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

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

by Johannes Morsink


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626166295
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
Publication date: 02/08/2019
Pages: 334
Sales rank: 837,908
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents


AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: 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 ReferencesIndexAbout the Author

What People are Saying About This

Linda Hogan

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.

Dan Plesch

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.

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