New Interview Discovered of Lemkin Discussing Armenian Genocide

A 1949 interview featuring Raphael Lemkin has just been found–in which Lemkin discusses the Armenian genocide. Lemkin–who is credited for coining the word "genocide" in 1943 to describe the 1915 genocide of the Armenia’s and then the Holocaust–has also played an important role in compelling the United Nations to adopt the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948.

In the recently discovered CBS interview from 1949–Lemkin talks about the UN Convention and the Armenian genocide. The show begins with a recap of various genocides throughout history. Showing footage of Turkish soldiers brutally chasing and killing Armenia’s–the moderator says:

"Yes–these folks are not playing games. They are running for their lives. Men on horseback. It doesn’t matter much who they are. Let’s say they are modern cavalry out on orders of their commanders. They are huntsmen out on the chase. Only–the prey doesn’t happen to be a fox. The prey is people. These [showing film footage of a group of Armenia’s] were the victims. They are Armenia’s and the place is in Asia Minor. But that doesn’t matter either. They could be anyone–anywhere. Of course–it mattered to them. Nearly 2 million of them were driven from their homes to perish in the desert or die before they got there. Why? Well–the reason given was that they were friendly to the enemy of their rulers; that they were a fifth column; that they were spies. Every one of the 2 million of them?."

When asked how he became interested in the Armenian genocide–Lemkin explains: "I became interested in genocide because it happened to the Armenia’s; and after[wards] the Armenia’s got a very rough deal at the Versailles Conference because their criminals were guilty of genocide and were not punished. You know that they were organized in a terroristic organization which took justice into its own hands. The trial of Talaat Pasha in 1921 in Berlin is very instructive. A man [Soghomon Tehlirian]–whose mother was killed in the genocide–killed Talaat Pasha. And he told the court that he did it because his mother came in his sleep … many times. Here–?the murder of your mother–you would do something about it! So he committed a crime. So–you see–as a lawyer–I thought that a crime should not be punished by the victims–but should be punished by a court–by a national law."


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