Classification: N/A; 90 minutes
Directed by Barry Avrich
What we have with Barry Avrich’s inspiring and eloquent documentary Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz is the American Dream meeting humankind’s nightmare.
It’s the unlikely story of Ben Ferencz, who as a Romanian boy in the 1920s fled anti-Semitism in Europe with his family for a new life in New York’s rough-and-tumble Hell’s Kitchen. He made it to Harvard Law School, where his expertise in war crimes led to his appointment as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials in the 1940s, where he helped convict 22 Nazi war-crime murderers.
It was his very first case, but not his last cause. As a lawyer after the Second World War, Ferencz took underdog cases and made a career out of objecting – to war, to human-rights violations, to international injustices. And he’s still at it, insistent with his “law, not war” belief at 99 years old.
Ferencz and the Nuremberg Tribunal are still relevant, and this important documentary absolutely is, too.
Prosecuting Evil opens Nov. 30 in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal