Durham County

He’s the last living prosecutor of the Nazis at Nuremberg. Now he’s coming to Duke.

Ben Ferencz will speak at Duke’s Fleishman Commons at the Sanford School of Public Policy on Jan 31 (6-7 p.m.).
Ben Ferencz will speak at Duke’s Fleishman Commons at the Sanford School of Public Policy on Jan 31 (6-7 p.m.). Duke University/Wikimedia

Duke University is hosting the last living prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials for a talk at the end of the month.

Ben Ferencz, a Hungarian-born American attorney, 97, will speak at Duke’s Fleishman Commons at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy on Jan 31 (6-7 p.m.), according to a news release.

Ferencz is the lone surviving prosecutor from the trials, which followed World War II and addressed atrocities committed by Nazi Germany.

“The Duke Center for Jewish Studies is honored to host Ben Ferencz,” said Duke religion professor Laura Lieber. “As the last living prosecutor from the Nuremberg Trials, he brings unique depth and nuance to vitally important, ongoing dialogues concerning international justice work and human rights.”

Ferencz was an investigator of Nazi war crimes after World War II and the chief prosecutor for the United States Army at the Einsatzgruppen Trial, one of the 12 military trials held by the U.S. authorities at Nuremberg, Germany. Einsatzgruppen is roughly translated as “special task forces” and which were formed just before Germany’s invasion of Russian in 1941, at the direction of SS leader Heinrich Himmler and organized by fellow Nazi Reinhardt Heydrich.

The case alleged that the Einsatzgruppen were formed to exterminate Jews, gypsies, communists and civilians regarded as “racially” inferior or “politically undesirable.”

Later, Ferencz became an advocate of the establishment of an international rule of law and of an International Criminal Court (ICC).

Donald Ferencz founded the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression and a co-organizer of the worldwide campaign to ratify the 2010 Kampala amendments to the ICC Statute.

Ferencz is expected to talk about the impact of the trials on international jurisprudence and contemporary human atrocities. The discussion will also include his son, Don Ferencz, an international human rights lawyer, and Duke alumnus Michael Scharf, dean of Case Western Law School.

The talk is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Sanford School lot.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews

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