Former Adjunct Professor Fights Genocide

1389.8 Holocaust I

Benjamin Ferencz, who served as an Adjunct Professor at Pace Law School from 1985-1986, has pledged $10,000,000 to fight genocide.  An article in the Huffington Post describes the gift to the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, which is part of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, as helping to “continue his mission to end crimes against humanity.”

Professor Ferencz and his family came to the United States from Transylvania when he was baby in order to escape the persecution of Hungarian Jews.  After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the team set up to collect evidence of war crimes.  Professor Ferencz was sent into the concentration camps after they were liberated, an experience he has likened to “peer[ing] into Hell.”  After being discharged from the Army in 1945, he became a prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials of German war criminals, and is the only prosecutor still alive today.   Professor Ferencz’s oral history of his experiences during the trials is preserved at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.  The horrors Professor Ferencz had seen inspired his later work, which laid the foundation for the International Criminal Court, established in 1998.  According to the Huffington Post article, Professor Ferencz’s gift “provides governments with tools to prevent genocide and develop an international response when it occurs.”

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