Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ben Ferencz


At 97 years of age Ben Ferenez is the last Nuremberg prosecutor who is still alive.  He was the son of a poor Jewish family from Romania, who immigrated to America as a baby.

He became a Nuremberg prosecutor at 27 years of age after serving in the Army during World War II.  He was part of the legal team that prosecuted Nazi officers who committed genocide 70 years ago.  The very first trial of Ferencz’s career was about Nazi SS officers who slaughtered more than 1,000,000 people.  He spent every day in the court room with 22 guards who were later convicted of committing the largest number of Nazi murders outside of concentration camps.

In an interview on CBS’s 60 minuets, Ben Ferencz revealed how he proved the Einsatzgruppen guards’ guilt without calling a single witness.  They were the paramilitary death squads of Nazi Germany that were responsible for mass killings, primarily by shooting, during WW II.

He had obtained the officers’ own reports of the killings.  The evidence listed reports such as: “In the last 10 weeks, we have liquidated around 55,000 Jews.”

Although Ferencz, the son of a Jewish family exactly like those the guards had senselessly slaughtered, he insists that the 22 men who were found guilty had been changed by the war.  They are men, just like him.  He explained: “These men would never have been murderers had it not been for the war.  These were people who could quote Goethe, who loved Wagner, who were polite.  He’s not a savage.  He’s an intelligent, patriotic human being.  No.  He’s a patriotic human being acting in the interest of his country, in his mind.”

Ferencz insists: “So the world is changing.  And you shouldn’t be despairing because it’s never happened before.  Nothing new ever happened before.”

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