Lemkin, Raphae͏̈l, 1900-1959

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1900-06-24
Death 1959-08-28
Poles
Spanish; Castilian, Polish, English, German

Biographical notes:

Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), a Polish-born lawyer who coined the term "genocide", emigrated to the U.S. in 1941 and devoted his life to the crusade for the international adoption of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

From the description of Raphael Lemkin papers, 1947-1959. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122607891

From the guide to the Raphael Lemkin papers, 1947-1959, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Lawyer, lecturer, and author; b. Rafał Lemkin in Poland.

From the description of Papers, 1942-1959. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70925060

Lemkin, Raphael, 1901-1959, born near Bezwodene, Poland. Lawyer and lecturer, became public procecutor for the District Court of Poland in 1929. Fled Poland to Sweden and became visiting lecturer of law at the University of Sweden, Stockholm; moved to the United States in 1941 joining the law faculty at Duke University.

From the description of Raphael Lemkin Collection, Papers, 1931-1947. (Columbia University Law School, Diamond Law Library). WorldCat record id: 698700088

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Raphael Lemkin was born in June 1900 near Bezwodene, now part of Balarus. After studying law Lemkin became public prosecutor for the District Court of Poland in 1929. Lemkin had been developing an interest in crimes of racial mass murder, particularly after learning about the Armenian genocide when he was a teenager. By 1933 Lemkin was already arguing for the punishment and prevention of mass murder and he appeared before Legal Council of the League of Nations in Madrid with a legal proposal to this end, but could not find support for his ideas. After the Nazi invasion of Poland Lemkin fought for a time with Polish guerilla fighters until being wounded. Lemkin lived in the forest for months until he had a chance to leave the country. Lemkin would eventually lose 48 family members to the war and Nazi occupation.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED When Lemkin did flee Poland in 1940, he went to Sweden where he became a visiting lecturer of law at the University of Sweden, Stockholm and began collecting documents on Nazi regulations and law in the territories it was occupying. Lemkin then went to the United States in 1941 joining the law faculty at Duke University. In 1944 he published his most notable book, Axis Rule In Occupied Europe wherein he took a legal analysis of German rule in occupied countries and defined the term genocide. Due to his research in this subject Lemkin acted as an advisor to chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, Robert H. Jackson.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Lemkin remained in the United States after the war and lectured on criminal law at Yale University from 1948 and became a Professor of Law at Rutgers School of Law in 1955. Lemkin also continued his campaign to have genocide recognized as an international crime. Lemkin turned to the United Nations and began spending time there trying to persuade the delegates of various countries to take up a resolution making genocide a crime under international law. The General Assembly adopted a resolution approving his convention in December of 1948 and in Ocotober of 1950, 90 days after ratification by a twentieth country, it became international law. 140 states have ratified or acceded to the international agreement, the United States ratified the treaty on November 11, 1988. Lemkin died in August of 1959.

From the guide to the Raphael Lemkin papers, 1931-1947, (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

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SNAC ID:
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Subjects:

  • Jewish refugees
  • World War, 1939-1945--Occupied territories
  • Genocide--Sources
  • Crimes against humanity
  • War criminals--Sources
  • International crimes
  • Nobel prizes
  • Nuremberg Trial of Major German War Criminals, Nuremberg, Germany, 1945-1946
  • Military government
  • International law
  • Nuremberg War Crime Trials, Nuremberg, Germany, 1946-1949
  • Nuremberg War Crime Trials, Nuremberg, Germany, 1946-1949--Sources
  • War criminals--Germany
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
  • Peace--Awards
  • Genocide
  • World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities
  • War crime trials
  • World War, 1939-1945--Germany
  • Genocide--Germany

Occupations:

  • Lawyers
  • Compilers

Places:

  • Germany (as recorded)
  • Germany (as recorded)
  • Germany (as recorded)
  • Germany (as recorded)