Art of Aging: Nuremberg Trials

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A local man played a very important role 70-years-ago during the Nuremberg Trials.

A local man played a very important role 70-years-ago during the Nuremberg Trials.

George Sakheim was just 22-years-old when he witnessed the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, and he says it left a permanent mark.

"It was horrible. We had never seen anything like it. The Jewish people in the camp came to us with their hands out stretched, pleading for food and water. And, they were absolutely pathetic, tragic looking, and some cried, he said"

Sakheim had fled Germany 12 years earlier. But, because he was fluent in the language, he volunteered to translate at the trials.

"When the trials started, I was absolutely delighted. I thought they were going to get what they deserved," said Sakheim."

While many of the Nazis were executed for their crimes, Sakheim says being in the presence of such evil was hard to erase. His diary from 1945 serves as a painful reminder.

He said, "I have several pages on Gohring, a lot of pages on Hess, because his descriptions were so incredible. This is Hitler telling Hess, "If we do not exterminate the Jewish race completely and totally, the Jewish race will destroy the German people. When you're dealing with people like that, that do things like that, who are so ruthless, so brutal, and so indifferent to human suffering. There are times when you have to stand up and fight."

Sakheim now lives at Foulkeways in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania.

He traveled back to Nuremberg in November for the 70th anniversary of the trials and hopes that the memory of that evil will prevent future atrocities.

You can find more interesting senior stories in our Art of Aging section.
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