Lessons from Nuremberg
Perhaps more than any other presidential candidate running, Dodd has values steeped in and shaped by history. He's the fifth of six children born to Grace Murphy Dodd, a teacher, and Thomas Dodd, a federal prosecutor who took on the Ku Klux Klan in the 1930s. The elder Mr. Dodd then rose to become a chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials in the 1940s, as well as a US senator known as an early and vocal champion of the oppressed in the former Soviet Union.
When Christopher was just 14 months old, his father left for what was to be a two-week assignment doing the initial interrogations of the 21 Nuremberg defendants. They included Hermann Goering, who was second in command of the Third Reich; Wilhelm Keitel, Adolf Hitler's chief of staff; and Rudolf Hess, Hitler's first deputy of the Nazi Party.
Thomas Dodd's skill as an interrogator of what he called "the Nazi big boys" and his adept legal mind were quickly recognized by America's No. 1 Nuremberg prosecutor, Justice Robert Jackson. As a result, those two weeks stretched to 15 months, and the senior Dodd soon became Justice Jackson's right-hand man.
When Dodd Sr. rose for the first time to address the international court, "He charged the Nazis, among many other heinous crimes, with 'the apprehension of victims and their confinement without trial, often without charges, generally with no indication of the length of their detention,' " Dodd writes in "Letters From Nuremberg," a collection of his father's letters to his mother during the post-World War II trial.
When the trial ended, President Truman awarded the older Dodd the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. Christopher, meanwhile, at home in Lebanon, Conn., was just learning to walk.