Lemkin spoke at many engagements while in Durham, such as the opening session of the North Carolina Bar Association’s 44th annual convention, where he discussed “Law and Lawyers in European Subjugated Countries.” While at Duke, Lemkin published the article “The treatment of young offenders in continental Europe” in the periodical Law and Contemporary Problems in 1942.
Also during his time at Duke University, Lemkin began writing his major work Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (1944), which analyzed Axis authority and policies in occupied Europe. “Genocide,” a term coined by Lemkin, appears for the first time in print in this book.
In 1942, Lemkin left Duke to serve as chief consultant on the U.S. Board of Economic Warfare and Foreign Economic Administration, and he was subsequently appointed as a special advisor on foreign affairs to the U.S. Department of War. In 1945-46 Lemkin worked as an advisor to the U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Nuremberg Trial Chief Justice, Robert Jackson.
Although he fought unsuccessfully to have the word genocide introduced in the trial, he later drafted and lobbied for the passage of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide that eventually took place in 1948. His work is described as “a counterintuitive leap of the imagination beyond the realm of what common sense deemed possible” by Michael Ignatieff of Harvard University.
Lemkin was nominated in 1950 and 1952 for the Nobel Peace Prize. He died in 1959 in New York.
Morel Jones, Duke 2006