Richard Sonnenfeldt

Current Position: Author and Lecturer

Brief Bio: Richard Sonnenfeldt, a renowned scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur was chief American interpreter at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. As a teenaged German of Jewish heritage, Sonnenfeldt narrowly escaped Nazi tyranny and eventually made his way to the United States. After Dunkirk, in 1940, he was mistakenly interned as a "German Enemy Alien" by his British hosts and was deported to Australia via a 57-day-passage on an infamous prison ship, which was torpedoed by a German U-boat but survived. After he complained about his undeserved incarceration, he was released in Australia and the 17-year old then embarked on a solo odyssey across U-boat infested oceans, ending up in Baltimore in 1941 via India, South Africa and South America. At age 20, as a newly minted American citizen, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and the conquest of Germany as a front line U.S. combat soldier. While serving in the U.S. Army at the end of World War II, Sonnenfeldt was recruited by General William Donovan (head of the Office of Strategic Services in Europe) to go to Nuremberg and a ssist Robert H. Jackson, chief American prosecutor, in the interrogation of the Nazi defendants prior to their trial.

Back in the United States, Mr. Sonnenfeldt graduated cum laude from Johns Hopkins University School of Engineering, and became a principal developer of Color TV and computer technology for the NASA "MoonShots." From 1979-82 he was executive vice president at the National Broadcasting Company (NBC); from 1982 to 1998 he advised CEO's of multinational corporations and served on over a dozen corporate boards. He was simultaneously CEO of NAPP Systems, Inc. the world's leading producer of newspaper printing plates from 1986 to 1990. Mr. Sonnenfeldt's recent autobiography "Mehr als ein Leben" (More than One Life), became an instant bestseller in Germany and he was the only American honored with a public reading at the 2003 Frankfurt Book Fair. He is currently writing an essay that relates his Nuremberg experiences to the forthcoming trial of Saddam Hussein.

Sample Publications:
  • Sonnenfeldt, Richard. "Mehr als ein Leben" (More than One Life). Scherz Verlag, München, 2003.