DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Benjamin Ferencz, the last living prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials, is receiving the Congressional Gold Medal.
The Delray Beach resident is 102 years old. After he graduated from Harvard University, Ferencz fought in a U.S. Army artillery unit during World War II. He earned several medals and participated in battles that included D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. He was asked to collect evidence of Nazi war crimes.
After the war, he was appointed chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials, when he secured the conviction of 22 former Nazi SS officials for their direct roles in the systematic murder of more than a million Jews. He was there when Nazi concentration campers were liberated.
In the years since, he has dedicated his life to promote peace around the world.
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., introduced a bipartisan bill to award Ferencz the Congressional Gold Medal. The honor is Congress’ highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions.
Representatives Lois Frankel (D-FL-21), Joe Wilson (R-SC-02), Jim McGovern (D-MA-02), and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12) were joined by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to announce that their bipartisan bill was included in the Fiscal Year 2023 spending package. It’s expected to pass this week and be signed by President Biden on Friday.
In 2021, he told WPTV, “The Germans were very methodical, they kept a record of which unit killed how many people in which time. The mistake they made, I found the record.”
Palm Beach County commissioners honored Ferencz in 2021, declaring November 5 as “Benjamin Ferencz Law Not War Day.” A street was named in his honor at Canyon District Park in west Boynton Beach.
He said the horrors of war traumatized him, but he will never give up for future generations.
“I am touched by the fact that I’m not speaking only to myself, I’m speaking for all people who realize when they hear it that the guy is right,” Ferencz said.
In 2022, Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded the governor’s medal of freedom to Ferencz.