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The word “genocide” owes its existence to Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer who fled the Nazi occupation of Poland and arrived in the United States in 1941. As a boy, Lemkin had been horrified when he learned of the Turkish massacre of hundreds of thousands of Armenians during World War I.

Lemkin later set out to come up with a term to describe Nazi crimes against European Jews during World War II, and to enter that term into the world of international law in the hopes of preventing and punishing such horrific crimes against innocent people.

In 1944, he coined the term “genocide” by combining genos, the Greek word for race or tribe, with the Latin suffix cide (“to kill”).

Originally posted 2017-12-17 22:05:59.

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