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Last surviving Nazi prosecutor to publish his memoirs

4/11/2020 3:28 PM
Last surviving Nazi prosecutor to publish his memoirs

Sphere is set to publish the story of Benjamin Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials, who is now 99 years old. 

Parting Words: 9 lessons for a remarkable life is slated for a December 2020 release.

It will tell Ferencz’s life story, including his role as a prosecutor at the 1947 Nuremberg Trials, his efforts to return property to Holocaust survivors and his participation in the establishment of the International Criminal Court. 

It will also include his learnings on ambition, determination, happiness and love.

The book was commissioned by Emily Barrett, the Senior Commissioning Editor at publishing house Little, Brown, who acquired the world rights from Ferencz quite serendipitously.

She spied an interview on Twitter between Guardian Assistant News Editor, Nadia Khomami and Ferencz from 2017. Barrett reached out to Khomami, asking if Ferencz would write a book to be published the year he turned 100. Khomami also joined the project to collate the book.

‘I hope it doesn’t sound cliché because I mean it desperately: there are some books you feel humbled to publish and for me this is one of them. Ben is by far and away the most remarkable person I know…’ Barrett said of the project.

‘As a combat soldier and a war crimes investigator I witnessed unimaginable horrors. The greatest thing I learned was that war can turn otherwise normal people into mass murderers,’ said Ferencz when speaking of his book.

‘My slogan, ‘law, not war’ points the way to a more humane and peaceful world, and I hope that readers will want to engage with this most of all once they’ve read the book.’

The title of the book, Parting Words, was chosen due to Ferencz’s age. 

‘If I have anything to do with it, I will live for another 100 years and these will be far from my “parting words”,’ he said.

In an age where self-help books are increasingly common, Parting Words is expected to provide hope and illustrate the skills we can cultivate in order to make the most of our lives.