How Do You Say "Genocide" in Yiddish?


Monday, November 14, 2016 from 7:30 to 9:00 pm


  • Dr. James Loeffler


Ohr Kodesh Congregation, Chevy Chase

Program Series: 

  • Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman Distinguished Scholar Series

Raphael Lemkin and the Forgotten Zionist Origins of Genocide Law

The Polish Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin is known for coining the term "genocide" during World War II to describe a new kind of international crime: the mass destruction of an ethnic, cultural or racial group. But despite decades of research, scholars have never identified the precise origins of Lemkin's idea of outlawing mass murder. In this lecture, Dr. Loeffler argues that the concept of a "genocide law" predates the Holocaust and is derived from Lemkin's forgotten role as a leader in the interwar Polish Zionist movement. Ultimately, Dr. Loeffler also explores what Zionism can tell us about the politics of the Holocaust and human rights, past and present.

Dr. James Loeffler is an associate professor of history at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. He possesses skills in English, Russian, Hebrew, Yiddish, French, Polish, and German. While in residence at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Dr. Loeffler conducted research on his project, The Holocaust and Human Right: A New Interpretation.”

This program is made possible by the generosity of Bernicez"l and Garry Lebbin in honor of their family.
This program was held at and co-sponsored by:

Ohr Kodesh Congregation
8300 Meadowbrook Lane
Chevy Chase, Maryland  20815