Haakon Chevalier's diary is comprised of two hand-written notebooks kept during his time working as a French-English translator
at the Nuremberg war crimes trials in 1945 and 1946, and a partial transcript of the notebooks' English-language portions.
The diaries begin on the first day of the trial, November 20, 1945, and end on March 17, 1946. His account includes vivid
descriptions of trial participants (including facial expressions while testifying, unusual physical features, and personality
traits), and personal interpretations of testimony. He mentions challenges to the court's competence, pleas entered by the
defendants, Nazi treatment of Jewish peoples in occupied territories, the Anschluss, and myriad other topics, including individual
cases against Goering, Ribbentrop, Streicher, and others. Descriptions of day and weekend trips Chevalier took to Paris and
Prague during the course of the trial are also included, as well as doodles, notes he wrote to himself, addresses, and scores
from card games.
Haakon Maurice Chevalier was a translator and professor of French at the University of California-Berkeley. After working
as a translator for the French government at the first meeting of the United Nations in 1945, he was asked by the War Department
to serve as interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials. He was later responsible (with Leon Dostert) for the introduction of simultaneous
interpretation at the United Nations. Chevalier was friends with the atomic physicist Robert Oppenheimer; these relations
led to his appearance before the House Subcommittee on Un-American Activities. He later authored a memoir of these events,
entitled Oppenheimer: The Story of a Friendship.
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