- May 21, 1986
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Biographical / Historical
Kurt Steiner (June 10, 1912 – October 20, 2003) was an author, scholar, lawyer, and professor born in Vienna, Austria. He received his law degree from the University of Vienna in 1935 before leaving Austria in 1938 to escape Nazi rule. He immigrated to the United States, arriving and living in Brooklyn, New York before moving to Cleveland, Ohio where he began working as an instructor at Berlitz language school. He would go on to head the language school in Cleveland and Pittsburgh until 1944, when he joined the Army. With the Army, he learned Japanese while attending the U.S. Military Intelligence School before arriving in Japan to work for the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section. In 1946, Steiner joined the International Prosecution Section for the Military Tribunals for the Far East, becoming the chief of documentary evidence. From 1947-49, he served as a prosecution lawyer for the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Steiner also served as the Chief of Civil Affairs and Civil Liberties, where he helped draft Japan’s postwar constitution. He remained in Japan until 1951, going on to earn his doctorate degree in political science from Stanford University in 1955, the same year he joined the faculty. He remained at Stanford until his retirement in 1977. In 2003, Kurt Steiner passed away at the age of 91 years old.