Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz
By Dan Clendenin
After he had helped to liberate the Nazi death camps, in 1946 Ben Ferencz was only twenty-seven when became the chief prosecutor in the trial at Nuremberg against the Nazi death squads called the Einsatzgruppen. It’s been called “the biggest murder trial in history.” He called the case “crimes against humanity.” Before then, Ferencz had never tried a case, but he was a man of unusual passion, brilliance, and sense of justice. In this remarkable documentary film, Ferencz is ninety-eight as he looks back on his improbable life and the role he played in what became international human rights. In his powerfully poetic opening statement, he argued that “the case we present is a plea of humanity to law.” All 22 Nazi officials tried for murdering over a million people were convicted, and sentenced to death by hanging. After Nuremberg, Ferencz advocated for restitution for Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and later for the establishment of the International Criminal Court (which the United States has refused to join). For the most part, Ferencz narrates his own story, which is supplemented by black and white archival footage of the trial, reflections from his colleagues, and in particular his son. His lifelong mantra has been “law not war.” Why? Because “war will make mass murders out of otherwise normal people.” I watched this film on Netflix.
Dan Clendenin: firstname.lastname@example.org
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