The Einsatzgruppen Case and the Last Survivor.
The last survivor from the Nuremberg Trials is alive. His name is Benjamin Ferencz, he is 95 and was one of the lead prosecutors at the trials, specifically the Einsatzgruppen, also known as the speical S.S. unit designed to mass murder, trial. In class only part of the trials were covered so I followed the link at the bottom of the transcripts and read on. I was then curious as to whether or not anyone from the trials were alive, which lead to my discovery of Benjamin Ferencz and his part in the trials. Ferencz prosecuted one of most hideous units of the S.S. The Einsatzgruppen is known to be responsible for 1/3 of the six million Jews slautered during the reign of the Nazi party. Benjamin Ferencz’s opening statement hits the court with a passionate speech for justice. Ferencz opening statement “…briefly outlined why this case [was] being tried, how the Einsatzgruppen were organized, and their ideological foundation in Nazi Germany.” (Ferencz, Theory of Individual Responsibility)
In the Testimony of Otto Ohlendorf, Otto Ohlendorf blatantly told the court his Einsatzgruppen unit was ordered to kill all Soviets and Jews. There was also a statement at the trial from an S.S. officer who claimed Paul Blobels, a commander that wrote an affidavit concerning the burning of bodies, had ordered him to kill children. The transcripts of the trial read that Otto Ohlendorf was held responsible for the deaths of 90,000 men, women, and children. Fourteen of the twenty-four defendants were sentenced to death.
Benjamin Ferencz was not just a prosecutor for this case, he had seen the evils done by the Nazis while he served the U.S. Army. In an article published spring 2014, Ferencz explains that what he saw could not be “adequately described.” (Green, The Last Man at Nuremberg) The author, Emma Green, described his way of recounting the horrors in a straight forward and detached manner. This brought me back to Mein Krieg and Ordinary Men, in the way that some of the men were detached from their emotions. There are many remarkable attributes and great things were done by Benjamin Ferencz but the most historical importance by him was if he had not pushed the matter of the Einsatzgruppen, the case against the special force would have never been apart of the Nuremberg Trials.