October 10, 2018
On October 2, 2018, the Museum’s Ferencz International Justice Initiative (Ferencz Initiative) hosted a special screening of director Barry Avrich’s new documentary film Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz. The event featured a discussion with Ferencz and Anna Cave, Director of the Ferencz Initiative.
The film details the extraordinary life of Ferencz, who in his 99th year, is the last surviving prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials—the special military tribunals held by allied forces after World War II. Ferencz witnessed and influenced some of the most consequential chapters of the last 70 years—from liberating war camps and investigating Nazi war crimes, to acting, at 27 years old, as the Chief Prosecutor for the US Army at the Einsatzgruppen Trials at Nuremberg. After the trials, Ferencz went on to advocate for restitution for Jewish victims of the Holocaust and later advocated for the creation of international tribunals to investigate and prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes under international law.
In addition to screening the premiere of the film in Washington DC, open-to-the-public screenings were organized on October 4 in New York, in coordination with the Streicker Center, and on October 10, 2018 in Los Angeles at the Pacific Theaters at The Grove.
The Ferencz Initiative operates under the auspices of the Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. The Ferencz Initiative works to equip victims from a range of conflicts to seek accountability using the legal principles, courts, and tools that Ben Ferencz and other justice champions have developed since the Holocaust. Our Justice Advisory Groups—a first-of-its kind project that connects victims of mass atrocities and their allies with representatives from key governments, international bodies, and NGOs—work to develop action plans for pursuing justice. The Ferencz Initiative supplements this work through practical research, atrocity prevention education and training programs for diverse audiences, and targeted outreach to decision makers to galvanize action. The work of the Ferencz Initiative not only carries forward the important legacy of Ben Ferencz’s extraordinary contribution to international criminal justice and a more peaceful world, but also is a natural extension of the Museum’s mandate to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.