17

narration comes over a little grandiose.

this is a really good book but the style of the narration is a bit grandiose and over the top and comes over as a vanity project which it defiantly is not.