Thanking Peter Less: The Nuremberg Trials Interpreter

A few days ago, we received a note from our friend and colleague Nataly Kelly, co-author of the forthcoming Found in Translation. She had some news about the person who's shaped Judy's interpreting career the most: Peter Less, who was one of the interpreters at the Nuremberg Trials, where he interpreted for the very people who murdered his entire family.

Peter Less. 
It's time for us to tell Peter how much he's meant to us and to the profession. In just a few days, more than 70 colleagues from 20 countries have said thanks to Peter. Read on for details. 

Here's Nataly's note. 

Peter Less has served as an incredible source of inspiration to interpreters and translators, and to the world. As a Holocaust survivor who interpreted at the Nuremberg Trials, he shaped the course of history.

Now, let us all take a moment to thank him.
I had the fortune of meeting Peter last December at his home in Chicago. I have remained in touch, and hope to see him again in early October.

​Peter is 91 years old. With permission from Peter's daughter, I can share that his health has been in decline over the past few months, and he has now entered hospice care. We do not have much time left to tell him how much we care, and how grateful we are for his presence in this world and the legacy he has left behind.

Many suffer in life, but our tribulations are put in perspective when we consider what someone like Peter endured, moving beyond the horrific murders of his entire family at Auschwitz as a very young man, going on to bravely serve in the interest of humanity at the Nuremberg Trials, and later devoting his entire career to helping others.

Having met Peter in person, I can honestly say he is one of the humblest, sweetest, and most gracious people I ever had the fortune to know.I will be assembling an album for Peter containing any letters, words of gratitude, and even a simple "thank you," to deliver to him to show him how much translators and interpreters everywhere appreciate him and his legacy.

Even if all you do is say "thank you" (in whichever languages you wish, which I am sure will delight him) along with your name, that is enough.
But I do ask you to pass this message along to anyone and everyone else who might wish to thank him. 

(To share this e-mail on social media, please use this link, which contains the full text of this message:!peter/chzx)
Because time is of the essence, please submit your words for Peter by no later than Tuesday, September 25th.
For more information about Peter and his incredible story, please read
Lunch with a Legend -- originally published in the ATA Chronicle​ (
And, please watch this interview with Peter, about his experience as a Holocaust survivor, from the Shoah Foundation (
Thank you.

Nataly Kelly


Anabella on September 22, 2012 at 7:36 PM said...

I read the wonderful interview, I was so impressed and touched I read it to other people too.
I already wrote a little note for Mr. Peter Less.
I will start watching the two-hour interview on youtube.

It's easy to get carried away by all the mundane things in our profession, but reading Nataly's interview brings us back to the essence of what we do, and he is such an inspiration

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on September 23, 2012 at 8:09 PM said...

@Anabella: Thanks for reading, and thanks for your wonderful comment. You are absolutely right: it's important to take a step back and look at the essence of our profession. Peter Less certainly embodies it, doesn't he? Thanks for writing a note to him.

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