Ben Ferencz, the last living Nuremberg prosecutor, turns 100

In 2017, 60 Minutes spoke with Ben Ferencz about his far-reaching message of peace for today's world.

The last Nuremberg prosecutor alive turns 100

Ben Ferencz had already made history. After World War II, he brought 22 Nazi officers to trial for murder. The men were Einsatzgruppen commanders who were responsible for killing more than a million people — not in concentration camps, but in towns and villages across Eastern Europe. They would never have been brought to justice were it not for Ferencz.
 
On Wednesday he will enter the history books in a new way. The last Nuremberg prosecutor still alive, Ferencz is turning 100.

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Ben Ferencz

"I will tell you something very profound, which I have learned after many years," he told Lesley Stahl when he spoke with 60 Minutes in 2017. "War makes murderers out of otherwise decent people. All wars, and all decent people."

The son of poor Jewish parents from a small town in Romania, Ferencz moved to the U.S. when he was a baby. He earned his law degree from Harvard before enlisting as a private in the Army during World War II. He was just 27 years old when he presented his case at Nuremberg, 

Ferencz has since spent the rest of his life trying to deter the types of war crimes he prosecuted. When the international criminal court in The Hague was created in 1998, he delivered the closing argument in the court's first case.  
 
Now in his 100th year, he continues his work by speaking to large groups and compiling "life lessons" for a book, which is set to be published in December. 

"I'm still in there fighting," Ferencz told Stahl in 2017. "And you know what keeps me going? I know I'm right."

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Ferencz at Nuremberg