Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish refugee from Poland, coined the word genocide in 1944 to describe what was happening in German‐occupied Europe. Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (1944)
In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Genocide Convention, which requires governments to “undertake to prevent and punish the crime of genocide.”
- Article 1 The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.
- Article 2 In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
International Accountability for Crime Against Humanity
After holocaust, Prosecution of top Nazi leaders at Nuremberg established the principle that individual officials could be held responsible for “crimes against humanity” and for implementation of policies that violated international law
Tribunals created by the United Nations Security Council are trying government officials for crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda,
What are the Crime Against Humanity ?
“Crimes against humanity” include any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:
} deportation or forcible transfer of population;
} rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy,
enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of
} persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial,
national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds;
} enforced disappearance of persons;
} the crime of apartheid;
} other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing
great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.
International Protection of Human Rights
Before the Holocaust, international efforts to oppose human rights abuses were limited to other country territory.
As a result of holocaust, the recognition that the protection of human rights is an international concern expanded dramatically with the 1948 adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
When the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany became apparent after the war, the consensus within the world community was that the United Nations Charter did not sufficiently define the rights to which it referred. A universal declaration that specified the rights of individuals was necessary to give effect to the Charter’s provisions on human rights.
Protections for Refugees
} During the Nazi era, Jews fleeing the Germans and their collaborators often found that entry to other countries, including the United States, was barred.
} Later in 1951, under the United Nation Refugee Convention, governments promised not to return refugees to places where their life or freedom would be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Reconciliation Between Christian and Jews
The Nazis exploited centuries of negative Christian teachings about Jews and Judaism to foment hatred and promote their own racist, anti‐Semitic policies
Mainstream Christian churches—Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox—failed as institutions to protest or systematically oppose Nazi persecution of Jews.
In 2000 during a historic visit to Jerusalem, Pope John Paul II expressed sorrow for “the hatred, acts of persecution, and displays of anti‐Semitism directed against Jews by Christians at any time and in any place.”
Idea of a Jewish Homeland
During the rule of Nazis in Germany, most Jews who sought to escape Nazi persecution were trapped in German‐occupied Europe because virtually no nation was willing to admit large numbers of Jews, even on a temporary basis.
After World War II, the United Nations divided Palestine into two potential states, one for Jews and one for Palestinian Arabs. The State of Israel was founded in 1948 as a homeland where any Jew could become a citizen under any circumstance.
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