Ben Ferencz, the final dwelling prosecutor on the Nuremberg trials to prosecute Nazis for genocidal warfare crimes — and one of many first outdoors witnesses to doc the atrocities of Nazi labor and focus camps — has died, his son confirmed to CBS Information. He had simply turned 103 in March.
Ferencz’s son, Don Ferencz, advised CBS Information that his father died peacefully in Boynton Seashore, Fla. on Friday. He lived in an assisted dwelling facility, his son stated.
When requested for a household assertion, he stated his father might be summed up with the phrases “legislation, not warfare” and “by no means surrender”.
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The loss of life was additionally confirmed by the US Holocaust Museum in Washington.
“Immediately the world has misplaced a pacesetter in in search of justice for victims of genocide and associated crimes,” the museum tweeted.
Immediately the world has misplaced a pacesetter in in search of justice for the victims of genocide and associated crimes. We mourn Ben Ferencz – the final Nuremberg prosecutor for warfare crimes. On the age of 27, he obtained convictions towards 22 Nazis with none earlier trial expertise.
– US Holocaust Museum (@HolocaustMuseum) April 8, 2023
On the age of 27, with no earlier trial expertise, Ferencz turned chief prosecutor in a 1947 case wherein 22 former Nazi commanders had been charged with the homicide of over 1 million Jews, Gypsies and different enemies of the Third Reich in Jap Europe.
As a substitute of counting on witnesses, Ferencz relied primarily on official German paperwork to make his case. The entire accused had been convicted, greater than a dozen sentenced to loss of life by hanging, though Ferencz had not sought the loss of life penalty.
“I’m going to let you know one thing very profound that I’ve realized after a few years,” Ferencz stated in a 2017 interview with 60 Minutes. “Conflict turns in any other case first rate folks into murderers. All wars and all first rate folks.”
Benjamin Berell Ferencz, US Military Chief Prosecutor throughout the Nuremberg Trials on the finish of World Conflict II, takes half in Andre Singer’s 2014 documentary Night time Will Fall. Getty Photographs
Born in Transylvania in 1920, Ferencz emigrated to New York together with his mother and father as a really younger boy to flee rampant anti-Semitism. After graduating from Harvard Legislation College, Ferencz enlisted within the US Military in time to participate within the Normandy invasion throughout World Conflict II. Due to his authorized background, he turned a Nazi warfare crimes investigator towards US troopers as a part of a brand new Conflict Crimes Unit of the Decide Advocate’s Workplace.
When US intelligence studies described how troopers in Nazi camps guarded by SS guards encountered massive teams of ravenous folks, Ferencz adopted with visits, first to the Ohrdruf labor camp in Germany after which to the infamous Buchenwald focus camp. In these camps, and later in others, he discovered corpses “piled up like wooden” and “helpless skeletons with diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and different illnesses, choking of their lice-ridden bunks or on the ground with solely their pathetic eyes for assist.” pleading,” Ferencz wrote in an account of his life.
“The Buchenwald focus camp was an ossuary of unspeakable horror,” Ferencz wrote. “There is no such thing as a doubt that I used to be indelibly traumatized by my experiences as a warfare crimes investigator in Nazi loss of life facilities. I’m nonetheless making an attempt to not discuss or take into consideration the main points.”
Someday in direction of the tip of the warfare, Ferencz was despatched to Adolf Hitler’s mountain retreat within the Bavarian Alps to seek for incriminating paperwork, however returned empty-handed.
After the warfare, Ferencz was honorably discharged from the US Military and returned to New York to follow legislation. However that was short-lived. Due to his expertise as a warfare crimes investigator, he was recruited to assist prosecute Nazi warfare criminals on the Nuremberg Trials, which started beneath the path of US Supreme Courtroom Justice Robert Jackson. Earlier than leaving for Germany, he married his childhood sweetheart, Gertrude.
Because the warfare crimes trials drew to a detailed, Ferencz labored for a consortium of Jewish charity teams to assist Holocaust survivors recuperate property, properties, outlets, art work, Torah scrolls, and different Jewish spiritual gadgets confiscated from them by the Nazis. Later he additionally helped with negotiations that had been presupposed to result in compensation for the victims of Nationwide Socialism.
In later a long time, Ferencz advocated the creation of a world court docket that would prosecute any authorities chief for warfare crimes. These goals had been realized in 2002 with the institution of the Worldwide Prison Courtroom in The Hague, though its effectiveness has been restricted by the failure of nations like america to take part.
“I’m nonetheless preventing,” Ferencz stated in his 2017 interview with 60 Minutes. “And are you aware what drives me? I do know I’m proper.”