Remembering Ben Ferencz: A Beacon of Justice and Humanity Passes Away at 103

Remembering Ben Ferencz: A Beacon of Justice and Humanity Passes Away at 103

A tribute to the last surviving Nuremberg Trials prosecutor and champion of human rights

Michelle Rosenberg
Michelle Rosenberg
April 9, 2023

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Benjamin Ferencz, a luminary figure in the Jewish community and a relentless advocate for justice and human rights, at the age of 103. Born on March 11, 1920, in Soncuta-Mare, Romania, Ferencz’s life and career were marked by an unwavering dedication to upholding the rule of law and ensuring accountability for crimes against humanity.

As the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg Trials, Ben Ferencz played a pivotal role in bringing the architects of the Holocaust to justice. Ferencz emigrated to the United States with his family at the tender age of 10 months, where they settled in New York City. Despite facing adversity and poverty, Ferencz’s determination led him to study law at the City College of New York and Harvard Law School.

During World War II, Ferencz enlisted in the US Army and later joined the War Crimes Branch, where he was tasked with investigating atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. His work ultimately led to his appointment as the Chief Prosecutor for the United States in the Einsatzgruppen Case at the Nuremberg Trials. At just 27 years old, Ferencz fought for the conviction of 22 high-ranking Nazi officers responsible for the mass murder of over a million Jews and other minority groups.

Throughout his life, Ferencz continued to be an ardent supporter of human rights and the establishment of an international legal system to address war crimes and genocide. He played an instrumental role in the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and served as an influential voice for justice and peace.

Ben Ferencz’s legacy stretches far beyond his work at the Nuremberg Trials. His tireless efforts to promote peace, justice, and the rule of law have inspired generations of activists, lawyers, and leaders. In a world that still grapples with conflict and injustice, Ferencz’s vision for a more humane and equitable global community remains a beacon of hope.

In addition to his numerous accomplishments on the global stage, Ben Ferencz also held a special place in the hearts of the South Florida Jewish community. He and his wife, Gertrude, moved to Delray Beach, Florida in the 1980s, where they lived together for many years before her passing in 2019.

Ferencz’s presence in South Florida had a profound impact on the local community. He was a regular guest speaker at synagogues, schools, and universities, sharing his wisdom and experiences with audiences of all ages. His passion for justice and human rights resonated deeply with the South Florida Jewish community, inspiring a new generation of activists and advocates.

In 2017, the Holocaust Documentation & Education Center in Dania Beach hosted a special event in honor of Ferencz’s 97th birthday. The center recognized his invaluable contributions to Holocaust education and remembrance, as well as his commitment to promoting peace and justice.

As we mourn the loss of Ben Ferencz, we also celebrate the impact he had on the Jewish community. His presence and unwavering dedication to justice and human rights will be dearly missed, but his legacy will continue to inspire and educate future generations.

May his memory be a blessing, and may his work continue to inspire future generations to uphold the principles of justice and humanity that defined his life. Baruch dayan ha’emet.

Michelle Rosenberg

Michelle Rosenberg

Michelle Rosenberg is a proud holder of a Master's degree in Global Affairs with a concentration in Globalization and Security, as well as a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, both from Florida International University. Michelle's academic pursuits illustrate her commitment to understanding the complex dimensions of international relations and global dynamics. When she's not diving into the intricacies of global affairs, she cherishes time with her three beloved daughters and relishes exploring new places with her family

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