Lemkin, Zink, Wegner receive Righteous 2018 titles

Lawyer Rafal Lemkin, German-descended Catholic priest Adalbert Zink and Armenian genocide witness Armin T. Wegner have been  honoured with Righteous 2018 titles, Warsaw Garden of the Righteous Committee head Zbigniew Gluza informed on Sunday.

The announcement of the three laureates, chosen from among seven nominees for whom "human rights were and are more important than national reasons or ideology," took place during a gala at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The Garden of the Righteous Committee awarded the Righteous 2018 title to Rafal Lemkin (1900-1959), a Polish lawyer of Jewish origin, creator of the term "genocide" and the author of the convention on punishing and preventing genocide which, thanks to his efforts, was passed by the United Nations.

Father Adalbert Zink (1902-1969), a Catholic priest of German descent who, as the only church hierarch, did not sign the Episcopate's September 1953 declaration approving the arrest of then Primate of Poland Stefan Wyszynski.

This year's title was also awarded to Armin T. Wegner (1886-1978), a German soldier and doctor during WWI, writer and activist for human rights and a witness of the genocide of Armenians in 1915-1917. After the end of WWI, Wegner published in the Berliner Tageblatt newspaper an open letter in defense of Armenian rights addressed to US President Woodrow Wilson. In 1933, he stood up in defence of German Jews, for which he was arrested and transported to a concentration camp.

The title is awarded only posthumously. The Righteous are people who have acted in defense of human dignity in the face of the wars and atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The organizers of the gala are the Dom Spotkan z Historia (House of Meetings with History) and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.