The Holocaust and Genocide

Powerful Essays
“Why is the killing of 1 million a lesser crime then the killing of one

person?” (Scream Bloody Murder). Throughout history groups of people have been

killed by ruling powers, but the unlawful acts went without title until recent events in the

1940ʼs. The mass killings in Germany activated against the Jews created a new word,

genocide. “Genocide refers to the widespread murder and other acts committed by

governments or other groups with the intent to destroy - in whole or in part- a national,

racial, religious or ethnic group” (Choices Program 1). This definition was placed by

international governments, but the word was developed by a single man in response to

the Holocaust. Grappling for a way to express the magnitude of the actions against the

Jews during World War II, Raphael Lemkin decided to create a new word to embody the

concept (Rusesabagina 136). “ʻGenoʼ is from greek meaning race or tribe, and ʻCideʻ is

derived from latin, meaning Killing” (Choices Program 4). With the creation of the word

and the definition, people began to acknowledge that genocide was wrong. During the

twentieth century, nearly 170 million people were killed by governments or political

violence, forty million of them in genocides(Choices Program 1). Nearly six million Jews

were killed in the Holocaust (Rossel 1), and nothing was done to stop it. The impact of

genocide on the victims is horrific, and murder to this degree must be prevented by

those who have the means to help.

International involvement in genocides has always been carried out with

hesitance, this is due to many reasons. The United States has a well developed selfesteem

in world views that was created over the decades, but when dealing in foreign

conflicts America is...

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... open its eyes, and take action.

Works Cited

Choices Program, ed. "Introduction : Never Again?" Confronting Genocide. Brown


Evans, Carrell. "The Bystanders." History of the Holocaust. MonDak Heritage Center.

Web. 4 Dec. 2009. bystanders.html>. Ghosts of Rwanda. Dir. Greg Barker. PBS, 2004. DVD.

Hatzfeld, Jean. Machete Season. New York: Picador, 2005.

Rossel, Seymour. The Holocaust. New York: Franklin Watts, 1981.

Rusesabagina, Paul. An Ordinary Man. New York: Penguin Books, 2006.

Scream Bloody Murder. Screenplay by Christiane Amanpour. CNN. DVD.

"Talking about genocides." Genocides. Peace Pledge Union. Web. 1 Dec. 2009.>. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Pref. Vera Farmiga and David Thewlis. Dir. Mark

Herman. Miramax Films, 2009. DVD.
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