Raphael Lemkin Dies
August 28, 1959
Raphael Lemkin coined the word "genocide" in his 1944 book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. He tirelessly lobbied the United Nations for genocide to be added to international law, and his efforts to enlist the support of national delegations and influential leaders eventually paid off. On December 9, 1948, the United Nations approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Lemkin did not rest with the UN document, but committed the rest of his life to urging nations to pass legislation supporting the Convention. He died in 1959, impoverished and exhausted by his efforts.