- Brief Narrative
- Sculpture presented by the artist to Ben Ferencz as a token of appreciation for his dedication to the rule of law and the Hebrew tradition of humanity.
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Benjamin B. Ferencz
- front, bottom left corner, embossed : P VINCZE
Subject: Benjamin B. Ferencz
Benjamin Berell Ferencz (1920-2023) was born in Șomcuta Mare, Romania (Nagysomkút, Hungary) on March 11, 1920 to Joseph and Sarah Ferencz. At the time, Șomcuta Mare was part of Hungary, but was occupied by Romania. The city was ceded to Romania under the Treaty of Trianon shortly after Benjamin’s birth, and the Ferencz family immigrated to the United States at the end of 1920 and settled in New York City. Ferencz received a Bachelor of Science in Social Science from the City College of New York in 1940, and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1943. Ferencz served in the United States Army from 1943-1945. During that time he held several positions, including with the anti-aircraft artillery battalion and the War Crimes Branch of the Army.
After the war, the US Government recruited Ferencz to join a team working on the Nuremberg trials. Ferencz was sent to Berlin with a team to investigate official Nazi records, which would later be used in the trials, and was later appointed Chief Prosecutor for the Einsatzgruppen Trial. After the trial, Ferencz fought for compensation for victims and survivors and continued to dedicate his life to ending war and promoting Justice. He authored numerous monographs, articles, and commentaries, primarily on matters of international law, the need for an international criminal court, and world peace.
Ferencz served in a variety of positions related to the Holocaust. Some of those positions included Executive Counsel, Office of the Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, Nuremberg, 1946-1948; Chief Prosecutor for the United States in the war crimes trial against Nazi extermination squads, 1947; Director General, Jewish Restitution Successor Organization, 1948-1956; Director of Operations, United Restitution Organization, Ltd., 1954-1956; Special Legal Advisor at Hague reparations negotiations, Germany-Israel, 1952; Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, 1953-1956; Counsel, International Council of B'nai B'rith, 1958-1961; Counsel, American Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants, 1959-1961; and numerous other councils and conferences related to the Holocaust. He held the position of Adjunct Professor of International Law at Pace University in White Plains, New York, and was the founder and Executive Director of the Peace Center.
Ferencz married Gertrude Ferencz Fried (1919-2019) in 1946, and had four children: Carol, Robin Donald, and Nina. He passed away in Florida on April 7, 2023.
- Object Type
- Physical Description
- Bronze bas-relief sculpture of Moses holding the Hebrew Tablets of the Law.
- overall: Height: 12.250 inches (31.115 cm) | Width: 8.625 inches (21.908 cm) | Depth: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm)
- overall : bronze
Rights & Restrictions
- Conditions on Access
- No restrictions on access
- Conditions on Use
- No restrictions on use
Keywords & Subjects
- Personal Name
- Ferencz, Benjamin B., 1920-
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- The sculpture was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1994 by Benjamin Ferencz.
- Record last modified:
- 2022-07-28 18:32:37
- This page:
Also in Benjamin B. Ferencz collection
The collection consists of the personal papers of Benjamin B. Ferencz, Chief Prosecutor of the Einsatzgruppen at the Nuremberg Trials. Papers include biographical information pertaining to Ferencz and materials relevant to the Second World War, the Nuremberg Trials, Holocaust-related restitution and indemnification issues, war crimes justice, his activities in the formation of the International Criminal Court in The Hague; his teaching, research, and speaking activities, in particular as director of the Pace Peace Center, but also more generally in the subject areas of world peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The collection also includes an engraved sterling silver tea tray, commemorative tray, commemorative plate, Sculpture of Moses, commemorative desk set, a twenty-seven volume-set of US v. Ohlendorf materials, printing plate, plaque, and commemorative pen set. Some of these materials may be combined into a single collection in the future.
Sterling silver tea tray presented to Benjamin Ferencz from the staff of the JRSO, LAD, and URO (United Restitution Organization) commemorating his service from 1948-1956 in Nuremberg and Frankfurt, Germany.
Tray to commemorate the signing of the first financial agreement between a German state and a Jewish organization since the advent of Adolf Hitler.
Decorative plate presented to Benjamin Ferencz in Warsaw by the Polish Committee of the Red Cross. It was given as a token of appreciation for his help in obtaining compensation from Nazi Germany for the Catholic women who had been victims of Nazi medical experiments while they were inmates in the concentration camp of Ravensbrueck.
Desk set presented to Benjamin Ferencz at a luncheon held by the leading Jewish organizations that comprised the membership of the JRSO.
The Benjamin B. Ferencz collection consists of the personal papers of Benjamin Ferencz, Chief Prosecutor of the Einsatzgruppen at the Nuremberg Trials. The collections includes materials relevant to the Second World War, the Nuremberg Trials, Holocaust-related restitution and indemnification issues, war crimes justice, the efforts to establish a permanent International Criminal Court for war crimes, and biographical information pertaining to Benjamin Ferencz. Series 1 includes Ferencz family biographical information, correspondence, notes, scrapbooks, identification documents, reports, yearbooks, diaries, educational certificates, notebooks, and other records related to the private life, career, and professional development of Benjamin and Gertrude Ferencz. Notably, the series includes letters from Benjamin Ferencz to Gertrude Ferencz that detail the capture, interrogation, and investigation of Karl Haberstock, Hitler's personal art dealer. The letters describe the theft of billions of dollars in art treasures throughout Europe. Most files are arranged in chronological order, but the contents of the Day Files are arranged in reverse chronological order. Series 2 includes correspondence, notes, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, identification documents, essays, memoranda, reports, photographs, and other records related to war crimes in general, and the Einsatzgruppen war crimes trial in particular. The series also includes transcript volumes from the Nuremberg Trials. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 3 includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, memoranda, notes, essays, reports, and other documents pertaining to Ferencz's professional association with B'nai B'rith. The material primarily concerns Ferencz's efforts to obtain restitution for real, material, and capital property lost by B'nai B'rith during World War II. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 4 includes notes, correspondence, memoranda, telegrams, reports, and other documents related to Ferencz's legal representation of individual and group claims brought against German industrial firms after World War II. The material primarily concerns the efforts of Ferencz to obtain restitution for slave laborers from the German industrial firms which forcibly employed them. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 5 consists of correspondence related to Ferencz's efforts to obtain restitution for slave laborers employed by Nazi industrial firms during the war. The series also includes notes, drafts, research materials, annotated copies, and other materials related to the publication of Ferencz's monograph, Less Than Slaves. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 6 pertains to efforts of Ferencz and others to obtain restitution from the German Democratic Republic (former East Germany) for victims of Nazi oppression. The series details the legal arguments Ferencz and others made to this end. The case was argued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The series also contains clippings from national and international news agencies, as well as correspondence from United States Ambassador Rozanne LeJeane Ridway. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 7 includes correspondence, notes, memoranda, and news clippings related to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. (Claims Conference) The Conference existed to aid Jewish persons and organizations victimized by Nazi persecution in matters relating to the restitution of personal and property rights. The series notably includes materials related to the Goldmann Hardship Fund. The Fund was established in 1980 for victims of Nazi persecution who emigrated from East Europe after 1965 (the cutoff date for restitution claims). Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 8 consists of correspondence related to the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization. Primarily, the correspondence deals with internal JRSO matters, such as funding and operations budgets. The series includes materials detailing the disposition of the desecrated Jewish cemetery at Fulda and Ferencz's efforts to arrive at a solution that violated neither civil nor Talmudic law. Also included in the series is the court decision of URSO vs. Augsburg; a case concerning the destruction of 800 synagogues in Bavaria and Hesse and the resulting obligations for restitution. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 9 contains correspondence, notes, critical reviews, and draft letters related to Dr. Walter Schwarz's “Rückerstattung nach den Gesetzen der Alliierten Mächte”, a history of restitution. Also included are correspondence and notes related to the publication of a pamphlet on the history of the United Restitution Organization (URO) by Norman Bentwich. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 10 chiefly contains correspondence between Ferencz and others involved with the United Restitution Organization Ltd., regarding URO budgetary matters; together with notes, financial statements, reports, memoranda, minutes of board meetings, board meeting agendas, URO staff lists, URO salary schedules, and independent auditor reports as to the disposition of URO operations expenses and capital obligations. Also included are files of several precedent setting cases which either altered, or significantly influenced URO policy, including those of David Karpf, Genia Rotenstein, Lucien Ludwig Kozminski, and Violet Dattner. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 11 chiefly contains correspondence concerning the (West) German Federal Indemnification Act of 1965 (Bundesentschädigungsgesetz or BEG), its synthesis, amendments, and implementing regulations, together with correspondence concerning the United States War Claims Act of 1948 and the German American Social Security Agreement. Each legislative action was designed to provide compensation for the deprivation of life and liberty and related persecution measures. The series also includes the diary of Moses A. Leavitt and correspondence to and from the United Restitution Organization (URO) director, Kurt May. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 12 chiefly contains correspondence, to and from Ferencz, concerning the efforts of Ferencz and others to obtain restitution for victims of Nazi medical experiments; together with memoranda, clippings, articles, affidavits, reports, power of attorney documents, and other papers detailing the nature of the medical experiments, efforts to obtain restitution, and the response of the German government. Of particular historical interest are materials relating to Dr. Hertha Oberheuser, the only female tried and convicted at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 13 details the efforts of a variety of institutions and individuals including Ferencz in bringing about an international criminal court. Ferencz pressed the United Nations and other supranational institutions for the establishment of an International Criminal Court, both as the result of his experiences as a war crimes prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, as well as his convictions rising from his personal response to the Vietnam War in general, and the My Lai massacre in particular. The series includes correspondence, memoranda, pamphlets, speeches, articles, news clippings, United Nations publications, legislative publications, and newsletters. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 14 chiefly contains correspondence, newsletters, financial reports, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, and other materials related to the American Society of International Law (ASIL), an organization dedicated to educating and engaging the public in international law and to advance international law as a vehicle for resolving international disputes. The Series also includes syllabi for law courses taught by Ferencz at Pace Law School (Pace University), as well as copies of speeches by Ferencz, and documents related to the Peace Center at Pace University, where Ferencz was Executive Director. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 15 pertains to Ferencz's efforts at advancing the cause of universal human rights and primarily includes correspondence between Ferencz and other individuals and organizations involved in human rights. This series also includes news clippings, articles, essays, public statements by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other organizations, memoranda, draft copies of scholarly submissions, ACLU activity reports, and other miscellaneous materials concerning human rights. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 16 pertains to Ferencz's efforts at advancing the cause of world peace. Primarily includes correspondence between Ferencz and other individuals and organizations involved in promoting international dialogue and cooperation as a means of conflict resolution. It also includes news clippings, articles, essays, meeting agenda, financial reports for world peace organizations, meeting minutes, memoranda, and other miscellaneous materials concerning world peace. It includes correspondence and other materials related to Ferencz's active solicitation for a position with the United States Institute of Peace. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 17 pertains to speeches, television and radio interviews, and other public appearances Ferencz gave regarding the history of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials process, and to advance the cause of world peace, and the formation of a permanent International Criminal Court. The series also contains a bibliography, meeting agenda and minutes from the Consortium on Peace, Research, Education, and Development (COPRED) meetings. Most files are arranged in chronological order. Series 18 largely consists of previously published materials, together with notes, correspondence, clippings, pamphlets, and other ephemeral materials peripherally related to the Benjamin B. Ferencz collection as a whole. Most of the files are arranged in alphabetical order. Series 19 consists of more than 300 photographs, primarily in black and white, spanning 1926-1990. The photographs relate to a wide variety of topics pertaining, primarily, to the life and career of Ferencz, World War II, and the Nuremberg Trials. Many of the photographs are annotated, and some are annotated by Ferencz.