from Raphael Lemkin's Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation - Analysis of Government - Proposals for Redress, (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944), p. 79 - 95.
Genocide - A New Term and New Conception for Destruction of Nations
New conceptions require new terms. By "genocide" we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group. This new word, coined by the author to denote an old practice in its modern development, is made from the ancient Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing), thus corresponding in its formation to such words as tyrannicide, homocide, infanticide, etc.(1) 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.
The following illustration will suffice. The confiscation of property of nationals of an occupied area on the ground that they have left the country may be considered simply as a deprivation of their individual property rights. However, if the confiscations are ordered against individuals solely because they are Poles, Jews, or Czechs, then the same confiscations tend in effect to weaken the national entities of which those persons are members.
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 by the oppressor's own nationals.
Denationalization was the word used in the past to describe the destruction of a national pattern. (1a) The author believes, however, that this [p. 80] 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.
Many authors, instead of using a generic term, use currently terms connoting only some functional aspect of the main generic notion of genocide. Thus, the terms "Germanization," "Magyarization," "Italianization," for example, are used to connote the imposition by one stronger nation (Germany, Hungary, Italy) of its national pattern upon a national group controlled by it. The author believes that these terms, are also inadequate because they do not convey the common elements of one generic notion and because they do not convey the common elements of one generic notion and they treat mainly the cultural, economic, and social aspects of genocide, leaving out the biological aspect, such as causing the physical decline and even destruction of the population involved. If one uses the term "Germanization" of the Poles, for example, in this connotation, it means that the Poles, as human beings, are preserved and that only the national pattern of the Germans is imposed upon them. Such a term is much too restricted to apply to a process in which the population is attacked, in a physical sense, and is removed and supplanted by populations of the oppressor nations.
Genocide is the antithesis of the Rousseau-Portalis Doctrine, which may be regarded as implicit in the Hague Regulations. This doctrine holds that war is directed against sovereigns and armies, not against subjects and civilians. In its modern application in civilized society, the doctrine means that war is conducted against states and armed forces and not against populations. It required a long period of evolution in civilized society to mark the way from wars of extermination, (3) which occurred in ancient times and in the Middle Ages, to the conception of wars as being essentially limited to activities against armies and states. In the present war, however, genocide is widely practiced by the German occupant. Germany could not accept the Rousseau-Portalis Doctrine: first, because Germany is waging a total war; and secondly, because, according to the doctrine of National Socialism, the nation, not the state, is the predominant factor. (4) In this German conception the nation provides the biological element for the state. Consequently, in enforcing the New Order, the Germans prepared, waged, and continued a war [p.81] not merely against states and their armies (5) but against peoples. For the German occupying authorities war thus appears to offer the most appropriate occasion for carrying out their policy of genocide. Their reasoning seems to be the following:
The enemy nation within the control of Germany must be destroyed, disintegrated, or weakened in different degrees for decades to come. Thus the German people in the post-war period will be in a position to deal with other European peoples from the vantage point of biological superiority. Because the imposition of this policy of genocide is more destructive for a people than injuries suffered in the actual fighting, (6) the German people will be stronger than the subjugated peoples after the war even if the German army is defeated. In this respect genocide is a new technique of occupation aimed at winning the peace even though the war itself is lost.
For this purpose the occupant has elaborated a system designed to destroy nations according to a previously prepared plan. Even before the war Hitler envisaged genocide as a means of changing the biological interrelations in Europe in favor of Germany. (7) Hitler's conception of genocide is based not upon cultural but biological patterns. He believes that "Germanization can only be carried out with the soil and never with men." (8)
When Germany occupied the various European countries, Hitler considered
their administration so important that he ordered the Reich Commissioners
and governors to be responsible directly to him. (9)
The plan of genocide had to be adapted to political considerations in
different countries. It could not be implemented in full force in all
the conquered states, and hence the plan varies as to subject, modalities,
and degree of intensity in each occupied country. Some groups - such as
the Jews - are to be destroyed completely. (10)
A distinction is made between peoples considered to [p.
82] be related by blood to the German people (such as Dutchmen,
Norwegians, Flemings, Luxemburgers), and peoples not thus related by blood
(such as the Poles, Slovenes, Serbs). The populations of the first group
are deemed worthy of being Germanized. With respect to the Poles particularly,
Hitler expressed the view that it is their soil alone which can and
should be profitably Germanized. (11)
1. Another term could be used for the same idea, namely, ethnocide, consisting of the Greek word "ethnos" -nation- and the Latin word "cide."
la. See Violation of the Laws and Customs of War. Reports of Majority and Dissenting Reports of American and Japanese Members of the Commission of Responsibilities, Conference of Paris 1919, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Division of International Law, Pamphlet No. 32 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1919), p. 39.
2. See Garner, op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 77.
3. As classical examples of wars of extermination in which nations and groups of the population were completely or almost completely destroyed, the following may be cited, the destruction of Carthage in 146 B.C.; the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 72 A.D.; the religion wars of Islam and the Crusades; the massacres of the Albigenses and the Waldenses; and the siege of Magdeburg in the Thirty Years War [May, 1631]. Special wholesale massacres occurred in the wars waged by Genghis Khan and by Tamerlane.
4. "Since the State in itself is for us only a form, while what is essential is its content, the nation, the people it is clear that everything else must subordinate itself to its sovereign interests." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1939). p. 842.
5. See Alfred Rosenberg, Der Mythus de 20. Jahrhunderts (München-Hoheneichenverlag, 1933, pp. 1-2: "History and the mission of the future no longer mean the struggle of class against class, the struggle of Church dogma against dogma, but the clash between blood and blood, race and race, people and people."
6. The German genocide philosophy was conceived and put into action before the Germans received even a foretaste of the considerable dimensions of Allied aerial bombings of German territory.
7. See Hitler's statement to Rauschning, from The Voice of Destruction, by Hermann W. York, 1940), p. 138, by courtesy of G. P. Putnam's Sons:
". . . The French complained after the war that there were twenty million Germans too many. We accept the criticism. We favor the planned control of population movements. But our friends will have to excuse us if we subtract the twenty millions elsewhere. After all these centuries of whining about the protection of the poor and lowly, it is about time we decided to protect the strong against the inferior. It will be one of the chief tasks of German statesmanship for all time to prevent by every means in our power, the further increase of the Slav races. Natural instincts bid all living beings not merely conquer their enemies, but also destroy them. In former days, it was the victor's prerogative to destroy entire tribes, entire peoples. By doing this gradually and without bloodshed, we demonstrate our humanity. We should remember, too, that we are merely doing unto others as they would have done to us."8. Mein Kampf, p. 588.
9. See "Administration," above, pp. 9-10.
10. Mein Kampf, p. 931: ". . . the National Socialist movement has its mightiest tasks to fill: . . . it must condemn to general wrath the evil enemy of humanity [Jews] as the true creator of all suffering."
11. Ibid., p. 590, n. ". . . The Polish policy in the sense of a Germanization of the East, demanded by so many, rooted unfortunately almost always in the same wrong, conclusion. Here too one believed that one could bring about a Germanization of the Polish element by a purely linguistic integration into the German nationality. Here too the result would have been an unfortunate one: people of an alien race, expresssing its alien thoughts in the German language, compromising the height and dignity of its own nationality by its inferiority."
As to the depopulation policy in occupied Yugoslavia, see, in general, Louis Adamic, My Native Land (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1943).
I. GENOCIDE - A NEW TERM AND NEW CONCEPTION FOR DESTRUCTION OF NATIONS (This section)
II. TECHNIQUES OF GENOCIDE IN VARIOUS FIELDS (Next section)
RECOMMEDATIONS FOR THE FUTURE (Final