Ben Ferenz, the last living prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials, tried it. Nazis for genocide war crimes And he was one of the first foreign witnesses to document the brutality of the Nazi labor and concentration camps, he died. He was 103 years old in March.
John Barrett, a law professor at St. John’s University who blogs about the Nuremberg trials, said Ferenc died Friday evening in Boonton Beach, Florida. His death was confirmed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
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In the year Born in Transylvania in 1920, Ferenc moved to New York with his parents as a child to escape anti-Semitism. After graduating from Harvard Law School He joined the American army In time to participate in the invasion of Normandy during the Second World War. He used his legal background to become a Nazi war crimes investigator.
Ferenc visited first the Ohrdruf labor camp in Germany and then the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp, as US intelligence reports revealed that soldiers encountered scores of starving people in Nazi camps guarded by SS guards. In those camps and later he saw bodies “piled up like cordwood” and “helpless skeletons with dysentery, dysentery, typhus, tuberculosis, pneumonia and other ailments riding on top of them or on the ground with sad eyes.” begging for help,” Ferenc wrote in his autobiography.
“The Buchenwald concentration camp was a house of indescribable horror,” wrote Frenge. “There is no doubt that I am irreparably hurt My experiences as a war crime investigator Nazi extermination centers. I still try not to talk or think about the details.
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Near the end of the war, Franz was sent to Adolf Hitler’s mountain retreat in the Bavarian Alps to search for incriminating documents, but returned empty-handed.
After the war, Fernage was honorably discharged from the US Army and returned to New York to practice law. But that was short. With his experience as a war crimes investigator, he was hired to help prosecute Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg Trials. Under the leadership of the US Supreme Court Judge Robert Jackson. Before moving to Germany, he married his childhood sweetheart, Gertrude.
At the age of 27, Ferenc became the chief prosecutor in the 1947 trial in which 22 former commanders were accused of killing more than 1 million Jews, Romani and other enemies of the Third Reich in Eastern Europe. Rather than relying on witnesses, Ferenc relied mostly on official German documents to make his case. All the accused were charged and more than ten of the prisoners were sentenced to be hanged even though they did not ask for the death penalty.
“In early April 1948, when the long legal sentence was read, I felt vindicated,” he wrote. “Our plea to protect humanity under the rule of law was accepted.”
As war crimes trials waned, Ferenc went to work with Jewish charities to help Holocaust survivors recover property, homes, businesses, artwork, Torah scrolls and other Jewish religious items confiscated by the Nazis. . He also later helped negotiate compensation for Nazi victims.
In later decades, Ferenc advocated the creation of an international court that could prosecute. Any government leaders for war crimes. Those dreams came true in 2010. Since the International Criminal Court was established in The Hague in 2002, it has been implemented, although its effectiveness has been limited by the lack of participation by countries such as the United States.
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Ferenj is survived by a son and three daughters. His wife died in 2019.