As the main interpreter for Adolf Hitler during key pre-war moments such as the Munich Agreement, the British declaration of war and surrender of France, Paul-Otto Schmidt was well placed to record his impressions of events from 1935 up to 1945. He was an interpreter working in the German foreign ministry where he served from 1923 to 1945, and being fluent in English and French, he gained respect and was Hitler’s usual first choice for important meetings. During the war years, he served as Hitler’s interpreter during meetings with Marshal Philippe Pétain and Ion Antonescu among others.
After the 1942 ‘Dieppe Raid’ resulted in thousands of Canadian soldiers captured, Schmidt was in charge of their interrogations. Hitler’s Interpreter is helpful in gaining an insight into the minutiae of Third Reich thinking and planning – as much as planning went beyond Hitler’s will. One classic nugget is from the early morning of 3 September 1939 when Britain issued its ultimatum to Germany, for it was Schmidt who had to hand the translation to Hitler. ‘After an interval which seemed an age, he turned to Ribbentrop who had remained standing by the window. ‘What now?’ asked Hitler with a savage look, as though implying that his foreign minister had misled him about England’s probable reaction.’
|FORMAT||234 x 156 mm|
|PUBLICATION DATE||15 April 2016|
|ILLUSTRATIONS||151 black-and-white photographs|
Paul-Otto Schmidt was an interpreter working in the German foreign ministry where he served from 1923 to 1945. Arrested in May 1945, Schmidt was freed by the Americans in 1948. In 1946, he testified at the Nuremberg Trials where conversations with him were noted down by psychiatrist Leon Goldensohn and later published. In 1947, he testified for the prosecution against the directors of I. G. Farben. He later taught at the Sprachen and Dolmetscher Institute in Munich, and retired in 1967.
Alan John Sutton (born August 1949) is an English publisher who founded Tempus Publishing, Alan Sutton Publishing, Amberley Publishing, and Fonthill Media.