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TITLE: War's End: Eyewitness to History, Part 1
SPEAKER: Benjamin Ferencz, and others
EVENT DATE: 2005/05/26
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Benjamin Ferencz, an Army officer who served as prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, delivered the keynote address for the symposium, which commemorated the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Tom Wiener, historian for the Veterans History Project and compiler of the recently published book "Voices of War," moderated the first panel of eyewitnesses to events at the end of the war. Panelists were Art Buchwald, John Dolibois, Yeiichi "Kelly" Kuwayama, and John Glusman.
Speaker Biography: Benjamin B. Ferencz was born in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania in 1920. When he was ten months old his family moved to America.
After he 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 every campaign 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. On the day after Christmas 1945, Ferencz was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army with the rank of Sergeant of Infantry. He returned to New York and prepared to practice law. Shortly thereafter, he was recruited for the Nuremberg war crimes trials. Ferencz became Chief Prosecutor for the United States in what the Associated Press called "the biggest murder trial in history." He was only 27 years old, and it was his first case.
In 1970, Ferencz decided that he would gradually withdraw from the private practice of law and would dedicate himself to studying and writing about world peace. His book "Defining International Aggression-The Search for World Peace" was published in 1975. He wrote another two-volume documentary history, "An International Criminal Court-A Step Toward World Peace," which was published in 1980.
While still at Harvard, he had studied jurisprudence with Professor Roscoe Pound, one of the most learned jurists in the world. The results of his research were recorded in another two-volume book, "Enforcing International Law-A Way to World Peace," which was published in 1983. In order to spread the word to a larger audience, he condensed the gist of his thinking into a small, inexpensive paperback, "A Common Sense Guide to World Peace." In 1988 Ferencz wrote "PlanetHood" with Ken Keyes Jr. Ferencz has also been active at Preparatory Commission sessions for the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He lives with his wife, Gertrude, in New Rochelle, NY. He is Adjunct Professor of International Law at Pace University and founder of the Pace Peace Center. He continues to write and speak worldwide for international law and global peace.