Ben Ferencz is the last living Nuremberg prosecutor, and he is personally responsible for bringing 22 Nazi SS officers to justice after World War II. At the age of 97, he is still fighting for progress and social justice.
In an interview that aired Sunday night on the CBS News program 60 Minutes, host Leslie Stahl noted that Ferencz had faced evil but is “the sunniest man I’ve ever met.”
Ferencz told Stahl that Nuremburg taught him that war made murderers out of men.
“Do you think the man who dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima was a savage? Now I will tell you something very profound, which I have learned after many years,” he explained. “War makes murderers out of otherwise decent people. All wars, and all decent people.”
“People get discouraged,” he said of today’s wars. “They should remember, from me, it takes courage not to be discouraged.”
Well, if it’s naive to want peace instead of war, let ’em make sure they say I’m naive. Because I want peace instead of war. If they tell me they want war instead of peace, I don’t say they’re naive, I say they’re stupid. Stupid to an incredible degree to send young people out to kill other young people they don’t even know, who never did anybody any harm, never harmed them. That is the current system. I am naive? That’s insane.
I don’t think I’m an idealist. I’m a realist. And I see the progress. The progress has been remarkable. Look at the emancipation of woman in my lifetime. You’re sitting here as a female. Look what’s happened to the same-sex marriages. To tell somebody a man can become a woman, a woman can become a man, and a man can marry a man, they would have said, “You’re crazy.” But it’s a reality today. So the world is changing. And you shouldn’t– you know– be despairing because it’s never happened before. Nothing new ever happened before.
Even in the age of Donald Trump, Ferencz believes the world is “on a roll.”
“We’re marching forward,” the 97-year-old activist insisted. “And I’m still in there fighting. And you know what keeps me going? I know I’m right.”
Watch the video below.