On June 24, on behalf of the Armenian Embassy in Poland, Ambassador Samvel Mkrtchyan laid a wreath at a memorial plaque to Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer who coined the term “genocide” and was the man behind the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The attendees reflected on the activities of the Polish lawyer of Jewish origin, praised his contribution to raising awareness about the Armenian genocide and promoting its international recognition.
The event was attended by the pastor of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Archimandrite Taron Tsulikian, representative of the Armenian minority in the Joint Commission of National and Ethnic Minorities of the Government of the Republic of Poland Bogdan Kasprovich, Representative of the Armenian Minority in the Joint Commission of the Government of the Republic of Poland on National and Ethnic Minorities, as well as representatives of the Polish legal and expert institutions and the Polish-Armenian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the Armenian and the Polish-Armenian Foundations.
Today marks the 121st anniversary of Raphael Lemkin’s birth. Lemkin’s initial interest in human rights law was spurred after he read about the Armenian Genocide and anti-Jewish pogroms across Europe. After Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Lemkin escaped and secured asylum in the United States.
In 1942, he found a career in Washington D.C. within the War Department as an analyst. In 1944, while still working with the War Department, he wrote a book on the various atrocities the Nazi Regime had committed, entitled Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. It was here that Lemkin first introduced the term “genocide.”