Legal scholar – began thinking about this after the Armenian Genocide (1915 – 1923) – realized that the international community needed to be able to do something to prevent what happened in Armenia from happening in other countries.
Lemkincarriedout a lifelong crusade to prent what happened to the Armenians from happening elsewhere. Lemkin was a Jew who fled poland for the US ahead of the Nazis. His family chose to stay in Poland; the Nazis murdered 49 of his relatives; only 4 survived.
Lemkin drafted a document to deal with cases when a government commits “genocide”He planned to remind them of the ArmeniansHe planned to warn them about HitlerThe foreign minister of Poland refused to let him travelFew supported his proposalLemkin was fired as a public prosecutor because he refused to stop criticizing Hitler.
What is genocide
What Is Genocide?<br />
Raphael Lemkin<br />Reflecting on the Armenian Genocide (1915-1918)<br />1.5 million Armenians (more than 66% of the population) killed by the Turkish government<br />Armenians wanted to be represented in the government<br />
Genocide<br />“geno” Greek meaning “race” or “tribe”<br />“cide” Latin, meaning killing<br />Literally, killing a race or tribe of people.<br />
Madrid Conference, 1933<br />Lemkin drafted a document to deal with cases when a government commits “genocide”<br />Remember the Armenians<br />Beware of Hitler<br />The foreign minister of Poland refused to let him travel<br />Few supported his proposal<br />Lemkin was fired<br />
Mass Murderers Didn’t Fear Punishment<br />It's a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. <br />Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? <br />Adolf Hitler, August 22, 1939<br />
It Took World War II for Action<br />“The whole of Europe has been wrecked and trampled down by the mechanical weapons and barbaric fury of the Nazis… As his armies advance, whole districts are exterminated. We are in the presence of a crime without a name.”<br />British Prime Minister Winston Churchill<br />
The Moscow Declaration<br />Promised to prosecute those who committed mass murder<br />Drafted by Churchill<br />Signed by Great Britain, the US, and the Soviet Union in 1943.<br />
The UN Genocide Convention<br />1948 unanimously adopted by the United Nations<br />Work started by Lemkin<br />
Genocide<br />“…a coordinated plan to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group by killing, causing serious bodily or mental harm, inflicting conditions designed to bring about its destruction, preventing births within the group, or removing children from the group.”<br />United Nations Genocide Convention<br />
UN Drafted Resolution<br />“The right to exterminate entire groups which prevailed before the resolution is gone. From now on no government may kill off a large block of its own subjects or citizens of any country with impunity.”<br />The New York Times, January 5, 1947<br />
“We can best understand this when we realized how impoverished our culture would be if the peoples doomed by Germany, such as the Jews, had not been permitted to create the Bible, or give birth to an Einstein… if the Poles had not had the opportunity to give to the world a Copernicus, a Chopin, a Curie; the Czechs… a Dvorak; the Greeks, a Plato, and a Socrates; the Russians, a Tolstoy and a Shostakovich.”<br />Raphael Lemkin<br />