Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Ferencz lecture: slave labor, "Less Than Slaves"

Film | Accession Number: 1994.A.0037 | RG Number: RG-12.021.15

Book and Author Luncheon, Benjamin Ferencz, "Less Than Slaves," Harvard University Press, 1979. Introduction by Ted Friedman, program director of the Anti-Defamation Leage of B'nai B'rith. Second introduction by Telford Taylor. Taylor praises the book for its unique content and contribution to the "new and amorphous field of the subject of international penal law." Benjamin Ferencz provides an outline of the book and answers many questions from the audience. In the book, Ferencz deals with the German plan of Vernichtung durch Arbeit ["destruction through work"] in which millions were coerced into forced labor for the Nazi war machine. He gives a sampling of the collaboration of Nazi administration and German industry with the cases of I.G. Farben, Alfred Krupp, and Friedrische Flick. Ferencz details his efforts in compensation as well as the legal negotiations and settlements made with German industrialists. He elaborates on the profound lack of remorse and inability of industrialists to accept legal or moral responsibility. This experience "without compassion" is what, according to Ferencz, made massacre possible. Ferencz introduces survivors interviewed for the book: Ted Lehman and Norbert Wollheim. Lehman was responsible for the poignant and accurate title of the book--Less Than Slaves--because, he explains, a slave is someone you try to preserve and keep alive. "But we were pieces of sandpaper to be rubbed until no longer useful and to be thrown away and burned like the rest of garbage." A question and answer period follows.

Event:  11/19/1979
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Benjamin Ferencz
Record last modified: 2020-08-04 09:19:28
This page: