The Man Who Coined the Term Genocide

By Ingrid Longauerová, Epoch Times
November 19, 2014 Updated: November 20, 2014


Watchers of the Sky is a new documentary on the festival circuit that has been inspired by the man who coined the word genocide, Rafael Lemkin.

It chronicles Lemkin’s effort to have countries accepted that law could be used to protect the world against mass atrocities. 

Lemkin was a Polish lawyer of Jewish descent, who ended up living in New York. The movie examines his life and specific individuals today inspired by him to combat genocide. The filmmakers think the issue of genocide, the word Lemkin created, is just as increasing as ever. 

But Lemkin the man remains a bit of a mystery. And so the filmmaker rely heavily on a creative use of  animation to tell his story. “When I first started the film I though it will be film about Lemkin and I started doing research just about him. There was just very little material,” explains director of the Watchers of the Sky, Edet Belzberg. “As I read his autobiography, the way he describe his childhood and also the fairy tales that influenced him as a child…it just seemed natural to bring his story to life that way.”

Through animation we see his interest in humanity set against the horror of genocide. “He really believed that creativity and a beauty were so important and what we as humans have to give. I felt that bringing that to juxtapose the horror with the beauty was an important element and it would be true to his belief.”