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Former Nuremberg War Crimes Trials prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz was interviewed by the Oral History Project in November 2014. Ferencz then spoke to a packed crowd of students, faculty and guests. View a video of his talk here. 

More about the event here.

Visit Mr. Ferencz's website.

Benjamin B. Ferencz


Chief Prosecutor of the Nuremberg Einsatzgruppen case, 1947-48, and advocate for international peace and justice

An interview with Benjamin B. Ferencz, conducted on 7 November 2014 in Waltham, Massachusetts by David P. Briand and Leigh Swigart.

Access the full transcript of the interview here.

Go to the Brandeis Institutional Repository to conduct a keyword search across the entire Ad Hoc Tribunals Oral History collection.

Please use the following citation format: Oral History Interview with Benjamin B. Ferencz (2015), Ad Hoc Tribunals Oral History Project, pages XX, International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.

Interview content

Mr. Ferencz reminisces about Nazi war crimes research and evidence collection for the U.S. Army; the Einsatzgruppen trial; the Battle of Mogadishu/Black Hawk down in Somalia and the resulting U.S. reluctance to intervene early in the Balkan Wars; the early stages of negotiations for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at the United Nations; the international community’s failure to act to prevent violence in Rwanda. He discusses the campaign to have aggression recognized as a punishable crime under international criminal law; the rebranding of the crime of aggression as a crime against humanity; the necessity of permanent mechanisms to adjudicate international criminal law; the problem of the glorification of war-making; the Yugoslavia and Rwanda tribunals and International Criminal Court [ICC] as progress toward the rule of law; the role of the religious community in preventing acts of aggression.

Biographical information

Benjamin B. Ferencz, the son of Hungarian Jews who fled Europe in the 1920’s, studied law at Harvard University and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. At the age of 27, he was appointed Chief Prosecutor of the Einsatzgruppen case, one of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials conducted in 1947-48. All 22 defendants, charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and membership in organizations declared criminal by the International Military Tribunal, were found guilty and executed. Throughout his life, Mr. Ferencz has been a tireless advocate for international peace and justice. He has been a vocal supporter of the International Criminal Court and more recently a campaigner for the criminalization of  the crime of aggression under international law.