Skip to main content

Haakon Maurice Chevalier Diary

Identifier: MS-0403

Scope and Contents

Haakon Chevalier's diary is comprised of two hand-written notebooks kept during his time working as a French-English translator at the Nuremberg war crimes trials in 1945 and 1946, and a partial transcript of the notebooks' English-language portions. The diaries begin on the first day of the trial, November 20, 1945, and end on March 17, 1946. His account includes vivid descriptions of trial participants (including facial expressions while testifying, unusual physical features, and personality traits), and personal interpretations of testimony. He mentions challenges to the court's competence, pleas entered by the defendants, Nazi treatment of Jewish peoples in occupied territories, the Anschluss, and myriad other topics, including individual cases against Goering, Ribbentrop, Streicher, and others. Descriptions of day and weekend trips Chevalier took to Paris and Prague during the course of the trial are also included, as well as doodles, notes he wrote to himself, addresses, and scores from card games.


  • 1945-1946


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Biographical Note

Haakon Maurice Chevalier was a translator and professor of French at the University of California-Berkeley. After working as a translator for the French government at the first meeting of the United Nations in 1945, he was asked by the War Department to serve as interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials. He was later responsible (with Leon Dostert) for the introduction of simultaneous interpretation at the United Nations. Chevalier was friends with the atomic physicist Robert Oppenheimer; these relations led to his appearance before the House Subcommittee on Un-American Activities. He later authored a memoir of these events, entitled Oppenheimer: The Story of a Friendship.


0.20 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Arrangement Note

Two notebooks and accompanying transcriptions in portfolio.

Source of Acquisition

Willis Thompson


9999-140 (1982)

Related Materials

Hitler Memorabilia Collection

Haakon Maurice Chevalier Diary
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US