Obits in Brief

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The Independent Online

Jacques Chessex

Jacques Chessex, who died on 9 October aged 75, was one of French-speaking Switzerland's leading novelists and the first foreigner to receive France's prestigious Prix Goncourt literary prize.

Chessex, who collapsed while taking part in a public discussion about a play adapted from one of his novels,was among French-speaking Switzerland's leading writers and was honoured in 1973 with the Prix Goncourt for his novel L'ogre ["The Ogre"], a largely autobiographical account of a difficult father-son relationship.

The novelist sparked debate this year with his last book, A Jew Must Die, which recounted the killing in 1942 of a Jewish cattle trader, Arthur Bloch, in Chessex's hometown of Payerne. It was not warmly received by locals.

Chessex (pictured above) was born on 1 March 1934, the son of a high school director whose suicide in 1956 caused deep trauma for the budding writer. He had already become known locally with his collection Poems as an 18-year-old, but broke through as a prose writer with a series of books in his 30s that made him popular in the Francophone world.

Richard W. Sonnenfeldt

Richard W. Sonnenfeldt, who died on 9 October aged 86, was the chief interpreter for American prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials. A German-born Jew, Sonnenfeldt was a US Army private who helped liberate Dachau and was selected as interpreter because of his linguistic skills. He recounted his role in his memoir Witness to Nuremberg.

Sonnenfeldt later graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in electrical engineering and went to work for RCA, where he helped develop colour television.

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