Anorak News | Remebering Raphael Lemkin’s Genociditis

Remebering Raphael Lemkin’s Genociditis

by | 7th, December 2008


A Pole and a Jew, Lemkin had watched in horror as Hitler nearly succeeded in his plan to exterminate the Jews. Six million Jews — including 40 members of Lemkin’s family — died at the hands of the Nazis.

Today, we call what happened at Auschwitz and the other death camps “genocide.” But at the time, there was no name for the Nazis’ crimes. The word “genocide” did not exist.

In 1944, Lemkin wrote a book about the Nazis. In it, he combined the Greek “genos” for race with the Latin “-cide” for killing: Genocide. Lemkin had named the crime he spent a lifetime trying to prevent.

Lemkin fell ill. He would die ten years later. What was wrong with him, a diganosis?

Lemkin finally offered one himself: “Genociditis,” he said, “exhaustion from working on the Genocide Convention.”

His word continues…


Posted: 7th, December 2008 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink