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Vahakn N. Dadrian's research on the subject of Genocide

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Posted 10 February 2001 - 09:39 PM

I find Vahakn N. Dadrian's works on the subject of Genocide to be some of the most professional, well documented, and stripped out of emotions. I have met him several times in the past, and have attended some of his talks. I have been very impressed. This man is one of the few no BS professionals. I highly recommend his works. Below, I post one of his works, which is available online.
The Executions of Some of the Arch-perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide
by the Ittihadists and Kemalists, 1915-1926

Prof. Vahakn N. Dadrian

[Editor's note: The Turkish version of this article appeared in two installments in the November 2 and 3, 2000 issues of the radical-liberal Turkish newspaper Yeni Gündem, arousing great interest among many readers as well as among some officials and intellectuals. Despite the abundant exposure of the crime of genocide in this article, Turkish authorities now have been hard put to confront the newspaper. The reason is not difficult to surmise: they are confounded by the fact that these Ittihadist chieftains were caught in a web of conspiracy to have Mustafa Kemal assassinated and at the same time seize power by overthrowing the fledgling Kemalist regime. What Mustafa Kemal and his subalterns did was nothing short of a wholesale liquidation through a series of executions by way of public hangings. Prof. Dadrian plans to expand this piece into a full-length journal article with many additional details.]

The existing literature on the World War I Armenian Genocide has but scant references to the acts and methods of retribution against the principal authors of the wartime mass murder. The reasons are obvious. First of all, those who were tried, convicted, condemned to death and eventually executed by the Turkish Military Tribunal in the 1919-1920 period of the Armistice, were an embarrassment to Turkey herself. The post-war Ottoman authorities only grudgingly and with much trepidation had agreed to institute these courts martial. Pressing national interests, such as prospects of favorable or mild terms of a peace settlement, were considerations making these trials for Turkey an urgent necessity at the time. After all, the Allies had. let it be known in so many ways that unless Turkey redeemed herself by severely punishing those responsible for the massacres against the Armenians, the terms of the projected peace were most likely to be very severe.

Furthermore, the punishment of those key actors of the genocide, who had managed to escape and had become fugitives of justice, had required elaborate measures of secrecy, detective work and many illegal arrangements. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, otherwise known as Dashnags, which masterminded these punitive operations, did not provide many details revealing organizational contacts, resources and methods of intelligence. What we know about the series of executions against such architects of the Armenian Genocide as Talaat, Dr. Benhaeddin Shakir, Trabzon governor Cemal Azmi, Grand Vizier Said Halim and some other lesser figures, derives from the memoirs of the Armenian avengers who were assigned by the A.R.F. to carry out the executions. These memoirs are inevitably embellished accounts in which to the dastardly and criminal image of the victim is counterposed the heroic saga of the individual executioner. What was common to both categories of Young Turk Ittihadist leaders or functionaries is the level and duration of apprehension with which they were haunted until they died at the scaffold or by bullets.

There is, however, a third category of Turkish perpetrators, whose fatality has thus far escaped general recognition. Among these were brigand chiefs, the so-called çetebashis, who wrought havoc with thousands of trapped Armenian deportees by subjecting them to kinds of barbarities unexcelled even in Turkish history. They were most effective in their pursuit primarily because their charges, whom they led and directed, were almost entirely felons, carefully chosen bloodthirsty criminals who were released from the many prisons of the Ottoman Empire mainly, if not only, for this purpose. Then there are the chief Ittihadists who closely collaborated with Talaat and the Special Organization in organizing and implementing the massacres. Many of these were tried, convicted and condemned to death in 1926 by the Independence Court of the Ankara government on charges of conspiracy to kill Mustafa Kemal and take over the Turkish government. The brigand chiefs were killed individually by either Ittihadists or by Kemalists, whom they had joined in the Armistice period. Other perpetrators died as a result of heart attacks or strokes they suffered in connection with events related to the Armenian massacres. Finally, there is the category of suicide resulting from post-war despondency of one kind or another, and death by fatal accidents.

I. Death by Conviction and Hanging

Nearly all of these defendants were prominent ex-Ittihadists whose trials were divided into two judicial proceedings with venues in Izmir and Ankara. The fIrst series started in Izmir on May 26, 1926 and ended on the day of the verdict, i.e., on July 13, 1926, when seven conspirators were condemned to death and hanged the same day at midnight. Of these, three were involved in the organlization of the Armenian genocide, with two of them having played a key role.

1. Halis Turgut was a party operative and Parliamentarian. During the war he served as commander of a Special Organization contingent operating in Sivas province. He later operated at the Caucasus front, including the Nachitchevan region in the 1917-18 period. To escape prosecution by the Turkish Military Tribunal, investigating the crime of Armenian deportations and massacres, he had escaped in Sivas to the mountains with a small guerilla unit.

2. Ahmed Shükrü was wartime Minister of Education, a fanatical Ittihadist and arch foe of the Armenians. He was hanged twice as the rope on his neck snapped the first time, with Shükrü collapsing on the floor half-dead and finally expiring on the gallows while emitting death-rattle sounds. This man who helped send tens of thousands of inoffensive Armenian peasants to their gruesome deaths, was sufficiently terrified to cry out "Oh! alas, Oh! alas," (Vah! Vah!) upon seeing the gallows on his way to execution.

3. Ismail Canbolat. He was the right hand man of Talaat, was in charge of the empire's Public Security office (Emniyeti Umumiye), the Prefect of the Ottoman Capital, and later in the war, Interior Minister.

The second series started at Ankara on August 2, 1926. It was set aside for a group of top lttihadist leaders accused likewise of plotting to kill Mustafa Kemal and restore the Ittihadist regime and rule. The trials ended on August 26, 1926, and four very prominent Ittihadists were executed on the gallows at 10 p.m. the same night. One of them was Economic Minister Cavid, whose role in the scheme of the Armenian genocide, if any, was negligible. But the other three were perhaps the most ferocious organizers of it - next to Talaat.

1. Dr. Nazim. A central figure in the Supreme Directorate of the party and in many respects the braintrust of the very conception of the wholesale destruction of the Armenians. He operated behind the scenes and exerted great influence in the councils of the party leadership, including Talaat. He approached the gallows in a state of shock and trembling, protesting his innocence with such words as "vallahi" (I swear, I swear!)

2. Yenibahçeli Nail. Was Ittihad's Responsible Secretary for the province of Trabzon, and at the same time the head of the Special Organization forces of the province, whose Armenian population was subjected to the most severe forms of expulsion and destruction through massacres, sparing neither children, the infirm nor the old. But on the gallows he pleaded with his son to take good care of his mother and siblings.

3. Filibeli Hilmi. Was Ittihad's Delegate for the province of Erzurum, where he served as Dr. Behaeddin Shakir's right hand man, and as the chief of the Special Organization total forces of the entire region. The deportation and extermination of that province's large Armenian population was supervised by him. Like ex-Education Minister Shükrü, he too fell from the gallows as the rope snapped during the execution, and he too was hanged twice.

It is significant to note that already during the Armistice Mustafa Kemal had decried the Ittihadist leaders for their war crimes, including the Armenian massacres. In an interview with Maurice Prat, the special correspondent of Petit Parisien, he had exclaimed: "Qu' attendent les Alliés pour faire pendre toute cette canaille?" (Why do the Allies delay having all these rascals hung?).

II. Ittihad Executing Some Brigand Chiefs Involved in the Genocide

Foremost among these are two party officers who devastated the border regions in the east of Turkey with inordinate savagery and repeatedly boasted about their lethal role in this respect.

1. Çerkez Ahmed. Major in the army. He was the main assistant of Van governor Cevdet in the campaign to liquidate the Armenian population of the province. He later served under Diyarbekir governor Dr. Reshid and in the process carried out the murder of Vartkes and Zohrab, the two Armenian Deputies in the Ottoman Parliament. Charged with the crime of murder and plunder. He was court martialled, convicted and hanged, along with his consort, Lieutenant Halil, by Cemal ***** in Damascus on September 17/30, 1915. When commenting on this execution, Cemal's Chief of Staff, General Ali Fuad Erden noted, "Indebtedness to executioners and murderers is bound to be heavy... those who are used for dirty jobs are needed in times of exigencies [in order to shift] responsibility. It is likewise necessary, however, not to glorify but to dispose of them like toilet paper, once they have done their job." When ordering his court martial and sentencing, Talaat, for his part is quoted as saying, "His liquidation in any case is necessary. Otherwise he will prove very harmful at a later date" [on account of his knowledge of and involvement in the massacres).

2. Yakub Cemil. Major in the army. Like Çerkez Ahmed, Cemil played a major role in the extermination of large clusters of Armenian populations in eastern Turkey. However, he had a falling out with Enver and Talaat and began to threaten them. He too was tried, convicted and executed on September 11/24, 1916 as a result of the intervention of Talaat and his crony Kara Kemal, who succeeded in railroading his conviction.

3. Kurdish Brigand Chief Amero. After he carried out the mutilation and murder of 636 Armenian notables of Diyarbekir on orders of Governor Dr. Reshid, he was set upon by 10 Circassian brigands and killed on orders of the same governor and Diyarbekir Deputy Feyzi, two arch organizers of the mass murder.

4. Kurd Murza Bey. Kemach Defile Brigand Chief. He boasted of having killed 70,000 Erzurum province Armenians passing through the Kemach defile. He was shot dead following a decision by his superiors that he could prove dangerous afterwards on account of his penchant for boasting.

5. Cemal ***** hanged a number of Kurds for participation in atrocities against Armenians in Islahiye.

6. Vehib ***** hanged two officers of the Special Organization for organizing the massacre of 2,000 Armenian labor battalion soldiers in Susehir, Sivas.

III. Kemalists liquidating Brigand Chiefs

Involved here are three prominent Special Organization chieftains, whose brutality and bloodthirstiness against their Armenian victims constitute legends in the macabre saga of the World War I Armenian genocide.

1. Yahya Kaptan. He was in charge of the massive drowning operations at Trabzon harbor on the Black Sea littoral. Thousands and thousands of Armenian children, women and old men would be loaded on lighters, taken to the high sea and thrown overboard after being bayoneted by boatmen from other boats accompanying them. Yahya Kaptan later joined the Kemalist insurgents without completely severing, however, his ties to the Ittihadists, especially Enver. This suspected duplicity sealed his fate; he was ambushed and killed by unknown assassins in Trabzon in July 1922. It should be noted, however, that Yahya Kaptan during inquiries into his loyalties had threatened to reveal all he knew about state secrets in the event he was to be pressed hard with such inquiries and investigations.

2. Topal Osman. Milice Colonel. A veteran guerilla from the days of the 1912-1913 twin Balkan wars, Osman during the war operated in the eastern border regions, as a Special Organization brigand (chétté). He too repeatedly had bragged about his murder missions against the Armenians. After the war he too joined the Kemalist insurgents and in the process organized extensive massacres against Greek populations in the Trabzon area as reprisal, as well as against clusters of surviving Armenians. He eventually was awarded by Mustapha Kemal with the position of Chief of the Personal Guard Contingent with duties to protect M. Kemal. But he incurred the wrath of the Kemalist Deputies in the fledgling Parliament in Ankara when he lured a deputy to his home and out of spite strangled him. He was killed during an exchange of gunfire with military units trying to capture him, and his corpse was subsequently hanged in front of the Parliament in March 1923.

3. (Deli) Halit. Colonel, later General in the Turkish Army. As a Special Organization officer, he too was a participant in the killing operations in the eastern provinces. An ardent Ittihadist, he subsequently became an ardent Kemalist, while being sought by the post-war Turkish Court Martial as a suspect in the crime of massacres. A cantankerous and defiant man, he got embroiled in altercations with other Kemalist leaders and deputies and was shot dead during one of these broils in the vestibule of the Turkish parliament on February 9, 1925.

IV. Suicides of Top Ittihadists Involved in the Genocide

1. Dr. Reshid. Governor of Diyarbekir Province. Following his arrest, escape from Bekiraga prison, and recapture by Istanbul police, Dr. Reshid shot himself to death in January 1919. He was one of the most ferocious governors, who with great zeal executed Ittihad's plan of genocidal destruction of Diyarbekir Armenians, as well as multitudes of other Armenians who had to pass through that city, which was a hub for deported convoys, en route to the deserts of Mesopotamia.

2. Mahmud Kâmil. General. Commander of IIId Army, 1915-1916. His command zone encompassed the 6 "Armenian provinces," plus Trabzon province, whose extermination was entrusted to him by Ittihad and of which he was an ardent member. He gave special orders not to spare the old, the infirm, or the pregnant women from the perils of deportation. He also threatened to hang in front of his house any Muslim who might dare to provide shelter to any Armenian. On November 28, 1922 he took his life through suicide.

3. Kara Kemal. A top leader of Ittihad and the alter ego of party chief Talaat. All secret deliberations and plans of the party were under the supervision of Kemal at Ittihad's headquarters in Nuriosmaniye. He was indicted along with other Ittihadists by the Independence Court in 1926 on charges of conspiracy to murder Mustafa Kemal but had managed to escape. When caught in a chicken coop, he shot himself to death on July 29, 1926, 4 days before he was formally indicted.

V. Accidents

1. Nuri ***** Killigil. Commander of Army of Islam, Transcaucasus and Baku. Brother of War Minister Enver, Nuri was responsible for the perpetration of a series of massacres in Russian Armenia and Azerbaijan, especially the 1918 September Armenian massacre in Baku. After World War I, Nuri became a businessman and by the end of World War II he had become an industrialist, operating in Istanbul a factory for weapons and ammunition. On March 2, 1949, he perished along with others in the rubble of that factory which was blown to pieces following a huge explosion and a holocaust engulfing the entire complex in massive flames.

2. Mehmed Memduh. Erzincan District governor, Erzurum province. (Subsequently consecutively Governor of the provinces of Bitlis, Baghdad, Musul). He was the chief organizer of his district's massacres, in close cooperation with the local operatives of the Special Organization. He accumulated great wealth he acquired through his Armenian victims but died in a fatal auto accident while trying to establish a business in Smyrna (Izmir) after the war.

VI. Heart Attacks and Strokes

1. Hashim Beg. Deputy from Malatya in the Parliament. A fanatic Ittihadist and foe of the Armenians, he sponsored his son Muhammed Beg's operations as a brigand chief of the area, carrying out a series of massacres annihilating Malatya's Armenian population. Following a quarrel with an old Kurd about a stolen horse and an attack on him, Muhammed Beg is shot by the son of the Kurd. Deputy Hashim, his father, thus suffered a stroke and after much agony he died in 1917.

2. Sagir Zade. Mufti of Malatya. He directed the strangulation of the Armenian Catholic Primate of Malatya, after subjecting him to manifold tortures and body mutilations for having refused to convert to Islam. Barely back home, the Mufti suffered a stroke and died instantly.

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Posted 10 February 2001 - 09:40 PM

Bibliography of the Publications
of Vahakn N. Dadrian


Warrant for Genocide: The Key Elements of the Turko-Armenian Conflict. New Brunswick, N.J./London: Transaction Publishers. 1998.

German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide. A Review of the Historical Evidence of German Complicity. Cambridge, MA: Blue Crane Books. 1996. 304 pp.

Histoire du Genocide Armenien. Conflits Nationaux des Balkans au Caucase. Paris: Editions Stock. 1996. 682 pp., text, 19 pp. Bibliography and Index. Expanded version in French of The History of the Armenian Genocide described next. Trans. Marc Nichanian.

The History of the Armenian Genocide. Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus. Providence/Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1995. 446 pp. Text, xxviii pp. Preface and Introduction. Extensive bibliography in Turkish, German, English, French, and Armenian with annotations to selected works used in the book. Subject and Name Index.

Autopsie de Genocide Armenien. Paris: Editions Complexe, 1995. French translation of "Genocide as a Problem of National and International Law: The World War I Armenian Case and Its Contemporary Legal Ramifications," Yale Journal of International Law, vol. 14. No. 2. (Summer, 1989). 244 pp. Two Annexes and Bibliography. Trans. Marc and Mikael Nichanian.

Ulusal ve Uluslararast Hukuk Sorunu Olarak Jenosid. Istanbul: Belge Publishers, 1995. Turkish translation of the 1989 monograph cited above. Trans. Yavuz Alogan, 204 pp.

Haigagan Tzeghasbanoutiumu Khorturanayeen yev Badmakeedagan Kunnargoumnerov (The Treatment of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Parliament and Its Historical Analysis). Boston: Baikar, 1995. In Armenian. 142 pp. and Bibliography in English.


"Genocide as a Problem of National and International Law: The World War I Armenian Case and Its Contemporary Legal Ramifications," Yale Journal of International Law, vol. 14. No. 2. (Summer, 1989). Printed separately with two Appendices and Bibliography. 134 pp.

"The Armenian Genocide in Official Turkish Records: Collected Essays," Special issue of Journal of Political and Military Sociology, vol. 22. No. 1. (Summer, 1994). 208 pp.

"Documentation of the Armenian Genocide in German and Austrian Sources" in The Widening Circle of Genocide I. Charny, ed. New Brunswick, N.J., 1994. Expanded and published as a separate unit. 125 pp.

Translation of Book

Zarevand, United and Independent Turania, Aims and Designs of the Turks (Leiden, 1971) (From Armenian). 153 pp. text. xxiii pp. Preface and Foreword. Index.


"Egocentric Factors In Ethnocentrism-The Structural Patterns of Modern Nationalism." Sociologus 18, 2:45-122 (1968).

"On the Dual Role of Social Conflicts." International Journal of Group Tensions 1, 4: 371-377 (1971).

"The Bi-polar Structure of Nationalism: A Conceptual Approach." International Review of Sociology (Revue Internationale de Sociologie) 7, 3: 121-12 (1971)

"Cultural and Social-Psychological Factors in the Study of Survivors of Genocide." International Behavioral Scientist 3, 2: 48-55 (1971).

"Factors of Anger and Aggression in Genocide." Journal of Human Relations 19, 3: 394-417 (1971).

"Methodological Components of the Study of Genocide as a Sociological Problem" Recent Studies in Modern Armenian History. Cambridge MA: National Association for Armenian Studies & Research 83-103 (1972).

"Structural-Functional Components of Genocide: A Victimological Approach to the Armenian Case." in Drapkin, Israel, ed., Vicitimology: vol. III. Lexington, MA: D.C. Health and Co. 123-136 (1974).

"Common Features of the Armenian and Jewish Cases of Genocide: A Comparative Victimological Perspective," in Drapkin, Israel, ed., Victimology: A New Focus. Vol. 4, Violence and Its Victims. Lexington, MA: D.C. Health and Co. 99-120 (1975).

"A Typology of Genocide." International Review of Sociology 5, 2: 201-212 (1975).

"Some Determinants of Genocidal Violence in Inter-Group Conflicts with Particular Reference to the Armenian and Jewish Cases." Sociologus 26, 3: 130-149 (1976).

"The Victimization of the American Indian." Victimology: An International Journal 1, 4: 513-537 (1976).

"An Attempt at Defining Victimology." in Viano, Emilio, ed., Victims and Society Washington, D.C.: Visage Press. 40, 2 (1976).

"An Oral Testimony and a Written Analysis of the Sociological Factors Involved in the Armenian Genocide before an American Congressional Panel, along with the Submission of a Set of Policy Recommendations." in Hearings on Genocide, 94th Congress, Second Session Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office 6-21 (1976).

"The Naim-Andonian Documents on the World War I Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians: The Anatomy of a Genocide." International Journal for Middle East Studies 18: 311-360 (1986).

"The Role of Turkish Physicians in the World War I Genocide of the Ottoman Armenians." Holocaust and Genocide Studies 1, 2: 169-192 (1986).

"An Interview with Vahakn N. Dadrian: An Expert on the Armenian Genocide. Conducted by Harry James Cargas." Social Science Record. Special Issue on Genocide. Issues, Approaches, Resources 24, 2: 23-27 (1987).

"The Anticipation and Prevention of Genocide in International Conflicts. Some Lessons from History." International Journal of Group Tensions 18, 3: 205-214 (1988).

"The Circumstances Surrounding the 1909 Adana Holocaust." Armenian Review 41, 4-164: 1-16 (1988).

"The Convergent Aspects of the Armenian and Jewish Cases of Genocide. A Reinterpretation of the Concept of Holocaust." Holocaust and Genocide Studies 3, 2: 151-169 (1988).

"Genocide as a Problem of National and International Law: The World War I Armenian Case and its Contemporary Legal Ramifications." Yale Journal of International Law 14, 2: 221-334 (1989).

"Rapports Medicaux Dresses apres l'Examen des Cadavres des Armeniens Massacres dans les Rues d'Istanbul en Septembre 1895." Union Medical Armenienne de France 56: 10-14 (1990).

"Towards a Theory of Genocide Incorporating the Instance of Holocaust: Comments, Criticisms and Suggestions." Holocaust and Genocide Studies 5, 2: 129-143 (1990).

"Documentation of the Armenian Genocide in Turkish Sources." in Charny, Israel W., ed., Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, vol. 2. London: Mansell; New York; Facts on File. 86-138 (1991).

"The Documentation of the World War I Armenian Massacres in the Proceedings of the Turkish Military Tribunal." International Journal of Middle East Studies 23, 4: 549-576 (1991).

"A Textual Analysis of the Key Indictment of the Turkish Military Tribunal Investigating the Armenian Genocide." Armenian Review 44, 1-173: 1 36 (1991).

"Von Tatern und Opfern: Der Armenische Volkermord." Fluchtlings Forum 7, 10: 32-34 (1991).

"The Perversion by Turkish Sources of Russian General Mayewski's Report on the Turko-Armenian Conflict." Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies 5: 139-152 (1991).

"Ottoman Archives and Denial of the Armenian Genocide." in Hovannisian, Richard G., ed., The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics. New York: St. Martin's Press, 280-310 (1992).

"The Role of Turkish Military in the Destruction of Ottoman Armenians: A Study in Historical Continuities." Journal of Political and Military Sociology 20, 2: 257-286 (1992).

"A Twist in the Punishment of Some of the Arch Perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide." The Armenian Cause 10, 2: 2E-5E (1993).

"The Role of the Special Organization in the Armenian Genocide during the First World War." in Panayi, P., ed. Minorities in Wartime: National and Racial Groupings in Europe, North America and Australia during the World Wars. Oxford: Berg. 5-82 (1993).

"The Secret Young-Turk Ittihadist Conference and the Decision for the World War I Armenian Genocide of the Armenians." Holocaust and Genocide Studies 7, 2: 173-201 (1993).

"Party Allegiance as a Determinant in the Turkish Military's Involvement in the World War I Armenian Genocide." Revue du Monde Armenien Moderne et Contemporain 1, 1: 87-101 (1994).

"The Comparative Aspects of the Armenian and Jewish Cases of Genocide: A Socio-Historical Perspective." In Is the Holocaust Unique?, edited by Alan Rosenbaum. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 101-135 (1996).

"Der Genozid an den Armeniern und das Volkerecht." Phonix aus der Asche. Armenien 80 Jahre nach dem Genozid. Frankfurt am Main: Deutsch-Armenische Gesellschaft, 35-56 (1996).

"The Convergent Roles of the State and a Government Party in the Armenian Genocide." Studies in Comparative Genocide, edited by Levon Chorbajian and George Shirinian. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan (1998).

"German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide: The Role of Protective Alliances." International Network on Holocaust and Genocide 12, 3:4-9 (1998).

"The Armenian Genocide and the Legal and Political Issues in the Failure to Prevent or to Punish the Crime." University of West Los Angeles Law Review 29:43-78 (1998).

"The Historical and Legal Interconnections Between the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust: From Impunity to Retributive Justice." Yale Journal of International Law 23, 2:503-559 (1998).

"The Armenian Genocide and the Evidence of German Involvement." University of West Los Angeles Law Review 29:79-122 (1998).

"The Armenian Genocide and the Pitfalls of a 'Balanced' Analysis. A Response to Ronald Suny." Armenian Forum 2 (Summer 1998).

"The Determinant Aspects of the Armenian Genocide." Yale Center for International Studies, Working Paper series, GSO2, 1-28 (1998).

"Der vergessene Volkermord: Der Genozid an den Armeniern" in Volkermord und Verdrangung, edited by Rupen Boyadjian. Zurich, Switzerland: Arbeits-Kreis Armenien 21-53 (1998).

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Posted 10 February 2001 - 10:38 PM

Vahakn N. Dadrian, 'German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide: A Review of the Historical Evidence of German Complicity'.


Vahakn N. Dadrian, 'German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide: A Review of the Historical Evidence of German Complicity'. Watertown, MA.: Blue Crane Books, 1996. Pp. xvi + 304. Cloth $35.00. ISBN 1-886434-02-6.

The long and arduous battle to document the Armenian genocide and its implementation by the Young Turk Ittihadist government has limited the exploration of the role of other nations in the genocide. Questions about Germany's role in the massacre of nearly one million Armenians from 1915-1916 linger because of Germany's close association with Turkey before and during the First World War. Two lines of thought persist about the nature of Germany's involvement: either Germany had nothing to do with the genocide or Germany instigated it. In _German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide: A Review of the Historical Evidence of German Complicity_, Vahakn N. Dadrian, the author of the landmark _History of the Armenian Genocide_, takes the middle road. Dadrian does not accuse Germany of instigating the Armenian genocide; he argues instead that Germany contributed to the genocide through policies that condoned it and that the German government sanctioned German and Turkish officials who participated in the genocide's implementation.

At the high policy level, Dadrian finds a willingness by Germany to embrace Turkey's genocidal tactics toward the Armenians. Kaiser Wilhelm II's tolerance for the Turkish government's anti-Armenian policies filtered down to his advisers and directly influenced German relations with Turkey. Germany responded "nonchalantly" to empire-wide Turkish attacks from 1894 to 1896 against the Armenians, which resulted in approximately 300,000 Armenian deaths. Dadrian argues that Wilhelm II's lack of response to the first massacre signaled to the Turks "that Germany did not object to the emergence of a new Turkey that is purged of its native Armenian population" (13). German nonchalance toward Turkey's anti-Armenian violence continued in the wake of the 1915-1916 massacre.

Germany's pro-Turkish stance led to an official policy of "non- intervention" toward the Armenian genocide, a policy publicly justified on the grounds that Germany needed to maintain the trust of its wartime ally. While positing a policy of nonintervention, Germany actively worked to cover up the genocide and to minimize any suspicion of German involvement. Germany sent two diplomatic notes, both mild in tone, to the Turkish government which protested the genocide. Dadrian argues that the purpose of the notes lay in the dismissal of any suggestion of German participation. In addition to censoring the press and distributing anti-Armenian propaganda, Germany also created a diplomatic White Book designed to blame the Armenians for Turkish reprisals against them and to document German efforts to alleviate the situation through diplomatic pressure.

As Germany worked to disassociate itself from the appearance of complicity in the genocide, a number of German officials were involved in its implementation to varying degrees. Dadrian acknowledges that "there is no explicit evidence to suggest that such massacres were in fact intended by the Germans involved," but he maintains that German officials became "indirect accessories to crimes perpetuated by the [Turkish] Special Organization functionaries whose overall goal they endorsed, financed to some extent, and shepherded" (54-5). Germany sanctioned their involvement, both officially and through silent approval.

While most German participation in the genocide occurred through studied passivity or casual suggestion, some individuals participated more directly. High-ranking military and diplomatic officials ordered and assisted in the Armenian deportations while fully cognizant of the fate that awaited the Armenians. For example, General Bronsart von Schellendorf, the senior member of the German Military Mission to Turkey, issued deportation orders demanding that "severe measures" be used against a disarmed Armenian labor battalion. "Severe measures" was a euphemism for the killing actions carried out by the Turkish-government- sponsored Special Organization bands. Others, such as German artillery officer Major Eberhard Wolffskeel, participated more directly. Wolffskeel single-handedly laid waste to the Armenian section of Ufra, home to 25,000 Armenians, after the Turks were unable to overwhelm barricades erected by Armenians attempting to stave off deportation.

Dadrian does note, however, that a number of German officials in Turkey objected to the Armenian genocide and German involvement in it. Consular field representatives sent frantic reports detailing the ongoing slaughter of the Armenians to the German main office in Istanbul. The information, upon which the field representatives pleaded for action, was either suppressed or ignored. Those German officials who attempted to intervene actively on behalf of the Armenians encountered reprimands from their superiors.

Sanction of the Armenian genocide by Germany extended to include rewards and aid to Turkish officials closely involved in the killings. A number of Turks received the Prussian Orders of the Black and Red Eagle and the Iron Cross from the German government. Furthermore, seven of the Young Turk leaders who masterminded the genocide found sanctuary in Germany after the war. They escaped Turkey with help from three high-ranking German military officers who provided assistance with the official knowledge of Berlin. Dadrian regards the decoration of the Turks and the extension of sanctuary to them as further demonstration of official German approval of the Armenian genocide and as a sign of moral bankruptcy.

Using Turkish and German state archives, Dadrian has constructed a case for German complicity in the Armenian genocide -- and it is precisely his intent to build a case. The volume consists of two long legal briefs, each of which is approximately eighty pages, with supporting appendices. Dadrian chose to construct the volume in this manner because he wanted to identify by a preponderance of evidence those Germans engaged in criminal acts and those who abetted the crimes. This format is more than a rhetorical strategy: Dadrian explicitly challenges German authorities on a legal and historical basis to assume moral responsibility for Germany's role in the Armenian genocide.

This format has two distinct consequences for the reception of Dadrian's work. First, the lack of a narrative structure or a basic explanation of the events surrounding the Armenian genocide severely hampers the advancement of Dadrian's argument. The reader works too hard to understand the events being discussed and their implications. Consequently, the book lacks the power of works on the Holocaust that also document perpetrators, collaborators, and criminal acts, but which do so in a compelling, readable manner. Second, the legal-brief format and overt moral agenda raise questions about Dadrian's use of evidence. By its very nature, a brief utilizes only those facts that support a case and reduces opaque relationships to black-and-white terms. Dadrian's work is very black and white -- where appropriate, he identifies individuals as either perpetrators or co-conspirators and details the natures of their crimes. There are no gray areas. Dadrian also makes a weak attempt to connect the Armenian genocide to the Holocaust by using an appendix to list prominent Nazis who served in Turkey at the time of the former. While avoiding a blanket indictment of all Germans, Dadrian's linkage of the Armenian genocide to the Holocaust in this manner implies an argument of continuity which he neither supports nor adequately explores. Moral indictments of participants in historical events should be accompanied by judicious handling of evidence.

Yet despite the volume's flaws, the reader cannot help but be troubled by Germany's actions regarding the Armenian genocide. In a position of superior power, Germany made a conscious decision to support the genocidal program of its weaker ally. Germany was not a perpetrator, but it remains far removed from the position of bystander.

Meredith Hindley
American University


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Posted 22 February 2001 - 09:02 AM

The Key Elements in theTurkish denial of the Armenian genocide: A case study of distortion and falsification
By Vahakn N. Dadrian

The Key Distortions and Falsehoods in the
Denial of the Armenian Genocide.
(A Response to the Memorandum of the
Turkish Ambassador in Washington)
Prepared by the Zoryan Institute
June 1999


The Turkish government through its ambassador in
Washington, D.C. once more has ventured to intervene in the American legislative process with a view to blocking the passage of a Resolution that proposes to utilize for purposes of research and scholarship the holdings of a strictly American institution, the National Archives, which contain the World War I and post-World War I documentary records of the U.S. State Department that are at issue here. That department was entrusted with the task of collecting, through its officials and functionaries stationed in wartime Turkey evidence on the decision-making, organization, and implementation of the mass murder of the Ottoman Armenian population.

One would think and hope that a government claiming to be infused with democratic principles would only welcome such a move. For decades now the world, especially the academic world, has been told by successive Turkish governments that only solid and reliable research based on primary sources and official documents can resolve the ongoing dispute they themselves have generated about the Armenian genocide. Obviously, and regrettably, the quest for truth in this connection is, and remains, a hollow pretense. Indeed, a state system that for more than eighty years withheld authentic material on this matter by selectively denying access to its archives to a host of researchers through resort to a variety of excuses, can hardly be expected to favor a Congressional Resolution that proposes to recharge the quest for truth by introducing new mechanisms of access to similar sets of primary sources and official documents.

The overriding question, however, is not the attempt of the Turkish state to mobilize its vast resources in order to defeat this Resolution, but the quality of the impending response of the majority of the U.S. Congressmen and Congresswomen confronting this curious situation. What follows is an effort to examine with as little bias as possible the objections and sets of allegations put forward in a lengthy Memorandum by the ambassador, and to demonstrate the spurious character of some of them, and the untenable nature of most of them. In fact, practically all of these objections and allegations are part and parcel of the standard repertoire of Turkish denials that are repeated time after time blandly and almost ritually. It is as if none of them had been effectively rebutted and discredited by eighty years of research and publication by scholars not identified with Armenian interests. Given the critical importance of the problem at issue here, however, the need arises to confront this ill-founded and ill-advised challenge once more and deal with it appropriately.

This is a response that transcends the particularity of the present case of denial and may well have application for other, future manifestations of denial by Turkish authorities.

Alternate Use of the Words "Ottoman" and "Turkish"

In the period in question here, all diplomatic correspondence as well as publications by many historians and political scientists continued the tradition of previous centuries to use the words "Ottoman" and "Turkish." and "Ottoman Empire" and "Turkey" interchangeably, nor were officials and learned men of the Ottoman Empire itself always exempt from this practice. The objection to this practice is in this sense, therefore, unwarranted. Moreover, the ostensible effort to dissociate the Turkish Republic of today as a new and separate entity from the imagery one has about the Ottoman Empire is contradicted by the recent statements of a Turkish Minister of Culture, Istemihan Talay. In an interview with two Turkish journalists he publicly declared that "the Republic of Turkey is the continuation of the Ottoman Empire whose legacy is part of our history." He was speaking on the occasion of the festivities celebrating the 700tb anniversary of the founding of the Ottoman Empire. He further stated that "to be embarrassed on account of that empire's legacy is tantamount to denying one's very own being."(1)

The Allegation of "Inter-Communal Clashes"

This description denotes the idea of a kind of civil war supposedly resulting from the relative collapse of the authority of the central government. It implies that the Armenians, an impotent defenseless minority, were able to engage in armed conflict with the omnipotent and dominant Turks and the other Muslims ruling over them. The patent fallacy of such an allegation can be recognized by considering the following facts. On August 3, 1914, i.e. three months before Turkey precipitated the war with Russia, all able-bodied Armenian men in the 20-45 age categories, and later in sequences those in the 18-20 and 45-60 categories. were conscripted in the Ottoman army. What was left behind in the Armenian community was a mass of frightened. if not terrorized, old men, women and children still haunted by the memories of the cycle of the massacres that were committed in the decades preceding World War I. The question poses itself: how could these wretched people be in a position to contemplate, let alone mount, armed clashes against a population identified with and supported by a mighty empire, the Ottoman Empire? The might of that Empire was manifested in its ability to wage for four years a relentless multi-front war in alliance with two other mighty empires the German (Hohenzollern, and the Austro-Hungarian (Hapsburg). According to Vice Marshall Pomiankowski. Austro-Hungary 's military plenipotentiary, who throughout the war was attached to Ottoman General Headquarters, the Young Turk regime first liquidated the able-bodied Armenian men "in order to render defenseless the rest of the population" which, according to him, paved the ground for "their annihilation."(2)

The Redundancy of the Argument of Armenian Rebelliousness

The four instances of uprising were not only isolated, local, and disconnected incidents but, above all, they were improvised, last-ditch acts of desperation to resist imminent deportation and thereby avert annihilation. Being strictly defensive undertakings, practically all of the insurgents involved perished in the course of the operations regular Turkish army units launched against them to suppress the insurgency. By sheer chance and fortuitous circumstance only the insurgents of the Van uprising managed to survive when at last they were liberated by the advance units of the Russian Caucasus Army, which overwhelmed the surrounding Turkish defense positions and captured the city of Van. The term "chance" calls for emphasis, for but for the timely arrival of the Russian military units, the insurgents of Van were likewise doomed, given the inevitable depletion of their meager resources of defense, including ammunition and weapons, and the mounting casualties they were sustaining. A delay of two or three days in the arrival of the Russians would surely have sealed the fate of the desperate defenders. The following testimony of Vice Marshal Pomiankowski, mentioned above, succinctly encapsulates this plight of the Armenians. He characterized the Van uprising as "an act of despair" because the Armenians "recognized that the general butchery had begun in the environs of Van and that they would be the next victims."(3) A similarjudgment was expressed by Mettemich, German ambassador to Turkey. and a Venezuelan military officer of Spanish extraction who was in charge of the artillery battery relentlessly bombarding and reducing the Armenian defense positions in Van. His eyewitness
testimony has extraordinary value because, as he put it, he was "the only Christian who witnessed the Armenian massacres and the deportations in an official capacity...."(4)

The Charge of Armenian Treachery

Reference is made to "the Ottoman Armenians' violent political alliance with the Russian forces." One is prompted to ask. "what alliance" and "by which Ottoman Armenians?" In the annals of violent behavior inflicted upon defenseless human groups by tyrants, apologists have often taken refuge behind such utterly senseless generalizations. It is a matter of historical record that the leaders of the major Armenian political party, the Dashnaktzoutiun, as early as August 1914, publicly declared their allegiance to the Ottoman state and vowed as citizens of the state to fight for the defense of the country should the government, against all advice, decide to intervene in the war. It is likewise a historical fact that the religious head of Turkey's Armenian community, the Patriarch, through an encyclical, enjoined all the Armenian faithful in the provinces as well as the Ottoman capital to obey the governmental officials everywhere and loyally discharge their duties as Ottoman subjects. Nor can one dismiss the ancillary fact that the leaders of the above-cited Armenian political party did all they could to stop the Armenian volunteer movement that was gaining momentum in the adjoining Russian Trans-Caucasus, but failed. Still, the fact remains that the bulk of these volunteers eager to fight against the Turks in the ranks of the Russian army were either Russian subjects or citizens of various countries in Europe and North America. In any event, how could the presence of some Ottoman subjects, past and present, among these volunteers in any way justify the resort to the sweeping indictment of "Ottoman Armenians?" By the same token, why is the fact being ignored that thousands and thousands more Azeris and Kurds were likewise fighting against the Turks in the ranks of the Russian army? The same may be said about thousands of Jews from Russia and Europe who in 1915 served in the columns of the British Expeditionary Force at the Dardanelles and again in 1918 in the army of British General Allenby at the Palestine front. Does it not follow that there were other abiding and strategic considerations, than the participation of contingents of Armenian soldiers on the side of the Russians in the war against Turkey, in the genocidal selection and targeting of the Armenians?

Against this backdrop, the assertion that the anti-Armenian measures were but limited to the eastern theaters of war, and as such were strictly regional in thrust and scope, is simply astounding. It is belied by the grim realities of the Armenian genocide. whose sweeping compass engulfed Armenian population clusters in all corners of the vast Ottoman Empire. As one high-ranking wartime Turkish counter-intelligence officer in his post-war memoirs movingly lamented, "among those Armenians who were atrociously wasted, despite the fact that they were most innocent, guiltless, and who had committed no crime whatsoever, were the Armenians of Bursa, Ankara, Eskisehir, and Konya"(5) These involved regions and provinces that were far removed from the war zones!

The Utter Fiction of the Claim of "Relocation"

The U.S. Congress is invited to lend credence to the transparently incredible assertion that the deported Armenian population was being merely exiled to the deserts of Mesopotamia where they were being "relocated." The brutal and utter cynicism of this assertion is exceeded only by the insolence with which the intelligence of the Congressmen, for that matter the intelligence of any thinking person, is thereby being insulted. Responding to this official claim at the time, Lewis Einstein, the Special Agent of the U.S. State Department at the American Embassy in Istanbul, mocked this brand of"official euphemism.. the grim humor of paternal solicitude which usually covers the most barbarous massacres in Turkey. . . . an armed policy of deportation, and the implied sequel of extermination."(6) Another US. official, Leslie Davis, wartime American consul at Harput, in his report to the State Department described how huge clusters of Armenian deportee convoys on their way to Mesopotamia were rerouted to Harput "only to be butchered in this province...the Slaughterhouse Province."(7) The candid testimony of a Turkish general with military jurisdiction over the Mesopotamia regions in question is even more telling in this respect. In his post-war memoirs he emphatically declared that "there was neither preparation, nor organization to shelter the hundreds of thousands of the deportees.(8)

Disloyal Ottoman Armenians killed 1.1 million Muslims and 100,000 Jews"

The recklessness of this statement is matched by the sordidness attending it. More important, it reveals and unctuates the ineptness with which the picture of 100,000 entirely invented Jews is injected into the controversy. It is most significant also that the "1.1 million Muslims" figure roughly corresponds to the total number of the Ottoman Armenian population as presented by several Turkish sources! As Montaigne once observed: no one is exempt from talking nonsense; the misfortune is to do it solemnly. Essays v. 111, i.

On the Number of Armenian Victims

Without providing specifics, the Memorandum states that "the number of Armenians claimed to have perished has tripled over the last 80 years." Far from such being the case, however, that number more or less remains constant as far as credible sources are concerned. In March 1919 the then Ottoman Interior Minister relying on statistical data which the staff of the ministry had been compiling during the previous two months, publicly declared that "during the wartime deportations some 800,000 Armenians were killed."(9) Excluded from this figure are the Armenian conscripts who, in the wake of their conscription, were liquidated in stages by fellow Turkish soldiers, and countless children, young girls, and brides who were forcibly Islamised and absorbed into the mainstream of the Turkish national entity. If one discounts French and British sources, identified as they were with the enemy camp, the available German and Austro-Hungarian sources involving civilian and military officials of all ranks, and serving as wartime allies of Turkey, supply much more inclusive figures. According to these sources, the number of victims of the Armenian genocide ranges between 1.2 and 1.5 million.(10)

The Legal and Political Import of the May 24,1915 Declaration of the Allies (The Entente Powers)

In that declaration France, Great Britain and Russia accused the Young Turk regime of "connivance and often assistance" in the perpetration of the mass murder of the Armenians, at the same time warning that "in view of these new crimes of Turkey against humanity..."(11) the Allies propose to prosecute and punish after the war all the perpetrators involved. This declaration is dismissed out of hand as wartime propaganda. Quoting author David Fromkin, the ambassador likewise dismisses "the British official accounts" as untruthful propaganda reflecting the exigencies of the war. Yet historian Arnold Toynbee, who in 1916 produced the official and most comprehensive British documentation of the Armenian genocide, some half a century later in his memoirs reconfirmed his findings and reaffirmed the historical reality of that genocide. Re wrote, "the massacre of Armenian Ottoman subjects [during the Sultan Abdul Hamit era, 1894-1896] was amateur and ineffective compared with the largely successful attempt to exterminate...in 191 5...[That undertaking] was carried out...under the cloak of legality, by cold-blooded governmental action."(12)
The depositories of the state archives of the German Federal Republic and of Austria are replete with official documents attesting to the complicity of the Young Turk regime in the enactment of the genocide.(13)

The Non-Existence of "Malta Tribunals"

In the Memorandum in question, on three different occasions reference is made to so-called "Malta Tribunals" which in fact never existed and accordingly are nowhere in the respective literature cited. The British camp and affiliated domiciles were strictly a detention center where the Turkish suspects were being held for future prosecution on charges of crimes perpetrated against the Armenians, Ottoman citizens. The envisaged international trials on the new penal norm "crimes against humanity" never materialized, however - largely because of political expediency. The victorious Allies, lapsing into dissension and growing mutual rivalries, chose to strike separate deals with the ascendant Kemalist insurgents in Anatolia. One such deal concerned the recovery of some British subjects who were being held hostage by the Kemalists and who were to be released in exchange for the liberation of all Malta detainees. Commenting on this deal for the exchange which he later deplored as "a great mistake," British Foreign Affairs Minister Lord Curzon wrote the following, "The less we say about these people [the Turks detained and Malta] the better.. .1 had to explain why we released the Turkish deportees from Malta skating over thin ice as quickly as I could. There would have been a row I think...The staunch belief among members [of Parliament is] that one British prisoner is worth a shipload of Turks, and so the exchange was excused."(14)

It is, therefore, inaccurate to state that they were released because "the charges were exhaustively probed, investigated, and studied." Nothing of the sort happened. The Allies, especially the British, studiously avoided getting judicially involved at that juncture of developments. Everything was deferred for an eventual, anticipated international trial. To an incidental, single inquiry from London, Aukland Geddes. the British ambassador in Washington, D.C., on June 1, 1921 responded saying that the U.S. archives at that time already contained "a large number of documents on Armenian deportations and massacres"(15) but that under existing conditions it was not possible to assign and charge specific culpabilities to the Turkish detainees at Malta as the Allies were not involved in the specific task of prosecution that would require pre-trial investigations, the administration of interrogatories, and the application of other methods of evidence gathering. Nor did the British "exhaustively search the archives of many nations," not in 1919, not in 1920, or ever! Like so many other statements noted above, these are purely fabricated declarations to confuse the issue and confound third parties.

The Juxtaposition and Equating of Armenian Losses with Turkish Warfare Losses

Turkish historians and others identified with Turkish interests continue to resort to this artful device in order to minimize the scope and import of the Armenian catastrophe. Two distinct and separate categories of losses are cleverly collapsed into a single and undifferentiated category where one may readily play the numbers game through simple additions and subtractions and come up with wholly deceptive figures. What is involved here is, on the one hand, the category of victims of organized mass murder and, on the other hand, essentially the dead resulting from warfare with foreign armies and from other war-related causes. This is clearly stated in the report of American Major General Harbord, to which reference is made in the ambassador's Memorandum. Harbord stated that "Not over 20 percent of the Turkish peasants who went to war have returned. ..Six hundred thousand Turkish soldiers died of typhus alone...and insufficient hospital service and absolute poverty of supply swelled the death lists." Counterposed to this account is Harbord's other account dealing with the conditions ofthe Armenian victims. He referred to "the wholesale attempt on the [Armenian] race...," at the same time underscoring "the evidence of this most colossal crime of all ages [involving] mutilation, violation, torture and death.. Testimony is universal that the massacres have always been ordered from Constantinople." After announcing that "the official reports ofthe Turkish Government show 1,100.000 as having been deported," Harbord estimated the number of the Armenian victims of the genocide to be "about 800,000."(16)

The Legitimacy of the Turkish Military Tribunal Prosecuting the Authors of the Armenian Genocide

This tribunal was created through a series of Imperial Rescripts in late December 1918 and early January 1919. The issuing of them was an exercise of the type of sweeping powers with which reigning sultans were invested by the Ottoman Constitution. It was only natural that the occupants of the many Cabinet posts of successive post-war Turkish governments were enemies of the defunct Young Turk regime. So were those sitting in judgment of the Nazis at Nuremberg. One cannot just dismiss the resulting findings and judgments simply because of the presence of an animus of hostility against the accused. Given the enormity of the crimes involved, such hostility often simply becomes inescapable, but there are other yardsticks with which to assess findings and judgments in judicial proceedings.

The statement "why a government allegedly intent on eliminating a portion of its citizenry would try and convict those who committed crimes against those very citizens" is an exercise in sophistry. One needs only consider the fact that not one unitary government but disparate governments identified with disparate regimes are at issue here. Indeed those trying to administer retributive justice in the post-war era were in design and function the very antithesis of those who enacted the genocide during the preceding war.

Moreover, several aspects of the court-martial proceedings merit attention for their quality of judiciousness, despite the consideration of the fact that these trials were urged on by the victorious Allies under whose shadow they took place.

a. Using judicial discretion, the panel of judges decided to hold public trials in order to "help the defendants and facilitate their defense" and, "in a spirit of impartiality and lofty justice"(17) as avowed by this panel.

b. Led by Istanbul University law professor and president of the Turkish bar association, C. Ant, a battery of sixteen lawyers was engaged as defense counsel. These attorneys frequently and vigorously challenged the prosecutors, their witnesses, and often the panel of judges, at the same time raising many constitutional questions."(18) It is, therefore, astonishing that the ambassador, through the Memorandum, dares to declare that the defendants were tried "with almost no presentation of evidence." One wonders indeed whether he and/or his staff had ever heard of Takvimi Vekayi and if so, had ever perused its many issues. The official gazette of the Ottoman government, its supplements regularly carried many portions of the proceedings of the court martial, including the presentations of the defense counsel.

c. Before being introduced as accusatory exhibits, each and every official document was authenticated by the competent staff personnel of the Interior Ministry who thereafter affixed on the top part of the document the notation: "it conforms to the original."(19)

d. The series of verdicts pronounced by the Tribunal were based almost entirely on these authenticated official documents which had a wartime provenance and had, therefore, nothing to do with post-war "politics." As at Nuremberg, so at Istanbul, courtroom testimony was given minimal significance. This deliberately designed procedure was announced by the Deputy Attorney General on March 29, 1919, at the 16ih sitting of the Yozgad trial series.(20)

The Conviction of Top Young Turk Leaders by the Turkish Military Tribunal

The categorical declaration that "according to the trial transcripts" none of these leaders "were convicted of organizing and executing massacres against the Armenian people," is again belied by the text of the verdict. As principal ground for conviction and sentencing, which was death on the gallows, the Tribunal cited "the massacres against the Armenians" in various parts of the Ottoman Empire. Continuing, the Tribunal further asserted that these bloodbaths were "organized and executed" by "the Ittihadist [the Young Turk] leaders," a fact which was "investigated and ascertained" by the Tribunal. Among those convicted and sentenced to death were Interior Minister, later Grand Vizier, Talat, and the two top military leaders, War Minister Enver. and Minister of Navy and Commander-in-Chiefofthe Ottoman lVth army, Cemal.(21) It is likewise untrue that the "Tribunal did not convict Dr. Behaeddin Sakir and Cemal Azmi." The former was convicted and sentenced to death at the end of the Harput trial series.(22) the latter, who was governor-general of Trabzon province, was convicted and sentenced to death at the end of the Trabzon trial series.(23)

On the Value of the Turkish State Archives Relative to the Task of Documenting the Armenian Genocide

It is maintained by Turkish authorities that the evidence contained in these archives, civilian as well as military, does not in any way support the charge of genocide. Before accepting such a conclusion, however, one has to ask the cardinal question: how reliable, intact, and complete are these depositories that purportedly cover the entire evidence on the wartime treatment of Ottoman Armenians. The facts listed below cast in stark relief the dubious aspects of these archives, especially those of Yildiz, the Prime Ministry, and the General Staff.

a. For more than six decades the Turkish authorities had made these depositories containing material on the Armenian question inaccessible to most researchers. In fact a regime ofpreferential treatment was instituted. Those well-known for their pro-Turkish proclivities or open partisanship were allowed access, others were denied it.(24)

b. After the archives, i.e., some parts of them, were finally opened up to the public with great fanfare in January 1989, access to them remained, and still remains, restricted through the imposition of a host of conditions. Indeed, the government, i.e., the authorities administering the archives, reserve the right to control and, when necessary, to deny access on three grounds: 1) risk to national defense, 2) risk to public order, and 3) danger to Turkey's relations with other states, or to the need for maintaining normal relations between two foreign countries.(25)
c. Beyond these restrictions. deliberately framed general and vague terms to allow the indulgence in arbitrary interpretations, there is the practice of selectively withholding documents under a variety of excuses. This practice is applied to those researchers who are suspected of not being in line with Turkish national interests.(26)

d. Despite great impediments, the post-war Turkish Military Tribunal had been able to seek, locate, and secure an array of documents, including formal and informal orders for the elimination of the bulk of the empire's Armenian population. These documents implicated the Ottoman High Command, the Ministers of Interior and Justice, and the top Young Turk leadership.(27) Yet, nowhere can one find a trace of these archives of the Military Tribunal, which seem to have simply vanished. Nor is there any credible account as to who made the vast documentary corpus attesting to the facts of the Armenian genocide disappear, and how.

The conclusion becomes inescapable that what one may be able to glean from the Turkish archives is circumscribed and limited by what the authorities involved are arbitrarily and selectively willing to offer.

Did the Ottoman Authorities Really Punish the Perpetrators of the Massacres of the Armenians During the War?

The Turkish Memorandum sent to the U.S. Congressmen maintains that '1,376 individuals were sentenced to varying degrees of punishment...62 officials were sentenced to death and were executed...." As far as it is known former Turkish diplomat Kamuran Gürün who, citing documents from the archives of the Ottoman Interior Ministry, released these figures for the first time in his book denying the Armenian genocide. He was persuasive enough to induce noted Ottomanist and Arabist Bernard Lewis to embrace this claim in his latest work, presumably in an effort to fortify the rationale for the revising, if not retracting, of his earlier recognition of the Armenian genocide which he had seen fit to characterize as a "holocaust."(28)

In advancing this argument an obvious effort is made to once more deny the reality ofthe Armenian genocide by denying the rationale of it. Indeed, why would a government organize a mass murder and then turn around and punish some of the actual perpetrators? To the extent that there is some truth to it, the argument is neither baffling, nor devoid of an explanation. But, as explained below, the greater truth is that the limited trials that were set in motion were nothing short of being farcical. Here are the reasons.

a. Following the completion of their criminal deeds against their Armenian victims, many of the perpetrators began to be viewed as distinct liabilities for the regime. For one thing, they knew too much regarding the lethal secret operations conducted against the victim population, and some of them started to drop hints that unless they were accommodated in certain respects, they may "spill the beans." Referring to the decision of the Central Committee of the Young Turk Ittihad party to hang two such prominent mass murderers, actually a major and a lieutenant who were part of the Special Organization's killer squads, a Turkish general in his post-war memoirs confirms this occurrence. Describing them as "bloodthirsty brigands," he offers this explanation for their demise through hanging. "When deciding to get rid of them, the party's Central Committee most probably reasoned as follows: 'Indebtedness to [recruited] executioners and murderers is bound to be heavy.. Those who are used for dirty jobs are needed in times of necessity [in order to shift] responsibility. It is likewise necessary, however, not to glorify them but to dispose of them just like toilet paper, once they have done their job."(29) On the same occasion, party boss and then Interior Minister, Talat. in a cipher telegram is quoted as having declared with respect to the execution of one of them, Major Ahmed – "His liquidation in any case is necessary. Otherwise he will prove very harmful at a later date. Talat."(30)
There were several such cases where top Young Turk leaders are seen ordering the liquidation of all kinds of massacres on account of the same, or similar considerations.(31)

b. Far more significant were the circumstances under which the authorities did indeed conduct investigations and trials with a view to punishing the offenders only, however, in the end to reduce these trials to sheer travesty. A Muslim witness i.e., a Turkish peasant, for example, who insistently wanted to describe the scenes of the massacres he personally had witnessed, was put down and summarily dismissed by the presiding judge with the swear word "dog." Furthermore, those gendarmes who were less cruel towards the Armenians but still robbed them, were found guilty and were punished. "Their cases served as the basis of embellished reports about the punishment of the perpetrators who had victimized the Armenians."(32) This fact was confirmed and became public at the 11th sitting of the Yozgad trial series (March 3, 1919). Aziz Nedim, an Ottoman civil inspector, and a personal friend of Talat from the earlier days of Saloniki, had been sent to Bogazliyan, a county in Yozgad district in Ankara province, to investigate the abuses against Armenian deportees. But, in his testimony he admitted that he had received specific orders not to investigate the incidence of massacres but to limit himself to economic crimes. Attorney General Sami in that sitting concluded that "when inspectors came to the area, they confined their investigations to...plunder and fraud."(33)

In other words, the authorities were not in the slightest interested to prosecute and punish massacrers, but to stop the massive embezzlements. By virtue of these abuses the vast riches of the Armenian victim population were being personally appropriated by the organizers and executioners of the massacres instead of being transferred. as was their duty to do, to the Treasury of the state.

The whole picture is summed up by a noted Turkish publicist with a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University. He had close ties with the Young Turk leaders during the war, and for two years after the war in Malta where he, along with the former, had been detained by the British. He wrote, "a commission of investigation composed of inspectors of the Ministries of the Interior and Justice, was formed.. to punish those guilty of excesses. Some minor offenders were really punished, but those favoring the deportations being very influential in the Government, the whole thing amounted more to a demonstration rather than a sincere attempt to fix complete responsibility."(34)

Hitler, the Holocaust, the Nuremberg Trials and the Armenian Genocide

Hitler's reported reference to "the annihilation of the Armenians," the veracity of which is being questioned in the Memorandum, is but one of the indices that describe the historical and legal interconnections between the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust.(35) Nor is that reference the only one that portrays Hitler being inspired and encouraged by the impunity accruing to the authors ofthe Armenian Genocide. Eight years earlier, in June 193 1, Hitler is reported to have included in his list the case of "the extermination of the Armenians," among the mass murders in history that he perceived to have been successful operations.(36)

Even though it is true that the 1939 document in question was not ultimately used at Nuremberg, where it was introduced as a prosecution exhibit, because of strong objections by German defense counsel, that does not mean that it is invalid. At the time of the Nuremberg trials there were uncertainties regarding the provenance and venue of the document containing Hitler's statement. However, noted American specialist in this field, Gerald L. Weinberg, explained in his book and subsequently in a communication to the New York Times that the provenance and the source of the document was later identified to be the main note taker of Hitler's secret speech, namely, Admiral Canaris, the chief of the Counter-Intelligence Department of the German Armed Forces High Command (Abwehr). Weinberg gives credence to the authenticity of the document by emphasizing the more solid reliability of Canaris as a source compared to the other two sources in which Hitler's respective words are missing.(37)

The organic character of the links between the two foremost genocides of this century is a recurrent theme in the works of some prominent experts of international law. These links are treated as the byproduct of the failure to prosecute the first of the two genocides. But as Bassiouni pointed out, "the fact that a crime is not prosecuted does not negate its legal existence."(38) Still, through this type of existence it may help generate and sustain the existence of other crimes emulating it. This is the sense in which Bassiouni links the mass murder of the Armenians "now commonly referred to as genocide [and which] remained unpunished," to the calamity of World War II. "The crimes against the laws of humanity" attending the World War I Armenian genocide, were "prosecutable and punishable international law crimes.. .The reluctance [to deal with them] came back to haunt" the world.(39)

The summary judgment of another international law expert is more trenchant as it links the two genocides even more closely by suggesting that the second genocide was conditioned, if not pre-conditioned, by the first genocide, on account of it having remained unpunished. He wrote, "Nothing emboldens a criminal so much as the knowledge he can get away with the crime. That was the message the failure to prosecute for the Armenian massacre gave to the Nazis. We ignore the lesson of the Holocaust at our peril."40 Middle East historian Howard M. Sachar concurred when in his respective book he wrote, "The [Armenian] genocide was cited approvingly twenty-five years later by the Führer... who found the Armenian 'solution' an instructive precedent."(41)

Raphael Lemkin, International Law and the Armenian Genocide

One of the signal after-effects of the Nuremberg trials was the general realization that, irrespective of the impact upon the rest of the world of their punitive thrust, Nuremberg rendered paramount service to humankind by directing attention to the fact that a crime of that magnitude should never be left untreated but should rather be fully exposed. In a sense the degree to which such a crime is exposed is a condition that often determines the scope and effectiveness of the ensuing punishment.

Conversely, the impunity renders the crime debatable, infects its legacy with contagiousness and tends to make it for others with comparable propensities a venture worth emulating. These possibilities were underlined by none other than Albert Speer, who was one of the most trusted cohorts of Hitler and who with great competence ran the affairs of the Nazi munitions and armaments industry. After serving some time in Spandau prison as a Nazi war criminal - the charges against him were "war crimes "and "crimes against humanity" - he came up with a volume containing his memoirs. In it he wrote that the war criminals of World War I were allowed to escape punishment. Yet, punishment "would have encouraged a sense of responsibility on the part of leading political figures if after the First World War the Allies had actually held that trials they had threatened."(42)

The Turkish ambassador's Memorandum disputes that the U.N. ever recognized the Armenian Genocide. But the fact is that the very crystallization of the new international legal norm "crimes against humanity," long before Raphael Lemkin conceived and developed its equivalent, "genocide," has its origin in the public recognition of the Armenian genocide by the three principal Allies in World War I, Great Britain, France and Russia. These three Entente powers, by their May 24, 1915 declaration threatening the Turkish officials with prosecution and punishment, ushered in the new doctrine that made the notion of crimes against humanity synonymous with that of genocide. The Turkish perpetrators were officially and publicly threatened with punishment on grounds of the charge of the then evolving, organized mass murder of the Armenians. i.e., the empire-wide massacres, which for the first time were defined as "crimes against humanity." The development of this doctrine into a legal norm to be embodied in the 1919 Report of the Commission on the Responsibilities of the Authors of War and on Enforcement of Penalties for Violations of the Laws and Customs of War, then in the Nuremberg Charter, and subsequently into the Preamble and the main body of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, are topics fully covered in the respective literature focusing on the international law aspects of the problem.(43)

As to the question of a specific recognition of that genocide, these are the facts. The Subcommission on Human Rights, a vital component of the U.N., in August 1985, after having been deadlocked for more than fourteen years, finally decided to vote on the respective Resolution contained in the special rapporteur's report that had been in preparation for several years. In it, Benjamin Whitaker, the British specialist and its author. after eight years of meticulous research, had concluded that the World War I Armenian experience at the hands ofthe Turks was a case of "genocide" as defined by the U.N. Convention on Genocide.(44) Despite insistent and persistent TurLie 5 May 98/ ht 4ebThe construction of a meaning system to legitimize a new social order: the case of ArtsaxThe collapse of the Soviet Union triggered unprecedented processes of rapid and long-term transitions in virtually all aspects of life -- social, political, economic, religious, cultural, and territorial -- in what is now known as former Soviet space.The case of Nagorno Artsax serves as an example of how a former Soviet-society is creating a new social order through a process of multi layerverwhelming vote opted to accept it.

Of all the members of the U.N.. as far as it is known, it is only Turkey that is continuing to interpret this outcome as meaning that the U.N. "never recognized" the Armenian genocide!(45)

In line with this stance, it is further maintained that the Nuremberg trials "were not genocide trials" but trials prosecuting only war crimes. This fallacy too requires correction. The Nuremberg Charter, as a new code of international law, clearly states that "crimes against humanity" are "crimes against peace." or are "war crimes." The tribunal consistently tried to link together these three forms of offenses. As Bassiouni pointed out, "the inclusion of 'crimes against humanity' in both the Nuremberg Charter and the indictment represented a significant.. advance in international criminal law.. it was intended to include offenses committed by a state against civilians, including its own nationals, during the preparation and the waging of war."(46) In other words, in Nuremberg military aggression and wartime domestic genocide were inter-linked. This is a condition that aptly fits the Turkish model of genocide. Without provocation. but under German prodding and generous promises of rewards, the Ottoman Turks intervened in the war by attacking Russia unilaterally, thereby provoking the intended Russo-Turkish war. Nor can one easily dissociate the circumstances of that war from the circumstances of the likewise provoked and intended Armenian genocide.

A related misstatement attaches to the declaration that "the crimes against humanity punished under the Nuremberg Charter were not required to be directed against a particular national, ethnic or racial group. Article 6c of that Charter in plain English refers to the condition: "persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds...."(47) If an individual is persecuted for belonging to a racial or religious group, does it not follow then that the essential target of the persecution is the racial or religious group and that against this central fact the persecution of the individual is merely an incidental fact?

The Relevance and Significance of the U.S. Archives

Unlike the three Entente Powers who were allies, Great Britain, France and Russia, the United States had the distinct advantage of having in wartime Turkey a network of consuls in such cities in the interior as Harput, Trabzon, Aleppo, Mersin (Adana), and, of course, in the Ottoman capital, Istanbul; at different times it also maintained consular agents in Urfa, Samsun and Erzurum. Therefore, the U.S. government was in a unique position to observe at close hand and record through these American diplomats and functionaries the events in question up to April 1917, when the U.S. joined the above-cited Allies to wage war against the opposing Central Powers and accordingly broke off diplomatic relations with Ottoman Turkey.

This fact renders the American archives highly relevant for the thorough study ofArmenian deportations and massacres. That relevance is matched by the significance that attaches to the neutrality the U.S. government maintained for three years. During this period American representatives stationed in various parts of Turkey ended up becoming an invaluable resource as they were afforded the singular opportunity to document through the prism of neutrality the origin and evolution of a major case of centrally organized mass murder.

In questioning the reliability of the testimony provided by these American officials, aspersions are cast upon the latter's presumed sources, in the process blaming "missionaries,t' the incidence of "anti-Muslim bigotry," and above all, Ambassador Henry Morgenthau. Within the confines of this mind-set, it is as if the stories of the Armenian genocide are just an array of falsehoods maliciously fabricated by the representatives of the U.S. government who, in reckless disregard of the mandates of their official duties, deliberately misinformed and misled their superiors in Washington. Space limitations prevent tackling every one of these arguments, but a brief review of the deprecations leveled against Ambassador Morgenthau may suffice to exemplify the questionable premises of this attitude of discrediting the U.S. archives dealing with the fate of the Armenians in World War I.

What is at issue here is the nature, dimensions, and above all the outcome of the wartime treatment of the Ottoman Armenian population by the Young Turk regime in power during that war. Compared to this central concern, everything else remains incidental. Morgenthau's numerous reports to the State Department and his post-war memoirs unambiguously confront and tackle this central concern. As pointed out by a few detractors, he may have erred in some respects, blundered in other respects, and in the description of some events in his book he may have submitted to the impulses of his ghostwriter to embellish certain points, and yielded to the pressures of a superior at one point or other. But two paramount facts more than offset these shortcomings, which are endemic in all such cases. I. In terms of authenticity and utmost reliability, his wartime reports take precedence over the import of his book. 2. Nevertheless, both source entities, i.e., the ensemble of his wartime reports, and his book, do converge in the crystallization of a quintessential theme that constitutes Morgenthau's central message: He emphatically confirms the genocidal intentions of the leaders of the Young Turk regime and equally emphatically affirms the reality of the intended genocidal outcome. He summarized his wartime findings by incorporating in his book a chapter that bears the title, The Murder of a Nation.(48) These facts clearly signal the extraordinary value of the U.S. archives in terms of resolving the controversy on the Armenian genocide. Anyone who may have any doubts on this may consult the following references in the U.S. National Archives.

R.G. 59.867.4016/74 (July 10, 1915)
R.G. 59.867.4016/70 (August 11, 1915)
R.G. 59.867.4016/117 (September 3,1915)
R.G. 59.867.4016/162 (October9, 1915)
R.G. 59.867.4016/797.5 (November 4, 1915)
R.G. 59.867. 00/798 1/2 (November 18, 1915)
R.G. 59.867.4016/799.5 (December 1, 1915)

Moreover, Morgenthau's successor continued to report "the horrors of the anti-Armenian campaign" about which the U.S. Embassy was "in receipt of ample details." On Oct. 1, 1916, U.S. Charge Hoffman Philip advised the State Department to "threaten to withdraw our diplomatic representative from a country where such barbarous methods are not only tolerated but actually carried out by order of the existing government." (R.G. 59.867.4016/297). Abram Elkus, the next U.S. Ambassador, on Oct.17, 1916, in a cipher telegram reported to Washington that "...deportations accompanied by studied cruelties continue.. forced conversions to Islam perseveringly pushed, children and girls from deported families kidnaped... Turkish officials have now adopted and are executing the unchecked policy of extermination through starvation, exhaustion, and brutality of treatment hardly surpassed even in Turkish history." (R.G. 59.867.4016/299).

And yet, the assault against Morgenthau continuous unabated. The Turkish ambassador's Memorandum describes him as a man who "sought to vilify the Ottoman Empire." His motives are questioned because in a letter to President Wilson he admitted that he wanted to go public with the evidence he had gathered during his ambassadorship on the fate of the Armenians and thereby "win a victory for the war policy of the government." Through the misuse of this quotation an important ancillary fact is being ignored, however. That letter was written on November 26,1917, eighteen months afier the Ambassador had lefi his post in Turkey and the material he proposed to use for his book was essentially of wartime provenance.

Given these facts, a brief review of the work (that is included in the ambassador's brief bibliography) of an author who has been leading the assault against Morgenthau may be called for. He is recognized as a principal source for the attempts to discredit Morgenthau and thereby give impetus to the Turkish endeavor to deny the Armenian genocide. The reference is to Heath Lowry who, by questioning the reliability of Morgenthau as a source, is believed to be trying to indirectly invalidate the Armenian genocide story that is anchored on the accounts of Morgenthau.

Lowry's preoccupation, if not obsession, with the goal to undermine the testimony of Ambassador Morgenthau apparently has driven him to remain fixated with the image of a few ailing trees - the purported flaws of Morgenthau's book - thereby ignoring the robustness of the forest - the fundamental truth about the extermination of the Ottoman Armenian population punctuating the book as a whole. Lowry observes, for example, that a particular passage in Morgenthau's book cannot be found in his diary, the accounts ofwhich avowedly are reflected in his book. Suspecting contrived fictiveness, he promptly accuses Morgenthau of "slander." In that passage Talat is reported to have declared to Morgenthau, who once more had tried to intercede on behalf of the Armenians, that "We are through with them. That's all over."(49) Yet, German ambassador Bern storff in his memoirs quotes Talat almost in identical terms. As Bern storff wrote, "When I kept pestering him about the Armenian Question, he once said, What on earth do you want? The question is settled, there are no more Armenians?"'50

Moreover, Lowry in his further effort to disparage Morgenthau reproduces excerpts from a letter by George Schreiner who, for nine months in 1915, had served as Associated Press correspondent in Turkey. In those passages Schreiner attacks Morgenthau for being critical of the Turks and some of their leaders. And yet his book, itself, has many accounts of atrocities committed against the Armenians, who "are going through hell again. I have heard that some have been burned alive. ..Massacres are said to continue. . . . that shocking phase of barbarity. . . . It is out in the open. in the waste places, that the worst comes to pass...My efforts to do my duty[to get out a story on the Armenian outrages] have prejudiced the Turkish censors against me."(51) So much for Lowry's quest for discernment with respect to rectitude and forthrightness.
Despite all this, however, Lowry felt constrained to make an admission at the end of his respective booklet. He declared that Morgenthau's "wartime dispatches and written reports...submitted to the U~S. Department of State," rather than his book are "the real" material on which to base any pertinent study, including the wartime Armenian experience.(52) It may, therefore, be appropriate at this juncture to end this segment of the discussion with the adducing of excerpts from a nine-page "Private and Confidential'9 letter Morgenthau sent to Secretary of State Robert Lansing on November 18, 1915. The significance ofthese statements is accented by the fact that for unknown reasons they are excised from the printed version of the document in the respective volume put out by the State Department in 1939. These excerpts succinctly encapsulate Morgenthau's verdict on "the Murder of [the Armenian] Nation."

I am firmly convinced that this is the greatest crime of the ages...massacres accompanied with rape, pillage and forced conversions.. Unfortunately the previous Armenian massacres were allowed to pass without the great Christian Powers punishing the perpetrators thereof,' these people believe that an offense that has been condoned before, will probably be again forgiven.. It was a great opportunity for them to put into effect their long cherished plan of exterminating the Armenian race and thus finish once for all the question of Armenian reforms which has so often been the cause of European intervention in Turkish affairs.(53)


In the history of human conflicts, including international conflicts with outcomes involving capital crimes. one may rarely see a perpetrator who, for a variety of reasons managed to escape punishment, voluntarily come forward and admit guilt. More often than not, such admissions are exacted either by total defeat and surrender at the end of a military conflict, or by circumstances affording a trial in a court of law where the availability of compelling evidence may preempt the possibility of routine denial. In the case of a capital crime of the type of genocide, power relations are of dual import. One needs superior power to overwhelm and decimate an impotent and vulnerable victim group but, perhaps equally important, one may proceed to deny that crime if in the aftermath of it one's power position continues to hold or even increases. The persistent and often truculent denial of the Armenian genocide for more than eight decades by the Turks and their few partisan advocates is a function of this type of power leverage. One remedy or antidote against this posture is less equivocation or verbal gymnastics, and more firmness of purpose that is anchored on the twin pillars of American democracy and civilization: truth and justice. For too long American men of politics, largely influenced by the guardians of military and commercial interests, have opted to accommodate, at almost any price, the Turks, some of whom these days are wont to brag that they are "the spoiled brats of the Americans!" But are commerce and politics and military procurement everything? Are there not thresholds which, when crossed, one should have the fortitude to say no and call the bluff in face of the type of warnings and threats for which the Turks have special aptitudes?

Political alliances as a rule are temporary arrangements and are, therefore, unstable combinations, always liable to transformation and even reversal. But a nation's ascendancy to a high level of self-fulfillment needs to be energized by a commitment to more abiding principles and ideals than the proclivities for dollar diplomacy and the skill to calibrate political interests that are often ephemeral.
America's destiny is foreshadowed in the legacy of such pillars of political idealism as Jefferson and Lincoln. who knew how to be mindful of the binding constraints of probity in the regulation of national and international affairs.

In the context of this essay it is worth focusing in particular on Jefferson. whose love for organizing a library was emblematic of his passion for accumulating and transmitting knowledge over many generations. He helped found the Library of Congress and, after fire destroyed its collection, he offered his own library to the Congress. Just as libraries are much cherished as fertile grounds for the pursuit of knowledge and truth. so are national archives. The resolution before the Congress will serve as a crucible for those Congressmen and Congresswomen who may prefer to adhere to the legacy of Thomas Jefferson by granting the mandate this resolution is seeking. Let the National Archives serve the lofty purpose for which they were created. Let the truth emerge, shine through and liberate us all from the ongoing scourge of a corrosive denialism.


1. Türkye (Turkish newspaper in Istanbul), March 1, 1999. The interviewers are identified as Nihat Kasikci and Hasan Yilmaz.

2. Joseph Pomiankowski, Der Zusamnzenbruch des Ottonianischen Reiches (The collapse of the Ottoman Empire). Graz, Austria, 1969, p.160.

3. Ibid.

4. German Foreign Ministry Archives. A.A. Türkei 183/40, A25749, September 18, 1916 report, p. 25. This source contains Ambassador Metternich's reference. For the Venezuelan officer's account, see Rafael de Nogales. Four Years Beneath the Crescent. M. Lee, trans. New York: Scribner's. 1926, pp. 1, 72-97.

5. Ahmet Refik (Altinay), Iki Komite, Iki Kital (Two committees, two massacres). H. Koyukan, ed. Ankara:
Kekibec Publications. 1994, p.27.

6. Lewis Einstein, "The Armenian Massacres." Contemporary Review 616 (April 1917): 490.

7. Leslie A. Davis, The Slaughterhouse Province. An American Diplomat 's Report on the Armenian Genocide
1915-J9]7. Susan K. Blair. ed. New Rochelle. NY: Caratzas. 1989, p.181.

8. Orgeneral Ali Fuad Erden, Birinci Dünya Harbinde Suryec Hatiralari (Syrian memoirs of World War I), vol.1. Istanbul, 1954, p.122.

9. Alemdar (Turkish newspaper in Istanbul), March 15, 1919. Takvimi Vekayi No. 3909, July 21, 1920, pp.
3, 4. The minister in question was Cemal.

10. According to German Interim Ambassador to Turkey, Radowitz, 1.5 million Armenians died and 425,000 survived. A.A. Türkei 183/44. A27493, October 4, 1916 report. The German parliamentarian, Foreign Office Intelligence Director, and later Cabinet minister, Erzberger, estimated 1.5 million victims. A.A. Tükei 183/42, A] 3959, May27, 1916 report. German major Endres, serving in the Turkish army, estimated that "1.2 million Armenians perished in Turkey during the war." Die Türkei. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1918, p. 161. Austrian Vice Marshal Pomiankowski declared that "approximately one million Armenians perished," [n. 2], p.160. Austrian consul at Trabzon and Samsun, Dr. Kwatkiowski, reported to Vienna on March 13, 1918 that "in round figure 1 million Armenians were with studied cruelty deported from the six eastern Anatolian provinces as well as from Trabzon province and Samsun district. From these only a fraction could escape death." Austrian Foreign Ministry Archives 12 Türkei/380, ZI.l7/pol. Austria-Hungary's Adrianople (Edirne) consul Dr. Nadamlenzki reported that from the entire realm of the Ottoman Empire, including its European part, by October29, 1915 "already 1.5 million Armenians were deported." 12 Türkei /463. Z.94/P.

11. Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The Historical and Legal Interconnections Between the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust: From Impunity to Retributive Justice." Yale Journal of International Law 23, no.2 (Summer 1998): 504.

12. Arnold Toynbee, Experiences. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969, pp.241,341.

13. Vahakn N. Dadrian, "Documentation of the Armenian Genocide in German and Austrian Sources." In I. Charny, ed., The Widening Circle of Genocide. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Pub., 1994, pp.77-125.

14. British Foreign Office Archives. FO 371/7882/E4425. folio 182.

15. FO 371/6503/E631 1, folio 34.

16. Harbord Report to the U.S. Secretary of State, "American Military Mission to Armenia." International Conciliation, CLI (151), [New York] (June 1920): 280,281,282.

17. Vahakn N. Dadrian, "Genocide as a Problem of National and International Law: The World War I
Armenian Case and Its Contemporary Legal Ramifications." Yale Journal of International Law 14, no.2
(Summer 1989): 297.

18. Ibid. pp.304-307.

19. Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The Documentation of the World War I Armenian Massacres in the Proceedings
of the Turkish Military Tribunal." International Journal of Middle East Studies 23, no.4 (November 1991):

20. Ibid.

21. Takvimi Vekayi no.3604, p.219, right hand column. The verdict was issued on July 5, 1919 and the text of the conviction and sentence rendition was published on July22, 1919.

22. Takvimi Vekayi no. 3771, p.2, lefi hand column. Conviction was announced on January 13, 1920, the text of the conviction and sentence rendition was published on February 9, 1920.

23. Takvimi Vekayi no. 3616, p.3. left hand column. Conviction was announced on May 2, 1919, the text of the conviction and sentence rendition was published on August 6, 1919.

24. For example, author Ulrich Trumpener was denied such permission. Germany and the Ottoman Empire
1914-1918. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968, Preface, pp. vii i-ix; Stanford Shaw, on the other hand. had all this time free access to the same archives. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Vol II, Reform, Revolution and Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977, Preface, pp. viii, xvii.

25. Resmi Gazete (Official Gazette), no.20163, May 12, 1989, Cabinet Council's no.89/14028 decision, pp.
1-6; the three conditions are contained in article 10, subsections a and b.

26. In an interview with the editor of an Armenian newspaper in the United States, Ara Sarafian, a doctoral candidate of history at the University of Michigan, recounted the vexing problems of this type he had in the Yildiz archives in Istanbul. Three prominent authors, Justin McCarthy, Kemal Karpat, and Mim Kemal Oke, known for their works categorically denying the Armenian genocide, had had free access to the documents ofthis archive. When Sarafian proposed to check some of their published claims, statistical figures and other data, he was invariably prevented from doing so by a variety of pretexts, including the occasional assertion that no such documents exist, or that they can not be found. In one particular instance involving Karpat's treatment of the Yildiz Perakende collection, Sarafian tried to check some material cited by Karpat, but was told that the collection was "closed" and had never been "open." Hairenik, (May 13, 1993): 5. A summary of that account also appeared in Zeitschrift für Türkeistudien issue no. 1(1993).

27. Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The Turkish Military Tribunal's Prosecution of the Authors of the Armenian Genocide: Four Major Court-Martial Series.'1 Holocaust and Genocide Studies 11, no.1 (Spring 1997): 32.

28. Kamuran Gurun, Ermeni Dosyasi. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1983, pp. 221-222. The English translation is in The Armenian File. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1985, pp.212-213.

29. Erden, Birinci Dunya Harbinde [n. 8], p.217. The brigands involved were Major Ahmed and Lieutenant Halil in whose belongings were found, among other things, "blood-stained ornamental gold coins." (p.218).

30. Ziya Sakir, Yakin Tarihin Üc Büyük Adami (The three great men from the recent past). Istanbul: A. Sait Pub., pp.57-59. Falih Rilki (Atay), Zeytindagi (Mount Olive). Istanbul: Ayyildiz, 1981, p.67. It should be recognized in this respect that not only IVth Army Commander Cemal in Syria and Palestine, but also Ill~ Army Commander Vehib Pasa in eastern Turkey, despite their strong ties to the Ittihad Party, refused to embrace the secret genocidal agenda of the party's top leadership and whenever they could they tried to resist and discourage the attendant massacres. In 1916, for example, Vehib court-martialed and hanged a gendarmery commander and his accomplice for organizing the massacre of some 2,000 disarmed Armenian labor battalion soldiers. He subsequently issued a proclamation threatening similar swift retribution against any and all who might be tempted to attack and harm the Armenians in the process of being deported. Ariamard (Istanbul), December 10, 1918. Cemal Pasa acted similarly. In 1916, for example, he executed a gendarmery officer on charges of rape and assault. Austrian Foreign Ministry Archives, Consul Ranzi's February 15, 1916 report to Vienna. 12/463. No.4/P

31. See a brief account of these operations of post-crime liquidation, including those undertaken by the
Kemalists in Vahakn N. Dadrian. "A Twist in the Punishment of Some of the Arch Perpetrators of the
Armenian Genocide." The Armenian Cause 10, no.2 (May 1993): 2E-5E.

32. Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate Archives, Series 17, file Ho, pp.37, 38, and p.163 of report no.67
relayed to the Interior Minister by one of the four commissions which Minister Talat had sent to Anatolia to
investigate the abuses committed

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 07:30 AM

Children as Victims of Genocide:

The Armenian Case


Vahakn N. Dadrian

Director of Genocide Research, Zoryan Institute

Presented at
International Association of Genocide Scholars
Fifth International Biennial Conference
Irish Human Rights Center
Galway, Ireland
June 6-10, 2003

Contact: P.O. Box 99
Conesus, NY 14435-0099


The General Picture

The Variety of Methods of Liquidation of Children

Trabzon: A Microcosm of Multi-Level Child-killings

The Drowning Operations and Serial Rapes

Other Sites of Drowning and Serial Rapes

The Scope of Homosexual Rapes

The Holocaust of Armenian Children:

Infernal Mass Deaths by Burning Alive

The Elements of License for Fiendishness Against Armenian Children

Scant Exceptions of Benign Turks


Children as Victims of Genocide: The Armenian Case

The General Picture

The centrally organized mass murder of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire during World War I is considered to be the first major genocide of the twentieth century. Moreover, many scholars of the Holocaust (Y. Bauer, L. Davidowicz, I. L. Horowitz, I. Charny, R. Rubenstein) in a variety of ways recognize that the Armenian Genocide was more than a mere precedent. It in fact became a connecting link to the subsequent Jewish Holocaust by virtue of the impunity that was accorded to the perpetrators of that genocide by the civilized world. It is, therefore, no accident that on the granite wall of the Exhibition Hall of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., is engraved in block letters Hitler's following statement: "Who after all is today speaking of the destruction of the Armenians?" The Nazi leader was reassuring his field commanders on the eve of World War II that his impending genocidal initiatives too were likely to be consigned to oblivion.

Since genocide refers to the wholesale extermination of a given religious, ethnic or nationality group, victims of this capital crime invariably include children who are often an integral part of the
population. For this very reason, the subject of the genocidal fate of
Armenian children has been generally subsumed within that of the entire
victim population and not generally treated as a separate and distinct
subject of study. This may be understandable at the operational level of the crime of mass murder where differences of age, gender, socio-economic status, religion, ethnicity or nationality tend to dissolve themselves abruptly. They all collapse into an undifferentiated
category of people targeted for imminent destruction. However, in recent decades attempts have been launched with a view to discerning certain features or patterns that stand out with respect to the genocidal treatment of children. This attempt provides a perspective through which children are viewed as a distinct subcategory within the overall victim population.

The study of the Armenian Genocide affords the identification and examination of such a subcategory. Several factors played a role in this occurrence, but most particularly the ideology of the perpetrator group, the historical background of the Turkish-Armenian conflict, and the instruments utilized for the mass murder. Therefore, a brief comment in this regard may be in order.

Unlike several other instances of twentieth century genocide, the Armenian Genocide is not a sui generis phenomenon but rather the culmination of a historical process. As such it is antedated by decades of a series of periodic massacres, from which the perpetrators remained free from prosecution and from ultimate retributive justice. Predictably fearful of the wrath of the Great Powers of Europe, the perpetrators of these massacres, especially those of 1894-1896, acted with some restraint as women and children were mostly spared. Instead of becoming wholly exterminatory, these massacres, along with the large-scale devastation they entailed, ended up serving the purpose of crippling the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. The fact that, by 1915, when the World War I genocide was initiated, the very same population had recovered considerably and had become a viable and organized community was a development that had rattled the Young Turk leaders contemplating genocide.

The operative catch phrase was "This time we will do a thorough job," in other words, that no category of Armenians would be exempted from destruction. The impunity accruing to the perpetrators of the previous series of massacres had sufficiently emboldened them to embark upon operations of indiscriminate mass murder. Accordingly, these leaders decided to rely on "bloodthirsty murderers" (kanlı katil) as instruments of massacre. Thousands of felons and repeat criminals were selected and released from the various prisons of the Ottoman Empire for massacre duty; they were to show no compassion or mercy for women, children or the infirm. The variety of ferocious and sadistic methods with which thousands of Armenian children were murdered reflects the efficacy of this administrative arrangement. As a Turkish officer after the war conceded, "the worst crimes against the Armenians were perpetrated by these criminals" (en büyük cinayetleri ika ettiler ).[1]

There is one more aspect to this condition of differential treatment of children in connection with the Armenian Genocide. Unlike the racist Nazis, for example, the Ottoman Turks were quite appreciative of the value of the gene pool that Armenian children embodied; they were
regarded as an invaluable resource for the enrichment of the mainstream
of the Turkish nation. Accordingly, whenever possible, Muslim Turks, and orphanages run by governmentally appointed Turks, were encouraged to collect multitudes of Armenian orphans, mostly male, and to raise them as Turks after some nominal rituals of conversion to Islam, including serial circumcisions and name changes. It is against this background that the genocidal fate of Armenian children in World War I may be outlined in terms of a number of categories.

The Variety of Methods of Liquidation of Children

A significant portion of Armenian children, along with the other two principal segments of the Armenian population of the Empire, i.e., women and old men, succumbed to the severe hardships associated with the arduous and exacting treks of an unending series of dislocations and deportations to the desolate deserts of Mesopotamia in today's Syria. These were arranged in such a way as to accentuate the hardships by deliberately prolonging, for example, the routes of the treks, by denying food and water, and by terrorizing in many brutal ways of mistreatment the already critically wasted deportees. Exposure,
exhaustion, starvation, disease and epidemics further aggravated the
plight of the victims thereby compounding the scale of lethal attrition. It should be noted in this connection that the absence of able-bodied men in these deportee convoys was due to the fact that nearly all of them were conscripted at the start of World War I and later gradually annihilated in a variety of ways.

Another sizable portion of Armenian children fell victim to the vast array of episodic massacres carried out in all corners of the Empire, massacres that were in and of themselves exceptionally atrocious. As American Ambassador Henry Morgenthau stated, to save "powder and shell," the Moslem peasant population in the countryside, acting as support groups to the criminal gangs recruited for massacre duty, used "clubs, hammers, axes, scythes, spades, and saws. Such instruments... caused more agonizing deaths than guns and pistols... ." [2] Noted British historian Arnold Toynbee's massive compilation of eyewitness accounts of the Armenian Genocide is replete with details about these types of atrocities. [3]

Reliable evidence indicates that in the general scheme of things, the method of outright massacre was to be primarily applied in operations directed against the male population of the six provinces in Anatolia. These included Sivas, Diyarbekir, Harput, Erzurum, Bitlis, and Van; to these was added Trabzon province. All of these provinces, considered to be potential flash points, or bones of contention in the lingering Turkish-Armenian conflict, were put under the jurisdiction of the High Command of the Ottoman Third Army, headquartered in Erzurum. The relentless liquidation of an estimated 90% of the able-bodied males
of these provinces was effectively carried out in the spring and summer
of 1915 by General Mahmud Kâmil, commander-in-chief of the Third Army.
The rest of the population was to be liquidated indirectly, i.e.,
through exhausting and endless deportation treks.

But due to the interplay of several factors, including the whims of the respective local organizers of the mass murder, the procedures of annihilation were neither uniform nor regular, as far as differentiating between outright massacre and deportation was concerned.

The bulk of the Armenian population of Bitlis province, for example,
which consisted almost entirely of old men, women, and children, was
destroyed within the boundaries of the province; there was no
deportation, so to speak. Except for the city of Van itself, the rest of the Armenian population of Van province, which, together with Bitlis
province, comprised the cradle of the Armenian nation, was likewise
exterminated through a series of local massacres. In the provinces of
Sivas, Harput, Trabzon, Erzurum, Diyarbekir, as well as the independent
sanjaks of Urfa and Marash the genocide was carried out in part through
deportations and in part through massacres.

In all of these operations children were part of the general population targeted for wholesale destruction. In many instances they were also subjected to separate and differential forms of mass murder. This was the case each time children constituted a distinct and separate group. In Trabzon province, for example, thousands of children
were allowed to be left behind as the adults were pushed into deportation convoys. In the deserts of Mesopotamia, in Deir Zord district in particular, thousands of emaciated children, skeleton-like survivors of the deportation treks, were likewise targeted as a distinct category. In Erzincan, in Erzurum province, hundreds of forlorn children likewise constituted a separate target.

What follows is an outline of the three principal methods of killing employed, i.e., drowning operations, burning alive, and wholesale rapes to precede killing, through which thousands of Armenian children met their genocidal fate in the 1915-1916 period. As specified by the German Vice Consul of Mosul, and by Turkish governmental fiat, male and female children up to 13 years old were subsumed under the category of children.[4]

Trabzon: A Microcosm of Multi-Level Child-killings

The Drowning Operations and Serial Rapes

A major port city on the Black Sea and the capital of the province bearing the same name, Trabzon served as a crucible for the Armenian Genocide. Nearly all forms and aspects of the crime were devised and successfully implemented there. The data cited below are excerpted from a study soon to be published by Cambridge University Press.[5] As noted above, some three thousand children were left behind as orphans in various buildings of Trabzon. During the proceedings of the Turkish Military Tribunal in Spring 1919, some two dozen Turks, including physicians, military officers, governmental officials, and merchants, in the course of twenty sittings, testified orally and in writing to the methods used to dispose of these children.[6] Two Turkish MDs, Dr. Ziya Fuad, Inspector of Health Services, and Dr. Adnan, the city's Health Services Director, testified based on evidence gathered from local Turkish physicians that Dr. Ali Saib, Director of Public Health of Trabzon province, systematically poisoned Armenian infants brought to the city's Red Crescent Hospital and ordered the drowning at the nearby Black Sea of those who resisted taking his "medicine." Another method Dr. Saib applied in a house full of Armenian infants was "the steam bath." Through the installation there of an army "etüv" contraption, babies were exposed to suffocating hot steam and thereby
instantly killed. Father Laurent, the French Capuchin Father Superior in Trabzon, testified through an interpreter that he personally saw the
corpses of the dead poisoned children being squeezed into large, deep
baskets on the hospital grounds, like animals from a slaughterhouse,
then dumped into the nearby sea.

That same Red Crescent Hospital had been reduced to a pleasure dome, where the province's governor-general, Cemal Azmi, kept fifteen young Armenian girls (Court-Martial 10th sitting, April 12, 1919), to be used for frequent sex orgies. This had prompted Customs Inspector Nedim to denounce the governor (16th sitting) and Turkish Lieutenant Hasan Maruf to expose the additional fact that "After committing the worst outrages the government officials involved had these young girls killed." In a separate study, a young Armenian, who had befriended the governor's son in Berlin, where the governor had taken refuge right after the war to escape prosecution in Turkey, provided additional data on this episode of lethal debauchery. During one of his boastful narrations about this debauchery, Governor Azmi told the following to the young Armenian, whom he believed to be a Turk as the latter had by then assumed a complete Muslim Turkish identity, including the Turkish name Mehmed Ali, a thorough study of the Koran, the Islamic Sacred Law, and circumcision: "Among the most pretty Armenian girls, 10-13 years old, I selected a number of them and handed them over to my son [who was then 14 years old] as a gift; the others I had drowned in the sea." [7]

During the same courts-martial, Nuri, the police chief of Trabzon, admitted carrying to Istanbul several young Armenian girls as governor Azmi's gift to CUP leaders there. (9th sitting, April 10, 1919). Similar sexual indulgences were reported in connection with the activities of other Young Turk party potentates, such as the CUP
commissar in Trabzon, Yenibahceli Nail, who, according to U.S. Consul in Trabzon, Oscar S. Heizer, "has ten of the handsomest girls in a house in the central part of the city." [8] Heinrich Bergfeld, the German consul at Trabzon, a lawyer by profession, and an ardent Turkophile, in his decrial of the mass murder in Trabzon called attention to "the numerous rapes of young girls." In its Verdict issued at the end of the Trabzon trial series, the Tribunal underscored the fact that these "serial rapes," "the violation of helpless victims," and the fact that "young girls were deflowered (izaleyi bikr) [took place] in the hospital that supposedly had a humanitarian mission."

One of the ghastliest features of child-killing in Trabzon province was the method of drowning them en masse, utilizing Trabzon's river, Degirmendere, but mainly that port city's coastlines on the Black Sea. The most poignant testimony on these latter drowning operations was provided by the Turkish deputy of that province, Hafız Mehmed, who by profession was a lawyer. In a postwar speech (December 11, 1919) in the Chamber of Deputies of the Ottoman Parliament, he revealed that he personally saw how, one day, Armenian women and children were loaded onto barges at the port city of Ordu in Trabzon province and drowned on the high seas. He then stated that the local people were lamenting with the words, "God will punish us for what we did." At the 15th sitting of the Trabzon trial series, Turkish Ordu merchant Hüseyin, appearing as a witness, confirmed this very drowning operation. In its Verdict, the Tribunal with emphasis referred to these operations of mass drownings targeting as they especially did "male and female infants" (zükur ve inas çocukları) with the help of "repeat criminals" (cerayimi mükerrere). Deputy Hafiz Mehmed in his above-mentioned speech also indicated that Trabzon's governor-general Djemal Azmi was reported to have applied the same method of drowning in the rest of the province. This attribution to the governor-general was confirmed by General Mahmut (Cürüksulu) who at about the same time in a speech in the Ottoman Senate declared that Djemal Azmi had authorized the procedures of wholesale extermination for the entire province.

In one of his longest and most detailed reports to Washington, U.S. Consul at Trabzon, Oscar Heizer, likewise referred to:

... a number of lighters. [They] were loaded with people at
different times [with the result that] a number of bodies of women
and children have lately been thrown up by the sea upon the sandy
beach below the walls of the Italian monastery here in Trabzon and
were buried by Greek women in the sand where they were found.

For his part, Signor Gorrini, the Italian Consul-General at
Trabzon, in a detailed report called attention to the fact that:

the children [were] torn away from their families... placed by
hundreds on board ship in nothing but their shirts, and then
capsized and drowned in the Black Sea and the river Degirmendere –
these are my ineffaceable memoirs of Trabzon, memoirs which still,
at a month's distance, torment my soul and almost drive me
frantic... .

The consul of Austria-Hungary, Ernst von Kwiatkowski, and the consul of Germany, Heinrich Bergfeld, both wartime allies of Ottoman Turkey, holding doctorates as a historian and a jurist respectively, did in numerous cipher telegrams sent to Vienna and Berlin refer to "women and children being loaded into barges, taken to the high seas, and drowned there." Colonel Stange, the highest-ranking German combat officer, whose regiment of Turkish irregulars was first assembled at Trabzon, personally confirmed these drowning operations (auf's Meer
hinausgefahren und dann über Bord geworfen). After denouncing in his
"secret" report sent to German headquarters these acts of "beastly
brutality" [which] were perpetrated by Trabzon's "scum" (Gesindel) and
the "brigands" released from the prisons, he concluded that all of these operations were part and parcel of an overall scheme of wholesale mass murder "conceived a long time ago." [9] In echoing the prima facie
evidence the postwar court martial proceedings were generating, the
Turkish newspaper Hadisat underscored the three-dimensional atrocities
perpetrated against the Armenian children of Trabzon: serial rapes,
poisonings, and drownings.[10]

Other Sites of Drownings and Serial Rapes

The drowning operations were not limited to seas or rivers;
they extended to lakes as well. The report by U.S. Consul at Harput,
Leslie A. Davis, is notable in this respect. In his lengthy analysis of
the genocide that took place in his jurisdiction, Harput province, he
describes how orphanages in which Armenian children were gathered after
the liquidation of their families served as transit camps for subsequent annihilation through drowning. It develops that Consul Davis had requested permission from Harput province's governor-general, Sabit, to open an orphanage for "hundreds of children arriving all the time from other places... ." Saying that the government will take care of them, the governor denied permission. Shortly after the Consul left the governor's office, an order was issued that all children, along with the other remaining women, had to leave on the following Tuesday, i.e., in three days. "Then the children disappeared and it was reported that they had all been taken to a lake about twenty miles from Harput and drowned."

Consul Davis then describes a horrendous scene of butchering around Lake Goeljuk which was "about five hours distant" from his seat in Harput. "Finally a Turk told me in strict confidence that he had seen thousands of dead bodies around Lake Goeljuk and offered to take me to the places where they were." The Consul estimated that "in the space of twenty-four hours, we had seen the remains of not less than ten thousand Armenians who had been killed around Lake Goeljuk. This, of course, is approximate... I am sure, however, that there were more, rather than less, than that number...." After describing the gaping bayonet wounds on most of the naked bodies, usually in the abdomen or chest, sometimes in the throat with the victims showing "signs of barbarous mutilation," Consul Davis declared: "That which took place around beautiful Lake Goeljuk in the summer of 1915 is almost inconceivable. Thousands and thousands of Armenians, mostly innocent and helpless women and children, were butchered on its shores and barbarously mutilated." [11]

Another center for mass murder through drowning involving especially children was the Kemach Gorge on the Euphrates River, about 50 km southwest of Erzincan in Erzurum province. A large part of the Armenian population of that province, about 20-25,000, in particular that of Erzincan, was massacred at that narrow gorge with the help of the irregulars, i.e., the brigands of the 86th Cavalry Regiment of the 29th division of the Ninth Army Corps of the Ottoman Third Army headquartered in Erzurum. Relying on "a consular report," America's
ambassador to Turkey, Morgenthau, states that at Kemach Gorge, "hundreds of children were bayoneted by the Turks and thrown into the Euphrates... ." [12]

An equally large number of Armenian children were destroyed through mass drownings at the Mesopotamian lower ends of the Euphrates River, especially in the area of Deir Zor, the Armenian counterpart of Auschwitz. According to the testimony of an Armenian survivor, Mustafa
Sidki, Deir Zor's police chief, on August 10, 1916 selected the prettiest girls from a convoy of deportees. They were taken to a bridge
on the Euphrates where the police chief and his accomplices raped them.
The victims were then all thrown into the river to be drowned. The same
police chief "on October 24, 1916 ordered some 2,000 Armenian orphans
carried to the banks of the Euphrates, hands and feet bound. They were
then thrown into the river two by two to the visible enjoyment of the
police chief who took special pleasure at the sight of the drama of
drowning." [13]

As described in connection with the atrocities committed in Trabzon, rape in all forms was one of the most common by-products of the Armenian Genocide. As Turkish lieutenant Hasan Maruf admitted to his British captors, "cases of rape of women and girls, even publicly, are very numerous. They were systematically murdered after the outrage."
[14] As was the case in Trabzon, multitudes of young girls were
transported to Constantinople from many parts of Anatolia for a variety
of purposes involving sex. An Austrian resident in Tarsus, near Adana,
Mrs. Christie recorded in her diary that a large number of girls were
collected from the city's schools and placed at the disposal of the
officers in the town's military barracks. "Over a hundred of them were
carried in automobiles to Constantinople." One of them, about fifteen
years old, managed to escape the fate of the others.[15] In the deserts
of Mesopotamia, in the triangle formed by the rivers Euphrates and
Khabour that conjoin near Deir Zor, rape was routine. According to one
survivor, for example, Ras-ul-Ain's mayor, Hüseyin Bey, a Tchetchen,
bragged that he alone had raped 50 to 60 young Armenian girls. His two
sons emulated him on a regular basis.[16]

Another venue for rape on a massive scale was the use and misuse of Armenian churches as temporary brothels. Young Armenian girls were assembled and made available to Turkish officers and soldiers. As a Swiss pharmacist reported in the city of Urfa, for example, "the large, Armenian Gregorian church, an edifice of Armenian sanctity, had been reduced to a bordello. Military officers, gendarmes, police officers, and plain city Turks would come there and choose girls for sexual indulgences." [17] A similar episode of desecration for sex is narrated by a Turkish staff captain, Nebil Bey. As he related, some 300 young girls "belonging to the best Armenian families of Bitlis" were collected in the Armenian church of the city "for the use of the army.
Soldiers and officers alike visited the church, which soon became a
hotbed of disease. Each regiment that passed through the town on its way to the front left its traces, as after a time all these unfortunate
girls became infected."

As a result, the commandant of Bitlis decided to punish the girls "for exhausting the vital forces of the Ottoman army and poisoning with their infection the children of the Fatherland." Some of the girls were given poison, others were killed outright. The captain added that all this was done through the orders of Third Army Commander-In-Chief General Mahmud Kâmil.[18] The license afforded the Turkish military and civilians to rape at will any Armenian girl did take its toll in fatality through exhaustion. As one Turkish court official conceded, in Urfa "ninety-five out of a group of one hundred soldiers... died of exhaustion and disease from committing excessive rapes." [19]
The Scope of Homosexual Rapes

The sexual license prevalent during the Armenian Genocide was not limited to the rape of young Armenian females. A Swiss pharmacist who throughout the war remained in Urfa and traveled extensively in the area asserts that widespread homosexual rape occurred both in connection with genocidal killings and in Turkish homes where young adopted Armenian boys were kept. As he reported, "Turkish officers, especially, engaged in unbelievable and unspeakable acts of [sexual] bartering of Armenian girls, but nobody can imagine the magnitude of crimes of unnatural sex inflicted upon hundreds, yes thousands, of Armenian boys." He also stated that "long after the killings had stopped, rapes, acts of deflowering virgins and other forms of sexual violations, especially of young boys, continued." [20]

The following two accounts by the Swiss pharmacist exemplify the modalities of rape indicated above. An Armenian boy, adopted by a Turkish family in Mezre, Harput province, related a graphic description of rapes committed regularly by a Turkish man with the full knowledge of his wife in that household. There is also an instance where a hodja, a Muslim teacher, is depicted at attempted rape.[21] The other modality involves rape before murder. In Ankara province, near the village of Bash-Ayash, two rapist-killers - a brigand, Deli Hasan, and a gendarme, Ibrahim-raped twelve boys, aged 12-14, and subsequently killed them. Those who did not die instantly were tortured to death while crying "Mummy, Mummy." [22]

Finally, reference may be made to another replica of mass poisoning of children described above in connection with the Trabzon case. A female survivor from Giresun relates how in Agn (Egin), Harput province, some 500 Armenian orphans collected from all parts of that province were poisoned through the arrangement of the local pharmacist and physician. Upon completion of this lethal operation, the Turkish physician is reported to have declared: "The Armenians have no burial plots. The Euphrates is their graveyard" (Ermenilerin topragı yoktur Onların mezarı Yepraddır).[23]

The Holocaust of Armenian Children:

Infernal Mass Deaths by Burning Alive

As described at the outset of this study, the decision makers and organizers of the Armenian Genocide were determined to be as radical as possible in their scheme of wholesale extermination. They were unpleasantly surprised as to how ineffective the segmental massacres of the era of Sultan Abdul Hamid had been in the 1894-96 period and how the Armenians, far from being crippled permanently had, within a matter of two decades, bounced back as a viable and vibrant community. To avoid a similar mistake and to render the projected genocide as optimal as possible in terms of its outcome, they invented a new device: the liberation from the prisons of the Empire of thousands of criminals. They were to be as vicious as possible so as to avoid succumbing to occasional sentiments of pity vis a vis old men, women, and children, and massacre them indiscriminately and mercilessly. They were joined by thousands of Kurds and displaced immigrants from the Caucasus, particularly Chechens from the Caucasus and the Balkan peninsula. All of these groups were filled with hatred of the Armenians toward whom they projected their anti-Christian animosities inherited from their conflict with Christian Russia or the Christian nationalities from the Balkan peninsula, from which they were either evicted or they opted to leave. No less compelling, however, was their sense of avarice and greed, and their urge for lasciviousness and unrestrained sexuality.

In the mass burning of Armenian orphans, plain sadistic fiendishness was mostly at work. After eliminating the rest of the Armenian population, these remnants had become a nuisance to the perpetrators. In several regards it was deemed most economical to end their misery by torching them en masse. In four provinces, Diyarbekir, Harput, Bitlis, and Aleppo, this method was applied with special ferocity. In Diyarbekir, for example, Dr. Reshid, a Circassian with ethnic roots in the Caucasus, and the province's governor-general, "took 800 children, enclosed them in a building and set light to it."[24] That such barbarism was not limited to burning alive is evidenced by the
following excerpt from the journal of a French Catholic missionary who
was there throughout the period of the massacres, i.e., June-December

In this province it was customary to bury alive in large ditches and in one fell swoop hundreds of children in the 7-13 age category. After a lapse of several days, one could see the undulations of the earth conveying these souls' agony that was stirring from the bowels of their hecatombs. [25]

According to the account of an eyewitness, in another instance in Furuncular, district of Malatya, in Harput province, the gendarmes buried alive in a large pit dug beforehand 90-100 Armenian children, aged 3-4. The victims, sensing their imminent death, started to scream hysterically and hopelessly as they were thrown into the pit, located in a place ironically named "The Garden of Children" (Çocuklar-Bahçesi ). But the gruesome operation was completed in just a few minutes.[26] In Harput province, the county supervisor Kadri "burned to death 800 children who were from Palu" in Diyarbekir province. [27]

During one of the major death marches from Deir Zor to two major death camps in the deserts of Mesopotamia, Souvar and Shedadiye, some 5,000 Armenian children were consumed alive in a holocaust of flame and death. For four days, approximately 60,000 emaciated deportees were driven to these camps. It was on August 25, 1916 (or September 7, 1916, new style date), the day of the Muslim Festival of Sacrifice (kurban bayrami) that the orphans were gathered together and crowded into a large orphanage building in Deir Zor. They were then pushed in batches to a spot about an hour distant from the city, doused with petrol and torched to death.[28] This holocaustal method of immolation was not always limited to children, however. As narrated by a Jewish eyewitness, it was inflicted about the same time in the same area of Deir Zor on multitudes of other Armenians, mostly women. Eitan Belkind was an officer in the Turkish army and was assigned to the headquarters of the Ottoman Fourth Army, whose jurisdiction included Aleppo, the Mesopotamian deserts, and Deir Zor, in particular. He was assigned to the vicinity of the Khabour River that flows by Suvar and Shedadiye.

Here is his account:

After a three day ride I reached the heart of Mesopotamia where I was a witness to a terrible tragedy... The Circassian soldiers ordered the Armenians to gather thorns and thistles and to pile them into a tall pyramid... afterwards they tied all of the Armenians who were there, almost five thousand souls, hand to hand, encircled them like a ring around the pile of thistles and thorns and set it afire in a blaze which rose up to heaven together with the screams of the wretched people who were burned to death by the fire... Two days later I returned to this place and saw the charred bodies of thousands of human beings.[29]

A high-ranking German officer, Colonel Ludwig Schraudenbach, the
commander of the Ottoman Fourteenth Division operating mainly in
Mesopotamia, in his post-war memoirs, referred to another method of
immolation. As he put it, "children were placed between wooden planks,
tied to them and then burned to death." [30] The most extensive
operations of mass burning of children took place, however, in the
province of Bitlis. The massive participation of certain Kurdish tribal
groups in these operations wrought havoc with the victim population.
That holocaust was initiated by the governor-general of the province,
Mustafa Abdulhalik (Renda), who happened to be the brother-in-law of
Interior Minister, later Grand Vizier, Mehmed Talaat *****, the
principal architect of the Armenian Genocide. According to the testimony of the Armenian Catholic Bishop of Trabzon,

Having gathered together 1,000 little children, the governor-general Mustafa Abdulhalik led them to a place called Tashod where he had them burnt to death in the presence of notables and Turkish crowds, at the same time shouting at the top of his voice, 'It is necessary to erase once and for all the Armenian name in these provinces for the security of Turkey.'

Their remains, along with those still alive, were afterwards thrown into ditches prepared especially beforehand; the moans of those not yet
completely consumed could be heard for days.[31]

Two European eyewitnesses likewise reported these incidents of burning alive. Swedish missionary Alma Johansson, who was running the German orphanage in Mush, reported that the Armenian orphans, along with the staff of the orphanage "were burnt alive" (lebendig verbrannt). "It was heartrending to hear the cries of the people and children who were being burnt to death in their houses. The soldiers took great delight in hearing them... ." [32] For his part, German M.D. H. Stoffels, staff physician with the Persian Expeditionary Corps, reported to the Austrian consul in Trabzon that on his way to Mosul he came across in Mush (and Siirt in the same province) "a large number of formerly Armenian localities, where in the churches and houses he saw charred and decomposed corpses of women and children"(verkohlte und verweste Frauen-und Kinderleichen).[33]

Reference may also be made to a Venezuelan major who had volunteered his services to the Ottoman-Turkish army in World War I and was assigned to duties in the areas of Bitlis, Van, and Mush as Inspector General of the Turkish Forces in Armenia. In his memoirs he stated that in Mush "women and children were penned up and burned alive... ." [34] Perhaps the most trenchant eyewitness testimony on the veritable holocaust of Armenian children in Mush, Bitlis province, comes from a Turkish Army Commander, General Mehmed Vehib. Following the completion of the main part of the Armenian Genocide, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Third Army in February 1916. A gallant military officer, he was dismayed at his realization that an entire nation had all but disappeared from the land. A local massacre of Armenian labor battalion soldiers in his jurisdiction prompted him to investigate, to set up a court-martial and execute two genocidists. In his detailed postwar report, prepared at the request of the Turkish Military Tribunal, he provides a glimpse into the nature of the genocide that had taken place in the areas of the six eastern provinces subject to the authority of the Third Army. In that report, General Vehib testified as to what he personally saw while on an inspection trip:
"Armenian women and children were burnt alive in the village Tchurig,
located 5 km north of Mush." He had seen the victims' charred remains,
and with indignation he declared, "One can hardly find in Islam a parallel to such atrocity and savagery" (Tarihi Islamda misli örülmemis
bir zulum ve vahset).[35]

Another very credible Turkish military source openly and without equivocation confirms the sweeping holocaust to which the Armenians of Mush and the ninety-eight Armenian villages of Mush Plain were subjected - with the dubious justification that "armed Armenian units were assaulting Turkish soldiers and villages." This source also reveals the wholesale burning-alive operations that were conducted by
Küçük Kâzım, who, according to this Turkish source, "was burning down
the entire Mush valley and was annihilating the Armenians." [36]

The Elements of License for Fiendishness

Against Armenian Children

As a rule, the degree of success in genocide hinges, all other things being equal, on the degree of ruthlessness, bordering on viciousness, with which the crime is conceived, organized, supervised, and implemented. More often than not, however, it is at the level of implementation that ultimate success is measured and determined. As
indicated above, a large body of the executioners of the Armenian
Genocide were highly motivated for their involvement. Frustration,
displaced aggression, rage, cupidity, and in no small measure cultural
conditioning for primordial violence were all factors that converged in
an atavistic impulse for genocide.

A brief review of the modus operandi of Salihzeki, the mutasarrif of Deir Zor, and the arch-organizer of the secondary Armenian Genocide in the deserts of Mesopotamia in the summer of 1916, provides insight into this type of motivation. On several occasions he scolded his Chechen underlings for ineptness in the art of cruelty and viciousness. In Deir Zor, for example, he assembled his Chechen executioners and admonished them not to be swayed by pity or lured by bribes and thereby help some Armenians escape their fate.

He then rode his horse to a nearby tent, grabbed a two-year-old Armenian child, brought him to the Chechens and said,

Even this innocent one - assuming that it is possible to consider
innocent an Armenian offspring, for these sons of bitches are no
Longer innocent - needs to be killed, just like all others of his
age, without pity. There will come a day when they will rise up, hunt
down those responsible for the killings of the Armenians and will
Avenge themselves. He then whirled the child in the air round and
round several times and violently hit him to the ground.

Another time he again admonished his Chechen and Arab aides, strictly
forbidding them to ever relax and allow any Armenians to escape:

Why do you need bribes? If what you want is money, kill them first
and then you have all their money and goods. Kill them first and
then you will have all that they possess... You are rendering a
service to the Empire, hence your work is legitimate. You have
accomplished your mission but be cognizant of the fact that if one
of these sons of bitches, if he is a little boy, stays alive, he
will avenge himself one day.[37]

Salihzeki relied almost entirely on Chechen tribes who lived mostly in Sefa, southeast of Ras-ul-Ain, and who originally had migrated from the Caucasus. The heads of local governments in Ras-ul-Ain, Suvar, Shedadiye, and Hassiche were his closest accomplices. In addition, he had co-opted the deputy of Deir Zor, the governor of Aneh, Commanders Salahaddin and Ali Bey, Cavalry Colonel Hasan, Lieutenant of Cavalry Tevfik, Deir Zor Garrison Commandant Mustafa, Aneh 's police chief Bedri, Inspector of Police Balsidi and some ten police officers.[38]

This subculture of primordial barbarism came into full play in several instances that would be recorded by foreign eyewitnesses and Armenian survivors. A German chronicler relates, for example, how
gendarmes battered out the brains of Armenian children who lagged behind convoys by smashing their skulls.[39] And here are three additional examples from the killing fields of the notorious Kemach Gorge near Erzincan in testimony supplied by two Armenian survivors:

1. - May 25, 1915

At the plain near the pass of Kemakh, where we had camped, the gendarmes entered a neighbor's tent and in order to get the beautiful girl, Armine, they slaughtered her father, her brother, and two young nephews. Armine was taken away and never returned.


2. - May 26, 1915

At the same place, in bright daylight two gendarmes killed with bayonets Aram Kasbarian and took away his beautiful wife. His six years old son when crying and screaming on his father's bleeding body, was taken and a long wooden stick was forced in through his rectum and in this condition he was shown to the people with the cries, "Here is your flag... ."


3. - May 26, 1915

At the same place, several gendarmes took by force the young child Msrob, five years old, from his mother's arms and nailed him on a wooden frame through his eyes, hands and feet. then he was elevated in
the midst of the people with shouts of, "Here is your Christ and his
Cross, let him come and save you... ."


Mabel Evelyn Elliott, an American physician who served
in Istanbul during the Armistice as Medical Director of Near East Relief and was the representative of the American Women's Hospitals recorded in her memoirs case studies she [conducted] at the Rescue Home for Armenian girls in Üsküdar, a city on the Asiatic side of Istanbul, where Florence Nightingale had laid the foundation for the Red Cross and the tradition of modern nursing. The cases involved some 150 survivor-victims of the Armenian Genocide, victims which Dr. Elliott described as "girl-children:"

You must see them as I remember them, passing, one by one, through my consultation room; gentle, well-bred girls, with brushed hair and shining finger nails, who spoke in low voices and wore with instinctive
taste their borrowed clothes. None of them had discussed with anyone her experiences during the war. For the first time their reticence was
disturbed, necessarily, by professional questions, and when they had
begun to speak it was as though they could not stop. The whole story
poured from them.

The things that I heard were unbelievable. A doctor sees more deeply
into the abysses of human society than any other person except a priest, but I knew only America. . It was incredible, too, that these girls could have seen and endured them, and survived to sit there telling of them. The stories did not vary greatly; the variety was in the revealed temperament of the girls. Some sat quietly, with folded hands, talking on and on in a low voice, growing whiter and whiter until there was no blood in their lips. Others became excited, little by little lost their self-control, and ended screaming and sobbing.

It was better for them to pour out this bitterness that had been so long damned behind their silence, and I did not stop them. I sat in the
little, white room and listened. . Then there was another girl, whose story had a touch of the incredibly fantastic. With eyelids closed, she was the most beautiful girl I have seen among a people renowned for feminine beauty. Her features were like those preserved for us from antiquity by the chisels of great artists; her skin was like that of a child, and her body was a rhythm of line. But when she opened her eyes, it became painful to look at her. One eyeball, swung outward in its socket so grotesquely that one thought of a gargoyle. . I did not believe it. I had grown accustomed to hearing of monstrous things as I shall ever be, but this was incredible. When a knife or hot iron would have served the purpose, why resort to an infinitely delicate surgical operation? It is a question I cannot answer; a question whose answer is so deep in the Turkish character that only a Turk could answer it. For when I examined the eye, and saw beyond doubt that the story was true. The microscopic scars were there, in the minute muscles of the eye. Some finely trained and skillful surgeon had used his training at the operating table to make this girl hideous. He had done this, while hundreds of Turkish soldiers, wounded in fighting for their country, were dying for lack of surgical help.[41]

This manifestation of the concentrated hate of the centuries, turned
into professional sadism, cannot be divorced from the social system in
which that hatred was nurtured, fueled, and even rewarded. Dr. Elliott's additional data and her related comments attest to this fact,
highlighting at the same time the diabolical and hideous targeting of
children as an integral part of organized genocide.

Finally, reference may be made to a report sent to the U.S. State
Department by another American physician. Dr. George B. Hyde, of the
American Red Cross, who was stationed in Cilicia in 1919. In 1920 he
advised the State Department and also Senator Warren Harding shortly
before this Republican Senator from Ohio was elected the 29th President
of the United States, on the victimization of Armenian children during
World War I. He stated that he "had treated several hundred Christian
children of both sexes, ranging between the ages of 5 and 12, upon which, the Turks had committed beastly outrages." He gave his opinion
that at least "nine out of ten of these victims of Turkish savagery must have succumbed." [42]

Scant Exceptions of Benign Turks

The magnitude of the number of victims of the Armenian Genocide is testimony to the scale of the success of that lethal undertaking by the Ittihadist Young Turk regime. But it also attests to the paucity of "righteous" Turks whose involvement in significant numbers could have made a difference in the outcome of that genocide. It is true that there were strict orders and very stern threats against such involvement, but the opportunities to circumvent such orders were
likewise considerable. Religious cleavages and wartime incitements
against the Armenians combined to impede the engagement of a significant number of Turks to intercede or directly assist the Armenians targeted for annihilation.

Notwithstanding this, it is only right that even when a negligible minority tries to help, such brave people should be singled out and recognized for their benevolence. The cases below are all but
illustrative examples. They are not meant to be comprehensive or
exhaustive. One of these examples is both striking and moving.

According to information supplied by the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul during the Armistice, a number of kind Turkish military officers, at great personal risk to themselves, took the trouble of bringing with them and handing over to the Patriarchate several male and female orphans from such distant provinces as Harput, Aleppo, and Diyarbekir. In another instance, a colonel dared to transport at once eleven little girls to Istanbul and hand them over to the Patriarch.[43] In Arabpunar a Turkish major who spoke German told a German employee of the Baghdad Railway Co. that he and his brother each rescued and carried with them a little Armenian girl whom they had found in the streets of Ras-ul-Ain. He strongly criticized the authorities for the atrocities which he said, "our Koran forbids." [44] Even more moving is the story of a Turkish mullah, a religious chief judge in Mush, who died trying to save Armenian women and children. The notorious Kurdish brigand chief, Moussa Beg, after selecting and removing the youngest and prettiest Armenian girls from the collected crowd was getting ready to burn to death the rest in the village of Avzoud. The mullah, arguing that no religion, whether Muslim or Christian, allows the burning alive of women and children, energetically intervened with his protest. And, hoping that he could thus prevent an imminent holocaust he took shelter in the same building where the victims were piled together. The killers just ridiculed him and, undeterred, they proceeded with their scheme and the mullah perished in the ensuring inferno along with the other victims he
was trying to save.[45]

The genocidal victimization of Armenian children is equally relevant and significant in terms of the final fate of the surviving children is concerned. Thousands of male children were adopted as sons and raised as Turks. Tens of thousands of female children and young girls were likewise absorbed in the mainstream of the Turkish nation as servants, concubines for harems, or legitimate wives following conversion to Islam. Still many others languished in orphanages. The subject of Armenian children as victims of genocide, in order to be complete, needs to be additionally explored in terms of the final stage of that victimization, namely, the differential fate of the surviving orphans, concubines, brides, and religious converts.

[1] Ahmed Refik Altınay, Iki Komite Iki Kıtal (Two Committees, Two
Massacres). Istanbul, 1919, p. 23. He was assigned duties at the
Ottoman General Headquarters, Dept. II, Counterintelligence, as a Navy
Lieutenant. After the war, he served as Professor of History at Istanbul University and has published several books.

[2] Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, Garden City, N.Y.,
1918, p. 312.

[3] The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-1916.
Documents presented to Viscount Grey of Fallodon. Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs by Viscount Bryce. (Compiled by Arnold Toynbee)
London, His Majesty's Stationery Office. Miscellaneous No. 31 (1916),
pp. 90, 248, 323, 351, 374, 378, 385-6, 455, 485-6, 540, 553, 561. (This important compilation was republished in 2000 and is now available from Gomidas Institute, Princeton, NJ)

[4] German Foreign Ministry Archives i.e., symbol A.A. Türkei 183/44,
A25739; in the new catalog system R14093, no. 2463, sent from Aleppo
to the German Embassy in Constantinople (Istanbul) on August 29, 1916.

[5] Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The Framework: The Armenian Genocide: An
Interpretation" in America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Jay
Winter, ed., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003 (forthcoming).
See Section III dealing with The Case of Trabzon: A Microcosm of the
Armenian Genocide.

[6] Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The Turkish Military Tribunal's Prosecution of
the Authors of the Armenian Genocide: Four Major Court-Martial Series,"
Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1997), pp. 39-42
on The Trabzon Series.

[7] Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The Documentation of the World War I Armenian
Massacres in the Proceedings of the Turkish Military Tribunal,"
International Journal of Middle East Studies. Vol. 23, No. 4 (November
1991), p. 574, note 55; Arshavir Sheeragian, Gudagun Err Nahadagneroun
(The Testament of the Martyrs). Beirut, 1965, pp. 262-263.

[8] U.S. National Archives. RG59.867.4016/128. July 28, 1915; ibid.
4016/411, no. 169. April 11, 1919.

[9] A.A. Botschaft Konstantinopel 170, registry no. 3841. August 23,
1915 report.

[10] April 2, 1919 issue.

[11] Leslie A. Davis, The Slaughterhouse Province. An American Diplomat's Report on the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1917. Susan K. Blair, ed. New Rochelle, N.Y., 1989, p. 64, 79, 82, 83, 87. A copy of the 132 typed pages report is in U.S. National Archives RG59.867.4016/392.

[12] Morgenthau, Ambassador [n•2], p. 318. See also The Treatment [n•3], p. 239.

[13] Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The Comparative Aspects of the Armenian and
Jewish Cases of Genocide: A Sociohistorical Perspective."Is the
Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide. A.S. Rosenbaum,
ed. Boulder, CO., 1996, p. 131.

[14] British Foreign Office Archives. FO 371/2781/264888, Appendix B,
report no. 1, pp. 6-7.

[15] The Treatment [n•3], pp. 442-443.

[16] Raymond Kevorkian, "L´Extermination des déportées Arméniens
Ottomans dans les camps de concentration de Syrie-Mésopotamie
(1915-1916). La deuxième phase du génocide. Revue d´Histoire Arménienne
Contemporaine. Special Edition vol. II, Paris, 1998, pp. 109, 119.

[17] Bruno Eckart, Meine Erlebnisse in Urfa (My Experiences in Urfa).
Potsdam-Berlin, 1922, pp. 18-19.

[18] Ararat, vol. VI, No. 66, 1919, p. 422. The affidavit of Captain
Nebil is in the archives of Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate. File Zh,
doc. 747, no. 49.

[19] Ephraim K. Jernazian, Judgment Unto Truth: Witnessing the Armenian
Genocide. New Brunswick, N.J.,1990, p. 65.

[20] Jacob Künzler, Im Lande des Blutes und der Tränen. Erlebnisse in
Mesopotamien Während des Weltkrieges (In the Land of Blood and Tears.
Experiences in Mesopotamia During the World War). Berlin-Potsdam, 1921,
pp. 77, 87. In the new edition, edited by Hans-Lukas Kieser, Zurich,
1999, pp. 99, 108-109.

[21] M. Esmerian, Aksoree yev Baderazmee Guragneroun Metch (Amid the
Fires of Exile and War). Boston, 1952, pp. 94-95, 105, 108-109.

[22] Haigashen Darekirk (Haigashen Annual). Vol. 1, 1922, p. 328. The
names of four of the victims are listed in this source.

[23] Mariam Kokmanian, "Hayatchintch Sarsapner" (Horrors from the
Armenian Extermination Campaign). Djagadamard (Istanbul Armenian
newspaper), January 17, 1919.

[24] Morning Post (London newspaper). December 7, 1918.

[25] Therese Philippe Bresse, La famine de la Syrie et le martyre de
l´Arménie (The famine in Syria and the martyrdom of Armenia).
Alexandria, 1919, pp. 8, 9.

[26] G. Kapigian, Yegernabadoum (The Holocaust), Boston, 1924, pp.

[27] FO608/244/8183, folio 407.

[28] Teotig, "Mius Merelotzu" (The other Memorial Day) Amenoun
Daretzoutzu (Everyone's Almanac). Istanbul, 1921, pp. 318-319.

[29] Yair Auron, The Banality of Indifference: Zionism and the Armenian Genocide. New Brunswick, N. J., 2000, pp. 181, 183.

[30] Ludwig Schraudenbach (retired Colonel), Muharebe (War).
Berlin/Vienna, 1925, pp. 351-352.

[31] Les Memoirs de Mgr. Jean Naslian. Eveque de Trebizonde. (The
Memoirs of His Grace Archbishop Jean Naslian). Vienna, 1955, pp. 146,
413. On p. 138 of the same work, there is a description of the burning
alive at Norshen, near Mush, of the Armenian Catholic Primate of Mush.
Archbishop Naslian coincidentally was in Europe during the Genocide and
could thus escape a similar fate.

[32] A.A. Türkei 183/48, A34435; R14097 in the new catalog system,
October 1, 1917 report. See also Germany, Turkey and Armenia. A
selection of documentary evidence relating to Armenian atrocities from
German and other sources. London, 1917, p. 26.

[33] Austrian Foreign Ministry Archives. 12 Türkei/380, folio 909, May
26, 1917.

[34] Rafael de Nogales, Four Years Beneath the Crescent, Muna Lee,
translator. New York, London, 1926, p. 135.

[35] Vahakn D. Dadrian, "The Armenian Question and the Wartime Fate of
the Armenians as Documented by the Officials of the Ottoman Empire's
World War I Allies: Germany and Austria-Hungary," International Journal
of Middle East Studies. Vol. 34, No. 1. (February 2002), pp. 76-77, p.
84, note 111, p. 85, note 111.

[36] Ilhan Selçuk, Yüzbaşı Selahattin'in Romanı (The Roman of Captain
Selahattin). Vol. 1, Istanbul, 1993, p. 124.

[37] Kevorkian, L´Extermination [n. 16], p. 190, item 47; p. 192, item

[38] Ibid., pp. 180, 184.

[39] Heinrich Vierbücher, Armenien 1915. Die Abschlachtung eines
Kulturvolkes durch die Türken (The Slaughter of a Cultured People by the Turks). Hamburg, 1930, p.58.

[40] Levon K. Daghlian, D.M.D., Memories of the Holocaust. Boston, 1976, p. 48.

[41] Mabel Evelyn Elliott, Beginning Again at Ararat, New York, 1924,
pp.20-26. See also Vahakn N. Dradrian, "The Role of Turkish Physicians
in The World War I Genocide of Ottoman Armenians," Holocaust and
Genocide Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, (1986), pp.169-192.

[42] The Lausanne Treaty, Turkey and Armenia, ed. by The American
Committee Opposed to the Lausanne Treaty, New York, 1926, p.71.

[43] Nubar Library. Paris. Papers of Patriarch Zaven. 1914-1916. File
288/P. 1, 2/6.

[44] A.A. Türkei 183/38, A 23991, or R14087. Report by W. Spieker.
Enclosure in Aleppo German Consul Rössler's communication of September
3, 1915. 183/38, A28019. Enclosure no. 81.

[45] Henry Barby, Au pays de l'épouvante. (In the land of terror) Paris, 1917, p.96.

Edited by MJ, 24 April 2003 - 08:48 AM.

#6 Yervant1


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Posted 04 August 2019 - 11:24 AM

Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian
3ad4a167-4fc5-4c02-9b96-8e5a8b7f7f94.jpg Geneseo, NY—With great sadness, the Zoryan Institute announces the passing away of its board member, Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian. He joined the Zoryan Institute’s Academic Board of Directors in 1999 and served since that time as Director of Genocide Research, overseeing some of its most significant projects. With numerous books and articles of his own in many languages, he was widely recognized as the world’s greatest authority on the Armenian Genocide.

More information to follow. 

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 08:41 AM

News.am, Armenia
Aug 4 2019
Expert on Armenian Genocide Vahakn Dadrian passes away
18:35, 04.08.2019

Vahakn N. Dadrian, an Armenian-American sociologist and historian, an expert on the Armenian Genocide, has passed away aged 93.

Dadrian was born in 1926 in Turkey, to a family that lost many members during the Armenian Genocide.

Dadrian was the director of Genocide Research at Zoryan Institute.

Among his numerous achievements is Ellis Island Medal of Honor, U.S. Congress Medal of Esteem for Scholarship, President of the Republic Prize Gold Medal of Armenia.



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Posted 05 August 2019 - 11:02 AM


#9 Yervant1


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Posted 06 August 2019 - 07:06 AM

President Armen Sarkissian Sends a Letter of Condolence on the Death of Prof. Vahakn Dadrian

President Armen Sarkissian has sent a letter of condolence on the demise of the renowned scholar, Honorary Doctor of the RA Academy of Sciences, foreign member of the RA Academy of Sciences, Director of the Genocide Research at the Zoryan Institute, Prof. Vahakn Dadrian. The letter reads:


“I learned with great sorrow the news on the demise of the renowned scholar, acclaimed researcher of the Armenian Genocide, Honorary Doctor of the RA Academy of Sciences, foreign member of the RA Academy of Sciences, Director of the Genocide Studies at the Zoryan Institute Vahakn Dadrian. Vahakn Dadrian was born ten years after the Armenian Genocide, in Istanbul. It is, probably, no accident that he dedicated the major part of his life to genocide and especially the Armenian Genocide studies, making a great contribution to the internalization and the fight against denial of the Genocide through his valuable monographies and publications.

Vahakn Dadrian was a scholar in the broadest sense of the word: he studies mathematics at the Berlin University, history in the University of Vienna, international relations at the University of Zurich, and later, sociology in the University of Chicago. Along with his native Armenian, he mastered modern Turkish and Ottoman languages, as well as German, English, and French and through the research in the archives of various countries he put into a scientific circulation new documents pertinent to the Armenian Genocide. Beside other awards, in 2009 he was bestowed RA Presidential Award for his considerable contribution to the area of the Armenian Genocide Studies.

I knew Doctor Dadrian not only as a brilliant scholar but also as an excellent expert of international relations and a person communication with whom was instructive and gratifying. These recollections and memories of him will always stay bright with those who knew him and appreciated his accomplishments.

I express my sincere condolences to the Dadrian family and friends and share their grief.”

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#10 Yervant1


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Posted 06 August 2019 - 08:08 AM

Panorama, Armenia
Aug 5 2019
Garo Paylan tweets tribute to late historian Vahakn Dadrian

Istanbul-Armenian MP Garo Paylan, representing the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), took to Twitter on Sunday to pay tribute to Vahakn Dadrian, a prominent American-Armenian historian and an expert on the Armenian Genocide, who passed away on 2 August at the age of 93.

“Istanbul-born academician Vahakn Dadrian, who was best known for his works on the Armenian Genocide, has passed away. His books published in Turkey played an important role in the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. God bless his soul!” Paylan tweeted, according to Ermenihaber.

Vahakn Norair Dadrian was born in 1926 in Istanbul, Turkey to a family that lost many members during the Armenian Genocide. Dadrian first studied mathematics at the University of Berlin, after which he decided to switch to a completely different field, and studied philosophy at the University of Vienna, and later, international law at the University of Zürich. He completed his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Chicago.

In the 1970s, Dadrian participated in the creation of the comparative study of genocide.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree for his research in the field of Armenian Genocide Studies by the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, and later, in 1998, he was made a member of the academy and honored by the president of Armenia, the republic’s highest cultural award, the Movses Khorenatsi Medal.

In 1999, Dadrian was awarded on behalf of the Holy See of Cilicia the Mesrob Mashdots Medal. The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation sponsored him as director of a large Genocide study project, which culminated with the publication of articles, mainly in the Holocaust and Genocide studies magazines. He was the keynote speaker at the centennial of the John Marshall Law School and delivered a lecture to the British House of Commons in 1995.

He also received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He has lectured extensively in French, English and German in the Free University of Berlin, the Universities of Munich, Parma, Torino, Zürich, Uppsala, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne, Bochum, Münster, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Geneva, Brussels and UNESCO’s Paris center.

Dadrian was the director of Genocide Research at Zoryan Institute.


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Posted 16 August 2019 - 09:46 AM


Remains of Vahakn Dadrian to be moved to Armenia

984986.jpg13:09, 15 August, 2019

YEREVAN, AUGUST 15, ARMENPRESS. Armenian-American professor Vahakn Dadrian’s remains will be moved from the United States to Armenia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

“Taking into account world famous Professor Vahagn Dadrian's (Tatrian) unshakeable fight for justice and great scientific contribution to the study of Armenian Genocide, it was decided to move his remains to Armenia. Works in this direction are already underway”, the Armenian foreign ministry said.

Dadrian, a renowned sociologist and historian and genocide scholar, died on August 2, 2019 at the age of 93 in the United States.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan




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#12 Yervant1


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Posted 29 August 2019 - 06:20 AM

State Funeral in Armenia for Vahakn N. Dadrian
63ecee41-4d5a-49f9-b15d-9b6bf013a822.jpg The Foreign Ministry of Armenia made the following announcement about Professor Vahakn Dadrian's funeral arrangements:

"On August 2, 2019, renowned genocide expert and one of the pioneers of Comparative Genocide Studies, Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian passed away in the United States at the age of 93. Considering the relentless struggle of an internationally acclaimed scholar to raise awareness of truth, justice, and the Armenian Genocide, and his great scientific contribution to the study of genocide, it was decided to move his body to the Republic of Armenia.
Professor Dadrian's memorial service will take place on August 30, 2019, 18:00-20:00 in the building of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, and the funeral will be held on August 31, 2019 at 13:00 in the Yerevan Pantheon."
Professor Dadrian was an active and esteemed member of the Zoryan Institute’s Academic Board of Directors and served as its Director of Genocide Research since 1999. His many colleagues and friends at the Institute will miss his unshakable commitment, his many contributions, and his memorable personality greatly.

The Zoryan Institute will be represented by the President, K.M. Greg Sarkissian, Corporate Board Member, Ambassador Armen Yeganian and Director of Development, Lena Adalian-Sarkissian. Also in attendance will be a score of alumni from the Institute's Genocide and Human Rights University Program, hosted at the University of Toronto. 
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Posted 04 September 2019 - 09:08 AM

Armenia Celebrates the Legacy of
rof. Vahakn N. Dadrian

TORONTO, September 3, 2019 - On August 30-31, 2019, the Zoryan Institute, Armenian government representatives and dignitaries, scholars, family, friends and supporters gathered in Yerevan, Armenia to celebrate the legacy of Zoryan Institute’s Director of Academic Affairs, Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian.

The Zoryan Institute’s President, Mr. K.M. Greg Sarkissian, was interviewed by Armenia's H1 News about Prof. Dadrian’s legacy and the tremendous path that he has forged for the academic study of genocide. Dadrian’s scientific approach to the study of genocide was the foundation for many of Zoryan Institute’s academic initiatives, such as its annual Genocide and Human Rights University Program hosted in partnership with the University of Toronto and the groundbreaking publication, The Armenian Genocide: Evidence from the German Foreign Office Archives, 1915-1916, by Wolfgang Gust.

df056c3b-60d2-4c1c-bdc7-4d63d9f82d09.jpg The official Vahakn Dadrian Funeral Commission consisted of: Harutyunyan, the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of RA (Chairman of the Committee), Mnatsakanyan, RA Foreign Minister, Torosyan, RA Minister of Health, Janjughazyan, RA Minister of Finance, Ejmiatsin (Photographer), Iskandaryan, Director of Special Population Service, Marutyan, Director of the Armenian GEnocide Museum-Institute and Sarkissian, President of the Zoryan Institute. cf847aae-3eeb-4519-8302-4f8a281b8dab.jpg 2c7127ee-6cf5-40a7-8154-6c17a614cf88.jpg
Mrs. Dadrian-Hazarian (sister of the late Prof. Vahakn Dadrian)
Dadrian family
260a66b7-3430-4681-97a0-34cf9463ed43.jpg From L-R: A. Mirzoyan, President of the Armenian National Assembly of Armenia, A. Yeganian, Director of Policy Planning Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dadrian family, K.M. Sarkissian, President of the Zoryan Institute.  f126f399-2cae-4e05-97af-51179c70ce96.jpg d1d962c9-d547-4852-9711-9cfe2b7f9a2f.jpg
Arayik Harutyunyan, Minister of Education
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 09:09 AM

2253b126-3124-4769-aa67-411840e3ea77.jpg From L-R: K.M. Greg Sarkissian, President of the Zoryan Institute, Ararat Mirzoyan, President of the National Assembly of Armenia, Armenia Yeganian, Director of Policy Planning Department Ministry of Foreign Affairs 6ef79f60-932e-48c8-b484-d3b16138d39b.jpg 3f86403c-df14-4953-95ac-540d1321b3c7.jpg
Ararat Mirzoyan, President of the National Assembly of Armenia
Harutyun Marutyan, Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute 
77aec9f0-6e8f-400d-b038-48f3166072eb.jpg L-R: Mrs. Dadrian-Hazarian & Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs  3a7618ce-b3ce-43af-9c07-3a58eb248a10.jpg 78f0aac3-7f6e-49c4-8ea6-8783b94100c5.jpg
Ruben Safrastyan, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies
K.M. Greg Sarkissian, President of the Zoryan Institute 
16339c52-9162-4db1-9a8c-f831027706b5.jpg K.M. Greg Sarkissian, President of the Zoryan Institute, pays his final respects to Prof. Vahakn Dadrian 

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