With the demise of many of those who were in military service during World War II, the Highland Park Historical Society has been encouraging area residents who took part in that cataclysmic conflict to speak out about their experiences. While Jeff Stern was too young to have served during the war, in a talk hosted by the Historical Society at the Highland Park Public Library, he tells about his encounter with a man who translated the dictates of the war’s most infamous instigator when he talked to foreign leaders.
Jeff Stern, who has lived in Highland Park for just half of his 72 years, was on his way to Vienna in 1964 for a stint as a foreign correspondent when he accidentally encountered Dr. Paul Schmidt on the train he was riding from Paris. From conversations on the train and during an interview with Schmidt the following year in Munich, Stern received a personal account of experiences at the epicenter of the Nazi regime from the former German Foreign Office official who served as Hitler’s interpreter. This is Stern’s first public presentation of this story.