Did Benjamin Ferencz really parachute into Berlin?

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waronman
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Did Benjamin Ferencz really parachute into Berlin?

Postby waronman » 4 years 7 months ago (Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:36 pm)

I was watching Nuremberg trial videos at the RobertHJacksonCenter YouTube channel and stumbled onto a stomach-churning speech given by Mr. Ferencz in Germany (Benjamin Ferencz: 65 years after World War II. - Reflections of a Nuremberg Prosecutor (1/6)). I then went to his website and started reading his articles. One claimed that he and Telford Taylor parachuted into Berlin in an heroic bailout of their disabled flight. It seems he has made that claim repeatedly. Does anyone know if this story checks out? His role as Chief Prosecutor for the Einsatzgruppen Trials, etc. suggests his credibility is, um, questionable.



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Hektor
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Re: Did Benjamin Ferencz really parachute into Berlin?

Postby Hektor » 4 years 7 months ago (Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:19 am)

waronman wrote:I was watching Nuremberg trial videos at the RobertHJacksonCenter YouTube channel and stumbled onto a stomach-churning speech given by Mr. Ferencz in Germany (Benjamin Ferencz: 65 years after World War II. - Reflections of a Nuremberg Prosecutor (1/6)). I then went to his website and started reading his articles. One claimed that he and Telford Taylor parachuted into Berlin in an heroic bailout of their disabled flight. It seems he has made that claim repeatedly. Does anyone know if this story checks out? His role as Chief Prosecutor for the Einsatzgruppen Trials, etc. suggests his credibility is, um, questionable.


He was 25 in 1945.

Just a few gems of him:
Ferencz -- who went on to a distinguished legal career, became a founder of the International Criminal Court and is today probably the leading authority on military jurisprudence of the era -- cannot specifically address Weiss's actions. But he says it's important to recall that military legal norms at the time permitted a host of flexibilities that wouldn't fly today. "You know how I got witness statements?" he says. "I'd go into a village where, say, an American pilot had parachuted and been beaten to death and line everyone one up against the wall. Then I'd say, 'Anyone who lies will be shot on the spot.' It never occurred to me that statements taken under duress would be invalid."


Of all branches of the SS, it was the Death's Head, and specifically its Einsatzgruppen and sonderkomandos units, who ran the death camps and herded entire villages into synagogues to be burned alive. They were the ones who dug the mass burial pits on the outskirts of towns and dumped truckloads of earth on women and children gasping for air. It was the Death's Head that was responsible for devising ever more efficient ways of killing. At Auschwitz, the pinnacle of their industriousness, they "processed" 60,000 people a day.


Ferencz, who today is 85 and lives in New York, cautions against making sweeping armchair moral judgments. "Someone who was not there could never really grasp how unreal the situation was," he says. "I once saw DPs beat an SS man and then strap him to the steel gurney of a crematorium. They slid him in the oven, turned on the heat and took him back out. Beat him again, and put him back in until he was burnt alive. I did nothing to stop it. I suppose I could have brandished my weapon or shot in the air, but I was not inclined to do so. Does that make me an accomplice to murder?"


It's on the last page of this article, who is mainly about an Albert Weiss:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 680_5.html

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waronman
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Re: Did Benjamin Ferencz really parachute into Berlin?

Postby waronman » 4 years 7 months ago (Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:09 pm)

Thank you for the link, I was looking for that. Amazingly, quotes from that article are posted on Ferencz's Wikipedia page.

I did find a couple of obscure newspaper references to what must have been this same presumed incident. The publication dates are around the second week of April 1948 and don't give a date for the event. Ferencz claims they landed in the Soviet zone of occupation and made it to Nuremberg on the last train out of Berlin on the same day all air traffic was suspended between Berlin and West Germany. That should provide a clue. All Ferencz says is "in March" which would have to have been before the Einsatzgruppen trials were, according to the quick reference I checked, concluded on April 10. The news reports came after. It's a hunch, but I suspect there's a story here to further impeach his credibility. Official documentation would have to exist somewhere.

Ferencz's extended account is given here:

http://www.benferencz.org/index.php?id=8&story=29


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