A century after he moved as a baby to Manhattan’s Lower East Side with his poor Jewish immigrant parents, and more than seven decades after he prosecuted Nazis at Nuremberg, Ben Ferencz is on the cusp of receiving Congress’ loftiest expression of national appreciation.

Ferencz, 102, served as a U.S. soldier in World War II and is now the last living Nuremberg prosecutor. As the chief prosecutor at the Einsatzgruppen Trial, the 5 feet tall but intellectually mighty Ferencz strained to clear the lectern as laid out a case against 22 defendants, leaders in the Nazi security force.

“Vengeance is not our goal, nor do we seek merely a just retribution,” Ferencz said as the trial, conducted by the U.S., began in 1947 at Nuremberg. “We ask this court to affirm by international penal action, man’s right to live in peace and dignity, regardless of his race or creed.”

All the defendants were found guilty of at least one charge, and 20 were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ferencz, who studied at the City College of New York and Harvard Law School, went on to become a leading voice in international law and a prominent antiwar campaigner.

A resident of New Rochelle for decades, Ferencz now lives in Delray Beach, Fla., and received that state’s Governor’s Medal of Freedom in April. The federal honors could soon follow.

In May, the House passed legislation by a voice vote to honor him with a Congressional Gold Medal. Now, the bill, backed by 296 cosponsors in the House — 216 Democrats and 80 Republicans — is set for review in the Senate.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, two New York Democrats, and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) will introduce the legislation on Friday, according to Gillibrand’s office.

In a statement, Gillibrand said: “Mr. Ferencz’s life demonstrates what it means to dedicate oneself to compassion, empathy and righteousness. Few people have been more deserving of this honor.”

And Schumer said in a statement that he hoped his colleagues would “pass this bill expeditiously to recognize Mr. Ferencz for his fervor for justice and lifelong devotion to human rights and peace.”

The offices of Florida’s senators, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, both Republicans, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Ferencz still appears tack sharp. In a CNN interview this year, he said he was “heartbroken” by Russia’s war in Ukraine, adding, “We have learned so little from the Holocaust.”

Even after his encounters with the brutality of Nazi Germany — he once wrote that investigating concentration camps left him “indelibly traumatized” — he has maintained a clear-eyed perspective on the people he prosecuted.

“War makes murderers out of otherwise decent people,” he told “60 Minutes” in 2017, rejecting an interviewer’s usage of the word “savage” to describe war criminals.

“All wars,” Ferencz said. “And all decent people.”

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