Prevent Genocide International 
Key writings of 
Raphael Lemkin
on Genocide

Quick Guide to the Series


1933: 'General (Transnational) Danger'
1944: Axis Rule in Occupied Europe
1945: 'Genocide: A Modern Crime'
1946: 'The Crime of Genocide'
1947: 'Genocide as a Crime under International Law'

A Note on  Raphael Lemkin's Birthdate:

June 24, 1900 - not 1901

Many secondary sources incorrectly give Raphael Lemkin's birth date as June 24, 1901. The correct birth date is June 24, 1900.

The earliest source I found using this erroneous 1901 date was an article in the New York Post on June 17, 1948. Citing this article, the annual publication Current Biography repeated the error in 1950 [p.336-338]. Based on this Lemkin's obituary in the New York Times stated his age at death too young by one year. [NYT, 30 Aug. 1959]. More recently the 1901 date was repeated in the Encyclopedia Judaica [1971] and the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust [NY, 1990, 860-61]. Both Encyclopedias cite Herbert Maza's book Neuf Menuers Internationaux [Paris: Sirey, 1965, p. 246].

In contrast to these sources, the correct date of June 24, 1900 appeared in an entry in Who Was Who in America, [Vol. 3, Chicago: Marquis, 1960, p. 511] and on the gravestone erected by Lemkin's family and friends a year after his burial at Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Queens, New York. 

All primary source and official documents from Lemkin's life state his birth date as June 24, 1900, including a 1946 War Department identity card and a 1952 Social Security card application. On entry into the United States on April 18, 1941, Lemkin's age was recorded on the Manifest of Passengers for the Port of Seattle, Washington. Ten months later, on February 7, 1942 at the U.S. District Court in Greensboro, North Carolina, Lemkin swore and signed a 'Declaration of Intention' for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

There is no confusion about the Raphael Lemkin's birth place. All sources say Bezwodne a village near to Wolkowysk (now Vaulkovisk) a small city in what is now Belarus.  When Lemkin was born in 1900, Wolkowysk was part of Tsarist Russia. Between the World Wars from it was located in Poland. Since 1945 it has been in Belarus, originally as part of the Belorussian Republic of the USSR.

If you are aware of any biographical information on Dr. Lemkin's life and work, or knew him yourself, please be in contact with me at the email address below

- Jim Fussell 

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Prevent Genocide International
last updated 3 June 2003