How to Save the World

Producer and director Eric Kline just released his fascinating new documentary Two Heads Are Better Than One. Kline, with great dramatic effect, tells the story of how world-renowned Boca Raton artist Yaacov Heller has sculpted a masterpiece bust of Benjamin Ferencz, Patton’s leading war crimes investigator, a Nazi concentration camp liberator, and law-giving chief prosecutor of Nazi death squads who killed a million people, mostly Jews, during World War II.

As Eric Kline himself explains: “The most important part of the film is the message behind these men” and that message is universal justice known in Hebrew as mishpat.

Ferencz tears up each time he speaks about the horrors he witnessed upon entering the barbed wire of Nazi extermination camps. Heller has painted this tearful image (below) and sculpted the bust you see above because we must never forget the horrors of war and genocide that keep occurring worldwide and are fomenting again now.

In place of hate and war, Ferencz’s and Heller’s message is we must teach love and peace by codifying these maxims into law. Holocaust education is not important for just Jews but for everyone. Tolerance is the light in the dark night for all of humanity. Evil must and can only be conquered by the goodness of love, compassion, and justice. Law not war must be our mantra. After all, because of attorney Benjamin Ferencz, we now have modern war crimes law and the law of genocide codified into evolving international human rights law.

Heller’s bust of Nazi prosecutor Ferencz has been installed at the new International Criminal Court to honor the 101-year-old man who was chief prosecutor at Nuremberg of Nazi mobile death squad “task forces” known in German as the Einsatzgruppen.

After World War II, Ben Ferencz, successfully advocated and organized efforts to establish the International Criminal Court at the Hague. Benjamin also won that war for peace because those who know the brutality of war best know the beauty of peace and solace of harmony. Ferencz’s love is like that of warrior poet David. Benjamin slayed the imperial Nazi oppressor as if Judah Maccabee had been born again to the Greatest Generation as an anti-aircraft battalion officer for the United States Army.

The young warrior becomes the wise mentor of peace to many including artist and fellow veteran of the psychic wars Yaacov Heller, a fellow Jew, who tells us, his religion is kindness. Applying the wisdom of the Dalai Lama, Heller knows Archangel Rafael’s power is in all of us to heal and transform the world. Heal thyself and the world. Tikkun olam.

Yaacov Heller sculpted the Garden of Humanity in Boca Raton to remember and remind future generations of the futility of war and genocide. Art must warn and inspire.

Heller met Ferencz at the Garden of Humanity either by chance or destiny on February 17, 2019 after viewing Prosecuting Evil about Ferencz at Florida Atlantic University and the two men spoke for hours. There is a bench at the garden with some of Ferencz’s quotes which tell us “the same cruel mentality that made the Holocaust might one day destroy the entire human race.” As Ferencz says, “never give up, never give up, never give up.” Be a determined peaceful warrior for truth and love.

Ferencz grew up in Hell’s Kitchen. a tough place for dock workers and laborers in New York City where Billy the Kid was born. After graduating from Harvard Law School, five-foot-tall Ben went off to fight Nazi fascism in World War II. But war changes a man and teaches him to value peace when deaths are witnessed, engaged in, and tallied first-hand on the fields of battle. War often makes warriors for peace.

For several hours in Boca’s Garden of Humanity, two Jewish war veterans, Heller and Ferencz, discussed the importance of peace, the futility of war, and the need for humanity to learn tolerance as Eric Kline’s video production team recorded this historic conversation for the ages. At the end of their talk, Heller asked Ferencz if he could sculpt a bust of the Jewish liberator of concentration camps. Ferencz told Heller to “go for it” since no one had ever made a bust of him. Ferencz then sharply added poignantly “two heads are better than one.”

With this ringing quote from Ferencz, Kline now had his documentary title Two Heads Are Better Than One. Ferencz had his bust from Heller completed in all its grandeur in a little over two (2) weeks. Michelangelo and Rodin would be proud of Heller’s timeless and classic sculptures and colorful paintings.

On December 17, 2020, the International Criminal Court (ICC) unveiled Heller’s bronze bust of Ferencz. The ICC named Ferencz Distinguished Honorary Fellow of the International Criminal Court since Ferencz spent many decades of his life advocating and organizing for its establishment and provenance. Heller’s bust of Ferencz is now permanently housed at the new International Criminal Court in the Hague where he delivered the closing argument at 92 for the first crimes against humanity case at the new institution’s site established on July 1, 2010.

The goal of Eric Kline’s new documentary Two Heads Is Better Than One is to remember those who fight and died for freedom from persecution so such atrocities may cease. We must never forget as many as 10 million Jews and other people were systematically exterminated by the Nazi regime under Adolf Hitler’s orders.

Although the Nazis kept extensive detailed records of their activities, they tried to destroy most of the incriminating documentation as the war effort began to appear lost for Nazi Germany. But Kline’s documentary is an extant primary source document of oral history from a participant and witness who investigated, documented, and prosecuted Nazi war crimes soon after they were perpetrated. Kline’s documentary is nothing short of historic in memorializing milestones in art and life.

Considering their spiritual mission for posterity, Kline and Heller have begun offering private showings of the documentary Two Heads Are Better Than One followed by a question-and-answer session with the producer-director and sculptor. Heller is now also offering replica busts for organizations so they too can honor the man who carries in his genes the righteous and shining light of universal love and compassion.

Benjamin Ferencz

Ferencz’s story is deeply compelling. He was born amid extreme poverty and persecution as a Jew in Transylvania and then as an immigrant from Hungary. Although Ben grew up in crime ridden Hell’s Kitchen, he did not let that stop him. After studying at the City College of New York, Ferencz graduated from Harvard Law School as criminal law scholar and student of law school dean Roscoe Pound and research assistant to Sheldon Glueck who was writing a groundbreaking book on war crimes.

Ferencz courageously joined the United States Army after the Japanese bombed the US naval base at Pearl Harbor Hawaii. He ingeniously convinced the Army his skills were far more important than his disqualifying height. Ferencz then participated in the hellacious landing at Normandy as artillery officer in the 115th AAA Gun Battalion. Ferencz fought in every major battle in Europe all the way up to the Battle of the Bulge.

Ferencz saw first-hand the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. Ferencz worked to compile evidence of the atrocious Nazi war crimes in Europe for international prosecution on five (5) campaigns with Patton’s Third Army. Collecting evidence for crimes against humanity war crimes trials had never been systematically done before and Ferencz is often credited with establishing the modern working definition for the international war crime of genocide.

After working tirelessly for Patton, General Telford Taylor, who later became Ferencz’s law partner in New York, brought Ferencz to Berlin to oversee fifty (50) researchers investigating war crimes committed by German attorneys, judges, politicians, generals, doctors, and industrialists. He got witness statements by saying anyone who lied would be shot. What Ferencz saw, smelled, heard, and touched, not just billowing from the crematoria ovens and smokestacks, traumatized yet empowered Ferencz to teach the world a better way was law not war.

What is most amazing is Ferencz getting the war crimes investigative assignment from the Army when he was often “in trouble for not following illegal or stupid orders.” A rebel is what fascists fear but respect. Ferencz ferociously hunted down the evidence for trial and he pushed the Pentagon to put on trial some of the most gruesome calculated and premeditated war crimes against humanity ever witnessed in the annals of human history.

The Nuremberg Trial of Nazis for war crimes was actually twelve (12) trials. The Associated Press called it “the biggest murder trial in history.” It was the Greatest Trial in World History. Ferencz had never tried a criminal case in court and now he was the twenty-seven (27) year old chief prosecutor of Nazi killing squads. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Ferencz focused his indictments on the “roving task forces” which were mobile death squads. The Nazi Einsatzgruppen were tasked with rounding up and executing Jews, Romas or gypsies, communist functionaries, Soviet intellectuals, and others on sight. The Einsatzgruppen mission was to “kill everyone they could get their hands on” says Ferencz and they “executed hundreds of thousands of children whose sole crime was their families did not share the same race, religion, and ideology as their executioners.”

The Court at Nuremberg ultimately found twenty (20) defendants guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and membership in a criminal organization responsible for murdering over a million people mostly Jews. Thirteen (13) defendants were sentenced to death. Two (2) defendants were found guilty of membership in a criminal organization but were acquitted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. After the post-war trials in Germany, Ferencz fought for compensation for aggrieved victims of the Nazi Holocaust including return of stolen assets and additional forms of restitution for Nazi victims. Ferencz was present at the 1952 Reparations Agreement signing by Israel and West Germany and he still seeks reparations for Nazi victims’ families today in 2021.

Ferencz’s life mission has been dedicated to the promotion of peace and justice. Ferencz’s 2017 International Justice Initiative was launched to honor the seventy (70) year anniversary of the Einsatzgruppen trials of the 300 most educated Nazi officers at Nuremberg. The United States Holocaust Museum houses the Benjamin Ferencz Collection, but he is not anywhere near done with his mission.

Ferencz’s motto is law not war. Why should heads of state send young men and women to die for them? His commitment to end war crimes only escalated during the war in Vietnam and Ferencz stated in 2006 George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein should be tried for violating the international war of aggression. Ferencz also criticized the extra-legal assassination of Osama bin Laden and, in a 2020 New York Times op-ed, Ferencz condemned the United States’ execution by drone without trial of Iranian general Qasaam Soleimani.

Ferencz’s International Justice Initiative still today focuses on bringing to account high-level perpetrators of mass atrocities wherever they occur around the world. Ferencz wants to see judicial enforcement of law and order instead of war and destruction. Although Ferencz has succeeded in reaching international consensus on the universal definition of aggression, he often reminds young people the road to peace and justice is long but worth the arduous struggle to carry the torch of freedom forward from wise elder souls like Gandhi, Einstein, and King.

Yaacov Heller

Cleveland born Yaacov Heller is not just world famous for his bust of Ben Ferencz displayed at the International Criminal Court. In his parents’ west side hardware and appliance store where they worked tirelessly, Yaacov had access to paints, brushes, tools, cut glass, threaded pipe, and other tools and mediums of the arts and crafts trade. Aesthetics and craftsmanship touched Yaacov at a young age leading to a life-long love affair with creativity and honoring his family members who survived Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Cyprus (Greece) and were denied entry to Israel by the British in 1947.

Eighty (80) year old Heller is today a world renowned Israeli-American sculptor, artist, and silversmith admired for his intricately detailed creations including this painting of Ben Ferencz behind the barbed wire of Nazi death camps he liberated as a young man:

Heller’s signature can be found worldwide on works housed in a wide array of presidential libraries and museums. Heller has been commissioned to create artistic works for Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Benjamin Netanyahu, Yitzhak Rabin, Hosni Mubarak, Henry Kissinger, Jacques Chirac, and Gerald Ford.

Yaacov’s mission in life began with using his gifts to “help build a homeland for the Jewish people.” Heller also served in the United States Navy’s (USN’s) Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean from 1957–61. While in the US Navy, Yaacov went to Israel every chance he got. Heller was also a sergeant in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Army Reserve based in Jerusalem during the Yom Kippur War and he served the IDF from 1976–90.

Influenced by his older sister and mentor twelve (12) years his senior, Joanne Phyllis (Yonina) Lamdan, author of the book Doing It My Way: Family and Creativity (2014), Heller, an equality and freedom loving Zionist, lived on Kibbutz Urim in Israel’s Negev Desert. Heller agrees we must all learn to live together in peace or perish as fools.

Art is most importantly a way to transform hate into love and Heller lives this message. Many of Yaacov Heller’s themes are musical and therapeutic. You can view some of his works here:

https://yaacovheller.com/.

Today Yaacov works out of his Gallery 22 in Royal Palm Place, two (2) miles south of Mizner Park, in downtown Boca Raton, where the artist has installed the magnificent YH Sculpture Garden outside the gallery. This extensive bronze installation includes “The Temptation” in which Eve offers Adam an apple while the Serpent looks on, along with bronze dancers, a “Fiddler on the Roof,” and more.

Heller’s twelve (12) foot self-portrait “Fiddler on the Roof” can be found in Miami at the Douglas Gardens. His ten (10) foot musical sculpture of “Three Dancers” can be viewed at the Toppel Center for Life Enhancement also in Miami.

Heller has created two (2) major bronze installations for Mizner Park in Boca Raton. “Flossy’s Fountain” at the entrance to the Count De Hoernle Amphitheatre blossoms adjacent to The Boca Raton Museum of Art. Inside the outdoor venue stands a larger-than-life bronze sculpture of the Count and Countess De Hoernle also sculpted by Yaacov Heller.

An eight (8) foot bronze menorah welcomes worshipers and visitors to B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton. This seven branched Heller candelabrum features two Guardian Lions of Judah in gold patina atop a granite pedestal with a colorful mosaic fresco around its surface depicting the symbols of the Twelve Tribes of Israel with their names in both English and Hebrew.

Yaacov created a Holocaust Memorial at Beth El Memorial Gardens in Baltimore, Maryland. The fourteen (14) foot bronze monument was cast in Florida and personally hand delivered by the artist and his crew.

Mr. Heller’s “Garden of Humanity” was commissioned by Investments Limited and is also located at Royal Palm Place in Boca Raton. The garden reminds us of the Holocaust, The Armenian genocide, and other major genocidal atrocities of the twentieth century we must never forget and never repeat.

Ferencz (above left) before Heller’s (above right) eternally lit Flame sculpture at the Garden of Humanity.

The Garden of Humanity at Mizner Park unveiled in 2015 encourages visitors to sit and reflect in a beautiful tranquil environment on those who died in various countries during the numerous evil genocides of the twentieth century. The Garden of Humanity installation at Mizner Park offers a peaceful area for people to relax and talk with internationally recognized artist Yaacov Heller.

The Garden’s centerpiece (above) displays six (6) laser engraved granite plaques with maps of countries and dates of twentieth-century genocides. Above the round base is a representation of the ovens used to burn the bodies of Holocaust victims.

Ben Ferencz (above on left) is pointing to the bronze bas-relief of the masses of peoples young and old forced to abandon their homes and march to an unknown fate. The plaque bears a quote from President George W. Bush and the words “Never Again.”

The structure holding the flame with an eternal light is the Hebrew letter Shin for God as described by Ezekiel with hands reaching up to God around the flames. Ezekiel exhorted people we have an individual responsibility to seek justice and fulfill the prophecy the Jewish people will return to their ancient homeland. Heller calls Ezekiel “the prophet of hope.”

There are numerous benches in the garden with prophetic quotes from dignitaries, leaders, artists, scientists, and writers about education, tolerance, world peace, and love. Doug Giordano of All Star Engraving and the Art Bronze Studio in West Palm Beach were key to making the project a success. Here is one Garden of Humanity jeremiad Heller and his team molded to awaken the conscience of this and future generations:

One of these significant quotes led Yaacov Heller to a meeting with Benjamin Ferencz, the last living Nuremberg prosecutor. After the two met and discussed their thoughts on war, law, and tolerance, Yaacov created a magnificent bronze bust of this amazing 101 years young wise man.”

But is Heller too who led a community rally at Royal Palm Place to honor those who lost their lives to a terrorist at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016. Whether it is domestic or foreign terrorists, Heller carries the torch of freedom so the young may live and not die at the hands of Hitler’s legacy of hate.

“The Hand of Life” is another particularly important piece by Yaacov Heller. It is a tribute to Dr. Malcolm Dorman, MD who is a world-renowned cardiologist. A documentary, also scheduled to be produced by Eric Kline, will tell the story of this amazing spiritual creation.

Yaacov’s fascination with the arts is crystal clear. He has created numerous paintings and statue and painting combination pieces of some of pop culture’s biggest artists including Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Prince, Mariah Carey, Albert Einstein, Connie Francis, Dean Martin, Lady Gaga, and others.

His jewelry art has been received by Elvis Presley and Elizabeth Taylor. Yaacov’s dedication to the arts incudes a passion for dance and movement of the human form. He recently was commissioned to create two (2) unique sculptures of the late great dance legend Paul Taylor.

Heller’s making of the Ferencz bust utilized the art of lost wax casting. Metal poled armature with wire supports the clay. Then a silicone mold is placed over the clay. Next a fiberglass mother mold. Clay is removed and replaced with melted wax. The wax model is dipped in a slurry of ceramic shell material dried over several days. The wax is burned out completely in an oven. The bronze is then poured into the ceramic shell mold.

Heller is more passionate than ever about his work and this old-world craftsmanship will make the bronze Ferencz bust casting last 5,000 years.

Eric Kline

Eric Kline — IMDb is the producer and director of the touching Two Heads Are Better Than One: Making of the Ben Ferencz Bust documentary. The delicately crafted and technically stellar production shines like the North Star on a desert night.

The technical and humanistic craftsmanship of the film, particularly in the film noir intro, is emotionally gripping and evocative with beams of light over dark shadows reminiscent of Spielberg’s Schindler’s List.

Kline’s team crafted a technically and artistically outstanding cinematic masterpiece. Kris Davis shined with flawless videography and editing. Kline added close-up portable iPhone video camera footage. Final cuts reveal the influence of Martin Scorsese and Larry David on Kline’s work. Chuck Brown delivered the deep mood setting narrative tone. Eric Kline and April Kimley authored the film’s gripping introduction.

Peter Swartz of Color Space Finishing demonstrates how video graphic color correction is done in the computer age. Even the haunting but spiritually inspiring original music by naturally gifted Mozart-like pianist Bob Field ( Bob Field — IMDb ) is spellbinding and hypnotic. Field used Pro Logic 10 on a Mac with a Korg SP-200 and he appears courtesy of Sacco Music. The Field soundtrack moves the toughest listener to the brink of tears. Interestingly Bob’s wife Lorraine Marks-Field, founder and conductor of the Intergenerational Orchestra of America, Inc., played for the film a custom designed Florentine viola named Florence, a copy of a Stradivarius, with great depth of passion and precision. Lorraine’s father was a Holocaust survivor who loved music and made sure she got the viola you fittingly hear in this film about tolerance.

This organic documentary which premiered in September 2020 looks to be one of Kline’s creations future historians, social critics, and humanitarians serving justice will remember for generations to come due to its technical and artistic depth of importance.

Nuremberg trial and reparations signing footage seen in the film was provided by the United States Holocaust Museum’s Ben Ferencz Collection. Additional B roll video footage and photography was provided by Bryan Hayes. The documentary is copyright owned by Heller’s Gallery 22 and Eric Kline Productions (2020).

Click here for a short trailer on how the illuminating documentary was made during the dark days and nights of the 2020–21 global coronavirus pandemic:

FILM TRAILER: Two Heads Are Better Than One: Making of the Ben Ferencz Bust on Vimeo.

Producer and director of Two Heads Are Better Than One, Eric Kline, is himself a prolific and accomplished media figure and his latest project may just be his best production to date because as Avi Hoffman of the Yiddish Yiddishkayt Initiative puts it Kline “brings together these two powerful forces” of nature — -Ferencz and Heller.

Eric Kline has been a film, television, music video, and commercial producer and director for over twenty-nine (29) years. After completing an academic education in video and film production at the University of Florida and Florida International University, Kline worked at the Box Music Network and became producer of the network before starting his own production company. Boca boy makes good.

Kline and his company Eric Kline Productions produced more than 300 music videos, commercials, and documentaries airing on national music networks. In 1999, Kline released Inside the Music Business, a book and two (2) CD set featuring more than forty (40) music industry power players. The book and two (2) CD set is self-published and critically acclaimed. Kline is a recognized name in the entertainment business.

Eric Kline Productions has expanded over the last decade to produce branded content, reality shows, and documentaries like Two Heads Are Better Than One. Kline has worked with and created content for a who’s who of entertainment including Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Jon Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Snoop, Aerosmith, Will Smith, and many others. Spike’s Lee’s style of film as storytelling for action is evident in Eric Kline productions.

Two Heads Are Better Than One will be screened at the 2021 Jewish Film Festival and is being submitted to this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

To all those suffering, you are not alone, and help is on the way because as Ben Ferencz will tell you “two heads are better than one.” Fight for justice for others because one day you will peer into the face of death and choose life.

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Reid Friedson, PhD

Reid Friedson, PhD

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Multi-media essays on arts and sciences, culture and society, law and politics, justice and spirituality