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Ben Ferencz: The Ethical Giant

Info: 2571 words (10 pages) Essay
Published: 18th May 2020 in History

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This is centered around one leader and one situation or event that either ‘made’ the leader or ‘broke’ the leader, and the factors that influenced that leader to make that decision. Do not go into your case study with a view of ‘trying to prove’ or support your current view. Go into it with an open mind and let your research take you where it does. This is a case study analysis of the decision that your leader made.


This paper is to analyze Ben Ferencz and his decision to take on the Einsatzgruppen Trial. Benjamin B. Ferencz was conceived in the Carpathian Heaps of Transylvania in 1920. When he was short of what one year old, his family emigrated to America. His most punctual memories are of his little apartment in a Manhattan neighborhood – fittingly alluded to as Hell’s Kitchen. Indeed, even at an early age, Ben felt a profound yearning for joint fellowship and world harmony. In his words, he was 27 and had never attempted a legal case. He never at any point been in a court. What might drive a person to take this on? Why take this on as his first case? On the off chance that he had not taken this case, would despite everything he has the impact he has had on society? Also, would he have given his life and profession to considering culprits of war violations responsible for their demonstrations?

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Mr. Ferencz served for the U.S. under General Patton throughout World War II. Toward the finish of the war, he was invited to explore Nazi massacres for the U.S. Armed forces. In his job as a war crimes specialist, he began visiting inhumane imprisonments as they were free. The objective of these visits was to gather trustworthy proof that could be used in a court of law to try and convict people responsible for international lawlessness and crimes. Memories of the horrifying scenes he witnessed during this period left a long-standing impression on Mr. Ferencz. Wich formed his ongoing desire to see a world in which those responsible for atrocity crimes are held accountable (“About Ben Ferencz US Holocaust Memorial Museum,” 2015).

 Ferencz was a functioning member in the post-Holocaust preliminaries at Nuremberg. His essential goal had been to build up a valid point of reference that would support an increasingly accommodating and secure world later on. Ben Ferencz turned into a straightforward supporter of the Worldwide Criminal Court and different endeavors to substitute the standard of power with the standard of law (“The Greatest Homicide Preliminary in History”). Practically a mind-blowing majority following has been spent attempting to accomplish compensation for exploited people and attempting to dissuade unlawful war-production.

            Nuremberg established a framework of the law. Certain wrongdoings are startling to such an extent that the world needs to quit perpetrating those violations. Since they cannot continue those wrongdoings rehashing themselves (Retaliation isn’t Our Objective?: A Discussion with Nuremberg Investigator Benjamin Ferencz, 2014). The fact of the matter is not to talk about if atrocities are correct or wrong. The object is to get why. Why a man took this on as his first preliminary and what character qualities he shows.

Additionally, what exercises we gain from his initiative. The trial’s principal achievement was to demonstrate the Nazi Destructive program to kill all Jews caught in a common area. In contrast to different preliminaries in Nuremberg, the Einsatzgruppen Preliminary concentrated on violations against humankind or monstrosities. This preliminary appears to have started a trend for quite a long time to come on barbarities.

When talking about a person who took on a war-crime trial as his first courtroom experience at the young age of 27, a trait that comes to mind is Conscientiousness. Conscientiousness is the characteristic of an individual who demonstrates a familiarity with the effect that their conduct has on people around them. Conscientious individuals are commonly more objectively situated in their thought processes. Goal-oriented in their academic endeavors and at work, and feel progressively useful when they are well-prepared and organized. Conscientious leaders will exhibit integrity, more tenacity and persistence in pursuit of organizational objectives, explaining perhaps, why conscientious leaders foster work climate regarded as fair and just (Judge, Piccolo, & Kosalka, 2009, p. 865). What Ferencz lacked in experience he made up for with courage, and passion, as well as tenacity and intelligence.

The trail had three main individuals — an arrogant and intelligent mass murderer. A narcissistic and activist judge and a very youthful, confident, and enthusiastic trial lawyer dominated and shaped not only the proceedings of the Einsatzgruppen trial but also the historiography that came after it. Being a former combat sergeant, Ben stated that he decided that there is no enlisted man he will prosecute. The customary U.S. military practice and likely equivalent is the case for all militaries, is to absolve higher-ups and stick it to those at the base. He accepted at that point, and now, that duty begins at the top. Our essential focuses for arraignment were the most astounding positioning officials, and the most instructed executioners we could lay our hands-on (“BEN FERENCZ,” 2015). The essential target had been to build up a valid point of reference that would support a progressively empathetic and secure world later on. Ben has shared his vision of law, not war. He accentuated how everybody must battle for human rights; be that as it may, little individual commitments may appear.

To say that Mr. Ferencz has a weakness that made him ineffective is reporting that a man that has done so much good for society had a downfall somewhere. With that, no one is perfect, and everyone has a flaw in their leadership. He is still searching for a defeat in his tenacity and bravery.

Ethics are well-founded standards of right and wrong that guide what individuals ought to do, usually, in terms of rights, responsibilities, privileges to society, fairness, or specific values. Being ethical is also not the equivalent as obeying the law. The law often combines ethical standards to which most citizens subscribe. However, laws, like feelings, can vary from what is ethical (Santa Clara University, 2010). Ethical standards also include those that command virtues of honesty, empathy, and loyalty.

Moreover, ethical standards incorporate standards associating with rights, such as the right to life. Such standards are adequate examples of ethics because logical and well-founded reasons support them. The then 27-year-old Ferencz became the chief prosecutor of 22 Einsatzgruppen commanders for the Trial at Nuremberg. The evidence Ferencz was able to prove to the court, and stunning details that took place from the Nazis. All 22 defendants were found guilty. His ethics of knowing what is right and doing just that prevailed.

Ferencz asked at the trial if the man who dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima was a savage. War makes murderers out of otherwise respectable people. All wars, and all decent people and with that belief in mind, Benjamin Ferencz spends the rest of his life trying to discourage war and war crimes by building an international court like Nuremberg. A closing argument Ben gave in 1998 showed his life was devoted to ethics and doing what is right at all times. Ben started his speech with the emancipation of women in his lifetime. If sitting there a female, there had been progression made towards everyone being equal. Look what has happened to same-sex unions. To tell somebody that a man can become a woman, or that a woman can become a man.  That a man can marry a man, one would have been labeled as crazy (“One Face of Justice,” 2019). However, it is a reality today. So the world is changing. Ben was known for saying do not be hopeless because it has never happened before, nothing new ever occurred previously. Ferencz is dedicated, fierce, and uncompromising when it comes to justice.

Ben also utilized intellectual standards with his fairness. Does he have a vested interest in this issue? Was he sympathetically representing the viewpoints of others (“Universal Intellectual Standards,” 2010)? We should all be so intense about seeking justice and fairness.

To comprehend Ferencz’s work, essential to comprehend the thoughts of his time. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill issued an approach articulation on 14 August 1941 spreading out the leaders’  seeks after a future world. They imagined a world wherein countries would look for no magnification, regional, or other, where individuals could live in opportunity from dread and destitution. Where the utilization of battle-ready power would be surrendered, and attacker countries would be rebuffed and incapacitated.


Nowhere was it contained in any of the Nurnberg trials that a fighter must conclude at his danger the legality or illegality of every order he receives. Ben had forewarned that if it should be evident to every rational person that the order was a desecration of national or international law. The mass murder of young children and defenseless civilians, or the execution of a policy or racial extermination. It was believed that one who gives or carries out such an order would be blamed for having committed a crime. Also, he will have to answer for his deeds. Because he acted under the duress of superior orders and not of his own free will. Those facts, including the imminence and severity of the duress, would constitute circumstances to be considered in mitigating the punishment.

Outcome 1

 What would have happened if Ben Ferencz would never have accepted the opportunity to right this wrongdoing? Had been not shown tenacity and the bravery the 22 men on the trail could walk free. In the presentation, it pointed out two negative traits Ben displayed. Being naive and lacking experience could have stopped Ben from accepting this case. At 27 years old and no experience, Ben was over his head. The second and third effects could have been that the 22 men would never have been on trial in court and could have worked to continue to spread hate throughout the world.

Outcome 2

 The desired outcome is what happened when Ben Ferencz took on the Einsatzgruppen Trial. Ben saw an opportunity, and he showed the attributes of integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness serve as guiding his criteria for decisions and actions. The most frightening thing to Ben at Nuremberg and his different encounters in Germany was an absolute absence of disappointment concerning the wrongdoers. They kept up that they were legitimized in doing what they did. The first fighters contended superiors’ orders; the higher-ups who were on the strategy-making level claimed that what they did was in self-preservation. They saw or expected that the Soviet Association was going to assault them, and therefore, they felt justified in a preemptive first strike. The majority of the accused were sentenced. With thirteen condemned to death. The decision is known as an extraordinary accomplishment for the indictment. Ferencz’s essential target had been to build up a lawful model that would advance a progressively acculturated and secured world later on. By one way or another, Ben knew the endeavor of the trail was the best activity, and his warning demonstrated ideal for quite a long time to come.


 Starting in 1945 with his arraignment of war culprits during the Nuremberg Council, crafted by Benjamin Ferencz has since quite a while ago centered around issues of worldwide criminal equity and world harmony. A solid supporter of the Worldwide Criminal Court, Mr. Ferencz supports ventures to supplant the standard of power with the standard of law. There has never been and never will be a war without fiendishness submitted by all sides. Previous Director of the Joint Head of Staff Chief of naval operations Mike Mullen states that it is smarter to hinder a war than to battle one. As a respectably released Sergeant of Infantry granted five-fight stars for enduring the noteworthy clashes of World War II, Ben’s essential target has consistently been to prevent American officers from getting back home in body-packs or missing appendages. The primary way Ben proposes to do that is to put a stop to war-production itself — beyond what many would consider possible.

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 Nuremberg instructed Ben that building a universe of comprehension and sympathy would be a long and burdensome assignment. Ben understood that if we had to give ourselves to creating valid world law. If not than a similar attitude that made the Holocaust conceivable may one day obliterate the whole human race (BEN FERENCZ,2015). In 1970, with the U.S. sinking ever more profound into the ensnarement of Vietnam, it was just expected that his mind should go to the necessity for a peaceful world. After careful thought, Ferencz concluded that he would gradually withdraw from the private system with regards to the law and would commit himself to break down and expounding on world harmony.


  • About Ben Ferencz? U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.ushmm.org/confront-genocide/ferencz-international-justice-initiative/about/about-ben-ferencz
  • BEN FERENCZ. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.benferencz.org
  • One Face of Justice. (2019, 9 July). Retrieved from https://ethicsstupid.com/accountability/one-face-of-justice/
  • Santa Clara University. (2010, 1 January). What is Ethics? Retrieved from https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/what-is-ethics/
  • Stuart, H. V., & Simons, M. (2009). The Prosecutor and the Judge: Benjamin Ferencz and Antonio Cassese, Interviews and Writings. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press.
  • “The Biggest Murder Trial in History.” (n.d.). Retrieved from https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/ben-ferencz-and-the-biggest-murder-trial-in-history
  • Universal Intellectual Standards. (2010, October). Retrieved from http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/universal-intellectual-standards/527
  • Universal Intellectual Standards. (2010, October). Retrieved from http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/universal-intellectual-standards/527
  • ‘Vengeance is Not Our Goal?: A Conversation with Nuremberg Prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz. (2014, 8 August). Retrieved from https://warontherocks.com/2014/08/vengeance-is-not-our-goal-a-conversation-with-nuremberg-prosecutor-benjamin-ferencz/


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