In Memoriam: Benjamin Ferencz
The world has lost a tireless champion in the cause of human rights and peace: Benjamin Ferencz ’43. A decorated World War II veteran whose Jewish family had emigrated from Transylvania to the USA, Ferencz first gained international recognition when, at age 27, he was appointed as Chief Prosecutor in the Einsatzgruppen case of the Nuremburg trials against leading Nazi war criminals. Ferencz subsequently became one of the world’s foremost advocates for the establishment of an international criminal court, which finally came to fruition in 2002, and thereafter continued to press for accountability for the crime of aggression.
Humorous, brilliant, and a man of deep integrity, Ferencz was principled in his fight to hold all nations accountable for their violations of peace – including those of his home country, the United States. His publications include New Legal Foundations for Global Survival: Security Through the Security Council (1994), Less Than Slaves: Jewish Forced Labor and the Quest for Compensation (1979), and An International Criminal Court: A Step Toward World Peace (1980). Ferencz had last joined HRP for an event titled “Law Not War” in 2014, when he was awarded the Harvard Law School Medal of Freedom.