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Post Siegfried Ramler at 90
Created by John Eipper on 10/30/14 3:55 AM

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Siegfried Ramler at 90 (John Heelan, UK, 10/30/14 3:55 am)

Siegfried Ramler is one of the giants of WAIS. We should be proud (and humble) to share membership of this group of worldwide scholars.

There is little that can said better than the article "Nuremberg trials interpreter Siegfried Ramler: ‘The things we saw were shocking,'" published by The Guardian on 22 October 2014. To the question of how a cultural giant like Germany could have become so bestial under the Nazis, Siegfried commented wisely, "I attempt a response, that when you live in a society with no checks on behaviour, no acceptance of any rule of law, no respect for rules of procedure, then those things can happen in any country.' He paused, looked up, around the room and pointed out: 'It's not only a German problem, it's a human problem.'"

Happy birthday Siegfried, it is an honour to be associated with you, however remotely.

JE comments:  It's Siegfried Ramler day on WAIS!  I have asked for congratulatory messages from several WAISers, both from those who know Siegfried well and those (like John Heelan) only through our on-line community.  I hope others will follow with their thoughts and anecdotes about our beloved colleague.

Here is The Guardian article from last week:


I am very honored that two years ago, Siegfried visited Adrian College and was a guest at our home.

Happy Birthday, Sig!  Thank you for inspiring us all.

Siegfried Ramler and John Eipper, Royal Oak, 5 October 2012

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  • Siegfried Ramler at 90 (Istvan Simon, USA 10/30/14 4:23 AM)
    I would like to congratulate Siegfried Ramler on the occasion of his 90th birthday. It has been a privilege for me to know him personally. I have been a friend and admirer ever since we first met at the 2006 WAIS conference. He has written about his remarkable life experiences in the book of memoirs Nuremberg and Beyond. I hope he will continue to enrich our lives with his wisdom for many years to come.

    Happy birthday, Siegfried.

    JE comments: And it's great to hear from our veteran colleague, Istvan Simon. Best to you, Istvan!

    Many in WAISdom already have their copy of Siegfried's unforgettable memoirs, but here's the link for those who still don't. I own two copies, and have given a half-dozen more as gifts.  Scroll down a bit--and while you're at it, why not pick up a title or two from other WAIS authors?


    (Yikes--sticker shock!  Nuremberg and Beyond must be sold out, and the used copies are understandably in high demand.  Perhaps Siegfried can tell us if a second edition is forthcoming.)

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  • Siegfried Ramler at 90 (Robert Gibbs, USA 10/30/14 4:55 AM)
    Of all the people I have had the honor and pleasure to meet at our conferences, Siegfried Ramler will, like Professor Hilton, remain one of the most memorable--a man of breadth, sincerity, and humility. We are fortunate to have him in our circle. He has given us intellect and perhaps more importantly, true wisdom. Like Prof. Hilton, he is an intellectual giant of of age.

    Happy Birthday, Siegfried; may you have many more.

    JE comments: Breadth, sincerity, and humility. And to that I will add courage in the face of Evil. If I had to describe Siegfried in a couple of words, I'll go with the oxymoron: soft-spoken communicator.  Or gentle titan.

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  • Siegfried Ramler at 90 (Mike Bonnie, USA 10/30/14 5:12 AM)
    Siegfried: it's great honor to know you through WAIS, our gatherings and our correspondence on the Forum.

    Your book, Nuremberg and Beyond, is a treasure in my collection. I've used it in classroom instruction and shared parts with family and friends. Your writing is an enduring testament to your courage and skills. May you be blessed with good fortune and health throughout the coming years. Happy 90th!

    JE comments:  And just one year from now, WAISdom will be gathering again, at Stanford U for our Golden Jubilee.  How about a Siegfried Ramler roundtable?  Sig--of course you will be our guest of honor.

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  • Siegfried Ramler at 90 (Bienvenido Macario, USA 10/30/14 2:11 PM)
    A very happy 90th birthday to Siegfried Ramler, one of the pillars of WAIS. Since meeting Siegfried at the 2001 WAIS conference, I always remember him and the Nuremberg trials every time I watch or read any WWII movie or documentary.

    What an amazing life experience he's been through. Beginning with his escape from Austria on the Kindertransport, later enlisting in the US Air Force, then going AWOL and making his way to the Nuremberg trials. How did Siegfried manage that? But the even greater feat was doing a good interpreting job without letting one's emotions interfere. I mean he was just 21-22 years old, I gather.

    Reading the Guardian article John Heelan recommended, I finally came across Jackson's big mistake in prosecuting the case. It seems to me Jackson was trying to prove his case on cross-examination.

    Happy Birthday again to Siegfried Ramler from an admirer and a very proud owner of your book Nuremberg and Beyond.

    JE comments:  Siegfried is a great admirer of Justice Robert H. Jackson, the Chief US Prosecutor at the trials.  How many of you knew that Jackson was the last Supreme Court Justice who didn't graduate from Law School?

    What strikes me as I grow older is just how young Siegfried was when he began interpreting at Nuremberg--the greatest trial of all time.  The proceedings began on 19 November, 1945.  Siegfried had turned 21 barely two weeks earlier.

    Sig wrote in a couple of hours ago, and I'm happy to report he's doing well.  Stay tuned.

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  • Greetings from Siegfried Ramler (Siegfried Ramler, USA 10/30/14 5:59 PM)
    Dear WAISers:

    Thank you for your 90th birthday wishes. Let us celebrate with a nice round number--a milestone with 9 decades. I was in London just two weeks ago, invited for an interview with BBC, and as panelist and speaker noting simultaneous interpretation pioneered at Nuremberg. John's suggestion for one or more roundtables with WAISers is most welcome for a future gathering. Preceding my 10-minute clip at the Today program was a brief interview with a journalist featuring Prime Minister Cameron dealing with other topics.

    As the holiday season approaches, warm wishes to friends near and far!

    JE comments: All your WAIS friends congratulate you and wish you the best, Siegfried.  In Hawaii you still have a good eleven hours of birthday left. Enjoy them to the fullest!

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  • Siegfried Ramler at 90; *Nuremberg and Beyond* (Mary Hilton Huyck, USA 10/31/14 1:21 AM)
    Phil and I have enjoyed reading all the birthday tributes to Siegfried Ramler and recollections concerning his amazing life and experiences. On behalf of my parents and Ronald and Mary Hilton's progeny, I send very best 90th birthday wishes to one of WAIS's leading lights!

    warmly, Mary Hilton Huyck

    JE comments: It's always a pleasure to hear from Mary Hilton Huyck--and I must stress that in Siegfried Ramler's Hawaii, it's still his birthday! For the rest of you, Happy Halloween.

    Yesterday I noted that Siegfried's memoirs Nuremberg and Beyond have been transformed into "unobtanium" on the Internet. Siegfried informed me that he still has several copies available at home, which he will send to WAISers at cost: $30 shipped.  Let me know if you'd like one of the final editio princeps of this fascinating book, and I'll put you in touch with Siegfried. I'm sure that if you ask nicely, he'll even autograph it for you!

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  • Celebrating Siegfried Ramler in Sao Paulo (Joe Listo, Brazil 11/01/14 6:44 AM)

    I wish Siegfried Ramler a wonderful birthday! I have a copy of his book on the Nuremberg Trials on display and am very proud to show it to anyone visiting our home.

    JE comments:  The Ramler Reach extends to every continent!  And remember, WAISers:  if you'd like a copy of Nuremberg and Beyond, send me an e-mail and I'll connect you with Siegfried.  I've already received two orders:  $30 shipped.  That's literally a fraction of the on-line price.

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