The complete recordings of the Nuremberg War Crimes trials are now online for the first time. The International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, the custodian of the original materials, arranged the digitization of its archive, collaborating with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris. There are 775 hours of recordings so this is not for the casual listener.
Edward Rothstein writing in The Wall Street Journal explains that the recordings aren’t easy to listen to in part because the recordings do not translate the German, English, French and Russian spoken at the trial. Even so, Rothstein concludes that:
what is heard, even now, seems remarkable: a rough first draft of judgment, beginning just five months after the war with Germany ended and unfolding over nearly a year as its arbiters strained to fit minimal forms of existing law to maximal forms of moral degradation.
Yesterday, I was walking in the Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, DC. I stumbled across one of the many works of art in Washington’s abandoned police and fire call boxes. The project is called “Art on Call.” I have been making photos of these call boxes as I come across them. They have educated me about the city’s rich history.
This call box explains that three chief justices of the United States Supreme Court lived in Sheridan-Kalorama:
- William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States was appointed Chief Justice by President Harding, after serving as President. Taft is the only person to have served in both of these offices. He lived at 2215 Wyoming Avenue.
- Charles Evans Hughes, a U.S. Secretary of State and an unsuccessful candidate for President in 1916, became Chief Justice in 1930 and resided at 2223 R Street.
- Harlan Fiske Stone, a U.S. Attorney General, occupied 1919 24th Street. during his tenure.
The rendering of the Supreme Court in the call box is the creation of Peter Waddell, a native of New Zealand who came to Washington in 1992 and became a U.S. citizen in 2002. Waddell’s beautiful paintings focus on America’s history and architecture. Waddell’s view of the United States is inspiring.
The Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood also includes a number of diplomatic residences, including the residence of the French ambassador at 2221 Kalorama Road, shown below.
The Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood is worth visiting.
Stacey Kent is an American jazz singer with a glorious voice. She was born in 1965 in New Jersey and is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. Her paternal grandfather was a Russian who grew up in France. He later moved to the United States where he taught Kent French. Once she learned French, it was the only language she spoke with her grandfather. Kent travelled to England after college to study music in London, where she met saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, whom she married in 1991.
I have the impression Kent is better known in France than in the United States. Her album Raconte-moi was recorded in French and became the second best selling French language album worldwide in 2010.
Each time, bafﬂed doctors were not certain they could bring her back. The last coma was in 1999, and Tomlinson nursed her through it. On doctors’ advice, he brought records to her hospital room. When she awoke he was playing Mildred Bailey, one of the great jazz singers of the ’30s. “There’s just so much emotion in that voice,” Kent says. “It’s a cry - even when she’s singing a happy song.”
If you want to travel in France and learn about French history, the Join Us in France podcast is a superb resource.
The podcast, which launched in 2014, was originally co-hosted by Elyse and Annie. They live in France and know it well. Annie was born in France but has lived in the United States. Although Elyse grew up in New York, she knows the language, the culture and the country’s history inside and out. Elyse, the native American, often seems more French than Annie who was born in France. Go figure. Due to time constraints, Elyse is no longer a co-host but still comes on the show as her time permits.
The podcast does a great job of explaining France and its culture to Americans. I especially enjoyed the episodes about driving in France, cheese and Le Marais. I also learned a great deal by listening to recent episode in which Elyse and Annie discuss the best places to see modern and contemporary art in France.
Each episode has show notes that are very helpful in planning a trip. For example, the modern art episode lists 18 museums around France to explore, including many new to me.
There are plenty of other resources to help travelers to France select hotels and restaurants. But this podcast will help you to understand France. Annie also offers self-guided audio walking tours. She’s not offering personal tours during the pandemic but I hope they will return.