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Conversation with Ben Ferencz, World War II Veteran and the Last Surviving Prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials

Hosted By: Sousa Mendes Foundation

Special D-Day program! Benjamin Ferencz was the Chief Prosecutor for the United States in the Einsatzgruppen Case, which the Associated Press called “the biggest murder trial in history.” Twenty-two defendants were charged with murdering over a million people. He was only twenty-seven years old, and it was his first case.

After Ben graduated from Harvard Law School in 1943, he joined an anti-aircraft artillery battalion preparing for the invasion of France. As an enlisted man under General Patton, he fought in most of the major campaigns in Europe. As Nazi atrocities were uncovered, he was transferred to a newly created War Crimes Branch of the Army to gather evidence of Nazi brutality and apprehend the criminals. Ferencz was sent with about fifty researchers to Berlin to scour Nazi offices and archives. In their hands lay overwhelming evidence of Nazi genocide by German doctors, lawyers, judges, generals, industrialists, and others who played leading roles in organizing or perpetrating Nazi brutalities. All twenty-two of the defendants whom Ferencz put on trial were convicted. Thirteen were sentenced to death. The verdict was hailed as a great success for the prosecution. Ferencz’s primary objective had been to establish a legal precedent that would encourage a more humane and secure world in the future.

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Teachers

Dr. Yael Danieli

Dr. Yael Danieli a clinical psychologist, victimologist and pioneer traumatologist, is the founder of the International Center for the Study, Treatment and Prevention of Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma: www.icmglt.org. Founder/Director of the Group Project for Holocaust Survivors and their Children since the mid-1970s and an expert on reparative justice, she has published, consulted, and received awards worldwide, including in South Africa, Rwanda, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Northern Ireland. The Danieli Inventory for Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma allows scientifically valid assessment and comparative international study. She participated in creating all international instruments on behalf on victims’ rights and optimal care. In 2008 she was appointed Advisor on Victims of Terrorism for the office of the UN Secretary-General.
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Jennifer Trahan

Jennifer Trahan is Clinical Professor at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs where she directs the Concentration in International Law and Human Rights and teaches International Law. Her book Existing Legal Limits to Security Council Veto Power in the Face of Atrocity Crimes was published in 2020 by Cambridge University Press. She is on the Use of Force Committee of the International Law Association. She has served as an amicus curiae to the International Criminal Court on the appeal of the situation regarding Afghanistan, and serves on the Council of Advisers on the Application of the Rome Statute to Cyberwarfare.
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Host

Sousa Mendes Foundation

Founded in 2010, the Sousa Mendes Foundation is dedicated to honoring the memory of the Holocaust rescuer Aristides de Sousa Mendes and to educating the world about his good work.
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