Richard Sonnenfeldt was born into a Jewish family and Iived in Germany before and during Nazi times. His new book “Witness to Nuremberg” describes how he left Nazi Germany and was welcomed in England in 1938. But in 1940, when Britain fought to survive, his erstwhile protectors arrested him as a German enemy alien and deported him in a prison ship that was torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat, but made it to Australia. From there he was ordered back to England to be freed, but now his ship was unexpectedly rerouted to Bombay, India where he was dumped on the pier, penniless and without papers. With pluck and luck he managed to get to New York seven months later, in 1941, where the newspapers gave him a great welcome. He was then seventeen and had been solo to all five continents. By 1944 Sonnenfeldt was an American citizen and served in Italy, France, Germany and Austria as a combat soldier in armored reconnaissance. In 1945 he became the Chief Interpreter for the American prosecution at the Nuremberg trials. There, serving the indictments on them, he spoke with all the defendants and interrogated many witnesses, among them the commandant of Auschwitz, Then he returned and went to college and had fifty years in business. In 2002 he was invited to follow the president of Germany as the inaugural speaker at Hitler’s old party headquarters in Nuremberg. He also spoke at Berlin’s principal cathedral, the German Bar Association and at the Nuremberg court room where he had worked. His German book, “Mehr als ein Leben” was an instant bestseller in 2003. Sonnenfeldt was named the Outstanding Alumnus of the Class of 1949 of Johns Hopkins University in 1999 and in 2000 received the university’s Bronk Medal for Outstanding Accomplishment. He was honored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and was elected a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Council on Germany. He was the only American author selected for a reading of his book to thousands at Frankfurt City Hall and hundreds of thousands on radio and TV. He has appeared in over two dozen American and European TV talk shows and documentaries, several radio network broadcasts and he has been featured in the New York Times and other papers. He is the author of two books, three Law Review and several magazine articles and has lectured widely in America. He is an accomplished ocean sailor, having crossed the Atlantic three times, celebrating his 70th and 75th birthday aboard “Peregrine,” his boat.
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