II: Documents

Document 1 The defnition of ‘genocide’, by the word’s inventor

Raphael Lemkin had arrived in the United States as a refugee only three years before the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published his analysis of the legal systems in countries under the influence of the Third Reich. In it he introduced a new concept, ‘genocide’, defined below.

By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group. This new word ... is made from the ancient Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing), thus corresponding ... to such words as tyrannicide, homocide [szc], infanticide, etc. Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group ...

Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain, or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization of the area by the oppressor’s own nationals. Denationalization was the word used in the past to describe the destruction of a national pattern. The author believes, however, that this word is inadequate because: (1) it does not connote the destruction of the biological structure; (2) in connoting the destruction of one national pattern, it does not connote the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor; and (3) denationalization is used by some authors to mean only deprivation of citizenship ...

Genocide is effected through a synchronized attack on different aspects of life of the captive peoples: in the political field (by destroying institutions of self-government and imposing a German pattern of administration, and through colonization by Germans); in the social field (by disrupting the social cohesion of the nation involved and killing or removing elements such as the intelligentsia, which provide spiritual leadership ...); in the cultural field (by prohibiting or destroying cultural institutions and cultural activities; by substituting vocational education for education in the liberal arts, in order to prevent humanistic thinking, which the occupant considers dangerous because it promotes national thinking); in the economic field (by shifting the wealth to Germans and by prohibiting the exercise of trades and occupations by people who do not promote Germanism ‘without reservations’); in the biological field (by a policy of depopulation and by promoting procreation by Germans in the occupied countries); in the field of physical existence (by introducing a starvation rationing system for non-Germans and by mass killings, mainly of Jews, Poles, Slovenes, and Russians); in the religious field (by interfering with the activities of the church, which in many countries provides not only spiritual but also national leadership); in the field of morality (by attempts to create an atmosphere of moral debasement through promoting pornographic publications and motion pictures, and the excessive consumption of alcohol).

(Lemkin, 1944: 79-80, xi-xii)

Document 2 From an early speech by Hitler about the Jews

Hitler gave this speech at a public meeting of the National Socialist German Workers Party in Munich on 13 August 1920.

The Jew, in his role as parasite, is turning and must turn against national purity as a source of a people’s strength. The Jew, who is himself more nationally pure than any other people, who has not blended in with any other race for thousands of years but has simply exploited racial interbreeding at propitious moments in order to cause other races to degenerate - this same Jew preaches day by day ... that all peoples on this earth are equal, that these peoples should be bound together in international solidarity, that no people should lay claim to any special disposition, and above all that no people has any basis to be proud of anything national ...

First, [the Jew declares,] a race must be denationalized. First it must forget that its strength lies in its blood ..., for what the Jew needs in order to organize, build up, and maintain his definitive mastery over the world is the lowering of the racial level of the remaining peoples, so that he, as racially pure, will be the only one qualified to rule all others. This is the racial deterioration whose effects upon a host of peoples we observe even today ...

An additional problem is that of the physical incapacitation of all races. This means that the Jew struggles to do away with everything that he finds capable of generating strength or of hardening the muscles. Above all he strives to do away with everything that he finds might make a people healthy enough to decide that it will no longer tolerate the presence of national racial criminals (that is, noxious weeds) in the midst of the racial community but will punish them with death, circumstances permitting. This is the Jew’s greatest fear and worry, for even the strongest bolts upon the most secure prison are not so strong, and the prison not so secure, that a few million people cannot open them in the end. There is only one bolt that cannot be opened, and that is death; this he dreads the most, and therefore he yearns for the day when this barbaric punishment will be abolished wherever he continues to live as a race of parasites, although he employs it without mercy wherever he is already in control. (Spirited applause.)

(Phelps, 1968:411-412)

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