(JTA “”)) — The last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg war crimes trials has donated $1 million to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington D.C.
Benjamin Ferencz will donate the sum on an annual renewable basis, up to $10 million, to the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, according to a statement by the museum.
“I have witnessed holocausts and I cannot stop trying to deter future genocides,” Ferencz said. “You cannot kill an entrenched ideology with a gun. Compassion, tolerance and compromise must be taught at all levels.”
Ferencz, 96, served as chief prosecutor for the U.S.-conducted Einsatzgruppen trial of former Nazi leaders in 1947-1948. In what was his first criminal trial ever, he successfully prosecuted 22 SS death squad members for their involvement in murdering over one million Jews and other minorities.
After the trial, Ferencz worked to secure restitution for thousands of Holocaust survivors.
Ferencz is a long-time supporter of the museum, which in 2015 bestowed him with its highest honor, the Elie Wiesel Award. The new donation is being given as part of his initiative, the Planethood Foundation, which promotes international law as an alternative to war.
Ferencz was born in Romania, but moved to the U.S. as a baby with his family to avoid anti-Semitic persecution.
Josefin Dolsten is a news fellow at the Forward. She writes about politics and culture, and edits the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Contact her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten.