What the Last Nuremberg Prosecutor Alive Wants the World to Know
It is not often you get the chance to meet a man who holds a place in history like Ben Ferencz. He’s 97 years old, barely 5 feet tall, and he served as prosecutor of what’s been called the biggest murder trial ever. The courtroom was Nuremberg; the crime, genocide; the defendants, a group of German SS officers accused of committing the largest number of Nazi killings outside the concentration camps — more than a million men, women, and children shot down in their own towns and villages in cold blood.
Ferencz is the last Nuremberg prosecutor alive today. But he isn’t content just to be part of 20th century history — he believes he has something important to offer the world right now.
“War makes murderers out of otherwise decent people. All wars, and all decent people.”
Benjamin Ferencz: I don’t think I’m an idealist. I’m a realist. And I see the progress. The progress has been remarkable. Look at the emancipation of woman in my lifetime. You’re sitting here as a female. Look what’s happened to the same-sex marriages. To tell somebody a man can become a woman, a woman can become a man, and a man can marry a man, they would have said, “You’re crazy.” But it’s a reality today. So the world is changing. And you shouldn’t— you know— be despairing because it’s never happened before. Nothing new ever happened before.