Words referencing mass atrocities of the past, such as fascist, racist, Nazi, genocide, and Holocaust, carry deep historical meaning, yet these words are often misused in reference to contemporary events. Using these words too casually not only diminishes the meaning of the words themselves, but also diminishes the events that the words represent. Yet being too cautious to label an event “genocide” can be an excuse to look away or not intervene.
Join Facing History in partnership with the New-York Historical Society for this virtual educator workshop where we look to remember the meaning of the term genocide and the conditions that drove a lawyer named Raphael Lemkin to coin this term to describe a horrific crime — a crime that prior to 1944 lacked a name and legal repercussions.
By understanding the meaning of the term genocide and the human suffering to which it refers, our students will be able to use it with care while appreciating the need to wrestle with our obligations towards those victimized by a range of human rights violations.