Ben Ferencz


If you ever doubt the importance of knowing your history, read this story…

Ben Ferencz was a 27-year-old lawyer when he was sent to Nuremberg, Germany to prosecute WWII war criminals. In all, 13 trials led by an international body of lawyers and judges between 1945 and 1949, he brought to justice Nazi Party officials, military officers, German industrialists, lawyers, and doctors, while exposing unspeakable acts of injustice committed against other human beings. (Adolf Hitler wasn’t among them, for he killed himself in Berlin before the war was over.)

Ben’s trial alone found 22 Nazi officials guilty of killing more than 1 million people.

The Nuremberg trials marked two historic legal milestones: 1) the establishment of a permanent international court; and 2) the official defining of “acts of genocide” and other "crimes against humanity.”

Ben is now 99, the last surviving member of the Nuremberg prosecution team and he has a new nemesis, one he condemns for crimes against humanity: Donald Trump.

Powerful stuff coming from one of the people who defined the term.

Trump and his administration have now taken thousands of children from their parents on the US-Mexico border. The families are fleeing drug-related gang violence and poverty in their home countries and have a legal right to seek asylum in the US. But US law requires that asylum seekers enter the country—which can only be done illegally—before applying for protected status. Under Trump, border patrols are charging asylum seekers as criminals, and taking their children taken away.

Untold numbers of traumatized kids are now captive in detention centers, some secret, forced to survive in unsanitary and abusive conditions. This includes infants. Among the crimes against humanity recognized by the International Criminal Court are ‘other inhumane acts designed to cause great suffering.’ Ferencz asks, “What could cause more great suffering than what [Trump] did in the name of immigration law?”

Mr Ferencz is himself an immigrant, having come to the US from Romania when he was just a child. Referencing the Statue of Liberty, he states that her lamp went out when Trump decided no more immigrants were allowed. takes courage not to be discouraged.
— Ben Ferencz

Who's your #HistoryHero?

Who do you know creating new paradigms? Nominate him or her for the History Hero BLAST today!