The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Holocaust

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334 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781626166288 (1626166285)

334 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781626166295 (1626166293)

ISBN: 9781626166301

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February 2019
LC: 2018003847


Table of Contents

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Holocaust
An Endangered Connection
Johannes Morsink

Johannes Morsink argues that the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the human rights movement today are direct descendants of revulsion to the Holocaust and the desire to never let it happen again.

Much recent scholarship about human rights has severed this link between the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration, and contemporary human rights activism in favor of seeing the 1970s as the era of genesis. Morsink forcefully presents his case that the Universal Declaration was indeed a meaningful though underappreciated document for the human rights movement and that the declaration and its significance cannot be divorced from the Holocaust. He reexamines this linkage through the working papers of the commission that drafted the declaration as well as other primary sources.

This work seeks to reset scholarly understandings of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the foundations of the contemporary human rights movement.

Johannes Morsink is professor emeritus of political philosophy at Drew University and has written three other books on the Universal Declaration, most recently The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Challenge of Religion.

"In re-affirming the importance of the Holocaust to the creation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Morsink demonstrates an exemplary and elegant use of archival sources that provides an essential inoculation against the fashionable speculations undermining universal human rights protections made by those enjoying them to the full."—Dan Plesch, Author of Human Rights After Hitler

"This is a compelling and original work that is certain to stimulate further debate about the history, nature and prospects for human rights. In a style that is fast-paced and argumentative, Morsink reinforces the important historical connections between the Holocaust and the UN Declaration, and insists on its enduring moral significance. A must read."—Linda Hogan, Professor of Ecumenics and author of Keeping Faith with Human Rights, Trinity College Dublin

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Universal Declaration as Postcard

Part I: The Historic Moment
Chapter One: New Historians and the Declaration
Chapter Two: Moyn's Dismissal of the Connection
Chapter Three: The 1940s Moment of Human Rights

Part II: The Philosophic Moment
Chapter Four: The Moral Engine of the System
Chapter Five: Portable, Not Territorial

Conclusion: Enacting the Connection
List of References
About the Author