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Raphael Lemkin was born in Imperial Russia in the village named Bezwodne. He was referred to as Rafal Lemkin. Lemkin’s parents were Joseph and Bella Lemkin. He had two siblings. His father was a farmer whereas his mother was a highly educated woman who engaged in philosophical, linguistic, and art-related works. Lemkin’s was greatly influenced by his mother and the achievements she was able to attain. At the age of 14years, for example, he was well versed with about 14 languages, an aspect that was difficult to many people (Hovannisian 125).
Raphael Lemkin attended a local trade school and upon graduation, he went to Ukraine to study Linguistics at John Casmir University. While at the university, Raphael Lemkin developed an interest in the field of criminology and thus the issue of genocide. This urge made him to enroll in the University of Heidelberg located in Germany for a degree in philosophy. It was later that he studied law and became a prosecutor. He advanced gradually into his lawyer occupation (Hovannisian 127).
In regard to his career and work experience, Lemkin worked for different law firms in different capacities. In 1929-1934, Lemkin worked as a public prosecutor in Warsaw as well as a secretary to the Committee on Codification of the Laws of the Republic of Polish. In 1930, he was promoted to be a deputy prosecutor. One of his achievements at this level was the translation of The Polish Penal Code of 1932, from Polish to English. He did this in collaboration with Malcolm McDermott, a law professor at Duke University (Martin par 7). His interest in crime grew day after day and it brought about the issue of genocide which was founded on the American Genocide. The Simile Massacre of 1933 in Iraq also fueled the genocide concept.
It was in 1934 that Lemkin resigned his job for a position of a private solicitor.
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