index.php Whittaker Chambers: Translations (Bambi): Witness, Anti-Communist, Spy, Communist, Editor, Journalist, Intellectual, Writer, Poet, Hiss Case
photo detail of Whittaker Chambers at TIME Magazine in the 1940s, by Alfred Eisenstadt Bambi, illustrated by Kurt Wiese


1928: Bambi by Felix Salten (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1928) - from German

1928: Mother Mary by Heinrich Mann (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1928) - from German

1928: Aphrodite by Pierre Louÿs (New York: ???, 1928) - from French

1929: Class Reunion by Franz Werfel (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1929) - from German

1930: The Sentimental Vagabond by Albert t'Serstevens (New York: New York, Farrar & Rinehart, 1930) - from French (Le Vagabond sentimental)

1930: The Passionate Rebel: The Life of Lord Byron by Kasimir Edschmid (New York: A. & C. Boni, 1930) - from German

1930: Fifteen Rabbits by Felix Salten (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1930) - from German

1930: Thistles of the Barragon by Panait Istrati - from French (Les Chardons du Baragan - Rumanian title Ciulinii Bărăganului)

1930: Adventures of Mario by Waldemar Bonsels (New York: A. & C. Boni, 1930) - from German

1930: Mugel the Giant by Paul Gartner (New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1930) - from German (Der Riese Mugel)

1931: Cards and Kings by Johannes Tralow (New York: Ray Long and R. R. Smith, 1931) - from German (König Neuhoff)

1931: The Venetian Lover: The Romance of Giorgione by A. De Nora [Anton Alfred Noder] (New York: Ray Long and R. R. Smith, 1931) - from German (Giorgione: Roman)

1931: Samson and Delilah: A Novel by Felix Salten (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1931) - from German

1932: Collected Works by Pierre Louÿs (New York: Liveright, circa 1932 ) - from French

1932: The Scorpion by Anna Elisabet Weirauch (New York: Greenberg, 1932) - from German (Der Skorpion)

1932: The City Jungle by Felix Salten (New York: A. & C. Boni, 1932) - from German

1938: Dunant: The Story of the Red Cross by Martin Gumpert (New York: Oxford University Press, 1938) - from German (Dunant: Der Roman des Roten Kreuzes)

1940: The Great Crusade by Gustav Regler, with a preface by Ernest Hemingay (New York, Toronto: Longmans, Green & Co., 1940) - from German


Among other things, Whittaker Chambers was a highly gifted linguist. He spoke more than a dozen languages, starting with native English, French from his mother, and German from a tutor. His personal library includes most Indo-European languages:
My mother had urged me to study Gaelic, the language of our forebears... I began to study Arabic, Persian, Hindustani, and the Assyrian of the cuneiform inscriptions... I presently picked up a rough smattering of the dialect [Rumanian Gypsy]... - Witness, p. 145
At the time of his death in 1961, he was studying Chinese, Latin, and Italian formally at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College).

This gift for languages allowed him to pass himsellf off as a European in front of many people, including his spy apparatuses in Washington.

It also allowed him to earn money in moments of extreme poverty, namely 1928-1932 when he was at the fringes of the Communist Party and 1938-1939 when he defected from the Soviet espionage underground. Most if not all of the translation work came through his Columbia College classmate, Clifton Fadiman.

Comments, ideas, questions? Email: info [at] whittakerchambers [dot] org
Please support this site by making your purchases at Store at