Coming to theatres today, Friday, February 22:
PROSECUTING EVIL: THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD OF BEN FERENCZ
United Nations Association, Santa Barbara, Boulder, Jerusalem, Jewish fests in Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Hartford, Palm Beach, San Diego, Honolulu, and Santa Cruz
A profile of the last surviving member of the Nuremberg prosecutorial team.
Ben Ferencz was brought to NYC as a baby by his parents, fleeing the persecution of Jews in Europe in the early 1920s. By the time he joined the US Army to fight in WWII, he had received a law degree from Harvard. As part of his duties as the war ended, Ferencz was tasked to collect evidence of war crimes, visiting liberated concentration camps to bear witness to Nazi atrocities committed there. When the Nuremberg trials were called, the young lawyer, just 27, was appointed chief prosecutor in the trial of the Einsatzgruppen, the Nazi death squads responsible for the deaths of more than one million Jews and other supposed enemies of the German state. This set him off an a lifelong mission to prevent further crimes against humanity, including genocide, by advocating for an International Criminal Court – an entity that finally became a reality in 2002. Barry Avrich’s film is a capable if conventional biography, benefitting primarily from the now-nearly 100-year-old subject’s deeply impactful personal reflections, testimony that earns its gravitas without the need for the project’s distracting, bombastic score.