As Winston Churchill learned the full horror of the Nazi atrocities, he reportedly said, ‘This is a crime that has no name’. The sheer scale of the mass murder made a new expression necessary: this went beyond anything seen before or since. The term ‘genocide’ was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer of Jewish descent, who lost most of his family in the Holocaust. He formed the word by marrying the Greek genos, meaning race or tribe and the Latin -cide, meaning to kill. Lemkin was also instrumental in persuading the UN (United Nations) to adopt a legal
definition of the crime and to create international policies for dealing
with it. In 1948 the UN General Assembly defined genocide as ‘…acts
committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
ethnic, racial or religious group’.
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