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Blue Plaque for chief interpreter at Nuremberg Trial's home in Mere

September 20, 2019 2:20 PM

Salisbury Civic Society recently confirmed that former resident of Mere, Wolfe Frank, chief translator at the Nuremberg trials is to be honoured with a blue plaque and his later role as The Undercover Nazi Hunter will be highlighted at next month's Mere Literary Festival (7th- 13th October 2019).

The Nuremberg Trials were the military tribunals that the major Allies, Britain, USA, Russia and France organised 
after the Second World War to prosecute leaders of Nazi Germany who had planned and carried out the Holocaust and other war crimes.

Wolfe Frank was the chief translator from German to English at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals that ran for 10 months from November 1945. After hearing nine months of evidence the judges spent a month or so writing their judgments which arrived for the translators on the morning of September 30, 1946.

Frank writes: "I knew who, amongst the defendants, had been found guilty and on which counts. I did not know, nor did anybody else except the judges, what the sentences were going to be. "Nor did I know who would be interpreting them into German. Was it going to be hanging, the guillotine, shooting, prison or banishment? No one knew.'' When Lord Lawrence pronounced the sentences, Göring was the first man to learn his punishment through me."

Frank delivered the same translation of death to Joachim von Ribbentrop and the other Nazi leaders who were sentenced to capital punishment. All but one were hanged on October 16, 1946. Göring escaped the hangman's noose by taking his own life with a poison capsule in his cell at the supposedly suicide-proof Nuremberg prison.

The plaque will be fixed to Wolfe's former home, The Malt House in Castle Street, Mere. It is hoped the unveiling ceremony will take place on the 20 November 2020 which will be the 75th anniversary of the start of both the Nuremberg Trials and the introduction of simultaneous interpretation. Now routinely used all over the world, especially at institutions such as the UN and the EU, the pioneering and revolutionary technique of simultaneous translation Wolfe Frank launched that day was not only a triumph beyond all expectations but it shortened proceedings at 'History's Greatest Trial' by over three years. His autobiography was entitled 'Nuremberg's Voice Of Doom: The Autobiography Of The Chief Interpreter At History's Greatest Trials by Frank Wolfe. I know from experience of languages that In an age of technology, the art of simultaneous translation cannot be overstated, as the interpreter translates into the target language as quickly as possible while the speaker is still speaking in the first language says Ellen Nicholson.



Wolfe Frank