TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference in Palm Beach County Thursday afternoon awarding the governor’s medal of freedom to Benjamin Ferencz, who was an investigator of Nazi war crimes after World War II and a prosecutor during the Nuremberg Trials.
Before signing the bill (SB 1360) at Florida Atlantic University, DeSantis said the awards are intended to recognize people with exemplary achievements and to pass that knowledge to future generations.
“We’ve been able to honor some great people, but when you start talking about that World War II era, and you look, we’re in 2022, a lot of that first-hand experience is fading,” DeSantis said.
Now age 102, Ferencz is the last surviving Nuremberg Trials prosecutor.
Ferencz said wars shouldn’t be glorified and he remains willing to share what he’s learned from “the horrors” he has seen. “We see it still happening today,” Ferencz said.
The governor’s medal of freedom is the highest award that the state can bestow on an individual.
Other recipients of the medal of freedom include former FSU football coach Bobby Bowden, Felix Rodríguez, a Cuban-American former Central Intelligence Agency paramilitary operations officer, and Barbara Nicklaus, the wife of former professional golfer Jack Nicklaus.