70 years ago, the biggest murder trial in history took place as Nazis were brought to justice for the Holocaust. Benjamin Ferencz, at 97 , is the last surviving prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials and has fought for the victims of war crimes all his life. In today’s Needull, an interview by famous CBS reporter Lesley Stahl, he talks about his journey from an immigrant who did not know a word of English to being the main force behind prosecuting 22 members of Einsatzgruppen, Nazi extermination squads responsible for the deaths of more than a million Jews, and many thousands of Gypsies, partisans and others.
Only one piece of film is known to exist of the Einsatzgruppen at work. It isn’t easy viewing…
Benjamin Ferencz: Well, this is typical operation. Well, see here, this– they rounded ’em up. They all have already tags on ’em. And they’re chasing them.
Lesley Stahl: They’re making them run to their own death?
Benjamin Ferencz: Yes. Yes. There’s the rabbi coming along there. Just put ’em in the ditch. Shoot ’em there. You know, kick ’em in.
Lesley Stahl: Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
This footage came to light years later. At the time, Ferencz just had the documents, and he started adding up the numbers.
Benjamin Ferencz: When I reached over a million people murdered that way, over a million people, that’s more people than you’ve ever seen in your life, I took a sample. I got on the next plane, flew from Berlin down to Nuremberg, and I said to Taylor, “General, we’ve gotta put on a new trial.”
The actual video interview on CBS 60 Minutes
Bonus Read: Interview in Guardian where Ben talks on current issues