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Immigrants Of The Day: David Ngaruri Kenney of Kenya, Ben Ferencz of Transylvania, and Frank Oz of United Kingdom

by Kevin R. Johnson

David Ngaruri Kenney (Kenya)

David_kenney Our immigrant of the Day is David Ngaruri Kenney of Kenya.   Kenney's compelling story is told in Asylum Denied: A Refugee's Struggle For Safety In America by Kenney and Phil Schrag (Georgetown), which is now available.

The book tells the gripping story of political refugee David Ngaruri Kenney's harrowing odyssey through the world of immigration processing in the United States. While living in his native Kenya, Kenney led a boycott to protest his government's treatment of fellow farmers. He was subsequently arrested by the Kenyan government and tortured. This book tells of Kenney's near-murder, imprisonment, and torture in Kenya; his remarkable escape to the United States; and the obstacle course of ordeals and proceedings he faced as U.S. government agencies sought to deport him to Kenya.

May 29, 2008 | Permalink

Ben Ferencz (Transylvania)

Nuremberg Benjamin Berell Ferencz (b. March 11, 1920) was an investigator of Nazi war crimes after World War II and the Chief Prosecutor for the United States Army at the Einsatzgruppen Trial, one of the twelve military trials held by the U.S. authorities at Nuremberg, Germany. Later, he became a vocal advocate of the establishment of the international rule of law and of an International Criminal Court.

Born in Transylvania, Ferencz and his family immigrated to the United States when he was an infant to avoid the persecution of Hungarian Jews after Hungary had ceded the territory where they lived to Romania after World War I.

The family settled in "Hell's Kitchen" on the Lower East Side in Manhattan of New York City. Ferencz later studied crime prevention at the City College of New York and won a scholarship to Harvard Law School.

After law school, Ferencz joined the U.S. Army, where he served in an anti-aircraft artillery unit. In 1945, he was transferred to the headquarters of General Patton's Third Army, where he was assigned to a team tasked with setting up a war crimes branch. In this function, he was then sent to the concentration camps as they were liberated by the U.S. Army.

After discharged from the Army, Ferencz returned to New York, but was recruited only a few weeks later to participate as a prosecutor in the Nuremberg Trials. He was appointed him Chief Prosecutor in the Einsatzgruppen Case—Ferencz's first case. All of the 22 men on trial were convicted; 14 of them received death sentences.

Ferencz stayed in Germany after the Nuremberg Trials. He participated in establishing reparation and rehabilitation programs for the victims of persecutions by the Nazis, and also had a part in the negotiations that led to the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany (1952) and the first German Restitution Law (1953).

In 1957, Ferencz and his returned to the United States. After more than a decade in private law practice, Ferencz left to work for the institution of an International Criminal Court. He also published several books. His first book, published in 1975, Defining International Aggression-The Search for International_aggression  Peace, argued for the creation of an international criminal court.

From 1985 to 1996, Ferencz also worked as an Adjunct Professor of International Law at Pace University.

An International Criminal Court was indeed established on July 1, 2002, when the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court entered in force.

Ben Ferencz's website includes much information about him, his publications, and life.

May 30, 2008 | Permalink

Frank Oz (UK)

He was born in Hereford, England in 1944. He immigrated to the United States at the age of five with his parents. Jim Henson saw Oz at a puppeteers' convention in California where he was impressed with Oz's ability. Oz joined the Muppets in 1963, and since then has become one of the greatest puppeteers of our time as well as a superb comedy director (films such as Little Shop of Horrors).

Oz was born Richard Frank Oznowicz in England, the son of two puppeteers. His parents were refugees from the Holocaust who moved to England after fighting the Nazis with the Dutch Brigades.

Oz settled in California and attended Oakland City College.

Oz is known for his work as a puppeteer (including voices), performing with Jim Henson's Muppets. His characters have included Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and Sam the Eagle on The Muppet Show, and Grover, Cookie Monster and Bert on Sesame Street, among many others.

In addition to performing a variety of characters, Oz has been one of the primary collaborators responsible for the development of the Muppets over the last 30 years. Oz has performed as a Muppeteer in over 75 movies, video releases, and TV specials, as well as countless other public appearances, episodes of Sesame Street, and other Jim Henson series.

Oz is also well known as the performer of Jedi Master Yoda from George Lucas' Star Wars series. Oz performed the voice and puppet for Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, and provided the voice of the CGI Yoda in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

As an actor, Oz appeared in 1980 as a corrections officer in The Blues Brothers movie, directed by John Landis. He also appeared in later Landis movies An American Werewolf in London, Spies Like Us, Trading Places and Innocent Blood. In 1998, Oz portrayed a warden in Blues Brothers 2000.

Oz began his behind-the-camera work when he co-directed the fantasy film The Dark Crystal with long-time collaborator Jim Henson. Oz further employed those skills in directing 1986's Little Shop Of Horrors. The musical film starred Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene, as well as Steve Martin, Bill Murray, John Candy, Christopher Guest, and a 15-foot-tall talking plant (voiced by Levi Stubbs) which at times required up to 40 puppeteers to operate. Oz went on to direct Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in 1988, starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine, What About Bob? in 1991, starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss, and HouseSitter in 1992. Later films include The Indian in the Cupboard (1995), In & Out (1997), Bowfinger (1999), The Score (2001), the 2004 re-make of The Stepford Wives, and Death at a Funeral (2007).

June 16, 2008 | Permalink

These posts were orginally posted on the ImmigrationProf Blog here, here and here.

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog .

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.