Benjamin Ferencz

Current Position: Adjunct Professor of International Law at Pace University and founder of the Pace Peace Center

Brief Bio: Benjamin B. Ferencz, who remains incredibly busy as lecturer, writer and teacher, was born in Transylvania in 1920. His family emigrated to the United States and he grew up in New York City. Upon graduating from Harvard Law School in 1943, he joined the US Army as a private, was assigned to the artillery and served in every campaign from the beaches of Normandy to the final "Battle of the Bulge." As German atrocities were uncovered, he was transferred to General Patton's Headquarters to help set up a war crimes unit. He entered many concentration camps as they were liberated and assembled evidence of the crimes. The scenes of horror that he personally witnessed and documented left an indelible impression. On the day after Christmas, 1945, he was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant of Infantry. He never intended to return to Germany again.

At Nuremberg, the prosecution of Hermann Goering and Nazi cohorts by the International Military Tribunal was drawing to a close. The US decided to conduct a dozen additional trials to demonstrate the full scope of Nazi criminality. General Telford Taylor, a Harvard Law graduate and later Professor at Columbia and Yeshiva Universities, was designated Chief of Counsel. Ferencz was persuaded to return to Nuremberg with Taylor and was given a civilian rank equivalent to a full Colonel. In due course, Taylor appointed him the Chief Prosecutor in what was probably the biggest murder trial in history. 22 mass murderers, including 6 SS General, who commanded extermination units known as "Einsatzgruppen," were convicted of the deliberate slaughter of over a million Jews and other innocent victims. Ferencz was then 27 years old. It was his first case.

Ferencz stayed on in Germany, with the Hungarian bride he had married in New York, to set up massive programs of restitution, compensation and rehabilitation for the survivors of Nazi persecution. In 1957 the Ferencz family, including their four children born in Nuremberg, returned to New York. When the United States confronted the quagmire of the Vietnam War, Ferencz decided to withdraw from private law practice with Telford Taylor to devote himself to seeking a more humane and peaceful world.

Research Interests: For over 60 years, Ben Ferencz has sought to help create a world legal order in which all human beings could live in peace and human dignity regardless of their race or creed. He was an Adjunct Professor at Pace Law School where he established a Peace Center. He is the author of many books and countless articles and has appeared innumerable times on radio and television in various parts of the world. His primary focus has been on the establishment of an international criminal court that could bring to justice the perpetrators of genocide, major war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as "the supreme international crime" -- war-making itself. His two-volumes on DEFINING AGGRESSION and another two on AN INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT are now out of print. His prize-winning LESS THAN SLAVES, published by Harvard in 1979, was recently reissued by the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, to which all rights and royalties were assigned. His NEW LEGAL FOUNDATIONS FOR GLOBAL SURVIVAL offers a comprehensive world peace plan. A paperback edition can be obtained at a nominal price from Citizens for Global Solutions (202- 546 3950). Many of his publications and speeches can be found on his website. They may be used freely by all who seek a more humane world.

Sample Publications:
  • Ferencz, Benjamin B. Defining International Aggression-The Search for World Peace: A Documentary History and Analysis. Oceana Publications, 1975.
  • Ferencz, Benjamin B. An International Criminal Court-A Step Toward World Peace. Oceana Publications, 1980.
  • Ferencz, Benjamin B. Enforcing International Law-A Way to World Peace: A Documentary History and Analysis. Oceana Publications, 1983.
  • Ferencz, Benjamin B. A Common Sense Guide to World Peace. Oceana Publications, 1985.