LEMKIN, RAPHAEL (1901–1959), international lawyer who initiated the use of the term "genocide." Educated in Poland, Germany, and France, he became secretary of the Court of Appeal, Warsaw, in 1927. Early in his career he tried to mobilize support for the international penalization of genocide, despite his view that crimes committed by acts of sovereign states are not subject to international jurisdiction. Returning to Warsaw in 1933, after the Madrid Conference for the unification of penal law, he was compelled to give up his official position. He suffered under Colonel Beck's pro-German antisemitic government. In the early part of World War II most of his family was murdered in Warsaw by the Germans. Lemkin fought in the Polish underground, eventually escaping and
H. Maza, Neuf meneurs internationaux (1965), 341–57; E. Aroneanu, Le Crime contre l'Humanité (1961).
[Josef J. Lador-Lederer]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.