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Raphael Lemkin

Raphael Lemkin was an attorney and professor of law who coined the term "genocide" and was responsible for the creation of the United Nations genocide convention. He was born in Eastern Poland on June 24, 1901. He studied philology, mastered nine languages, served as Warsaw's public prosecutor, and practiced and taught law until 1939, when the Nazi invasion forced him to flee to Sweden. In 1941, Lemkin emigrated to the United States on the invitation of the Duke University School of Law and was later associated with the Yale Law School. During the 1940s and 1950s he devoted most of his energy to the cursade for the international adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was adopted by the U. N. General Assembly in 1948. He continued to lobby for unanimous ratification. Although the United States failed to ratify the convention, it became international law in January 1951. Lemkin never married and died of a heart attack in 1959.

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