Armenian News Network / Groong
Raphael Lemkin And The Coining Of The Word “Genocide”:
Miscellanea: Odds and Ends from Our Armenian-related Notes
Armenian News Network / Groong
July 5, 2022
by Abraham D. Krikorian and Eugene L. Taylor
Probing the Photographic Record
LONG ISLAND, NY
What we have covered in this extended essay is essentially a prospectus on the Armenian genocide. Rafał Lemkin, a Polish Jewish jurist and lawyer coined the word genocide and circumscribed what it was and was not. He made it very clear that he knew the Armenians were victims of genocide. We maintain in this essay that all victims of genocide should be supportive of one another. It is the evil genius of those who commit genocide to foster denial and make the victims of these various persecuted groups see each other as rivals to pity, and thus easy to dismiss as malcontents, exaggerators, and subversives. News management and control of media narrative have become fine arts among genocide deniers. We believe the arguments and imagery we present are persuasive, grounded in historical fact and detail, and should dispel the deniers. It is not a matter of “We were the most victimized,” rather, it is a matter of much greater general import. Not only those peoples who have been victimized by genocide should be a matter for our concern, but of all victimized peoples who deserve our interest and recognition in history. Names and definitions are important but not the all-important element.
One of the objectives of this presentation is to fill in a few gaps of knowledge about the life and work of Rafał Lemkin (Raphael Lemkin). Some emphasis is also given in the latter part of this essay to how he came up with phrases like “the Armenian genocide” (spelled with a lower-case g or capital G) or “the Genocide committed against the Armenians,” “the Turkish Genocide of the Armenians.”
One must state at the outset that it took many years for the word ‘genocide’ to come into being as a 20th century construct. The word was totally due to the initiative and labors of Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish jurist, and has unfortunately evolved to the status of being accepted or used today without much serious concern or introspection. In the early period, the word or concept was barely known or bothered with by the public at large, even the educated and professional public. The word has now become a matter of international law, but to be frank, international law generally speaking has few teeth and this ends up being a Godsend to specialist attorneys who can argue the cases forever.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
What Can Be Said About Raphael Lemkin
that is important but has not been said before?
The answer is “Unfortunately, not much that would be described as super-important.” But there is ample opportunity to add bits and pieces to the story. There is a fair amount of general biographical and bibliographical information on Raphael Lemkin available online, so little need be repeated here in the body of this essay based on that information. There are, however, many Lemkin materials that are scattered throughout various print archives that are still largely inadequately used or even essentially understudied or even unstudied. One certainly wishes that they were available for examination in a more ordered fashion. The fact that they are available at all is a miracle in itself. Steven Schur relates the dramatic story of the recovery of the Lemkin Archival materials that are now in the New York Public Library.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
We ourselves have done some research in most of the archives where Raphael Lemkin’s papers are preserved, but we have always felt that the materials were by no means easy to study in the most rational of manners. For one thing, his handwriting is not very easy to read. The typed pages are of course better, but they are often undated or missing. It is also important to say that there are points in the papers which cannot be substantiated by corroborative research, or they may even be inconsistent and contradictory.
In one place, for example, to be found in the New York Public Library papers, there is a biographical statement relating to his experience coming to the USA and teaching. It says that he “proceeded to the United States which he reached just before Pearl Harbor.” Now, every school child of our generation has hopefully learned Roosevelt’s statement that December 7, 1941, was “a date which will live in infamy.” Archival records at Duke University Law School indicate that Lemkin was in Durham, North Carolina in late April 1941. Just how the phrase “just before Pearl Harbor” got into the record will have to await someone coming across it by chance. Perhaps in the grand scheme of things “just before” could be April and it is thus a totally negligible point.
This quibble is but one trivial example of how challenging it is to not slavishly follow what one encounters in archives. One cannot always easily decide what is important and what is not. The Lemkin materials are voluminous, and it is one thing to admit that many topics entail a complex narrative that must be elicited from the various sources. Even so, it would seem that at least some basic, verifiable, and verified information about a person who is often so eulogized and applauded today would be well settled by now. Apparently, for Raphael Lemkin, that is not necessarily the case. We spent more time than we should like to admit tracking down the ship’s manifest for Lemkin’s immigration. We were finally able to do it at the Family History Library at Salt Lake City. Prior to that we had run into a number of stumbling blocks. At least that is now done and should put to rest the range of largely incorrect stories of his immigration. (See below.)
Also, there are on occasion, multiple copies, versions, and drafts, some in different locations. For us, getting only a few of them into some sort of chronological order has been a major task despite “Finding Aids.” Some years back it was reported that there was an ambitious plan to publish a catalog of Raphael Lemkin’s unpublished works and correspondence as part of a comprehensive project. This was to be accompanied by a full-length biography. Rabbi Dr. Steven Leonard Jacobs of Tuscaloosa, Alabama undertook this herculean task. Even a cursory examination of a volume published in 1992 by Rabbi Jacobs that derives from an untitled Lemkin manuscript, but titled and edited by Jacobs as “Raphael Lemkin’s Thoughts on Nazi Genocide. Not Guilty?” (Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, ME.) shows what an enormous undertaking such a project involves.
Before continuing in our attempt to give at least some fresh perspective on Lemkin’s life, we should perhaps start off with the point that the Polish spelling of his first name is Rafał, that is an l with a stroke through it. This renders the pronunciation as “Raff’ow” [as in ow that hurts!]. Raphael is the Anglicized form of his name and is mostly used.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> We have encountered only a couple of times in correspondence where he is addressed as Rafal (no line through the l as ł).
Not unexpectedly, most of the coverage that one finds on the Internet is largely derivative and some of it inexact, sometimes totally wrong. Such basic pieces of information as Raphael Lemkin’s year and ‘country’ of birth etc. present inconsistencies, just as the period when he first entered America, and traveled to North Carolina. His year of birth is sometimes wrongly given as 1901 rather than the correct date of 24 June 1900 (See Fig. 8.). He died 24 August 1959 in New York City — he did not have a heart attack in his apartment, by the way, as has been said more than once.
To our annoyance, the full medical record dealing with his death is not accessible in NY State to non-relatives. That shows how silly these things can get. The hypocritical pretense that privacy is all-important is a joke. Some individuals who are dead may not have living relatives. No one seems to have worried about that. ADK raised such a stink that we would be glad to hear that policy is no longer in place and has exceptions.
Raphael Lemkin wrote himself that he was born in 1900 in Bezwodne, district of Bialystok, Poland.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
To be a bit more informative one might today say that Lemkin was born in what was once referred by some Old Country residents of the area as the “North-West,” that is, in what was referred to as the ‘Pale of Settlement’ in the old Russian Empire. On some period maps, the international boundaries of the region are referred to as “Russian Poland” with ‘White Russia’ being a significant but not all-embracing element. The Kresy (from the Polish word for frontier or borderland) is another expression that one encounters, but the location and composition of the Kresy varied as well over time. So much for frontiers and the vicissitudes of geography. Today the place that Lemkin spelled Bezwodne and which he allocated to Poland when he was writing his curriculum vitae for use in America, is given as Bezwodna in Belarus, roughly speaking near to where Poland and Lithuania now meet. In the time of the Polish Republic following 1920 Bezwodne was in the Białystok district. As of January 1939, the Grodno oblast [administrative region] was part of Poland.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Part of a curriculum vitae produced by Raphael Lemkin himself, emphasizing his broad experience and professional activities is given below. Readers will excuse some repetition of what has already been said.
He was born in what was historically known as Lithuania or White Russia. He attended the University of Lwów and then the University of Heidelberg studying philology and languages – ending up mastering nine languages. He was a member of the faculty of the Free University of Warsaw, Public Prosecutor of the City of Warsaw, member of the House of Governors of the Bar of Poland, a member of the Polish Board for Codification of Legal Codes, a member of the International Committee for the Unification of Penal laws of the United Nations (Fifth Committee) 1931-39; representative of Poland on the Board of Governors of the International Association of Penal Law, Paris, 1932-1938; representative of Poland at the International Juridical Congress in Brussels, Paris, Copenhagen, Rome, Palermo, Prague, Cairo, Amsterdam, and Budapest. He was author in Polish: The Polish Penal Code (with Justices Janusz Jamont and Emil Stanisław Rappaport (2 volumes, Warsaw, 1932; The Judge Confronted by The Modern Criminal Law and Criminology (Warsaw, 1933); Amnesty (Warsaw, 1933); Financial Law (Warsaw, 1937); The Russian Penal Code (Warsaw, 1928); The Italian Penal Code (Warsaw, 1929); in French: The Regulation of International Payments with preface by von Zeeland (Paris, 1939); in Swedish: Exchange Control and Clearing (University of Stockholm Lectures, 1940-1941). Author of numerous monographs, papers, and articles on criminal law, penology, and international monetary problems in Polish, French, German, Italian, and English. He taught for one year at the University of Stockholm and from there, via Eurasia and Japan proceeded to the United States.
This brief accounting gives a broad perspective of a man with a great deal of experience, especially for someone so young. Would-be detractors who suggest that he was ‘a nobody’ are very misinformed.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
For our more immediate purposes here, many might say that it would suffice to say that Raphael Lemkin was a jurist, a Polish Jew who immigrated into the U.S.A. in 1941 through a series of rather amazing events, assumed an appointment in mid-April 1941 at Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina that had been pre-arranged by a friend on the Law faculty, and by the time of the 1949 TV broadcast “UN Casebook XXI: Genocide” through which he became better known and recognized as a public figure, he held a teaching post at Yale University.
It seems appropriate to now present some more relevant details on his personal history. Raphael was the second of three sons. His older brother was named Elias and his younger brother was Samuel. His father was a tenant farmer, said to be somewhat unusual at that time for a Jew. His mother (née Bella Pomeranz) has been described as a cultured, highly intelligent woman.
Professor Ryszard Szawłowski has pointed out a number of nonsensical statements [see endnote 6 cited above] that exist in various biographical accounts, and we ourselves know that these errors have been sustained more than a few times both in print and in lectures. For example, any notion that Raphael Lemkin lived under Nazi occupation is just that, a baseless notion. Lemkin never lived under German occupation. (Fair to say that the Polish administration was sympathetic to Hitler, even pro-Hitler, from 1933 right up to the time of invasion in 1939.) Lemkin practiced and taught law. The mentality was that the Nazis were anti-Russian, and that suited more than a few Poles. He lost his job when he returned to Warsaw in 1933 after trying to get the League of Nations interested seriously in crimes of “barbarity.” (That was a lost cause.) Neither was Lemkin part of the Polish underground movement. His family was apparently murdered by the Nazis in 1942, at a time after which Lemkin had been and was in the United States, that is after April 1941.
So far as we can determine, the ‘only’ atrocities that Lemkin saw with his own eyes (and they were certainly barbaric enough for anyone to witness) entailed the following which we quote from a magazine article by well-known journalist Herbert C. Yahraes Jr., published in Collier’s magazine in March 1951pg. 29:
“With the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, Lemkin took refuge with hundreds of other Poles in a vast forest. There he saw the Germans bomb a refugee train drawn up at a nearby village. Several hundred children who had packed the train had tumbled out and were eating breakfast. Telling about it, Lemkin rubs his hand nervously over the arm of his chair. “Then as the planes came over,” he says quietly, “and destroyed them.” He looks up. “Is it any wonder I couldn’t forget my idea?” [of developing and putting in place legislation against the crime of barbarity.]
For us, this indeed qualifies as his ‘personal experience’ but does not reflect personal experience so far as ‘The Holocaust’ is concerned, as some have claimed, not unless one wants to recast dramatically when ‘The Holocaust’ against the Jews and Slavs and Roma and Sinti etc. began.
Loss Of Raphael Lemkin’s Family During The Nazi Horrors
An important piece of information about Raphael Lemkin learning of the death of his relatives as a result of the Nazi horrors may be found showcased in the Collier’s magazine article by Yahraes, referred to above entitled “He gave a name to the world’s most horrible crime.” The article clearly seems to have relied on an interview or interviews, and portrays Raphael Lemkin in a very human light, rather than in the more usual serious, even stolid way in which he is characterized in most other articles. See below.
Here we will attempt to visit anew and very briefly the matter of what motivated Raphael Lemkin to coin the word “genocide.” This has been approached, or at least touched on by a number of writers in various and sundry incarnations of the whole. However, we should strive towards a perspective that is as accurate as possible a perspective and get some timing of events into a proper time sequence. There are, of course, as in any attempts of synthesis of the sort under consideration here, many pitfalls that confront one. Methodological complexity is the order of the day.
Figs. 1 and 2 below are from Herbert Yahraes “He Gave A Name To The World’s Most Horrible Crime.” Raphael Lemkin called it “genocide” ̶ the mass killing of people, and personally made it into an international crime, Collier’s magazine March 3, 1951 pgs. 29, 56-57.
Double-page spread that opens journalist Herbert Yahraes’ excellent article.
Enlargement of what we think is an attractive color photograph by Hans Knopf of Raphael Lemkin in a somewhat pensive mood.
Raphael Lemkin speaks quite directly on the matter about the murder of his relatives to the journalist Yahraes. He asks, for instance, “If you mean do I know which went into the gas chambers, and which the Germans starved to death someplace else, no, I don’t know that” (Yahraes 1951 pg. 56).
It has been related that Lemkin needed to be hospitalized 20-26 July 1946 at the U.S. Army Medical Hospital in Paris as a result of hypertension related ostensibly to stress. We have not yet checked the records in the United States National Archives of the Paris hospital, but it has also been stated outright, or at least implied, that his hospitalization was in Nuremberg. Cooper (2008 pg. 72) says “Distraught at being unable to trace any members of his family from Poland and suffering from high blood pressure, Lemkin was confined to a military hospital.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Whatever the sad specifics, it seems quite safe to say that it was considerably after his release from hospital in Paris that Raphael Lemkin learned about the fate of his family. This is, therefore, well after Lemkin’s “Axis Rule…” appeared in print. Accordingly, because the hospital stay was in 1946 and “Axis Rule…” was published considerably earlier in late 1944, it would appear wrong to try to make the case that Raphael Lemkin’s coining of the word “genocide” is directly related to his learning about that personal tragedy. Moreover, coining the word certainly had nothing to do with “The Holocaust” in the strict use of that expression. “The Catastrophe” or sometimes “The Great Catastrophe,” Yiddish speakers and writers use “umkum” or khurbn -sometimes pronounced as if it ended with an “m.” ” Umkum means ‘catastrophe’ or ‘destruction,’ ‘total destruction’ or even ‘war’ etc., depending on the context. (We thank Dr. Agi Legutko, Director of the Yiddish Language Program, Columbia University.) The almost universally known expression “The “Shoah” (‘Calamity’ in Hebrew) was eventually replaced, in America especially, by “The Holocaust” only considerably later.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
No clear-cut information on any decision to annihilate all European Jewry had yet been made, certainly known about at large when Lemkin was cogitating or struggling with a name for the ‘crime without a name.’ The point should be made here, however, that Raphael Lemkin may well have believed that he ‘saw the writing on the wall’ rather early. He recalled the pogroms he heard of as a kid growing up. Litvak (1991) pg. 68 says “It should also be remembered that during the first half of 1940 there were only a few extreme pessimists who foresaw the “final solution” as it was revealed in 1942.” There is little doubt in our minds Raphael Lemkin was one of these.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Recall also that Raphael Lemkin’s emerging (and ultimate) definition of genocide was broad. It is not insignificant that he later wrote considerably afterwards, that he “started to collect decrees of occupation which had reached Sweden by way of occupied Europe. Some of these decrees, like that of the German military commander in Serbia which had already in April 1941 established a death penalty for hiding Jews and Gypsies, foretold the plan of committing genocide.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Readers of our postings on Groong, the Armenian News Network will see that we ourselves have always tried to be quite specific in our wording. As a jurist Raphael Lemkin necessarily saw things as legal issues, not from the perspective of a historian, and certainly not as one working in today’s environment, either academic or political.
Raphael Lemkin’s compilation of “Key Laws, Decrees and Regulations Issued by the Axis in Occupied Europe,” dated December, 1942 produced for the “Board of Economic Warfare, Blockage and Supply Branch, Reoccupation Division” under The locator “RR-8 RESTRICTED COPY No. (in our case seen as “no 88”) and stamped in red “From War Dept. Liaison Office, Board of Economic Warfare” says: “This collection was compiled by Dr. Raphael Lemkin partly when serving on the faculties of the Universities of Stockholm, Sweden, and of Duke University, North Carolina, and partly when serving as a consultant with the Board of Economic Warfare.”
His preface begins: “The laws and decrees promulgated by Germany in the subjugated countries of Europe, vary according to the policy which Germany has sought to impose, and the problems which Germany has been forced to meet.” Lemkin’s work gives an excellent, brief overview of the anticipated perspective on Nazi-generated legal frameworks for persecutions in their occupied territories. The worst of the ordinances in Lemkin’s compilation is in Serbia where the death penalty is to be imposed on anyone who hides Jews or accepts material goods for safekeeping etc.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Putting aside for the moment the nascent horrors as they were developing in Nazi-controlled territories, we will continue with our sketch of Raphael Lemkin’s biography as derived largely from the article by Professor Szawłowski and pieces of Raphael Lemkin’s own writings. [see endnote 6 for full reference.]
When Hitler invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, Lemkin left (escaped is perhaps more accurate) Warsaw on 6/7 September as did thousands of other men. This was in response to an order for able-bodied men to head East, where they would join the army. There Lemkin “encountered the Soviet aggression against Poland that took place on 17 September.” (That was only 16 days after Hitler invaded Poland. The invasion by the Soviets did not last long however because the Germans took over completely.) Lemkin was detained by the Bolsheviks but was subsequently released. Had they known his real identity they would have arrested him and sent him to a gulag for his hostility and vilification of the Soviet criminal legal system in the course of his professional work. After this, Lemkin stayed with his parents for a short while and got to Wilno [Vilna] (in Poland but which was then occupied by Lithuanians, today Vilnius, Lithuania). He escaped from Lithuania to Sweden as a refugee in February 1940, remained there for more than a year and even lectured at the Stockholms Högskola. His Swedish became good enough to publish a book based on his lectures entitled “Foreign Exchange and Clearing.”
Exactly when he left Sweden is not certain, but it seems reasonable that it was early in 1941.
Raphael Lemkin managed to get into America through his connections with Professor Malcolm McDermott of the School of Law, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. (They had met in Warsaw in 1936 and had collaborated in publishing in 1939 an English version of a small book on the Polish Penal Code of 1932 and Law of Minor Offences.) Raphael Lemkin is said to have been “welcomed on 18 April 1941” at Duke. (This exact date seems not to be formally confirmable, but it must be very close, if not exact, since there is a news release found at Duke University Law School Archives dated 24 April of his being engaged to teach Roman and International Law.) Lemkin’s long journey from Sweden had entailed coming to America by going clear across the Soviet Union (Trans-Siberian Railway), eventually to Yokohama, Japan and entering the U.S.A. via Seattle, Washington on 18 April 1941.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
We shall now take the liberty to jump ahead in the broad scheme of things and give some coverage to a marker in Warsaw and glean what we can from it.
A Plaque For RafaŁ Lemkin In Warsaw
As so often happens, markers are put up in places with which a particularly important or well-known person was associated. Some of these are very simple, others are quite elaborate. If one goes to Warsaw, Poland one can find a building complex which survived World War II that bears a plaque honoring Raphael Lemkin. See Figs. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 below.
We were fortunate enough to see the plaque in Warsaw when we visited this city as part of a trip as tourists to the Baltic Capitals. If one is unable to make a personal visit, one can amazingly see through the miracle of Google Earth the bilingual commemorative plaque placed on the outside of the then fairly upscale apartment house that Lemkin lived in at 6 Kredytowa Street for several years until 6/7 September 1939. His name is spelled in Polish and English as Rafał Lemkin. [It is a common first name for boys and derives from the Hebrew “God heals” or some such.] Wikipedia shows another close-up of the plaque see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rafal_Lemkin_plaque_PISM.jpg.]
Building on Kredytowa Street where Lemkin lived in Warsaw, Poland. Fig. 8 shows plaque in some detail.
The awning on the right indicates a ‘travel’ agency.
Eugene L. Taylor (6 ft. tall) standing by Lemkin plaque on the building where Lemkin lived.
Closer view of Lemkin plaque on the front of the building.
Lemkin plaque in Polish and in English on the front of his residence in Warsaw.
Close-up of the English text on the Lemkin plaque.
It might be a bit optimistic to suppose that many people will know that the Genocide Convention
was adopted on December 9, 1948, and that the 60th anniversary
would be marked on December 9, 2008.
Close-up of the Introduction in Polish on the Lemkin plaque.
It was noteworthy to us that no one in the area or in the shops in the building complex knew anything about Lemkin, its one-time resident, who eventually became “famous” for instigating and initiating the Genocide Convention. Indeed, “No one is a prophet in his own land.” (Holy Bible Luke 4:24).
Lemkin’s Burial Place
We encountered the same situation a dozen years ago when we undertook a visit to Lemkin’s gravesite in the USA at the Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Flushing Queens, on Long Island. It was as if we were seeking the grave of someone who mattered very little or nothing to the world at large. (Apparently that has changed slightly in recent years.) When we visited Mt. Hebron Cemetery 2010 it was a major project to locate the gravesite, and bird droppings soiled the stone and site in general. Fortunately, we had some water and cleaning tools available to clean off the grave marker a bit before we took photographs.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Note especially Block 101 at around 8 o’clock on the left side of the locator map.
(See enlargement Fig. 11.)
Shows what a challenge it would be to seek out a gravesite at Mount Hebron Cemetery without specifics.
There are an immense number of graves.
The Lemkin Plot, Block 101, Lot ½ 238 & 239.
There are 10 individuals buried in the plot - 6 Lemkins, 2 Desfors, 2 others.
Even though Raphael Lemkin was the first to be buried there, he was not one of the four original owners of the Plot, but
a family member was. (We thank Cedar Grove Cemetery Association for this information.)
The Hebrew at the top translates as “Raphael son of Yosef HaLevy.” Our thanks to Dr. Ann Kent Witztum for the translation from Hebrew.
Lemkin’s Immigration Into The United States
Lemkin’s immigration record detailing his travel to the USA exists only on microfilm. We were told by authorities in Seattle that originals no longer exist. The ship manifest (Fig. 16a.) shows that Lemkin left Yokohama, Japan on April 5, 1941, on the M.S. Hein Maru, a Japanese ocean liner, and arrived in Seattle on April 18, 1941, where he was medically examined at the port of entry and admitted.
Copy of Ship Manifest. (See Line 14 especially for Rafael Lemkin.)
Cut-out showing Line 14 from the Ship Manifest.
Raphael Lemkin’s Declaration of Intention for American citizenship.
Note that Lemkin’s first name has become ‘Americanized’ to Raphael. We believe this is the first time it was formalized legally.
Lemkin And The Armenians
Lemkin’s concern with the Armenians and the crime that was inflicted on them by the Ottoman Turks under cover of World War I and even earlier in the late 1890s and again in 1909, did not emanate from a superficial interest gained later in his life. The Armenians of Turkey were very important in the context of Lemkin’s idealistic struggles with framing appropriate legal concepts on how one might punish perpetrators of such crimes. These concerns dated from 1921.
Lemkin relates that even as a youngster he posed questions to his mother about the reasons for the persecutions of Christians in the days of Emperor Nero’s Rome. He had read about these dramatic torments and tortures in the novel Quo Vadis written by the immensely popular Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz.
Later in life, Raphael Lemkin described Quo Vadis as his favorite book when he was a child. It appears that he was what we would nowadays call a youngster with a potential for developing a deep social conscience.
We learn from a brief but very telling biographical sketch of Raphael Lemkin that “In 1921 he was profoundly upset by a news item.” A young Armenian man named Soghomon Teilierian [the more usual and accurate anglicized spelling of the surname is Telirian], had confronted the Turkish Minister of the Interior, Talaat Pasha [Fig. 18], on the street near his residence in Berlin, drawn a revolver, and killed him, shouting: “This is to avenge the death of my family!”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
This late in life photo of Talaat Pasha (1874-1921) shows the cover of a fairly recent volume (2006, Kaymak Yayinlari Press Istanbul] with Talaat’s image entitled in Turkish that translates to English as “My Memories and My Defense.” Some plastic surgery is said to have been performed on him and thus his eyes look a bit different from other photographs. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
After studying the assassination case of Talaat Pasha in greater detail, Raphael Lemkin found that Tehlirian’s family had been part of the more than 1,200,000 Armenians who had been eliminated starting in 1915 by the Turks, when Talaat had been head of the Turkish police, and later when he was Minister of the Interior.
Raphael Lemkin took what he saw as a problem to one of his law professors at Lwów University.
“Did the Armenian try to have the Turk arrested for the massacre?” The professor shook his head. “There is no law under which he could be arrested.” “But Talaat was responsible for the death of those people,” Raphael retorted. His professor in the Law faculty responded: “Consider the case of a farmer who owns a flock of chickens. He kills them and this is his business. If you interfere, you are trespassing.” Lemkin retorted: “But the Armenians are not chickens. Certainly –ˮ the professor continued: “You cannot interfere with the internal affairs of a nation without infringing on that nation’s sovereignty.” Raphael stood his ground. “It is a crime for Teilierian (sic) to kill a man, but it is not a crime for his oppressor to kill more than a million men? This is most inconsistent.”
The final bit of advice offered to Lemkin was “You are young and inexperienced, Lemkin, and tend to oversimplify. You should learn more about international law.”
So Raphael entered law school at the University of Lwów.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> For six years he searched ancient and modern law to discover some written code against the crime of murdering national, racial, and religious groups.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
All this led to Lemkin becoming even more preoccupied with the entire problem. Figs. 19, 20, 21, and 22 are images selected by us to tell some of the story connected with avenging the deaths of Armenian genocide victims through assassination of Young Turk leaders.
The first Turkish target (Fig. 19a.) was Talaat Pasha, widely regarded as the arch-assassin and prime initiator of the scheme to carry out the genocide.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
<![if !vml]><![endif]> <![if !vml]><![endif]>
Fig. 19a. and 19b.
Fig. 19a. Talaat Pasha at his ‘desk.’ From an undated photograph in the Library of Congress, Bain News Service Collection <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>;
Fig. 19b. The bloodied shirt worn by Talaat when he was assassinated.
The shirt was in an Istanbul museum when this photograph was taken through a glass case.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The item has apparently long been removed from public view.
<![if !vml]><![endif]> <![if !vml]><![endif]>
Fig. 20a. and Fig. 20b.
Fig. 20a. Title page of the German trial transcript. The booklet is some 132 pages long and consists of the transcript of the two-day trial (Julian calendar June 22/21) from 2 and 3 June 1921 in Berlin of the student accused of assassinating Talaat Pasha Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. Armin T. Wegner wrote a preface and an appendix for the volume. Soghomon Teilirian (1896–1960), was the defendant. Teilirian, was acquitted and deported virtually straightaway.
Fig. 20b. front page article in the 4 June 1921 issue of the New York Tribune reporting the acquittal of Salomon Teilirian (sic) for Talaat’s assassination on the grounds of insanity.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Dr. Behaeddin Sakir was yet another of the Young Turk criminals assassinated for their roles in planning and implementing the Armenian Genocide. Sakir was a member of the Young Turk Central Committee (in Turkish, Ittihad ve Terakki Jemiyeti) and a leader of the “Special Organization'' (in Turkish, Teşkilat-I Mahsusa) that had a major responsibility in organizing the massacres.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
We shall see in the course of our summary presentation here that even today one is not sure by any means of the year, much less the exact date, and the precise circumstances under which the invention of the word “genocide” occurred. Whatever the particulars, Raphael Lemkin was responsible for directly linking − several years before the drafting of the Genocide Convention − his new word with what happened to the Armenians. As a legal scholar and practicing attorney Lemkin had struggled for many years with defining and codifying the concept of punishment for the kinds of crimes committed by the Turks. The small volume “Lemkin’s Dossier on the Armenian Genocide,” Lemkin, Raphael, 1900-1959, American Jewish Historical Society, and Center for Armenian Remembrance. [Manuscript from Raphael Lemkin's Collection, American Jewish Historical Society]. Glendale, Calif.: Center for Armenian Remembrance, 2008 provides as good as any overview of Lemkin’s thoughts on the Armenians and their victimhood. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Immediate Recognition Of The Historical Importance Of
The UN Casebook XXI: Genocide Film Footage
We had come upon a mention of this film on one occasion in our reading and eventually learned that it included Raphael Lemkin as one of the guests. Viewers are told abundantly clearly in Lemkin’s own words that in his view what happened to the Armenians was genocide. Locating the film was not an easy task, but we believe it was worth all the effort we made in meeting the challenge.
With that brief introduction we will now direct our attention to our work on elaborating upon the film footage in a paper published some years ago by the present writers, Taylor and Krikorian. It showcased a full transcript of this unique 1949 television program entitled “UN Casebook XXI: Genocide.” It included a detailed introduction so as to place this exceptional program in proper context.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
A brief excerpt of that unique TV broadcast with its authoritative ‘notable’ guests presented leisurely before one’s eyes, was first shown in a powerful documentary film produced and directed by Andrew Goldberg called “The Armenian Genocide” (2006).<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Like many others, on 17 April 2006, we first saw on Channel 13, the PBS station serving the greater New York City area, an hour-long documentary film produced-for-TV entitled “The Armenian Genocide.” It was written, produced and directed by Andrew Goldberg, founder and owner of Two Cats Productions in New York City. The documentary was put out in association with Oregon Public Broadcasting. We later learned that even before this documentary was shown publicly, indeed some six weeks before the scheduled airdate, a complaint against the anticipated broadcast had been lodged by one David Saltzman, Counsel to the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATTA). In the end, the ATAA was given an opportunity to voice their reaction to the documentary in the form of a post-program ‘roundtable’ discussion. We have read that ANCA (Armenian National Committee of America) lobbied to have the ‘roundtable’ cancelled. The outcome allowed approximately 348 PBS-affiliate TV stations to show the program “The Armenian Genocide,” with or without the subsequent ‘roundtable.’ Apparently relatively few stations ended up showing the post-program half-hour “roundtable” segment. The ‘roundtable’ discussion, advertised ahead of time in a few places as “Armenian Genocide: Exploring the Issues,” aired immediately post-program and was skillfully moderated by noted National Public Radio commentator and journalist Scott Simons.
The New York-area broadcast that we ourselves watched did not include the follow-up ‘roundtable’ discussion/debate. A friend in Austin, Texas sent us a copy of the program complete with the discussion that was shown on their PBS station KLRU. Professor Justin McCarthy of the University of Louisville, and Associate Professor of History at Omer Turan University, then at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara and now Professor at Bilgi University in Istanbul, represented the Turkish Point of View. Professors Peter Balakian of Colgate University and Taner Akçam, then a visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota (later at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and now serving as Armenian Genocide Research Director at the Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA in Los Angeles), represented the perspective that what happened to the Armenians was a genocide.
The marketing activities for the Goldberg film included the claim that the documentary “featured never-before-seen footage.” This is a bit of an exaggeration of course but there is indeed very important footage that few people had known about – at least in the more modern context of genocide studies.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Since that time, brief excerpts from the same ‘original’ UN Casebook XXI film <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> have been presented with increasing frequency on such modern communal platforms as YouTube. In the majority of cases, what is posted derives from the same ‘original.’ The excerpts from the broadcast selected for showing inevitably give special emphasis to Raphael Lemkin, the originator of the word “genocide,” and features him talking about the Armenian massacres and discriminatory attitudes culminating in Hitler’s Nazi actions.
Because the well-intentioned and commendably promising ‘open [free]’ journal War Crimes, Genocide & Crimes against Humanity above referenced was unfortunately very short-lived, we decided to post the entire UN Casebook XXI television program with our transcription as it was originally print published. We added additional commentary on our YouTube Conscience Films site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXliPhsI530. Our decision to post the entire paper online was primarily due to wanting to maintain and sustain access to our painstaking work transcribing and publishing the broadcast in what had become an essentially defunct journal. The YouTube Posting allowed a decidedly fuller connection to this important broadcast along with text added to enhance the broadcast. The intended objective was to make students and researchers alike aware of the many specifics.
Using the contents of this United Nations Casebook XXI film as a point of departure, we delved into the life and work of Raphael Lemkin. In everything we read he was featured both as a private individual and as a highly educated, experienced jurist driven to introduce internationally recognized legislation against this ‘crime of crimes.’ He was, one could say, truly obsessed with this task.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Much of the 20,000 page plus Lemkin archive is now on positive microfilm, and is available for research at various archives. Needless to say, the sheer volume presents challenges (see Irvin-Erickson, Douglas, 2014). <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Lemkin himself admitted on several occasions that he coined the word genocide as a result of hearing a radio broadcast by Winston Churchill on 24 August 1941 wherein the British Prime Minister spoke of a “crime without a name.” [Gilbert, Martin 2007, Churchill and the Jews: a lifelong friendship, Henry Holt & Co., New York pg. 186].
Many have taken to hearing this typically Churchillian phrase and language to be the prime incentive for someone, indeed anyone, to rise up and provide a name for the “crime without a name,” this crime of crimes. Because of the timeframe during which the comment was made by Churchill, it is assumed that the genocide committed against European Jewry was foremost, if not the only thing on his mind. It was not. Lemkin had been struggling with the entire concept for years! <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Lemkin certainly listened to Churchill’s speech, and we might speculate that he even hung on every word.
As mentioned earlier, prior to coming to America, Lemkin lived in neutral Sweden where he closely monitored German occupation policies in his native Poland where his parents and family remained, as well as policies in neighboring Norway and all of occupied Europe. Swedish travelers coming and going from Stockholm helped Lemkin assemble a collection of publicly available German occupation laws and decrees, which Lemkin analyzed in an effort to understand the pattern of the policies being implemented in Hitler's New Order in Europe.
From these documents, Lemkin concluded that alongside the traditional war of armies, Germany was engaged in a war against peoples. To Lemkin the collection of occupation decrees demonstrated a Nazi policy aimed at nothing less than a demographic restructuring of the European population. Following the design set out in Hitler’s Mein Kampf published in 1925, some groups would be encouraged to thrive, others to decline through depopulation over time, and others would be targeted for destruction.
In Lemkin's native Poland, for example, the German occupiers had created a racial hierarchy in which so-called and in reality, scientifically indefensible "Aryan" peoples (ethnic German Volkesdeutsche) received the full food rations and were encouraged to have more children, even out of wedlock. Ethnic Poles and other Slavic groups were forcefully subjugated, their leadership and intellectuals sent to concentration camps or killed outright. The remainder of the Slavic population was to survive on minimal rations only to the extent that their labor was needed by the dominant "Aryan" population group. The Jewish population, consisting of two million people including Lemkin's own family, was being exterminated. Extermination was accomplished by forcibly resettling the population in ghettos or camps where people died rapidly through slave labor, starvation, exposure and contagious diseases such as typhus - living conditions designed to cause their destruction through attrition.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The Polish Institute of International Affairs convened a conference on 18-19 September 2008 in Warsaw on the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Genocide Convention. The conference was aimed at appreciating the life and elaborating on perpetuating the legacy of the work of Raphael Lemkin.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Professor Ryszard Szawłowski, a contributor to that volume, has ventured to say that “the term genocide was probably already conceived by Lemkin in the first half of 1943, if not somewhat earlier” (Szawłowski, 2005 pg. 120.) [Endnote 6 has the exact citation.]
Given the apparent importance for many of the word “genocide” in the overall narrative, it seems imperative to understand the neologism - the new word - as coined by Raphael Lemkin in as much detail as possible. (Some academics have complained that he used unorthodox mixing of Greek and Latin in coining the single word, genocide.) Such people would have probably complained that Lemkin did not walk on water! Towards this end it becomes clear why we have thought it most necessary to delve into this issue in as much detail as we can.
‘Parenthetically,’ rather we should say ‘non-parenthetically,’ we would emphasize that the United Nations Genocide Convention has been reproduced in a great many places on the Internet. That does not mean, of course, that all or any of those who use the words have taken advantage of the opportunity to read them, much less study them. Nevertheless, to facilitate the possibility of changing that situation, we provide the following URL from the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library website. It provides direct access to the full UN document in English and French.
UN Digital Library E/794:
https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/604195?In-en [Full original report]
[1 page Corrigendum to the original report]at /794/Corr.1
Sadly, Raphael Lemkin’s original concept and desired definition of “genocide” did not fully prevail in the final Genocide Convention that he ‘fathered’ and promoted so energetically, but he did adhere faithfully to his original concepts throughout his relatively short life, even though he recognized and even admitted that some compromises would have to be acceded to.
We will refrain from comparing and contrasting the ‘draft(s)’ and the final version of the Convention.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
We provide in Endnote <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> part of the account written by Raphael Lemkin in the Preface of his book “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe” as it relates to genocide. These pages are the very first place where the word “genocide” appeared in print (Lemkin, 1944 pgs. xi-xii).
We’ll see later that Raphael Lemkin was even able, when the occasion arose, to put on in public a rather positive if not bright face concerning things that he knew to be severely flawed. He had done all that was humanly possible, and he was forced to believe in compromise. However, the fact that his own adopted country, the U.S.A., could not be induced to ratify the Convention troubled and hurt him deeply. It is worth repeating that he died in complete poverty − a morose, disheartened, broken and broke man. One could say that it was merciful that he died suddenly of a heart attack.
“The Armenian Genocide” – A Documentary Film Broadcast On PBS
It was both annoying and disappointing that we had to spend so much time tracking down a recording of the Casebook XXI program. We knew one had to exist since we had seen the excerpt from it in Goldberg’s film but requests on our part went unanswered. Happily, it was eventually found at the National Jewish Archives (NJA) on 92nd Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. This was made possible through the generous help of Ms. Leshu Torchin, then a Doctoral Candidate at New York University. Dr. Torchin (earned her Ph.D. back in 2007) has made significant contributions to visual communications as they relate to the Armenian and other genocides (see e.g. (Torchin 2007).<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> We would have been at a total loss had we not been told about Jeffrey Shandler’s book “While America Watches” (Shandler, 1999). We bring this up since what could have been an easy task turned out to be a major project until Ms. Torchin put us on the right track.
The film footage featuring Raphael Lemkin and Quincy Howe used by Andrew Goldberg’s “Two Cats Productions,” and since then by the proverbial ‘everybody and his cousin’ derives from a 13 February 1949 joint CBS/United Nations Casebook XXI broadcast in New York City.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Much of the material written or stated by Raphael Lemkin in connection with the Armenians and the Armenian Genocide, has today become fairly well-known – at least in a very general way—and at least by Armenians and their sympathizers.
In fact, a popular exhibit at the Jewish Historical Society Center for Jewish History, ran an award-winning program from Nov. 15, 2009, to May 2, 2010. The name of the exhibit was “Letters of Conscience: Raphael Lemkin and the Quest to End Genocide.” It started off by saying “Almost 90 years ago, a young student in Poland became intrigued – and deeply troubled – about the case of an Armenian youth accused of murdering the Turkish official responsible for the 1915 genocide of the Armenian community in the Ottoman Empire.” That clearcut statement reached quite a few museum goers. Only a very short notice of the exhibit was retained online.
Over the years, a number of Raphael Lemkin’s hitherto unpublished papers and manuscripts have appeared in print. Of special interest are Lemkin’s essays by Rabbi Jacobs, which have been written as well on the nature of exactly what Lemkin had to say about the Armenian Genocide.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> These have been very important in bringing Lemkin to the attention of many Armenians in considerably greater detail, as well as to those purportedly interested in comparative genocide studies.
Nevertheless, despite the printed word, be it in articles or books, seeing Lemkin on film has brought his feelings on what had happened to the Armenians into full relief and in an unequalled fashion. There is nothing like seeing him talk in a straightforward way and hearing “genocide” and “Armenians” right from his own lips! Raphael Lemkin talking about the Armenians and the genocide perpetrated against them, provides us with an important symbolic image. See Fig. 22a. and 22b. below, clipped from “UN Casebook XXI: Genocide.”
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Fig. 22a. and Fig. 22b.
Fig. 22a. Raphael Lemkin with moderator Quincy Howe;
Fig 22b. Raphael Lemkin talking about the Armenian Genocide.
Still photographs captured from UN Casebook XXI: Genocide – at approximately 17 minutes.
There can be little doubt that the Raphael Lemkin segment of Andrew Goldberg’s documentary perked up many a viewer’s ears and widened many a viewer’s eyes. Goodness! “Armenian Genocide” voiced by the man who coined the word! Professor Peter Balakian made a special point in the post-program ‘roundtable’ discussion of Andrew Goldberg’s documentary that “Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the word genocide spoke in no uncertain terms about the genocide against the Armenians.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The clear-cut pronouncement by Raphael Lemkin was understandably very much welcomed by the American community with Armenian roots or connections and their supporters. Here was still another piece of unambiguous evidence for all the world to see, that there is full justification for the position that what happened to the Armenians under cover of World War I qualifies to be called a genocide. Statements often used by Turks when referring to what happened to the Armenians like “an issue which its proponents call the Armenian Genocide” have no place in our opinion in honest discussions and are long past beyond insulting.
The upshot is this. There was initially, and continues to be, enthusiastic reception of Goldberg’s film “The Armenian Genocide.” It is a very well-executed film from a number of perspectives. But for many, the appearance of Raphael Lemkin was a particularly noteworthy feature of the film. Since that initial screening, a point has been made by many for showing Raphael Lemkin talking about the Armenian Genocide for commemorative reasons, for purposes of affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and for what might be, for lack of a better term, pure and simple congratulatory reasons. Journalist Harut Sassounian in his California Courier wrote a good article on the documentary being shown on the occasion of the presentation of the Lemkin Prize to Peter Balakian in 2005. This prize, a biennial recognition made by the Institute for the Study of Genocide, is given in recognition of the best non-fiction book − excluding memoirs, poetry, and drama – in the previous two years.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Showing Lemkin on film on such an occasion seems very appropriate indeed.
There can be little doubt that locating the film featuring “Quincy Howe, the CBS News Commentator” and “Raphael Lemkin,” by Two Cats and its subsequent integration into “The Armenian Genocide” documentary was an important accomplishment.
However, and not surprisingly, because of the imposed format for presenting the clip, and its necessary brevity in the context of Goldberg’s documentary, it is fair to say that there are many unjustified assumptions, even misconceptions, concerning this ‘Lemkin film footage’ that have since arisen. This is mostly due to people not having the means to look into it, or equally accurately, any interest in analyzing it in any depth. Many of these issues persist on the Internet and in the traditional print media alike. For example, the exact origin of the ‘Lemkin genocide film footage’ is never provided. Our paper published in War Crimes, Genocide & Crimes against Humanity appears to a be “a first” in that regard. Unavailability of a complete transcript of the 1949 broadcast, the extant film of it a rarity unto itself, up until now limited any study.
One can see that having the opportunity to examine and study the ‘original’ film footage of the broadcast, before editing and integration into the “The Armenian Genocide” documentary, revealed some points that would have been missed.
Few would disagree that no study of history can remain definitive for any great length of time, and it follows that mostly everything can profit by re-examination. ‘Data mining,’ a term normally used in computer science but also used in other fields, that is the attempt to glean as much information by repetitive analysis from different perspectives, can indeed yield new information and open up new avenues for further study. Certainly, there is a lot of room for more careful analysis and fresh research.
What Motivated Raphael Lemkin To Coin The Word Genocide?
Like everything else, this is not as easy to answer in as concise a way as one should like. There are at least a few places that we know of wherein Raphael Lemkin mentions how he felt obliged to come up with a name that adequately reflected what the crime was all about. But we want to emphasize that in the course of delving further into the matter, we have come across more than a few inconsistencies. We shall attempt to develop this situation in a sort of sequence and draw attention to a few of them.
Several years ago, we found a document of considerable interest to us while going through Lemkin materials (on microfilm; with hard copies at the New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division) bearing the caption “Text of statement by Dr. Raphael Lemkin at Testimonial Luncheon in his honor by New York Region of the American Jewish Congress at the Hotel Pierre, Thursday, January 18th” . If we read the part of the text that is relevant to us here, there are a number of things that enable one to gain a better perspective vis à vis Lemkin and the Armenians. First of all, Lemkin has said that he was moved to come up with a name for “a crime without a name” – a phrase used by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a speech on BBC radio on 24 August 1941. We have decided to include the full text. It is very interesting, and we believe you will agree that it is useful for us to have included it despite its length. According to the transcript of the address made before the audience at the American Jewish Congress testimonial luncheon in his honor, Lemkin related:
“At the beginning of the last war, I heard a radio broadcast by Winston Churchill. He was denouncing the Nazi atrocities, and he said: “The Nazis commit a crime without a name.” This statement struck my imagination. For some 18 years I had been working for an international law which would prohibit the destruction of nations, races and religious groups. I had submitted a draft of such a law to a League of Nations Conference in 1933. It was tabled because I was told that such a crime very seldom occurs, and it is not worthwhile to make a special law for such rare occasions.”
One will notice that Raphael Lemkin made no mention on the UN Casebook XXI broadcast about the victimization of the Greeks of the Ottoman Empire. The probable reason was that experienced moderator Quincy Howe had established a strict timetable to follow and may well have thought that encouraging Lemkin to include it in his interview and commentary might detract from the intended general focus. It has only been relatively recently that the details of the Ottoman Greek genocide have been publicized broadly and promoted for educational use in understanding the genocide process in general.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
There is no reason to adopt the notion that the Armenian Genocide never occurred, see e.g. the brazen stances taken by Turkish spokespeople in Pea Holmquist’s pioneer film “Back to Ararat” 2015 (ISBN9782399243176). These liars are quite unconvincing, and their body language inevitably betrays them.
The defense made by the Turkish Government regarding the Armenian massacres reminds one very much of a popular story about Jews that was circulated at the German Reichstag. Two Jewish women brought their dispute before an old rabbi about a kettle which the plaintiff could not get back from the defendant. The defendant said, first she knew of no such kettle, second she had returned it long ago, and third, the kettle was not worth speaking about since it was broken.
The Turkish Government claims: first, there were no such things as Armenian massacres; second, the massacres had in every place only a local and unofficial character, no orders having been issued by the Government; and third, the Government orders were issued only in self-defense and had the approval of their enlightened Ally, the Germans. To which the innocent Germans retort that they had no share whatever in the scheme and they were mere horrified powerless lookers on.
Officiously the Germans put the whole blame of the Armenian massacre on the Turkish Government and wanted to shake from themselves any parcel of participation or responsibility in the Crime. A good deal of propaganda has been done in this respect, the most important piece of work to our knowledge being the painstaking document full of American and German statements privately printed and circulated as strictly Confidential by Dr. Lepsius, head of the German Missionary works [Deutsche Orient Mission]. It may be granted that Dr. Lepsius is fairly sincere in his indignation to see malevolent people charging the Germans with participation in the massacres of 650,000 Christians by the hands of the Heathen. He brings good proof of the Massacre being planned quite carefully by the Central Government in Constantinople. He goes even further and discloses that the Armenian massacres were only a “coup d’essai” [a first attempt] though a “coup de maître” [masterstroke] and were the so- called civilized World to accept it with not too loud displeasure, the Greeks, and other Christians and the Jews would have followed.
But just like all the most honest and sincere German productions, Dr. Lepsius’ work has to be taken cum grano salis [with a grain of salt]. He fully admits the Turkish cruelty, the Turkish deep-laid plot, and supplements proof and witnesses to the facts, that far we may follow him. His whitewashing of the German Government involvement may be argued. It would probably be unfair to suspect Dr. Lepsius of having written his apologia by order, but like all law-abiding Germans he submitted his apologia to the Authorities. Dr. Bethmann-Hollweg has allowed one of his letters to be published in the “Introduction", a letter in which he assures he will do his Christian duty “in the future", by straining all means to prevent a repetition of the disgraceful massacres. Therefore, the document takes on a wholly, official character which makes it disingenuous. If the German Government had reasons to approve (without approving) the massacres, they have probably not found it fit to take Dr. Lepsius into their confidence.
Lepsius had spoken to dozens of German officers, physicians, etc., who had been in the thick of the massacres, and this is what he found out. Each and every German was individually horrified at what he had witnessed. Trained with a superstitious respect of property, order, etc., a German cannot be expected to look in cold blood placidly at the robbery, massacres, etc. To say, therefore, that the Germans were leading the massacres, or even taking a direct hand in them, as it has often been repeated, is doing them a wrong or at least advancing things which can never be proved. The Germans will always be able to prove by testimonials, diaries, protocols, etc. that in each case their soul revolted.
But slaves to discipline, and having given up every individual thought or movement, the Germans who were ordered to duty in the massacre-area, saw the outrage, and felt indignant, but made no move to stop it. That is certainly from a higher moral ground participation, even if not direct.
Officially the German Government has not entirely repudiated the recognition of the supposed necessity of the massacres by the Turks. Official inquiries have been made, and no smaller man than Ernst Basserman, whose words carry weight as the leader of the National Liberals, and member of the Reichstag, had openly and un-mistakenly given the Turkish Government absolution for what they did - invoking of course the higher Raison d’ Etat. In a word, German official approval was not entirely withheld from the Turks.
The German mentality is even today always puzzling. The Armenian Question was a safe question to tackle with official Germans. Pastor Lepsius never failed to bring up the topic of the massacres when talking with the officials and military populace, so he had plenty of opportunity to hear hundreds of stories proving the cruelty and the useless and shameless barbarity of the Turks. But just about every clean minded person would certainly shrink at the idea of making any profit from the situation the Armenians were in. Not so the Germans. They made bargains. It would be unfair to say they robbed the Armenians - those poor souls being compelled to abandon their things without compensation, or give them away for mere consideration. The Germans took advantage of conditions and bought carpets, jewelry, trinkets for a tenth of their real value. Germany became the richest country in ‘oriental’ carpets.
Now, one more thing has to be considered. For some time, the Germans realized for political reasons it would be good to colonize the Kilimanjaro, in arid, relatively un-fertile East Africa, and other colonies which are not a white-man's Country blessed by favorable geographical, climatical, agricultural and mineral conditions. More than 75 years ago Von Moltke pointed to that area as a future colonization ground for the Germans, and more and more Germans agreed.
Looking at it from this light, no one who knows anything about Germans and the law, and the crooked way they can go to get their high ambitions realized, would deny their methods which became divine missions. They would not hesitate to wipe out the thriftiest element in these countries. It would not have displeased or hurt German politics. And would not the Germans, themselves who were better fed at that time, and in more boisterous spirits than today ask the question: A crime? Answer: That is arguable, but it is not bad, far sighted German Real Politik.
The bare fact remains that the Armenian massacres were carefully planned acts by the Turks, and the Germans will certainly be made to share the odium of this forever.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
A Fair Amount Has Been Said About How The Armenians Used The Word “Genocide” As Far Back As 1945
We believe that the best way to cover all the points of greatest importance, and the context in which these important points were made, is to reproduce all the pages from an article that we think is very telling. While it calls for the support of the Genocide Convention, it makes it clear that one should not avoid calling “a spade a spade.” It also makes clear that it did not endorse the ‘blind endorsement’ given by the Armenian Revolutionary Foundation of the Convention in its Hairenik publication. Clearly, there had to be some nuance to it.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the viewpoint taken in the Armenian Affairs article, it underscores the view that some of the Armenians saw that the Genocide Convention was not going to be a panacea and inevitably provide a means of punishing those who carried out such crimes. The Armenians had been there “before.” An elderly Armenian immigrant and survivor once told a youthful ADK that “Menk ahl khelk oonick!” [We too have brains!] Indeed. How right he was.
What Do ‘The Armenians’ Want From ‘The Turks’?
Non-Armenian friends, both in the U.S.A. and abroad, have often asked us “What do the Armenians want from the Turks?” “Why is it so important that the word “genocide” enter into any consideration of the ongoing antagonisms between the ‘Armenians’ and ‘Turks’?” Those who advocate the ‘Turkish Point of View’ − that there was no genocide − claim not to have a clue as to why the use of the word “genocide” is insisted upon in connection with the ‘Armenian Point of View’. After all, are words like “tragedy,” “catastrophe,” “disaster” etc. not adequate to describe what happened? <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> To be brief and to the point, for us writing this essay and apparently many others, “No!” It not only does dishonor to the truth, and violence to the facts, but adds insult to injury to those who were murdered and lost their lives through genocide.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> It should also be underscored that it has long been recognized by non-Armenians that “The Armenians…whose outstanding characteristic is stubborn determination of purpose…” (see for example Corbyn 1932 pg. 600). Stubborn or tenacious or perseverant? <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
More often than not, many will have a very personal answer to the question, “What do the Armenians want from the Turks?” For example, psychologists and psychiatrists have given the transmittal of pain and its many permutations from generation to generation, the designation “transgenerational trauma.” There are few Armenian families anywhere who were not touched directly by the Genocide. One author, we forget who, said that this lingering or residual trauma prevents genocide from “receding into the cold storage of history” – presumably implying that is where memories of genocide belong? Be that as it may, there should be no doubt that what has come to be tritely and casually (and offensively to us) referred to as the “G” word (sometimes with a lower case “g”) seems to encapsulate for many descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors, the ‘all’ and ‘end-all’ of what happened at the hands of the Young Turks and their government beginning in 1915. (We will only mention here in passing the Hamidian massacres of the 1890s, and the Cilician massacres of 1909.)
A very important part of the answer to the question “What do the Armenians want?” is understandably connected with preserving memory. Some have described this need to remember, as nothing less than a sort of moral as well as emotional pact between the dead and the living.
It has always struck us as a sign of a rather significant ‘disconnect’, when we hear or read that the Armenian Genocide is ‘a’ or ‘the’ ‘forgotten’ or ‘unremembered’ etc. genocide. It is certainly not forgotten by Armenians or many others. Neither is it forgotten by the Turkish government. This reminder of the facts constantly shows up as a thorn in the side of ‘Turks’, who are spending immense amounts of money denying the Armenian Genocide. The popular TV program “60 Minutes” first aired on 28 February 2010, a segment entitled “Battle over history” by Michael H. Gavshon and Drew Margatten. It has been estimated that some 13.4 million people worldwide watched “60 Minutes” each week. It has been in the Nielsen ratings top ten for quite a few years. One can therefore be reasonably certain that many know about the Armenian Genocide. But the message has to be repeatedly repeated since so much gets erased, supplanted, or superseded with other priorities on the internet.
It is certainly true, however, that since much of the world is living day by day, there is no doubt that most non-Armenians have long since forgotten about the phrase ‘the starving Armenians.’ Sad to say there have been extreme elements among the Armenians, who out of frustration, resorted to terrorism and violence against Turkish diplomats in the early 1980s, to bring attention to what they called the Armenian Cause and political recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Happily, this strategy for airing grievances and achieving essentially impossible dreams was abandoned, but only after a number of tragedies. Curiously or not, it has been admitted that this senseless violence did bring attention, more precisely notoriety, to the ‘forgotten’ Armenian Genocide. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The Mount Davidson Cross
One particularly moving memorial to the Armenian Genocide in the USA is the impressive Mount Davidson Cross overlooking San Francisco and the Bay area. It is 103 ft./31.4 m. high, comprising many tons of steel and poured concrete, and has a history dating from the 1920s and early 1930s. The huge cross is indeed an imposing memorial to the Armenian Genocide. After much litigation instigated by the ‘Turkish side’ against its being used as a remembrance to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, arguments were overcome, and it was finally dedicated in 1997. The exhortation on the bronze plaque at the base of the cross, quoted from Avedis Aharonian (1866-1948), Armenian writer, critic, poet and politician on remembrance of what the Armenians in Ottoman Turkey underwent, is very appropriate and revealing (see Figs. 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35). It reads in English translation:
“If evil of this magnitude can be ignored, if our own children forget, then we deserve oblivion and earn the world’s scorn.” (The poetess Diana Der Hovanessian was responsible for the translation from the Armenian original which is shown in Fig. 34. (personal communication.)<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Avedis Aharonian (1866-1948.)
Some have suggested that there has been much too little closure of the very old but still festering wounds dating back to the period of the Genocide and even considerably earlier. Proper mourning to lay the matter of murdered ancestors and tormented grandparents, parents and relatives to rest once and for all, has clearly not yet taken place. This is well reflected in Armenian literature.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Like many others we believe it is impossible to forgive if there is no admission of the reality of a genocide committed, much less acceptance of some responsibility. It is well to recall the quotation on forgiveness from Alice Walker, and what has been voiced in an important encyclical from Pope John Paul II.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Walker wrote “All we can do is attempt to understand their causes and do everything in our power to prevent them from happening, to anyone, ever again.” (Alice Walker Overcoming Speechlessness (2010).
More abstract responses to the question of ‘What do the Armenians want from the Turks’? could be offered by others. These might well be difficult to understand by those who have no personal connections. In that case, “Justice” is the word that frequently enters into the reasoning.
Most would agree that the word “justice” is a politically pregnant word as well. Justice for whom? Justice for what? There is a phrase chiseled in stone on the façade of the old Worcester County Massachusetts Court House building “Life under Just Law is Liberty.” A very lofty and noble sentiment indeed. It would be enhanced considerably if “and Uniformly Enforced” were placed before “Law.” <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Then there are a number of more pragmatic aspects of the matter of genocide recognition that many on the Armenian side still insist must be resolved. This includes a full apology from Turkey. Not an apology of course for today’s Government of Turkey having initiated and committed the genocide. All those involved in planning and executing the genocides in Ottoman times have long since been dead. The apology from the so-called Republic of Turkey is demanded because successive Turkish governments, bar none, from the early republic to the present day, have denied the reality of the Genocide; hence in their eyes there is no need to apologize. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Few, other than the descendants of Armenians and massacred Christian groups, have even surmised, much less noticed, that the Republic of Turkey was built on the bones, ashes, property and wealth, of the murdered Christian subjects of the long moribund and decaying Ottoman Empire. Many a Turkish or Kurdish bourgeois, and even peasant families, enriched themselves at the expense of the Armenians (and Greeks and Assyrians). It was an unprecedented period of opportunistic gain. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Every Turk, and every Turk in the large Turkish diaspora, and Europeans and Americans with Turkish-born wives, and Americans with one or more parent with Turkish roots with whom we have discussed this matter, has freely expressed the view that successive governments of Turkey have feared having to make financial reparations, even territorial concessions, should the Genocide finally be acknowledged. It is not only the money and land considerations, but also immensely substantial psychological components, which are vastly more overwhelming than either money or land. <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
We venture to say that all Americans feel tremendous patriotism when they go to places like the awe-inspiring Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt stand out larger than life in the full meaning of the word, for their heads are some 6 stories high, and these four collectively symbolize all that is perceived as good about America.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> They are important symbols of American democracy and have long since become living icons of America, much like the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World National Monument on Liberty (Beddloe’s) Island in New York harbor.
Even so, many Americans generally recognize that these great leaders, rendered immortal as national icons on Mount Rushmore, were also human beings, and if they think about them a bit more, they will acknowledge them as icons of our political values, and as part of our political culture as well. The public has slowly but surely become fully aware that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slave owners, and that Teddy Roosevelt was more than a bit of a war monger and so on. Each of these men has been invoked in support of every known cause imaginable.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
‘The Turks,’ on the other hand, seem absolutely determined to stick doggedly to their government-created myths, and anyone seeking to tamper with them, much less destroy them, is in for a battle. They seem to need earnestly to believe that their ‘founding father(s)’ were virtually all “heroes” – no qualifications allowed. Kemal Atatürk, “Father Turk” is still very much revered. The very name Mustafa Kemal Atatürk literally translates as “the Chosen, the Perfect, the Father of the Turks.” Many would say that he is probably as much a cult hero today, even as he was in his own time. A Turkish acquaintance said years ago “Well, he should be revered. He saved Turkey from going down the drain after the Ottoman Empire was on the losing side of World War I, using whatever methods it took” [including ordering mass murders.] In Turkey, statues honoring the Turkish dictator are endless, and portrait photographs of all sizes are still to be found all over Turkey, not just on postage stamps and currency.
might perhaps somehow understand, if not appreciate, that following the
absolute nadir of Turkey at the end of the First World War, it was very
important to regain some self-respect and stature – especially at the expense
of truth. Whatever it took seems to have
been the order of the day. Turkey’s
leaders, indeed its first and foremost savior in the
person of Mustapha Kemal
, Ataturk, and later ‘lesser saviors’, needed to
be idealized above and beyond the pale.
This attitude of Turkish superiority grew to encompass the fundamental
belief that the long-standing image of the ‘Unspeakable’
or ‘Terrible Turk’ had somehow had to
be actively counter acted.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> No place like starting with the next
generation? It was drilled into young school
children that they were to be proud to be Turks, a
people like no other.
There is a poignant scene in the emotion-ridden film Waiting for the Clouds [“Bulutları Bekleren”] that clearly speaks to this strategy of brainwashing youngsters in Turkish schools.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In it there are Turkish school children, cute as buttons like all youngsters, who are shown reciting in a parrot-like manner in the schoolroom and outside in the school yard, a litany in unison of nationalistic boastings of Turkish virtues like “Turks never give up!”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
This is of course brainwashing − no more no less. Salvaging their imagined lost integrity was rather effectively done by the Turkish leaders, at least domestically. How far they have gone to rehabilitate their image elsewhere is a very open question. Apparently, there is still a major need seen to counteract the negative image of the Turk that is still being promulgated here and there.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Turkey’s ongoing and vigorous denial of the Armenian Genocide reflects an incapacity to express regret or remorse over the past behavior of their ancestors.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Having said this, there is a major element that has to do with the psychology of national leadership. This just might hold potential for the ultimate recognition by Turkey of the Armenian Genocide. All cultures have traditionally tended to place great importance on outward appearances. The Armenian word ‘amot’, signifying shame or shamefulness, is a case in point which is applicable. Vigorously hiding or denying unpleasant realities or historical truths have apparently, inevitably (?) been seen as critical to the overall good of the Turkish people and nation. Most Turks avert their eyes from issues that might compel them to face facts that could be considered challenging or destabilizing to their perception of Turkish honor, and how Turks behaved in the past and still do today. Difficult to see this attitude change. That does not mean, of course, that it cannot change. We all have blind spots and see what we want to see.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The period of outright physical massacres has supposedly since passed in Turkey (notice that we do not say long since passed, witness what has been done to the Kurds in Turkey) but the mentality which was extant then is still alive and well. For example, there was a terrible “row” to quote BBC News, that broke out over reports that a Turkish national heroine, an adopted daughter of Kemal Ataturk named Sabiha Gökçen, pioneer aviatrix and fighter plane flyer, might in fact have been an Armenian by birth.
The notorious Penal Code law 301 that has enabled a number of Turkish intellectuals, including a Nobel Prizewinner in Literature, to be brought to trial for the crime of “Insulting Turkishness” is a case in point. The wording of this Code was apparently modified under European pressure in 2008 and “Turkishness” was changed to the “Turkish Nation.” Apparently even lip-service to free speech did not come into the picture when this change was made. This sort of use of legislation to enforce a governmental decree or viewpoint or desire is nothing new. As an example, rather innocent in and of itself, but nonetheless conscious and deliberate, when the decision was made in 1928 to adopt a new Romanized Turkish alphabet in place of the old Arabic-Turkish one, it was made illegal to write in the old script after November 1928. What the penalty was is something we have not tried to look up.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The direct access to YouTube, the video-sharing site, has frequently been banned in Turkey for posts that insult Kemal Ataturk.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
All this is excessively nationalistic and pro-Turk. No? Of course! Fantasies still held by some that the Turks have traditionally been very tolerant, liberal, progressive, and non-racist, have been around for many years.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The fact is that even those wishing to support the view that the Tanzimat reforms were progressive, ultimately must admit that they were not successful. In everyday parlance, they were not what they were or have been ‘cracked up to be.’<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
By the time we come down to the period of the Genocide that began in 1915, and immediately thereafter, we read that things were very different, indeed even that they had nominally temporarily changed for the better. Even in an early biography of the exalted Kemal Ataturk, one reads repeatedly the oft quoted and pervasive statement “Turkey for the Turks.” It is stated that it was Ataturk’s guiding principle throughout his life, just as it was with all the earlier, notorious Young Turk leaders.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> In a word, one need not harken back to the period of the Armenian Genocide to see the erstwhile objective of the Turks to wipe the slate clean of non-Muslims. Turks, not being the most efficient of peoples, certainly not like the Germans, continued the Genocide(s) for some years. Some complained that they had not been thorough enough earlier and were determined to do a better job next time around.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
For a particularly interesting example: “In November, 1929, as reported in the [London] Times and Manchester Guardian, there was an exodus of 6,000 Armenian refugees who crossed the Syrian border. Here is a quote from the report of a British lady living in Aleppo:
“I expect you will have heard from other sources of the influx of refugees which began a short time ago, and is growing from day to day. It seems that the Turks have been rounding up all the Armenians remaining in the outlying mountain districts, after robbing them of all their property and money (by such means as demanding all arrears in taxation) they let them go. They are arriving here literally destitute, and are being housed in the most wretched and insanitary unfinished building which was occupies for four or five years by refugees who came in 1922. The Armenian Benevolent Union is starting a soup kitchen, but it will take nearly £5 a day, and more people are coming every day.
These particular people had come from the region of Kharput and Diarbekir. The majority of the refugees, however, crossed the border further north in the neighborhood of Kameschli, the frontier town near Nisibin” (quoted from Corbin 1932 pg. 606).
Similarly, the infamous Varlik Vergisi Kanunu [Capital tax law or levy, No. 4305] passed by the Turkish National Assembly on 11 November 1942, was motivated in large measure by nationalism and racism. Later there were many outpourings of predictable protestations that they were nothing of the sort. A major objective supposedly was to tax the wealthy so heavily that it would aid Turkey’s faltering economy, literally saving it from bankruptcy. Yet another stated goal was to combat inflation and to tax the immense profits made by war-time profiteers. The way it was selectively administered was, however, to deliberately economically weaken, even hopefully get rid of wealthy Greeks, Jews and Armenians. In the very least it was appreciated that the minorities would be reduced, financially speaking, to non-entities.
Rifat Bali directly states in his The Varlki Vergesi Affair that “It is now clear that the intent of the Capital Tax Law was not only to obtain badly-needed government revenue, but, more essentially, to erode the great power of the minority merchants in the market, and to replace them with Turkish Muslims” (emphasis ours) – see Bali, 2005 pg. 55.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Faik Ökte’s authoritative The Tragedy of the Turkish Capital Tax (1987). goes into considerable detail on the matter from the perspective of an insider. Also, it is of some interest that during that period some rather virulent anti-semitic cartoons, some originating from publications out of Nazi Germany and textually modified for Turkish consumption, and others fully generated locally in Turkey, were run in a number of newspapers and Journals (see for example several reproduced in Rifat Bali’s “The Varlik Vergisi Affair” and for a larger sampling see Salomon und Rebecca.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
For additional perspectives, one should also read chapter 2 of Ayan Aktar’s book Varlik Vergisi: Ve Turklestirme Politiklari [Wealth Tax and Turkification Politics] (İletişm Yayınları, Istanbul, 2004) entitled “The Jewish Events in Thrace and Turkish nationalism – 1934” in which Jews are clearly described as “an undesirable element” by the government, see pg. 83. In Frank Weber’s The Evasive Neutral: Germany, Britain and the Quest for a Turkish Alliance in the Second World War (University of Missouri Press, 1979) we read of “astronomical assessments imposed on Jews wishing to emigrate from Axis countries in a desire to curry favor with Nazi Germany by following anti-Semitic policies.”
Turkey waited until 1 March 1945 to have an effective declaration of war on Germany and Japan. This was some three months before the Armistice. Just why Turkey decided to do so is not totally clear. An endnote in Christian Leitz’s Sympathy for the Devil <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>…mentions that “For having declared war on Germany before 1 March 1945, the deadline set by the Allies, Turkey was permitted to participate in the founding session of the United Nations in San Francisco.” Be it said, however, that Turkey knew very well, indeed has always known, how to look after her own interests. Maneuvering for the return of the sanjak of Alexandretta from France is but one example of being wily enough to extract major benefits in exchange for entering into various agreements.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Christian Leitz’s analysis of the neutral nations of World War II in his very interesting book mentioned above, gives Turkey slightly better grades than say the Swiss and Swedes in their pro-Nazi actions, but also for being adroit enough to keep out of the war by sitting on the fence.
Turkey did indeed sell Nazi Germany much needed chromite (chrome ore used in steel manufacture to render it harder and more corrosion resistant). The title of Leitz’s book “Sympathy for the Devil…” indicates very well that there really was more than passing sympathy for the Nazis in more than a few quarters in Turkey.
One British Foreign Office official put it this way: “Turkey’s hope is to take material from both sides and sell to both sides and to remain neutral throughout the war, and be rich and powerful at the end of the war.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Corry Guttstadt, an expert on the Turkish minority in Germany as well as other areas, has written an immensely interesting and impressively documented book on the Turks, Jews, and the Holocaust.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
One will recall from above that a major stated motive for imposing the Varlik Vergisi ‘tax’ was nominally to counteract war profiteering. It makes one wonder just how much money was made, and equally, even more interestingly, who made it. Are we to believe that it was still the remnant Christians and Jews, who were an absolute minority in Turkey, who were still responsible for carrying out critical business more than twenty years after the genocides, and expulsions and exchanges of populations?
Despite all the above, we still encounter today various and sundry proclamations of Turkey’s undying tolerance and beneficence, especially towards its Jews, indeed all Jews dating back to the time when Europeans were inevitably being intolerant and very hostile to them. No one has as yet so far as we are aware, devoted much space to trying to understand the mentality behind accommodating religious differences in Turkey. From time to time there have been veiled and not-so-veiled threats that the safety of the Jewish population of today’s Turkey cannot be guaranteed in the event Israel should recognize the Armenian Genocide. It is difficult to interpret this in any way other than to say that the accommodation of Jews is a very superficial façade and is essentially exploitative.
In 1992 a Turkish coin was issued to commemorate 500 years of peace and harmony between Turkey and Jews.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> A postage stamp was issued as well. Since there are so few Jews left in Turkey one can only assume that the issuance of a coin and stamp was a studied political gesture to Israel, even as it helped disseminate, underscore, politicize and rehabilitate the notion of Ottoman tolerance. After all, the Turks have been quite good at public relations (see Selim Deringil and references there cited).<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
It might well be an ‘eye-opener’ for those who prefer to espouse the view of Ottoman tolerance to read the great detail presented in Malcolm MacColl’s The Sultan and the Powers Longmans, Green & Co., London and New York (1896) See: http://www.archive.org/details/sultanpowers00macciala
Excerpts were re-printed from this book in The New Armenia (New York) vol. 9 no. 9 May 1, 1917 pgs. 133-135 and it has become very clear that hypocrisy and Realpolitik control the entire madness.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
One may ask whether the day will ever come when any of the many Armenians of the Ottoman Empire will be recognized on stamps and coins not for their ‘mere’ presence in “Turkey”, but for their long-standing contributions and achievements? There are many examples that could be drawn upon.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In the interest of at least trying to draw attention to, if not present, a fair and balanced perspective on Turkey and the Jews, see Stanford Shaw’s The Jews of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic (1991). Few readers with any background knowledge or understanding of the realities would deny that it is a highly biased, and even a revisionist description of the supposed love affair between Turks and Jews.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
A reviewer of Shaw’s 1991 volume (written when she was a young Assistant Professor and now an acknowledged and highly esteemed expert of Professorial rank specializing in the Ottoman period covered by Shaw) is most diplomatic and professional when she says:
‘Stanford Shaw’s book is a weighty work reflecting the author’s distinct perceptions. Rather than conceding the varied interpretations that the study of Ottoman Jewish history inevitably yields, Shaw offers a black and white history in which the Ottomans and their Jewish friends battle villainous indigenous and foreign Christians. Shaw idealistically terms the empire’s acceptance of the Spanish emigrés “the ingathering of exiles,” downplaying any purely pragmatic motives on the sultans’ part and skirting the fact that many Sephardim settled elsewhere before entering Ottoman territory” (see Jane Hathaway in Middle East Journal vol. 49 no. 1, winter, 1995 pgs. 165-167, esp. at 166.)<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
To guarantee that we not be accused of selective use of references, cherry picking as it were, and selection of isolated reviews for our focus, we draw attention to the comments of yet another expert reviewer of the Shaw’s volume.
“During the 1930s and World War II, it was again Christians who brought anti-Semitism to Turkey, while neutral Turkey quietly assisted Jewish refugees seeking entry to Turkey, impeding German efforts to have them deported to death camps. Although many poorer Turkish Jews emigrated to Israel after the war, over 20,000 remain in Turkey today , fully integrated into society. In Shaw’s opinion the largest problem facing Turkish Jewry today is assimilation, the same as in other countries where Jews reside. This appealing view of the history of Ottoman and Turkish Jewry may be fitting for Turkey’s celebration of the quincentennial year, but it does not tally with much of the excellent scholarship on Ottoman Jewry in the last few decades. The author makes numerous generalizations and questionable assertions that are not supported by references […]. Had Shaw attempted to analyze the many works found in his lengthy (forty-two page) bibliography, a more balanced and credible picture might have emerged.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Attention should also be brought to a very interesting article by Marcy Brink-Danan in American Anthropologist vol. 112 no.3, pgs. 384-396 (2010) entitled “Names that show time: Turkish Jews as “Strangers” and semiotics of reclassification.” In it she describes in considerable detail how even today Jews are ‘othered’ and made not to fit into Turkish society. This exclusion is a good indication of the reality of Turkey’s attitudes towards non-Muslims. Bora Isyar has devoted a paper to the analysis of “racialized citizenship in the Ottoman Empire: the displacement and elimination of Armenian citizens” and emergence of a dominant racialized Turkish citizenship in the Republic (see Bora Isyar “The origins of Turkish Republican citizenship: the birth of race,” Nations and Nationalism vol. 11 no. 3 pgs. 343-360, 2005.) <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In view of all this invented selfless generosity towards Jews on the part of Turks and by Turkey, supposedly even today, one therefore might well ask how long will this infatuation with Israel using the long history of Jews in the Ottoman Empire and shared values angle last? Has it really been a subservient alliance as has sometimes been claimed? Or has it been, as always, the realpolitik of one hand washing the other?<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
All this leads us to ask from a non-Turkophile perspective “What would the honest, educated and informed Turks of today really say about early modern period Turkish leaders like Enver Pasha, Talaat Pasha, Djemal Pasha, Kemal Ataturk, Ismet Inönü etc.?” Would being absolutely honest necessarily be the equivalent of ‘fouling the nest that reared you!?’<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Are not all nations basically built on relatively recently fabricated myths and partially fraudulent histories - the only differences being that some are considerably more extreme than others? <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> One of the more recently revived controversies has to do with the flight of the Israelites from Egypt. In a paper provocatively entitled “The use and abuse of the Exodus story”, Erich S. Gruen adds considerable insight to the long-contested Biblical account of Exodus - that indeed much of the Exodus story is based on myth, and according to how one scholar said it, “was reshaped by the Jews.” <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Coming down to more modern times, we see that there are those who revise and doctor history so as to leave Palestinians out of the story of Palestine, making them interlopers largely after Israel was made to flourish and the deserts were made green so to say. Joan Peters book which gained so much praise in the USA, by an agency called by the late Edward W. Said a virtual “conspiracy of praise” was shown by Norman Finkelstein to be based on fraudulent scholarship. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_Time_Immemorial
Others in Europe and Israel itself referred to the Peters volume as a perversion of history. This is all pretty incredible in view of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. ‘All’ one needs is to have the history of the problem rewritten. One reviewer, Anthony Lewis, entitled his book review of the Peters volume for the New York Times 13 Jan. 1986 pg. A15 “There were no Indians.” He asked the question “Has the life of the mind been so politicized in this country that intellectuals who welcome a book’s political conclusion will shrug off challenges to its truth? The answer is in the main “Yes!”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> “Don’t confuse me with facts.” But the late liberal Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan from New York State, an intellectual and scholar (rare for his breed) once quipped “You are entitled to your own opinions but not to your own facts.” Facts can indeed be uncomfortable and disquieting. No one has given an explanation on how, what is best forgotten turns into forbidden? Nationalism (perhaps better rendered as ‘tribalism’) bears an enormous amount of blame for all kinds of atrocities, even genocides.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
How one deals with those many historical truths that anyone in control of his or her full senses would certainly prefer to ignore and forget about, is what ultimately matters for the moral and psychological health of any country. There is much room for improvement on that front as well for all countries, including (some might even say especially) the United States of America.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Whether any of this aspect of Armenians insisting that Turkey face up to its genocidal past can go anywhere is not for us to comment on. Speculation is of little value.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> It has been said on more than one occasion that Armenians are never loath to espouse lost causes.
Some even say that Turkey continues, from time to time, to try to carry out genocide against the Kurds of Turkey. The Armenian side sometimes voices aspirations to reclaim territory in eastern Asia Minor that was lost in the very remote past − well before the Armenian Genocide.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> They claim to be ready to forge new alliances with the Kurds who now occupy much of what was historic western Armenia. We bring this matter up only because such aspirations have definitely persisted in various, usually exaggerated in our opinion, forms in the minds of more than a few Armenians, especially those in the diaspora. The notion of reconstituting an Armenia based on old boundaries was raised prior to the Treaty of Sevres and once again in the late 1940s, more than 20 years after the Treaty of Sevres. It was still-born, and one wonders if the hope of land acquisition for Armenia was only a trial balloon that no one thought would fly.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Finally, and perhaps most importantly and definitely more relevant to the present and for the future, “What can be learned about achieving ‘justice’ and whether such knowledge and understanding of justice in the Armenian ‘case’ can be harnessed to prevent future genocides?”
Given the apparent importance for many, of the word “genocide” in the narrative, it seems imperative to understand the neologism<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> as coined by Raphael Lemkin in as much detail as possible. Towards this end, it necessarily becomes important to know and understand a fair amount about Raphael Lemkin. We have not made any attempt to relitigate the past but we have tried to make compelling arguments that the Young Turk leadership largely based their plan to annihilate the Armenians and other Christians based on opportunism. The Armenian Question was of tremendous ideological significance and it was worth their while to wait until the right moment. One thing we inevitably will have failed to achieve is that a proper case can never be made for the lives of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide which were impaired and disrupted forever.
Despite our appreciation of this reality, we have attempted to achieve some degree of justice by giving an accurate history of the events and its far-reaching consequences. Many have said and we concur, we can best honor the past by facing it squarely, honestly, and above all, openly.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> In the last sentence in his Foreword to “The Politics of Genocide” by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, 2010 (Monthly Review Press, New York), scholar, public activist, and pioneer in linguistic studies Noam Chomsky provided this incredibly honest assessment of things.
“As for the term “genocide,” perhaps the most honorable course would be to expunge it from the vocabulary until the day, if it ever comes, when honesty and integrity can become an “emerging norm.” pg. 12.
We should also like to point out right at the outset of this essay that we have not rigorously followed any exact format or style in citing references. This would have been for us a major editorial challenge that we have chosen to avoid and openly admit here our adoption of a “free style.” We hope this is not an annoyance to the reader. Our point is to get the references before the reading public. We hope that our ignoring of the usual ‘niceties’ of consistency will be forgiven. Also, the reader should be apprised that we have not made diligent attempts to refer to the very latest papers and coverage. We have chosen instead what we believe are the references most likely best able to address the point(s) we wish to defend or underscore. We have tested each of the URLs provided. The last check was just before final submission of this essay for posting. We have elected not to add the tedious statement after the URL “last tested” on such and such a date. We know the Internet can be fickle and things can disappear or be blocked in a flash. We have practiced due diligence.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Schnur, Steven (1982) “‘Unofficial Man”: The rise and fall of Raphael Lemkin. Reform Judaism vol. 11, no 1, Fall, 9-11;45. Older issues of this magazine are not very common but this very short article is exceptionally informative about his papers. Copies of this genre of magazine are frequently read, and then discarded. This ought to be a collector’s item.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> We were fortunate enough to see and photograph the plaque in Warsaw when we visited Warsaw as tourists on part of a trip to the Baltic Capitals. If one is unable to make a personal visit, one can amazingly see through the miracle of Google Earth the bilingual commemorative plaque placed on the outside of the then fairly upscale apartment house that Lemkin lived in for several years until 6/7 September 1939 at 6 Kredytowa Street in Warsaw. His name is spelled in Polish and English as Rafał Lemkin. For a close-up of the plaque see Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rafal_Lemkin_plaque_PISM.jpg. Mention should be made as well that the proceedings of a conference commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Genocide Convention designates Raphael Lemkin by his name in proper Polish spelling. See Agnieszka Bienczyk-Missala and Sławomir Debski, eds., Rafał Lemkin: A Hero of Mankind (Warsaw: The Polish Institute of International Affairs, 2010).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> His application for citizenship gives his own statements on where and when he was born. As transplanted New Yorkers of sorts, we never gave much thought to the availability of so-called ‘bialys” in baked good shops in the ‘Old Days’ when we visited places like Brooklyn or the lower East Side until we learned Lemkin was from Bialystok. These onion-stuffed, or poppyseed stuffed hole-free chewy, larger-than-bagels breadstuffs, and are merely baked, unlike bagels which have a hole of course, are not stuffed, and are first boiled and then baked.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The main town of the region was Białystok and is nowadays reported as being located some 192 kilometers, or about 120 miles northeast of Warsaw. It is not for us to examine this in too much detail, not having ready access to historic and modern road maps, but it goes far to explain why one today finds on the Internet various places given as Lemkin’s country of birth. Everything we have seen leads us to conclude with confidence that Raphael Lemkin grew up with a dual identity as a Pole and a Jew. It would perhaps be inaccurate to refer to him as a Polish-assimilated Jew, but we suspect that ‘partly assimilated’ would be fairly close to the truth.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Should one want to consult a more detailed treatment of Raphael Lemkin’s career and efforts in a single volume we can perhaps do no better than to recommend William Korey’s “An Epitaph for Raphael Lemkin” (2001). That 152 page work is fully accessible online through the American Jewish Committee Archives (165 East 56th Street New York City 10022). Go to http://www.ajcarchives.org/ajcarchive/DigitalArchive.aspx enter “Korey or Lemkin” and the complete book appears, albeit in 5 sequential parts. A less frequently cited but quite detailed treatment of Raphael Lemkin’s early legal work from a Polish and European perspective, is written by Prof. Ryszard Szawłowski with the collaboration of Mr. Krzysztof Pol, who is especially acknowledged for his role in the ‘bibliographical’ work. The study is entitled “Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), the Polish lawyer who created the concept of genocide” The Polish Quarterly of International Affairs no. 2 (2005) pgs. 98-132. In addition to providing some important details on Lemkin’s early legal training and experience, and his many (and scattered) publications, these Polish authors also draw attention to the errors that abound in the biographical literature. Specific examples are presented, and better yet, corrections are provided. Prof. Szawłowski is very precise as to what remains to be firmly established. We recommend the paper to all interested in Lemkin and the foundations of the concepts of the intended legal aspects of genocide.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See John Cooper, "Raphael Lemkin and the Struggle for the Genocide Convention." (New York, 2008). There is more than a little inconsistency in Lemkin’s writings. For example we are told that there are three versions/drafts of his autobiography (cf. pg. 382 of Steven Leonard Jacobs and Samuel Totten’s edited version of “Totally Unofficial Man” by Steven Leonard Jacobs and Samuel Totten in Pioneers of Genocide Studies, ed. Samuel Totten and Steven Leonard Jacobs (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2002, pgs. 365-397). One draft intimates that [their murder] “happened more than a year prior to moving my parents, together with others, [Editors’ note: illegible word] “to be gassed.” Another rendering of that terrible situation is by the late Dr. William Korey in his book “Epitaph…” pg. 27 wherein he relates on pg. 27 that “Lemkin’s emotional torment was immeasurably deepened when he learned from his brother, Elias, who had come to meet him in Berlin, that his mother and father and forty-seven other members of the Lemkin family – aunts, uncles, and cousins – had perished in the Holocaust.” One encounters still another perspective or at least a different portrayal as to when Lemkin learned of the loss of his family in Aviva Cantor’s summary account of “A landmark conference explores Dr. Lemkin’s relentless work against genocide” held November 2009 at the Center for Jewish History co-sponsored with the American Jewish Historical Society and Yeshiva University Museum. Here we read that Lemkin traveled in “DP [Displaced Persons] camps in Europe and met people, including former colleagues, and heard their horrific stories. In September his distress worsened when he learned that 49 members of his family, including his parents, had been murdered, wrote the late William Korey, former director of International Policy Research of B’nai Brith” (quoted from Cantor 2010 pg. 13).
Garber, Zev and Bruce Zuckerman (1989) Why do we call the Holocaust “The Holocaust?” An inquiry into the psychology of labels. Modern Judaism vol. 9, No. 2 (May), pgs. 197-211; Berman, Sanford (1998) Whose Holocaust is it, anyway? The “H” word in the Library of Congress. The Holocaust Memories, Research Conference, pgs. 213-225. New York and London, Haworth Press; Stein, Stuart D. (2005) Conceptions and terms: templates for the analysis of holocaust and genocides. Journal of Genocide Research 7, no.2, pgs. 171-203; Mennecke, Martin (2007) What’s in a Name? Reflections on Using, not Using, and Overusing the “G-Word.” Genocide Studies and Prevention vol. 2, no.1, spring, pgs. 57-72.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Yosef Litvak, "The Plight of the Refugees from the German-Occupied Territories," in The Soviet Takeover of the Polish Eastern Provinces, 1939-41 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991). It is interesting that major pogroms had taken place in Bialystok in 1906. How much Raphael Lemkin knew or had heard about them is not something we have looked into. Cyrus Adler compiled an extensive and detailed ‘Table of Pogroms’ in an article “From Kishineff to Bialystok. a table of pogroms from 1903 to 1906” in American Jewish Year Book vol. 8 (1906-1907) pgs. 34-89; see especially 70-89 for Bialystok.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Quoted with permission Raphael Lemkin papers, Manuscripts and Archives Division. The New York Public Library. Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations, and also found on pgs. 245-246 of “Axis Rule….” (We will return to point again but we will say here that the timing of events and atrocities as they became known in no ways allow us to conclude that Raphael Lemkin knew what came to be named by him a genocide was in process—see e.g. Pinchuk, 1977 and refs. cited therein for some details on reports, or lack thereof.)
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> From Raphael Lemkin, “Key Laws, Decrees and Regulations Issued by the Axis in Occupied Europe,” dated December, 1942 produced for the “Board of Economic Warfare, Blockage and Supply Branch, Reoccupation Division” under The locator “RR-8 RESTRICTED COPY No. (in our case seen as “no 88”) and stamped in red “From War Dept. Liaison Office, Board of Economic Warfare”.
The laws and decrees promulgated by Germany in the subjugated
countries of Europe, vary according to the policy which Germany has
sought to impose and the problems which Germany has been forced to meet.
In countries where Germany has sought to obtain collaboration--
Belgium, Holland, Norway and France—the typical laws and decrees
promulgated concern economic and financial matters and the prevention
of sabotage. In these countries both the German and the local author-
ities issue such legislation.
In countries where Germany has adopted a policy of economic
spoiliation and open subjugation—Poland, Russia, some parts of
Czechoslovakia and of Jugoslavia—typical subjects of German legis-
lation are labor, agriculture, industry and the confiscation of
In the areas which were incorporated into Germany (Greater Reich)
--e.g., the western provinces of Poland, the districts of Eupen, Mal-
medy and Moresnet in Belgium, Alsace and Lorraine, and Luxemburg-- the
representative subject of legislation is Germanization in the fields
of culture, demography, economics, and administration.
In all occupied areas, however, Germany has introduced certain
standard decrees, such as those relating to the sequestration of raw
materials, the supervision of factories, and the introduction of such
institutions as the Reich Credit Institutes to provide the German Army
with legal tender. Since those decrees are in general the same for
every area occupied by the Germans, they are quoted only once in this
compilation, unless variations occur in the case of particular countries.
The collection of laws for each country is preceded by a sum in
my introduction describing sources, types of military government,
and special problems. Some texts which are peculiar from the point of
view of Anglo-Saxon conceptions or American legislative techniques
are given explanatory footnotes.
This collection is intended to be kept in the form of a loose
leaf book with additional texts to be added periodically.”
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Bliwise, Robert J. (2013) “The Man Who Criminalized Genocide”. Duke Magazine Winter vol. 99, no.5, winter, pgs. 36-41. Bliwise is the editor of the magazine and has done a very informative, beautifully illustrated job. Mention should be made as well that the proceedings of a conference commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Genocide Convention designates Raphael Lemkin by his name in proper Polish spelling. It is up to date and has several beautiful photographs. See Agnieszka Bienczyk-Missala and Sławomir Debski, eds., Rafał Lemkin: A Hero of Mankind (Warsaw: The Polish Institute of International Affairs, 2010).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See https://www.mounthebroncemetery.com/interment/?id=124139#details It gives the location of the burial site as Block 101.Lot ½ 238&239, Grave 16. This is at the northeast corner of the cemetery within the square formed if 134th street and 62 Ave.
See Salomon Teilirian, defendant, Der Prozess Talaat Pascha; Stenographischer Prozessbericht (Berlin: Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft für Politik und Geschichte, 1921); George R. Montgomery, "Why Talaat's Assassin Was Acquitted," Current History. A monthly magazine of the New York Times 14 (1921) pgs. 551-555 [for the article refer to a digital version of the appropriate months in http://www.archive.org/stream/currenthistoryfo14newyuoft#page/n571/mode/2up/search/Talaat]; Soghomon Tehlirean and Tessa Hofmann, Der Völkermord an Den Armeniern Vor Gericht : Der Prozess Talaat Pascha, 3, erg. und überarbeitete Ausg. ed., Reihe Pogrom; (Göttingen: Die Gesellschaft, 1985); Tessa Hofmann, "New Aspects of the Talat Pasha Court Case," The Armenian Review 42, no. 4/168 (1989): 41-53; Edward Alexander, A Crime of Vengeance (New York Toronto: The Free Press A Division of Macmillan, Inc. Collier Macmillan Canada, 1991); Robert Merrill Bartlett, "Challenger of an Ancient Crime...Raphael Lemkin," especially pgs. 96-97 in They Stand Invincible. Men Who Are Reshaping Our World, ed. Robert Merrill Bartlett (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1959). One can forgive Bartlett for distilling the essence of what Raphael Lemkin seems to have told him in an interview. There are a few trifling inaccuracies that we need not concern ourselves with here. According to Dr. Tessa Hofmann of Berlin who went through considerable effort to analyze meticulously the archival materials associated with the murder and trial, Talaat was shot dead 15 March 1921 at 11 p.m. on Hardenberg Street. The trial by jury took place in Berlin’s Charlottenburg’s Third District Court on 2-3 July 1921. On 3 June, after only one and a half hours of deliberation, the verdict of not guilty was brought in, and on 5 July he was set free. The American news account describing Teilirian as a “boy” is hardly accurate as he was 25 years old. See also Tessa Hofmann, "New Aspects of the Talat Pasha Court Case," Armenian Review 42, no. 4/168 (1989): 41-53. An enormous amount has been written on the Teilirian trail and in the ways it affected Lemkin’s thinking. Douglas Irvin-Erickson (2014) The Life and Works of Raphael Lemkin: a political history of genocide in theory and law. Ph.D. Dissertation, Rutgers, the State University, Graduate School, Newark. 467 pages. This dissertation can be read at: https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/45631/PDF/1/play The views of Raphael Lemkin on the assassination of Turkish Grand Vizier Mehmed Talaat Pasha in Berlin on 15 March 1921 by Armenian student Soghomon Tehlirian (1896-1960) to take revenge for Talaat’s role in the attempt to eliminate the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire are paid little attention to in Erickson’s dissertation. In fact. it is a pivotal component of getting Lemkin interested in the general area of genocide in general. The writer, whose wife is clearly of Turkish origin, may pardonably be viewed as at least slightly instrumental in the ultimate framing of that portion of the dissertation. Irvin-Erickson is now affiliated with the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Center at George Mason University in Virginia. The Center for Conflict Resolution at that university is generally viewed as a conservative place, and we admit that we have no quarrel with the interpretation that its outlook is more right wing than progressive or left.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Over the years the documentation against Talaat as an arch criminal has done nothing but become more extensive and iron clad. See Vahakn N. Dadrian and Taner Akçam, Judgment at Istanbul : The Armenian Genocide Trials, English language ed. (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011). For a detailed version of Talaat Pasha’s “Black Book” readers should refer to Ara Sarafian, ed. Talaat Pasha's Report on the Armenian Genocide 1917, Gomidas Institute Studies Series (London: Gomidas Institute, 2011). (For a free download of the book go to http://www.gomidas.org/books/TalaatPasha1917.htm). In the introduction to this small (70 pgs.) but very important volume, editor Ara Sarafian says on pg. 10 that “This is the closest “official view” we have of the Armenian Genocide according to Ottoman records;” Dr. Hans-Lukas Kieser’s work entitled Talaat Pasha; father of modern Turkey, architect of genocide, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 532 pp. is highly commendable, although that author has been criticized by some establishment writers for what they call his overreaching views and interpretations. Be that as it may, we do not subscribe to that view; we admire him and his work tremendously. In our opinion, his critics often turn out to be ‘second string’ potboilers, not respected but ‘self-respected authorities’ who have not done original research. One particularly appreciative reviewer, a Turkish historian Candan Badem (with a British Ph.D.), ends his review of Kieser’s volume by saying “Kieser’s work is a most welcome contribution to the literature on the history of late Ottoman and modern Turkey. It will be a must-read book for students of Turkish history for years to come.” Journal of Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 6 (no.1, 237-239. See also Taner Akçam (2019) “When was the decision to annihilate the Armenians taken?” Journal of Genocide Research vol. 4, no. 4 pgs. 454-480.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Now located in the Ukraine. It is interesting that there was an early Armenian presence in Lviv of some consequence, and with disproportionate economic influence. In the period after 1630 we are told that there was a break on the part of the elite from Etchmiadzin, and many Armenians converted to Roman Catholicism. Further difficulties led to the emigration of substantial numbers to Moldavia and Transylvania. For an interesting rendition of this history with detailed corroborating literature see Yaroslav Dashkevych, "Armenians in the Ukraine at the Time of Hetman Bohdan Xmel'nyc'kyj (1648-1657)," in Eucharisterion: Essays Presented to Omeljan Pritsak on His Sixtieth Birthday by His Colleagues and Students, ed. Ihor Ševčenko, Frank E. Sysn, and with the assistance of Uliana M. Pacicznyk (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University, 1980). Attention has also been given to the rich manuscript collections in Armenian found in Lviv, many of which found their way into the Mechitarist Library in Vienna, but some are in the National Library of Warsaw and at the University of Lviv (see Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, "Lviv Manuscript Collections and Their Fate," in Eucharisterion: Essays Presented to Omeljan Pritsak on His Sixtieth Birthday by His Colleagues and His Students, ed. Ihor Ševčenko, Frank E. Sysn, and with the assistance of Uliana M. Pacicznyk (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University, 1980) esp. pgs. 350, 361 and 370. Whether Raphael Lemkin knew any of this is a moot point, but it nevertheless remains of interest that the city in which he went to Law School had Armenian connections.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See Salomon Teilirian, defendant, Der Prozess Talaat Pascha; Stenographischer Prozessbericht (Berlin: Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft für Politik und Geschichte, 1921); George R. Montgomery, "Why Talaat's Assassin Was Acquitted," Current History. A monthly magazine of the New York Times 14 (1921) pgs. 551-555 [for the aratcle refer to a digital version of the appropriate months in http://www.archive.org/stream/currenthistoryfo14newyuoft#page/n571/mode/2up/search/Talaat]; Soghomon Tehlirean and Tessa Hofmann, Der Völkermord an Den Armeniern Vor Gericht : Der Prozess Talaat Pascha, 3, erg. und überarbeitete Ausg. ed., Reihe Pogrom; (Göttingen: Die Gesellschaft, 1985); Tessa Hofmann, "New Aspects of the Talat Pasha Court Case," The Armenian Review 42, no. 4/168 (1989): 41-53; Edward Alexander, A Crime of Vengeance (New York Toronto: The Free Press A Division of Macmillan, Inc. Collier Macmillan Canada, 1991); Robert Merrill Bartlett, "Chalenger of an Ancient Crime...Raphael Lemkin," especially pgs. 96-97 in They Stand Invincible. Men Who Are Reshaping Our World, ed. Robert Merrill Bartlett (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1959). One can forgive Bartlett for distilling the essence of what Raphael Lemkin seems to have told him in interview. There are a few trifling inaccuracies that we need not concern ourselves with here.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Perhaps the easiest way to defend this statement is to bring the reader’s attention to Talaat Pasha's “Killing Orders, Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide” by Taner Akçam, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2018.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Talaat Pacha [sic]; see Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. Reproduction Number LC-B2-5301-7 [P&P] LC-DIG-ggbain-31323. For details on the Bain News service photographs see Barbara Orbach Natanson, "Worth a Billion Words? Library of Congress Pictures Online," Journal of American History 94, no. 1 (2007): 99-111. 2007.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Be aware that errors in presenting misidentified photographs can be made in media that should be more sensitive to the need for accuracy, e.g. in the 18 October 2008 issue of Massis Weekly (vol. 28, no. 37, pg. 3) is an article written by Toros Sarian entitled “The consequences of the Young Turk Revolution” there is a photograph supposedly of Dr. Bahaeddin Sakir. It is in fact of Talaat. Another photograph in the brief article is similarly misidentified. How such errors creep in is anyone’s guess. There is no excuse for it. The caption in German gothic type indicates that the photograph was intended to represent the Grand Vizier. He had been living in Berlin under the assumed name of Mehmed Sâid Bey.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> According to Dr. Tessa Hofmann of Berlin who went through considerable effort to analyze the archival materials associated with the murder and trial, Talaat was shot dead 15 March 1921 at 11 p.m. on Hardenberg Street. The trial by jury took place in Berlin’s Charlottenburg’s Third District Court on 2-3 July 1921. On 3 June, after only one and a half hours of deliberation, the verdict of not guilty was brought in, and on 5 July he was set free. The American news account describing Teilirian as a “boy” is hardly accurate as he was 25 years old; Tessa Hofmann, "New Aspects of the Talat Pasha Court Case," Armenian Review 42, no. 4/168 (1989): 41-53.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Nowadays the name is spelled Bahaddin Şakir. He was shot dead in Berlin by Aram Yerganian on 17 April 1922. Djemal [Cemal] Azmi Bey, vali or governor-general of the province or vilayet of Trebizond, who sent women and children to be drowned in the Black Sea etc., and was shot dead at the same time by Arshavir Shirakian. Both were, of course, in the Dashnag Revolutionary Party-sponsored ‘Nemesis’ network of avengers. Bahaddin Şakir was high up in the Secret Organization [Teşkilat-I Mahsusa] of the Committee of the Union and Progress Party [CUP] that implemented many of the brutal mass killings (see Arslan Terzioglu, Yerli Ve Yabanci Kaynaklar Isiginda Dr. Bahaddin Sâkir'in Berlin'de Öldürülmesi Ve Ermeni Tehciri Meselesi = the Assassination of Dr. Bahaddin Sakir in Berlin and the Armenian Deportation Based on National and Foreign Sources of Information (Istanbul: Istanbul Universitesi Tip Fakültesi Mecmuasi, 2001). See also Arshavir Shiragian, "The Assassination of Dr. Behaeddin Shakir," The Armenian Review 19, no. autumn (1966) pgs. 17-31. Arshawir Shirakian, The Legacy : Memoirs of an Armenian Patriot (Boston: Hairenik Press, 1976); Arshavir Shirakian, Ktakn Er Nahataknerun (Peyrut`: Hamazgayini Vahe Mshakut`ayin Enkerakts`ut`ean, 1965) with many photographs of great interest but unfortunately not well reproduced. See also Yücel Yiğit (2014) “The Teşkilat -ı- Mahsusa and World War I.” Middle East Critique 23, no. 2, 157-214.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> “Raphael Lemkin’s dossier on the Armenian genocide: Turkish massacres of Armenians (manuscript from Raphael Lemkin’s collection, American Jewish Historical Society). With a Foreword by Dr. Michael J. Bazler. Glendale, Ca.; Center for Armenian Remembrance, Vartkes Yeghiayan; Mouradian, Khatchig (2021) “With the ink of their blood: Lemkin’s Armenian Collaborators and the Genocide Convention.” Armenian Weekly April 29, 2021.
Matossian, Lou Ann (2009) Armenians started using the word ‘genocide’ in 1945, Khatchig Mouradian shows. Armenian Reporter, Friday, June 26, 2009.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See Taylor, Eugene L. and Krikorian, Abraham D. (2011) “Educating the public and mustering support for the ratification of the Genocide Convention: Transcript of United Nations Casebook Chapter XXI: Genocide, a 13 February 1949 Television program hosted by Quincy Howe with Raphael Lemkin, Emanuel Celler and Ivan Kerno”, War Crimes, Genocide & Crimes against Humanity 5, 91-124.]. https://youtu.be/CXliPhsI530
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Goldberg, Andrew, 2006, The Armenian Genocide. DVD. Two Cats Productions, New York, 60 minutes.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Readers may wish to consult an article by Sarkissian, H. S. (2001, Jul 31). “Telling the story of another: Armenians on US public television,” again. Aim (Armenian International Magazine) 12, 18.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> We place ‘original’ in single quotes since only one videorecording or a copy of a videorecording of an early broadcast seems to exist. That copy in the form of a VHS tape is at the National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting at the Jewish Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Even CBS does not own a copy of the broadcast, despite its unabashed claim of copyright for it. It would appear that the initial date of the broadcast and/or preparation for it, coupled with the technology and procedures then routinely employed, preservation of a proper copy by the standards of today seems not to have occurred. A brief mention of the film is made by Jeffrey Shandler (1999) in his While America Watches: televising the Holocaust, Oxford University Press, pgs.24 and 25. We want to make it clear that Shandler watched the film and carried out an analysis and noted several aspects that made the broadcast distinctive. He even cites the Archive call number for the film although it has been updated. No mention of Lemkin’s commentary on Armenians specifically is drawn attention to in Shandler’s text.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscript Division owns a large number of Raphael Lemkin materials obtained from a friend of Lemkin’s after his death. The accession sheet to that collection points out that materials were received quite late, actually 31 August 1982, long after Lemkin’s death in 1959. One of the difficulties presented by Raphael Lemkin’s legacy is that his papers etc. are scattered and not assembled in a single place. They are, moreover, not totally consistent either within themselves or among themselves (see Elder, 2005). This is not unexpected of course because of how manuscript papers routinely come into being, and how the various sometimes disparate “accretions” become incorporated or appended to the collection at large. Cf. Elder, Tanya, 2005, What you see before your eyes: documenting Raphael Lemkin’s life by exploring his archival Papers, 1900-1959. Journal of Genocide Research 7 no. 4, 469-499.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Douglas Irvin-Erickson (2014) The Life and Works of Raphael Lemkin: a political history of genocide in theory and law. Ph.D. Dissertation, Rutgers, the State University, Graduate School, Newark. 467 pages. This dissertation can be read at: https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/45631/PDF/1/play The views of Raphael Lemkin on the assassination of Turkish Grand Vizier Mehmed Talaat Pasha in Berlin on 15 March 1921 by Armenian student Soghomon Tehlirian (1896-1960) to take revenge for Talaat’s role in the attempt to eliminate the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire are paid little attention to in this specific dissertation. In fact. it is a pivotal component of getting Lemkin interested in the general area of genocide in general. The writer, whose wife is clearly of Turkish origin, may pardonably be viewed as at least slightly instrumental in the ultimate framing of that portion of the dissertation. Irvin-Erickson is now affiliated with the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Center at George Mason University in Virginia. The Center for Conflict Resolution at that university is generally viewed as being a conservative place, and we admit that we have no quarrel with the interpretation that its outlook is more right wing than progressive or left.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> "A crime without a name" Winston Churchill, Raphael Lemkin and the World War II origins of the word "genocide" See James T. Fussell at http://www.preventgenocide.org/genocide/crimewithoutaname.htm Churchill's information about the mass executions which followed the German invasion came directly from a German source. Six weeks before on July 9 British cryptographers broke the "enigma" code used by Berlin to communicate with the Eastern Front, regular reports from mobile killing squads (the Einsatzgruppen which Churchill called "Police-troops") gave detailed accounts and specific numbers of 'Jews' and 'Jewish Bolshevists' killed in mass at locations throughout the occupied territory of the Soviet Union. Therefore, when Churchill spoke of whole districts being exterminated and "methodical, merciless butchery," it would appear that he had specific detailed knowledge of locations and magnitude of the ongoing crime being committed by Germany in Ukraine and Russia. Churchill could not reveal the extent of his detailed knowledge without undermining British intelligence, yet he had to say something about a crime being committed. We have included the entire transcript of the speech. The following excerpt of the speech by Winston Churchill is taken from pgs. 60-61 of “The meeting with President Roosevelt. A world broadcast, August 24, 1941, pgs. 59-66 of The War Speeches of The Rt Honorable Winston S. Churchill, O.M., C.H., P.C., M.P. Compiled by Charles Eade in three volumes, volume two, Cassell & Company Ltd, London (first published 1952, second edition 1965.)
Reproduced with permission of Curtis Brown, London on behalf of the Estate of Sir Winston Churchill. Copyright © Winston S. Churchill
That notice and summary account starts with a prelude drawing attention to the meeting in which Churchill “spent 3 days in comradeship” with President Roosevelt.
We quote liberally to allow a broader perspective of the context for the phrase “crime without a name.” This should give a fuller understanding of the broad sweep of what Churchill was saying. The entire broadcast emphasizes his political savvy, eloquence, persuasiveness and forcefulness as a speaker, but it is of course, the phrase “crime without a name” with which we are here concerned. The speech was said to be made from Chequers, a country estate for use by the British Prime Ministers but that needs confirmation. Martin Gilbert in his Winston S. Churchill Volume VI entitled “Finest Hour 1939-1941) 1983 gives the broadcast as from Chequers on his pg. 1173 citing the Churchill papers 9/152, but on further enquiry to confirm what we had been told it, was at BBC in London.
“This was a meeting which marks for ever in the pages of history the taking-up by the English-speaking nations, amid all this peril, tumult and confusion, of the guidance of the fortunes of the broad toiling masses in all the continents; and our loyal effort without any clog of selfish interest to lead them forward out of the miseries into which they have been plunged back to the highroad of freedom and justice. This is the highest honour and the most glorious opportunity which could ever have come to any branch of the human race.
“When one beholds how many currents of extraordinary and terrible events have flowed together to make this harmony, even the most sceptical person must have the feeling that we all have the chance to play our part and do our duty in some great design, the end of which no mortal can foresee. Awful and horrible things are happening in these days. The whole of Europe has been wrecked and trampled down by the mechanical weapons and barbaric fury of the Nazis; the most deadly instruments of war science had been joined to the extreme refinements of treachery and the most brutal exhibitions of ruthlessness, and thus have formed a confine of aggression the like of which has never been known, before which the rights, the traditions, the characteristics and the structure of many ancient honoured states and peoples have been laid prostrate and are now ground down under the heel of a monster. The Austrians, the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the Danes, the Belgians, the Dutch, the Greeks, the Croats and the Serbs, above all the great French nation, have been stunned and pinioned. Italy, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria have bought a shameful respite by becoming the jackals of the tiger, but their situation is very little different and will presently be indistinguishable from that of his victims. Sweden, Spain, and Turkey stand appalled, wondering which would be struck down next.
“Here, then, is the vast pit into which all the most famous states and races of Europe have been flung and from which unaided they can never climb. But all this did not satiate Hitler; he made a treaty with Soviet Russia, just as he made one with Turkey, in order to keep them quiet till he was ready to attack them, and nine weeks ago today, without a vestige of provocation, he hurled millions of soldiers, with all their apparatus, upon the neighbor he called his friend, with the avowed object of destroying Russia and tearing her in pieces. This frightful business is now unfolding day by day before our eyes. Here is a devil who, in a mere spasm of his pride and lust for domination, can condemn two or three millions, perhaps it may be many more, of human beings to speedy and violent death. “Let Russia be blotted out−Let Russia be destroyed. Order the armies to advance.’ Such were his decrees. Accordingly from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea, six or seven millions of soldiers are locked in mortal struggle. Ah, but this time it was not so easy.
“This time it was not all one way. The Russian armies and all the peoples of the Russian Republic have rallied to the defense of their hearths and homes. For the first time Nazi blood flowed in a fearful torrent. Certainly 1,500,000, perhaps 2,000,000 of Nazi cannon-fodder had bit the dust of the endless plains of Russia. The tremendous battle rages along nearly 2,000 miles of front. The Russians fight with magnificent devotion; not only that, our generals who have visited the Russian front line report with admiration the efficiency of their military organization and the excellence of their equipment. The aggressor is surprised, startled, staggered. For the first time in his experience mass murder has become unprofitable. He retaliates by the most frightful cruelties. As his armies advance, whole districts are being exterminated. Scores of thousands – literally scores of thousands – of executions in cold blood are being perpetrated by the German police-troops [here he means the Einzatsgruppen] upon the Russian patriots who defend their native soil. Since the Mongol invasions of Europe in the sixteenth century there has never been methodical, merciless butchery on such a scale, or approaching such a scale. And this is but the beginning. Famine and pestilence have yet to follow in the bloody ruts of Hitler’s tanks. We are in presence of a crime without a name”. [Emphasis ours]
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> It is quite clear from his collection of documents that Lemkin did not have evidence of mobile killing squads or death camps. But he did not need such evidence to reach his conclusion. Direct killing as a method of causing mass death only began to be practiced by the Nazi occupiers in the latter half of 1941. At that time Lemkin was already beginning to understand that extermination was occurring through policies of systematic attrition. Nazi mass killing by means of gas chambers would only be a more rapid way of accomplishing what they had already been doing through such policies as forcible resettlement and discriminatory food rationing.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The volume was edited by Agnieszka Bieńczyk-Missala and Sławomir Dębski (2010) Rafał Lemkin: a hero of humankind emerged from that conference. It was published by the Polish Institute of International Affairs, Warsaw and is not readily available or very easy to access online, we are sorry to report.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Ad Hoc Committee on Genocide (5 April-10 May 1948). Report of the Committee and Draft Convention drawn up by the Commission. Economic and Social Council, E/794, dated 19480524 [24 May 1948] https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/604195?In-en [Full original report]
[1 page Corrigendum to the original report]at /794/Corr.1 https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/604196?ln=en.
It is of no little interest that a significant 1 page correction to the wording of the Draft was required to suit the United States – see Corrigendum to the Report of the Committee E/794/Corr.1, dated 1948 06 10.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Details from Lemkin’s Preface on dates are below. Chapter IX is available through the Website “Prevent Genocide International” http://www.preventgenocide.org/. For direct access to Chapter IX go to: http://www.preventgenocide.org/lemkin/AxisRule1944-1.htm. The Preface to “Axis Rule…” is dated November 15, 1943, almost a full year to the day before the work was officially published or made available. Chapter IX of the text is dedicated to Genocide (Lemkin, 1944 pgs. 79-95). The Foreword by George A. Finch, Director of the Division of International Law of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is dated August 18, 1944. “Axis Rule…” was officially published (at a price of $7.50) on Wednesday 15 November (and was distributed by Columbia University Press, see New York Times Nov. 17, 1944 pg. 17). (A presentation copy of “Axis Rule…” inscribed “To His Excellency Dr. Ricardo Alfaro [President of Panama] with high esteem and appreciation” signed by Raphael Lemkin at Yale” and dated “May 15, 1949” was offered for sale not so long ago on Abebooks for $ 1,097.08. Site last checked on 25 May 2022.)
Professor Ryszard Szawłowski has ventured to say that “the term genocide was probably already conceived by Lemkin in the first half of 1943, if not somewhat earlier” (Szawłowski, 2005 pg. 120). [See endnote 6 above for exact citation].
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Torchin, L. (2007), Since we forgot: remembrance and recognition of the Armenian genocide in virtual archives. The image and the witness: trauma, memory and visual culture. F. Guerin and R. Hallas. New York, London, Wallflower Press: 82-97.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> It is interesting that neither CBS nor the United Nations has a copy in their archives of the CBS/United Nations Casebook XXI broadcast.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See for instance Steven L. Jacobs, “Raphael Lemkin’s Thoughts on Nazi Genocide, Not Guilty?”. The Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter (1992); Steven L. Jacobs, "Raphael Lemkin and the Armenian Genocide," in Looking Backward, Moving Forward; Confronting the Armenian Genocide, ed. Richard G. Hovannisian (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2003) pgs.125-135; Steven Leonard Jacobs, "The Journey of Death": Lemkin and the Armenian Genocide," Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies 17 (2008) pgs. 7-18 and Raphael Lemkin, Raphael Lemkin's Dossier on the Armenian Genocide : Turkish Massacres of Armenians : (Manuscript from Raphael Lemkin's Collection, American Jewish Historical Society) / Uniform Title: Dossier on the Armenian Genocide ([Glendale, Calif.]: Vartkes Yeghiayan et al. at Center for Armenian Remembrance, 2008).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Many viewers, of course, were spared witnessing the awkward ‘Turkish perspective’ of absolute rejection of the use of the word “genocide” in the TV ‘roundtable’ following the broadcast. It seems bizarre that one of the professors who represented the ‘Turkish Point of View’ would be a Turk who spoke halting English at best.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> For details see Harut Sassounian’s “Lemkin discusses Armenian Genocide in newly-found 1949 CBS Interview” The California Courier 8 December 2005.
Today, the film segment from the Goldberg documentary with Raphael Lemkin, shows up so many times and in so many places on the Internet that it would be a challenge for anyone to keep track. See for example You Tube under the title “The Genocide Word by Raphael Lemkin” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Genocide_Word_by_Raphael_Lemkin.ogv and
Journalist Christiane Amanpour’s two hour documentary shown on CNN “Scream Bloody Murder” uses the film footage as well.
As an aside, on seeing these programs one cannot help but wonder how matters of copyright of the “UN Casebook XXI: Genocide” excerpts are handled. One sometimes sees that statement that the original film footage from that program is in the public domain. Possibly, but we doubt it. In any case, one would think that the Goldberg film copyright dating from 2005, 2006 and including the clip and commentary would be yet another matter.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Hofmann, Tessa, Bjørnlund, Matthias, and Meichanetsidis, Vasileos (Eds.), 2010. The Genocide of the Ottoman Greeks. Studies on the State-Sponsored Campaign of Extermination of the Christians of Asia Minor, 1912-1922 and its Aftermath: History, Law, Memory. Published by Aristide D. Caratzas, New York and Athens; Meichanetsidis, Vasileos Th., 2015. The Genocide of the Greeks of the Ottoman Empire. 1913-1923: a comprehensive overview. Genocide Studies International 9, no. 1, 104-173;Faltais, Kostas, 2016. The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey. Survivor testimonies from the Nicomedia (Izmit) massacres of 1920-1921. Translated and edited by Ellene S. Phufas-Jousma and Aris Tsiltfidis. Cosmos Publishing, River Vale, New Jersey;Sjöberg, Erik, 2017. The Making of the Greek Genocides: contested memories of the Ottoman Greek catastrophe. Berghahn, New York and Oxford; Shrinian, George N., ed., 2017. Genocide in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians and Greek, 1913-1923. Berghahn, New York and Oxford; Ioannnidou, Theodora, 2016/2018. The Holocaust of the Pontian Greeks: still an open wound. Translated from the original Greek. ISBN 978-960-93-8443-8; Hosoi den gelasen pote: atein’ pou ‘k’ egelasan kammian, 11 martyres gia ton Golgotha tou pontiakou hellelnismou. Ekdoseis: Athens. (2014).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> In a special supplement to Foreign Affairs (London) published in 1920 vol. 2, no.4, ii-iii, there is a very interesting book review by Major Cyprian Bridge , a British Royal Navy Officer, of Dr. Johannes Lepsius’ book “Deutschland und Armenien: Sammlung diplomatischer Aktenstücke”, [“Germany and the Armenians.”], 1919, Tempelverlag Pottsdam. The review ends with the telling statement “In his introductory pages he states he leaves it to his readers to form their own conclusions from the evidence which he lays before them, and the unprejudiced mind can only gather from that whereas he confirms the worst that has been said regarding the Turkish government, he clears his own fellow-countrymen of any responsibility for the horrible treatment to which the Armenians were subjected during the war.” One can also ask and argue just what is meant by sharing the odium.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> A full paper might well be written in connection with the range of euphemisms, distortions and obfuscations that have been used. The “messy end” of the Ottoman Empire is particularly evasive. We will refrain from giving a list of all the alternative words for genocide, massacre etc., that have been trundled out over the years by the Turks, their supporters, and even in connection with other “genocides”, “tragedies” and “disasters” in the course of war or whatever. One especially imaginative and fairly recent label is the expression “violent migrations.” According to the author who has come up with this pithy designation, the motivation for the nuance has been to “broaden conceptual categories rather than to narrow them.” See Joshua Sanborn, "Unsettling the Empire: Violent Migrations and Social Disaster in Russia During World War I," The Journal of Modern History 77, no. 2 (2005): 290-324, pg. 291.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> We do not propose to examine in depth exactly what “murdered” means in the context of the genocide. In the case of the Armenians, most but not all of the men and youth were killed, slaughtered outright (sometimes but not always after arrest) or after ‘drafting’ them nominally to serve in the army (often working them in labor battalions, even like pack animals) and afterwards murdering them (sometimes having forced them to dig their own burial ditches). The murdering was frequently done by very violent means - with knives, swords, axes, farm tools etc., so as some accounts say to save bullets. Some women and children were killed outright as well; others were taken off as servants in Muslim homes, married off to Turks or Kurds and/or for ‘service’ in harems, even as young girls. (We want to emphasize that we do not try to suggest that the ‘harems’ in question were like those imagined by many westerners and were like those filled with odalisques in the French style of painting, who lay about languishing or relaxing and smoking water pipes etc. (see e.g. Mildred Mortimer “Re-representing the Orient: a new instructional approach” in The French Review vol. 79 no.2, Dec. 2005) 296-312 for that would take us still more off the track.) Those Armenians, mostly women and children and a very few old men, who were not dispatched more or less straightaway, were reduced by sickness, starvation and dehydration as they were ‘deported’ and subjected to intermittent abuses of all kinds, including forced abandonment, rape and abduction. The nominal areas to which the Armenians were to be deported (and settled) were the stony deserts of northern Syria. (Again, when one hears the word “desert” one usually thinks of the sandy deserts of Arabia as seen in movies like “Lawrence of Arabia.” That is not generally speaking the kind of deserts to which the Armenians were driven.) In the region of Der Zor and the Khabur River area especially, survivors who had lived through the atrocities of the massacres and deportations, were subjected to murder by being shot, drowned or even by being forced into a cave complex, the mouth of which was deliberately subjected to smoke and fire so that the inmates would be burned or suffocated to death (see Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilization (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). And so on and so on. Early on, especially in communiques and the ‘western’ Press, what was happening to the Armenians was covered with the blanket term “massacres.” That is probably because “massacre” had entered into the vocabulary of the history of man’s inhumanity to man (Ralph J. Hartley, "To Massacre: A Perspective on Demographic Competition," Anthropological Quarterly 80, no. 1 (2007): 237-251;.David Gaunt, Jan Bet-Sawoce, and Racho Donef, Massacres, Resistance, Protectors : Muslim-Christian Relations in Eastern Anatolia During World War I, 1st Gorgias Press ed. (Piscataway, N.J.: Gorgias Press, 2006). The word “massacre” usually connotes a few things depending on the reader and the context. We will not get into that here. Even some of the great libraries of the world who are responsible for cataloguing new books etc. are so timid in their cataloging, apparently not wishing to stir up a hornet’s nest, have ended up trying every conceivable tactic to avoid cataloguing books under the rubric of Armenian genocide. We see such labels as Armenian massacres, Armenian question etc. That too is yet another dimension and consequence of addressing issues of the Armenian Genocide.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> F.C. Corbyn, "The Present Position of the Armenian Nation," Journal of the Royal Central Asia Society 19, no. 4 (1932): 587-616. Persistence is indeed one of the qualities of the Armenians, but at the risk of stereotyping, it need be said that frequently the “Armenians cannot agree among themselves” [Haik voch miapan]. This shortcoming has been voiced by Armenians and non-Armenian alike. Dr. James D. Barton wrote in 1896 in his chapter “The Armenians who are they? Their religion, occupation. Habits of life, intelligence, strength and weknesses” in Rev. James Wilson Pierce’s Story of Turkey and Armenia. With a full and accurate account of the recent massacres written by eyewitnesses, Baltimore: R.H. Woodward Company (1896) Chapter 6 pgs. 220-230. The volume is accessible online at http://books.google.com/books?id=s80NAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ViewAPI#v=onepage&q&f=false
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Paul Wilkinson, "Armenian Terrorism," The World Today 39, no. 9 (1983): 344-350. The now late Erich Feigl has made much out of this sad period in Armenian history. See Erich Feigl, A Myth of Terror; Armenian Extremism: Its Causes and Its Historical Context, English ed. (Freilassing, Salzburg: EZG Edition Zeitgeschichte, 1988); Erich Feigl, Armenian Mythomania : Armenian Extremism : Its Causes and Historical Context (Wien: Amalthea Signum, 2006); Justin McCarthy, "Armenian Terrorism: History as Poison and Antidote," in Armenian Terrorism, its supporters, the narcotic connection, the distortion of history, ed. Ankara Universitesi (Ankara University, Rectorate Conference Hall, 17-18 April 1984: Press, Information, and Public relations Office, Ankara University, 1984) pgs. 85-102.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> For the interesting history and details of the Mount Davidson Cross see https://mtdavidson.org/mount-davidson-cross/ Note: this is a sluggish site and may require that you try to enter it several times before it opens!
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Rubina Peroomian, Literary Responses to Catastrophe: A Comparison of the Armenian and the Jewish Experience, Studies in near Eastern Culture and Society (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993); Rubina Peroomian, "The Armenian Genocide through Art and Literature," in Anatomy of Genocide,State-Sponsored Mass-Killings in the Twentieth Century, ed. Alexandre Kimenyi and Otis L. Scott (Lewiston, New YorkQueenston, OntarioLampeter, wales: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1997); Rubina Peroomian, And Those Who Continued Living in Turkey after 1915 : The Metamorphosis of the Post-Genocide Armenian Identity as Reflected in Artistic Literature, Research and Studies in Armenian Genocide Series (Yerevan: Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, 2008); Samuel Totten, ed. Plight and Fate of Women During and Following Genocide, Genocide (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2009); Marc Nichanian, Writers of Disaster Armenian Literature in the Twentieth Century, vol. 1 (Princeton, New Jersey London, England: Gomidas Institute, 2002); Marc Nichanian, "Catastrophic Mourning," in Loss, the Politics of Mourning, ed. David L. Eng and David Kazanjian (Berkeley Los Angeles London: University of California Press, 2003); Marc Nichanian, The Historiographic Perversion (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009); David Kazanjian and Marc Nichanian, "Between Genocide and Catastrophe," in Loss, the Politics of Mourning, ed. David L. Eng and David Kazanjian (Berkeley Los Angeles London: University of California Press, 2003). On a very personal level it has been hurtful for one of us (ADK) to be asked in medical interviews for general health histories relating to one’s ancestors. It is not very helpful to say that grandparents and aunts and uncles were victims of genocide, and therefore one cannot say anything very useful about how long they may have lived in the course of a normal lifetime.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Much has been written about forgiveness. One of our opening quotes from Alice Walker reflects her view that “Some crimes against humanity are so heinous nothing will ever rectify them. All we can do is attempt to understand their causes and do everything in our power to prevent them from happening, to anyone, ever again.” (Alice Walker Overcoming Speechlessness (2010 pgs. 69-70.) Equally to the point of forgiveness for such crimes as genocide is voiced in Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Dives in Misercordia” [Rich in Mercy] (30 November 1980, 14). “In no passage of the Gospel message does forgiveness, or mercy appear as its source, mean indulgence towards evil, towards scandals, towards injury or insult. In any case, reparation for evil and scandal, compensation for injury, and satisfaction for insult are conditions for forgiveness” (see http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_30111980_dives-in-misericordia_en.html).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Glenn Greenwald, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, 1st ed. (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Co., 2011).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Kemal H. Karpat, "The Transformation of the Ottoman State, 1789-1908," International Journal of Middle East Studies 3 no. 3 (1972) pgs. 243-281 ends with the statement that “The culminating point in the transformation of the Ottoman state was the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. But the republic carried with it the Ottoman legacy. Its social structure, leadership, and patterns of transformation followed a certain sequence and regularity which can be fathomed only by understanding the socio-political history of the Ottoman state…” pg. 281. From this quoted statement we conclude that the Turks ‘cannot have their cake and eat it too.’ They apparently can be proud of their Ottoman legacy when it suits them; likewise, they can reject it when it does not. No matter what there has long been a culture of violence in Turkey: cf. e.g. George W. Gawrych “The culture and politics of violence in Turkish society, 1908-14” Middle Eastern Studies vol. 22 no.3 (1986) pgs. 307-330.
We will not take space to discuss this in
detail, but many years ago it was clearly enunciated that “After the enforced deportation of the Armenians in 1915, their bank
accounts, both current and deposit, were transferred by order to the State
Treasury in Constantinople. This fact
enabled the Turks to send 5 million sterling to the Reichsbank, Berlin, in
exchange for a new issue of notes.” Corbyn 1932 pg. 597. On a more local level and as only a single
example, see the description by Leslie A. Davis, the last United States Consul
in Harput, Turkey, a province heavily populated with
Armenians. He describes the near-festival like atmosphere that obtained when the
Armenians were served notice of their ‘deportation’. Household items such as sewing machines and
valuable rugs sold for nearly nothing.
Some were impudent enough to say if you do not take our offer, we will
be able to get the material after you go, in any case for free! See Leslie A.
Davis and Susan K. Blair, The
Slaughterhouse Province : An American Diplomat's
Report on the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1917 (New Rochelle, N.Y.: A.D. Caratzas, Orpheus Pub, 1989).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Journalists Sabrina Tavernise and Sebnem Arsu wrote a pretty good summary on the psychological component in a 12 October 2007 “News Analysis” published in the New York Times pg. A12 entitled “Inside the Turkish Psyche: traumatic issues trouble a nation’s sense of identity.” They quote a university sociologist in Istanbul as saying: […] “Turkish state and society have both have traumatic pasts, and it’s not easy to face them” […] “compared Turkey’s beginnings to a tenant who realizes that the house he has just rented is not new, but instead “has all kinds of rubbish and dirt underneath. Would you shout it out loud at the risk of being shamed by your neighbors,” […] “or try to hide it and deal with it as you keep living in your only home?” …[“The word ‘genocide’, as cold as it is, causes a deep reaction in the Turkish society’[…. ] “Having been taught about its glorious and spotless past by the state rhetoric for decades, people feel they could not have possibly done such a terrible thing.” For the entire article online see http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/turkey/armenian_genocide/index.html.
We would be led to believe the standard line that America’s Incirlik ‘Air Base’ near Adana is a strategic benefit to the United States and NATO. For us it verges on being a scandal if not a joke. The American taxpayer paid to build it, pays for use of it, also pays for the Turkish Air Force’s use of it, the servicing of the Turkish airplanes, in addition to employing and training Turkish personnel etc. ‘Not so hidden costs’ of base maintenance and foreign aid to Turkey are only among the devices to get American taxpayer money into the hands of American contractors through immense multimillion dollar contracts to perform Turkey base maintenance, contracts which could be said are essentially ‘washed’ through various and sundry channels. Without the United States the base would not be maintained for the proverbial ten minutes. Turkish pride and skill in diplomacy, even blackmail, makes it “Turkish” in reality while America pays the bills and the American Military-Industrial Complex and contractor greed keep it going. See e.g. Frank Hyland in U.S. Air Base at Incirlik faces political and security threats, Terrorism Focus (Jamestown Foundation) Vol. 4 no. 42 December 19, 2007 http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=4619 It would probably take an army of accountants to figure out what is what and who pays for what, see http://militarybases.com/overseas/turkey/incirlik/. It is also worthwhile to point out that the Turkish Air Force has been helped by western Powers in very material ways for many years (see Gary Leiser “The Turkish Air Force, 1939-45: the rise to power of a minor power” Middle Eastern Studies vol. 26 no. 3 (July) pgs. 383-395 (1990).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> A now deceased dear friend, and academic in Vancouver, Canada, pointed out many years ago that Canadians and others were “Americans” as well, be they North, Central or South Americans, not just those residing in the United States of America. He was right of course. It is a bit like the French raging at the English for arrogantly calling “La Manche” [‘the Sleeve’] their channel! Old habits die hard? So far as Mount Rushmore is concerned, digging a bit deeper gets one into a totally different perspective on how this national icon came into being. On Mount Rushmore in general let it be said that some have attempted to be more realistic as to its intent and design, and the politics behind it. If it turns out to be less patriotic so be it. The New Yorker, famous for its cartoons, published one by P. Steiner captioned “Your face in stone”, 12 November 1990) see pg. 145 of Albert Boime’s Patriarchy fixed in Stone. Gutzon Borglum’s Mount Rushmore. American Art vol 5, no. 2, pgs. 142-167 (1991). Also, James W. Loewen’s Lies across America: what our historic sites get wrong (2000, New Press, Norton, New York. is an excellent call for patriotic iconoclasm in a nationalist era. He asks for an end to “chauvinistic and jingoistic nationalism” […] capacity to identify with peoples outside our own class, ethnic affiliation, tribe, community, and country”—when wars “will no longer be considered a “viable alternative” and memorials to wars will cease. In short, he hopes that what has been called “the landscapes of pilgrimage” will become rather different venues. ‘Dark Tourism’ will have to be cast in a different light see John Lennon and Malcolm Foley (2000) Dark Tourism. The attraction of death and disaster. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> One need only think for a moment what politicians in America are capable of saying in terms of campaigning. As long as it ‘sounds good’ they do not hesitate to invoke the nominally ‘understood by all’ principles of every Tom, Dick and Harry.] See the cartooning Teddy Roosevelt http://www.archive.org/details/trincartoongros00raymrich Note: start reading on page 8. Pgs. 2-7 are blank.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Concerning the image of the Turk, we have found it noteworthy, even somewhat amusing, that the now late Professor Stanford J. Shaw (1930-2006) of UCLA and his Turkish-born wife and co-author Ezel Kural Shaw, felt constrained to bring the matter of the ‘Terrible Turk’ up in response to a critique of their "History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey” by Richard G. Hovannisian, Richard G. Hovannisian, "The Critic's View: Beyond Revisionism," International Journal of Middle East Studies 9 (1978): 379-400. “Does Dr. Hovannisian really wish to perpetuate the biased image of the ‘Terrible Turk’ that has its roots in the age of the Crusades?” (see Stanford J. Shaw and Ezel Kural Shaw, "[the Critic's View" Beyond Revisionism]”:The Authors Respond," International Journal of Middle East Studies 9 (1978): 388-400.) Nowhere that we are aware of has Professor Hovannisian ever used the expression ‘Terrible Turk.’ By way of contrast, we certainly have (see Eugene L. Taylor and Abraham D. Krikorian, "Ravished Armenia Revisted:'' Some Additions to "a Brief Assessment of the Ravished Armenia Marquee Poster," Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies 19, no. 2 (2010): 179-215.) To show just how politicized things can become, indeed have become in some quarters at least, and how obfuscation at various levels from the Turkish side can render all kinds of matters relating to Armenians, one need only read a book review by University of Wisconsin professor Kemal Karpat. He acclaims the Shaw’s history and apparently felt constrained to emphasizes (non-gratuitously one can suspect) that “the Shaws studied the national movements among various ethnic groups, including the Armenians, using new statistical (emphasis ours) and documentary sources and found no evidence to back the stories of organized massacres or atrocities allegedly carried out by the Ottoman government in order to stem these national aspirations'' Kemal H. Karpat, "[Untitled]," The American Historical Review 83, no. 1 (1978): 242-243. Just why in a short book review Karpat felt that he had to bring up that matter is of interest since the Shaws themselves emphasized in their ‘rejoinder’ that Richard Hovannisian’s criticism of their work entailed only some seven out of a total of nearly a thousand pages (Shaw and Shaw pg. 389). One aspect of the entire situation of ‘Turk versus Armenian’ that we have never fully understood, is that in all instances of Turkish persecutions of the Armenians, why the Turkish government was unable to deal with supposed insurrections etc. without resorting to mass violence upon a largely innocent populace. After all, according to people like Dr. Justin McCarthy, there were “not enough Armenians in the Empire to matter” (our phraseology). If we are to accept McCarthy’s very low population numbers as real, which they are not, it then becomes a matter of the tail wagging the dog, does it not? Either that, or the ‘cowardly’ Armenians must be imbued with great efficiency and prowess so that a few Armenian revolutionaries could seriously threaten the overwhelmingly dominant Muslim population and government? Are we to believe that the Turk becomes the victim at the hands of so few? Of course, cherry picking of perspectives depending on perceived need allows anything. It is of no little interest that Speros Vryonis, Balkan Studies volume 24, pp 163-286 (1983), gives a scathing critical review of the work. He draws attention to the quality of Shaw’s alleged archival work that they so proudly highlight in their ‘Response’ to Hovannisian (cf. Speros Vryonis, Jr., "Stanford J. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Volume 1: Empire of the Gazis: The Rise and Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1280-1808. Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, London, New York, Melbourne, 1976)." Balkan Studies 24, no. number 1 (1983): 163-286.) Finally, and as an aside that is not really intended here as an aside, we know non-Armenian biased veterans who served with the American Armed Forces in Korea. These are men of high integrity and honesty. They have related that the Turks earned such a terrible reputation that they were feared to a man. Why? It was common, especially on night missions, to make their way into enemy foxholes etc. and to slit the throats of all but one. The survivor, of course, made sure that the word got out. The Turks were so emboldened, we were told by men on the spot, that what would normally be ‘night missions’ were carried out in broad daylight since they encountered little opposition. This sort of story was related by two elder brothers of one of us (ADK) who served in Korea, but we shall not mention that since it would obviously and unabashedly be biased. We could add to this but will not. We are not saying that ‘all’ Turks are capable of this. The reputation of the ‘Terrible Turk’ has been earned, and does not merely harken back to the histrionics of the Crusades era, Amander Wunder 2003 Cirakman 2001; An editorial from the The London Times “The clean-fighting Turk'' in The New Armenia (New York) vol. 9 no. 6 March 15, 1917 pgs. 94-95 ends with the sentence “His success we must acknowledge; he has massacred, pillaged, outrages; for two years and a half he has broken every convention, maltreated our prisoners, killed our wounded, held our women hostages, but he remains the “clean fighting Turk.” Sarga Moussa has given some interesting insights on how the view of the ‘despotic, violent and cruel Turk’ evolved and reversed in travel literature in particular according to the perceptions of European governments and realpolitik. In other words, like everything it is complicated. Where there is smoke there usually is fire? Few would brand an entire nation on account of its past misdeeds. Or would they? See M. Hakan Yavuz (2014) “Orientalism, the ‘Terrible Turk’ and Genocide.” Middle East Critique 23, no. 2, 111-126.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> This film, which incidentally has some very interesting footage of the population exchange period, deals with the emotions of an elderly woman from a rural area in northeastern Turkey [probably somewhere in the Pontus region] who, along with her older sister, have long hidden their Greek blood from Turkish neighbors. After the death of the older sister, she is determined to travel to Greece so as to seek out a brother from whom they were separated during the deportations of the Ottoman Greeks, and the population exchange.]
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> One of the better treatments of the psychology of group identification that a non-expert can intuitively identify with and feel that he or she is on the right track, is given by Clark McCauley, "The Psychology of Group Identification and the Power of Ethnic Nationalism," in Ethnopolitical Warfare: Causes, Consequences, and Possible Solutions, ed. Daniel Chirot and Martin E.P. Seligman (Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2001). The idea that Turks in places like Germany do not integrate well into German society is largely due to the feeling that there are fundamental reasons associated with their desire to retain their deep-seated Turkishness. The fact is that poor assimilation is due to many complicated reasons, not the least of which is seeking German citizenship, because once they abandon Turkish citizenship, they are no longer able to inherit anything in Turkey. (see e.g. Claus Mueller, "Integrating Turkish Communities: A German Dilemma," Population Research and Policy Review 25, no. 5/6 (2006): 419-441. For the film in question see Rüçhan Çaliskur et al., Waiting for the Clouds (Chicago, IL : Facets Video, 2009), at some 18 minutes or so into the film. Nikolaos Hlamides of London first brought our attention to this sensitive film. One of the film’s producers is Behrooz Hashemian, clearly a man with Armenian roots.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Justin McCarthy has seemingly taken the tack of attributing to American missionaries the promulgation of the bad image of the Turk in America (see Justin McCarthy, The Turk in America : Creation of an Enduring Prejudice, Utah Series in Turkish and Islamic Studies (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2010). More recently, and in a vastly more subtle way, the image of the sexually profligate Turk supposedly with at least some harem experience and versed in adet was viewed as scandalous if not titillating to the prudish Britons in Victorian and Edwardian days. In the very well received British television series Downton Abbey there is an episode in which a handsome young Turkish diplomat dies in Lady Mary’s bed. It is unclear from the script whether there was any penetration but if we are to take the dashing Mr. Pamuk at his word, lady Mary would still be a virgin after their sexual encounter. We can do little but conclude that cunnilingus entered into the equation?. After all, it was alleged to be common among the women in the harems of the Turkish elites, but also in the bed chambers.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> In fact, most believe that this is completely out of character for Turks. They would say “We would never do such a thing etc.” This is part of the universal feature of virtually everyone that has been called “the will not to know.” Bernard Lewis in his "History Writing and National Revival in Turkey," Middle Eastern Affairs 4 (1953): 218-227 gives little attention to why there was a perceived need to do what was in essence, selective rewriting of history. Are we to believe that Adolph Hitler’s oath to revindicate the humiliating defeat of Germany at the end of World War I can justify incredible violence in the name of national honor? Clive Foss gives a number of concrete examples of the pernicious consequences of nationalism as it obtains in (re)writing history by Turks in his “Armenian History as Seen by Twentieth Century Turkish Historians," Armenian Review 45, no. 1-2/177-178 (1992): 1-52. Some 50 years ago when in the great covered market of Istanbul we encountered an Armenian carpet dealer and entered into a lengthy conversation with him. He was an especially cordial and engaging fellow, quite unlike the stereotypic ‘Oriental’ rug salesman that one normally hears or reads about. When we asked in Armenian how the Turks felt towards Armenians in present-day Turkey, his answer was the simple and time-honored “meyuvnyun kak nehn” [they are the same old sh_t]. In a very different but still similar context, and certainly much more recent as to time frame, we encounter many examples of deep-seated sensitivities to any perceived insult to Turkishness. Violence can be elicited with relatively little instigation. One can imagine what can be elicited with a bit of planning. Balca Ergener has provided an interesting overview and analysis of the events surrounding an exhibition of photographs entitled (in translation) “From the Archives of Rear Admiral Fahri Çoker: the events of September 6-7 on their fiftieth anniversary” displayed in connection with the 50th anniversary of the Istanbul [and Izmir?] riots against the Greeks, Jews, and Armenians. Ergener’s paper is entitled ‘On the Exhibition “Incidents of September 6-7 on their Fiftieth Anniversary” and the Attack on the Exhibition.’ Indeed, the attack was very real and many photographs were for Ergener destroyed.
finalizing this posting we checked all URLs to see if
they worked. [We outlined our view on this in Endnote 1 above.] We tested the previously functioning URL and
learned that it has been blocked! For direct access to Ms. Ergener’s
article go to: http://www.red-thread.org/en/article.asp?a=25.
(We thank Matthias Bjørnlund for telling us
about Ergener’s article.) No mention is made in her article of the
exhaustive and illustrated volume by Speros Vryonis, The
Mechanism of Catastrophe : The Turkish Pogrom of
September 6-7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul
(New York, N.Y.: greekworks.com, 2005).
It has xxxv, 659 pages of text, and 90 pages of plates. Would that one could
have compared the images in the exhibit with those in Vryonis’s
book. International newspapers of the
day dealt largely with the anti-Greek actions, but
gave minimal attention to the actions against Jews and Armenians (cf. New York
Times 7 September 1955 pg. 1, ‘Anti-Greek riots flare in Turkey. Istanbul mobs wreck shops, threaten Church –
British offer a freer Cyprus’; 9 September pg. 1 ‘Anti-Greek riots in Turkey
studies by NATO Council’; 17 September pg 14,
editorial by C.L. Suzlberger ‘Disastrous effects of
the Turkish riots’ in which the statement “And
all the latent Turkish prejudices against national and religious minorities are
again released. The spirit that led to
Ankara’s persecution of Greeks, Armenians and Jew in 1942 and 1943 under the
so-called Varlik Vergisi
Law has been revived….Vandalism in Istanbul and Izmir
was much worse than the American public seems to realize…. And the Greeks are almost as offended by what
they consider our indifference as they are enraged with the Turks. Dozens of Orthodox churches were
pillaged. Thousands of shops were
rifled. Priests were beaten. Graveyards were desecrated. The homes of Greek officers stationed at
NATO’s Southeast Europe Headquarters in Izmir were looted.” We will not attempt an analysis here of what
started the 6-7 September 1955 riots.
Had they taken place in early 20th century Russia and against
the Jews, they would have been labeled pogromy
(pogroms in English). The supposed
immediate trigger for the Istanbul riots were the reports of damage by dynamite
at the hands of Greek ‘communists’ to the birthplace of Kemal Ataturk in
Salonika. The reports were of course
false; one version was that a stick of dynamite placed by unknown persons(s)
nearby the Turkish Consulate had caused some damage. Interested readers may refer to Vryonis’ book for many details and photographs For more generalized imagery covering a span
of many years, including the 1955 pogroms, reference may be made to The Turkish
Crime of Our Century 1982 (Asia Minor Refugees Coordination Committee, The Turkish Crime of Our Century (Nicosia,
Cyprus?: Asia Minor Refugees Coordination Committee, 1982); Speros
Mechanism of Catastrophe : The Turkish Pogrom of September 6-7, 1955, and the
Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul (New York, N.Y., 2005).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> We have given substantial commentary on ‘seeing’ versus ‘seeing’ so far as photographs are concerned in our article entitled “Saga surrounding a forged photograph…”posted 22 February 2010 and which may be accessed at https://groong.org/orig/ak-20100222.html.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Uriel Heyd, "Language Reform in Turkey," Middle Eastern Affairs 4(1953): 402-409. For the nationalistic basis for language reform see İlker Aytürk “Turkish linguists against the West: the origin of linguistic nationalism in Atatûrk’s Turkey, Middle Eastern Studies 40, no. 6 pgs. 1-25 (2004).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzxI14MxHo0. No one can deny that these posts are offensive and tasteless, but the Internet offers bad with the good. Take it or leave it. Better yet, learn to separate the wheat from the chaff.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See Ussama Makdisi, "Ottoman Orientalism," The American Historical Review 107, no. 3 (2002): 768-96.for an interesting perspective on the history of deliberate promulgation of a modern image of the Ottoman state.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See Carter V. Findley, Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire : The Sublime Porte, 1789-1922, Princeton Studies on the Near East; (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1980).. It is amusing, yet telling, to understand that the Turks themselves knew that the Gulhane decree was essentially useless in promulgating reforms We read in Harold Temperley, "British Policy Towards Parliamentary Rule and Constitutionalism in Turkey (1830-1914)," Cambridge Historical Journal 4, no. no.2 (1933): 156-191. pg. 159 the following:
“As long as Mahmud [Sultan Mahmud II, 1808-1839, who in the name of modernization orchestrated the slaughter of 7 or 8 thousand Janisarries in 1826] lived he was the best proof of the argument that the Sultan was the best reformer. But he died in 1839 and was succeeded by a weak son of sixteen, Abdul Mejid, who was quite incapable of vigorous or independent action. But a policy of reform was proclaimed by Reschid Pasha in the famous Gulhané decree [Hatt-i Humayun of Gulhane]. The Edict was issued, and named from a chamber of roses. It smelt as sweet and withered as quickly as the flowers. The Turks who love a play on words, surnamed it the decree of the Khulhané, i.e. of the dust hole.” [emphasis ours].
Later writers have on occasion sought to make more of the attempts at modernization than reality permits, but for a much more deliberate evaluation of the principles of representation in the Empire (see for example Roderic H. Davison, "The Advent of the Principle of Representation in the Government of the Ottoman Empire," in Beginnings of Modernization in the Middle East, ed. William R. Polk and Richard L. Chambers (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Hanns Froembgen and Kenneth tr Kirkness, Kemal Ataturk; a Biography (New York: Hillman-Curl, 1937) is not a very satisfactory volume for any number of reasons. It certainly cannot be characterized as being pro-Armenian, and that is its significance for us. He states in one place in his text that the Armenians “as a reward for treacherous conduct in the War, the eastern Provinces were to form a state” pg. 88. Froembgen unabashedly states that Kemal’s attitude was dominated by “Turkey for the Turks” and that the minorities were liquidated or exchanged. Winston Churchill described the outcome of the policy of the Young Turks and their successors in this way: “Three or four hundred thousand men, women, and children escaped into Russian territory and others into Persia or Mesopotamia; but the clearance of the race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an act, on a scale so great, could well be” Winston Churchill, The World Crisis vol. 5, "The Aftermath" (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The next time around was initially the Armenian Genocide. Some complained that the early Turcic conquerors had not forced conversion to Islam or put people to the sword. Later, some complained that Sultan Abdul Hamid II had not done as effective a job as he might have, or more precisely, should have. See Hannibal Travis, Genocide in the Middle East : The Ottoman Empire, Iraq, and Sudan (Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2010) for the long history of violence.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Rifat N. Bali, The "Varlik Vergisi" Affair : A Study of Its Legacy : Selected Documents, (Istanbul: Isis Press, 2005).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Rifat N. Bali, The "Varlik Vergisi'' Affair: A Study of Its Legac : Selected Documents, (Istanbul: Isis Press, 2005) see especially pgs. 235-252 for “Articles and caricatures published during and after implementation of the Capital Tax.” See also Hatice Bayraktar, Salamon Und Rabeka : Judenstereotype in Karikaturen Der Türkischen Zeitschriften "Akbaba", "Karikatür" Und "Milli Inkilap" 1933-1945, Islamkundliche Untersuchungen,; Bd. 273; (K. Schwarz, 2006) and also Arnold Reisman, "Turkey's Invitations to Nazi-Persecuted Intellectuals Circa 1933" a Bibliographic Essay on History's Blind Spot," Covenant, the Global Jewish magazine 3, no. 1 (2009): pgs. 31-46 and his “Shoah, Turkey, the US and the UK'' (privately printed, 2009. This latter includes one especially offensive cartoon on pg. 33).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See Christian Leitz, Sympathy for the Devil : Neutral Europe and Nazi Germany in World War II (New York: New York University Press, 2001). A quotation on pg. 86 from this very interesting work reflecting what a British Foreign Office official “lamented”, ‘enables the neutral power to preserve its preference for one belligerent or the other. There is something Ghandi-esque and positively immoral in this policy, but it is, I fear, typically Turkish and its astuteness and cleverness cannot be denied.’ On pg. 103 the expression ‘a Janus-faced Turkish Government’ is used.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See for example Majid Khadduri, "The Alexandretta Dispute," The American Journal of International Law 39, no. 3 (1945): 406-425. Satloff 1986, among other things, explains that both France and Turkey did their best “to legitimize an illegitimate act.”[…] “It was “an unconscionable and an illegal deal struck between two governments who showed little concern for the integrity of international law or the wishes of the local residents.” pg. 147.
See also Lynn H. Curtright, "Great Britain, the Balkans, and Turkey in the Autumn of 1939," The International History Review 10, no. 3 (1988): 433-455, pg. 438 in particular.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See Leitz as cited above in Endnote 55 pg. 85 (quoting a British Foreign Office document).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Because it is in German it will unfortunately not be read by many Americans. See Corry Guttstadt, Die Türkei, Die Juden Und Der Holocaust (Berlin: Assoziation A, 2008). If ever there was a volume that merited translation to English it is this, since it covers a range of topics. In her first chapter “Juden im Osmanischen Reich: 500 Jahre Toleranz und Wohlstand? pgs. 13-47 [Jews in the Ottoman Empire: 500 years of prosperity?]—the word ‘Wohlstand’ implies not so much having lots of money but a feeling that there is nothing lacking in one’s life---it certainly implies that prejudice was lacking). She re-examines the myth of Ottoman multiculturalism, see esp. pgs. 23-24, and dismisses the myth; Chapter 4, entitled “Die Türkei in den Jahre 1933-1945” pgs. 157-269 [Turkey in the Years 1933-1945”], draws attention to the fact that relatively few Jews passed through Turkey on the way to Palestine. Some 4,850 Jews had certificates, which consisted of travel papers that had been issued before the war. The rest, some 8,000 [she gives the figure of 13,240 on pg. 256] were only able to pass through in 1944. Restrictions and bureaucratic hurdles on Jewish immigration or transit were in effect before the war, and thus were deliberate policy on the part of the Turks, without any direct Nazi influence (pg. 247). She makes an excellent case that Turkey actually blocked the way of Jews seeking to emigrate, and was not a helpful entity as an important country of transit. Stanford Shaw, author of Turkey and the Holocaust, Turkey’s role in rescuing Turkish and European Jewry from Nazi persecution, 1933-1945 (1993) would not be pleased. Of course, were he alive one could certainly tell him to put that in his pipe and smoke it?! Chapter 5 “Türkische Juden unter dem Nationalsocializmus 1933-39”, pgs. 269-282 [Turkish Jews under National Socialism 1933-39] deals with Turkish Jews in Nazi Germany; conclusion, there were few intercessions on behalf of Turkish citizens by the Turkish Embassy in Nazi Germany. Chapter 6 “Ausbürgerungen von Juden durch die Türkei”, pgs. 271-282 [The Denaturalization of Jews by Turkey] gives some insights on how Turkey collaborated with Germany in getting Turkish Jews disenfranchised/stripped of the citizenship. Chapter 7 is entitled “Die türkischen Juden und der Holocaust,” pgs. 283-485 [Turkish Jews and the Holocaust]. The bottom line is that the Turkish government and individual diplomats did relatively little to save Turkish Jews. Yes, some were saved but considerably more could have been done. Certainly Shaw overreached the facts of the case, as usual.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Selim Deringil, The Well-Protected Domains : Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876-1909 (London: New York, 1998).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Malcolm Canon MacColl, "The Tolerant Turk," The New Armenia 9, no. 9 (1917): 133-135.
For an update see Marc D. Baer’s “Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks. Writing Ottoman Jewish history, denying the Armenian genocide.” (2020), Indiana University Press.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See Mesrob K. Krikorian, Armenians in the Service of the Ottoman Empire, 1860-1908, Routledge Direct Editions; (London: Boston, 1977) and the four huge volumes by Pars Tuglaci, Tarih Boyunca Bati Ermenileri Tarihi (Istanbul: Pars Yayin veTic., 2004) which are replete with richly illustrated history of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, and even Republican Turkey. See also Tuglaci’s The Role of the Balian Family in Ottoman Architecture (Istanbul: Yeni Cigir Bookstore, 1990), as well as his Mehterhane'den Bandoya [Turkish Bands of Past and Present] (Istanbul: CEM Yayinevi, 1986). For a start in who to select for honorific contributions one might focus on the role of Ohanes Dadian, of the famous Dadian clan , who were much-trusted-by-Sultan Mahmoud II, an amira Armenian who played a leading role in advancing the industrial revolution in the Ottoman Empire. If ‘they’ don’t like that idea they can select him with equal justification for the critical role he played as Chief Powder Maker [Barut Cubaşi] could be recognized. Sultan Mahmud II is oft heralded by today’s Turkey for initiating the great and enlightened ‘Reforms’ and ‘Rescripts’ that came into being after his death. He sent the trusted Dadian to England to look into the possibilities of introducing to Turkey useful arts and manufactures, especially those involving iron ores. Turkey had large amounts of high quality iron ore and wanted to capitalize on this natural resource. See: http://www.archive.org/stream/lifeofsirwilliam00fairiala#page/172/mode/2up/search/dadian
may be made to the article by Edward C. Clark "The Ottoman Industrial
Revolution," International Journal
of Middle East Studies 5, no. 1 (1974): 65-76. on Dadian
and his many and far-reaching endeavors on behalf of the Empire. There are a few sites on the Internet that
give an inkling of the Turkish participation, but curiously
, there is no
mention as far as we could find of any Armenian presence. http://dergiler.ankara.edu.tr/dergiler/44/671/8542.pdf
In fact, Hohannes T. Pushman, an Armenian, was Secretary of the Ottoman Imperial Commission. He arranged and edited an interesting book on the exhibits in Chicago. (see Hohannes T. Pushman, The Exhibits of the Ottoman Empire at the World's Columbian Exposition, 1893, Chicago (Chicago: Imperial Ottoman Commission, 1893). For a more recent description of the oriental environment at various World Fair venues see Zeynep Çelik. Displaying of the Orient: Architecture of Islam at Nineteenth-Century World’s fairs. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1992)-for a brief overview see:
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> To us at least, there seems to be something more than a bit curious about the fact that some of Turkey’s Jews kept slaves in the Empire – even till the late Empire. Just how this was rationalized in terms of Jewish law [the halakah] and Ottoman Law is something we cannot comment on. Apparently they were primarily female and had once apparently been Christians from the Balkans and eastern European regions. Surely this is a matter on which we must call forth the mysterious East to divulge its secrets. See Yaron Ben-Naeh, "Blond, Tall, with Honey-Colored Eyes: Jewish Ownership of Slaves in the Ottoman Empire," Jewish History 20, no. 3/4 (2006): 315-332. The Donme or Jewish converts to Islam, sometimes erroneously regarded as crypto-Christians, are well-known of course Marc Baer (2007) "Globalization, Cosmopolitanism, and the Donme in Ottoman Salonica and Turkish Istanbul," Journal of World History 8, no. 2 pgs.141-170; Saadia E. Weltmann, "Germany, Turkey, and the Zionist Movement," The Review of Politics 23, no. 3 (1961): 246-269; Resat Kasaba, "Greek and Turkish Nationalism in Formation: Western Anatolia 1919-1922," European University Institute, https://mediterraneanstudies.stanford.edu/events/turkish-studies-initiative/resat-kasaba-migration-and-state-formation-aftermath-ottoman. Some were extremely fanatic – a bit like the proverbially overzealous person converted to Roman Catholicism who became ‘more Catholic than the Pope.’ Indeed, Halide Edib was from a Donme [convert] family, as was Talaat Pasha. Stanford J. Shaw, The Jews of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic (New York: New York University Press, 1991); Stanford J. Shaw, Turkey and the Holocaust: Turkey's Role in Rescuing Turkish and European Jewry from Nazi Persecution, 1933-1945 (New York: New York University Press, 1993).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Pragmatism very often enters into the affairs of men and women. Kemal Atatürk’s, initial positive response to requests for admittance of refugees from Nazi Germany, and İsmet İnönü’s virtual denial of some Jewish scientists and physicians after they gotten pretty much what they wanted and could absorb, was based purely on self-interest. One would hardly think that this would be the dearth of the same in Turkey (see e.g. Avigdor Levy, Jews, Turks, Ottomans : A Shared History, Fifteenth through the Twentieth Century, (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2002); Arnold Reisman, "Jewish Refugees from Nazism, Albert Einstein, and the Modernization of Higher Education in Turkey (1933–1945)," Aleph, no. 7 (2007): 253-81. 2007 and references cited therein.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Daniel J. Schroeter, "[Untitled]," The American Historical Review 98, no. 3 (1993): 916-17, Rifat Bali (2014) has written a candid treatment of the Jews and the Turkish state. “Model Citizens of the State: The Jews of Turkey during the Multi-party period.” Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Madison, NJ. It offers a strong antidote to the ‘party line.’
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> For a well-documented and direct analysis on Turkey’s actions and attitudes towards it Jews that demolish any notions that the Turks were beneficent and tolerance towards its Jewish minority see Andrew G. Bostom, "The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims," Prometheus Books, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGpV_fiMTic.
There is also an excellent article by Edward C. Clark, “The Turkish Varlik Vergisi Reconsidered”, Middle Eastern Studies 8, no. 2 (1972): 205-216 for the effects and nominal intentions of the law. Not surprisingly, Kemal Karpat, late professor at the University of Wisconsin challenged that article and dismissed it as having provided nothing new. The rejoinder by Dr. Clark is excellent and starts off with “In reading Dr. Karpat’s interesting if blunt comments I gather that some of my carefully-marshalled facts contradict his preferred theory, and that he proposes to resolve the dilemma by discounting the facts. In my opinion a re-examination of his theory would be a more rewarding enterprise” Kemal H. Karpat and Edward C. Clark, "Correspondence," Middle Eastern Studies 9, no. 2 (1973): 256-59. Those who could not pay the levies were forced into labor camps in Eastern Turkey. There apparently was not a single Turkish Muslim defaulter who was sent to the Aşkale labor camp [in Erzerum Ili or province]. In the foreword to Faik Ökte’s The Tragedy of the Turkish Capital Tax, Croom Helm, London and Wolfeboro, NH (1987) by David Brown there are some telling phrases. For example on pg. xii we read “For the Jewish and Christian Turkish citizens the tax became nothing less than a small-scale financial massacre” (emphasis ours). See also Speros Vryonis, The Mechanism of Catastrophe : The Turkish Pogrom of September 6-7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul (New York, N.Y., 2005 for a carefully considered and documented presentation of the pogroms which essentially drove the Greek community from Istanbul.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See as an example published under the heading ‘Comment’ “Turkey bears brunt of Israel” by Kamal Kanj [an oft-arrested by Israel leader in the Druse community, and former member of the Syrian Parliament who had spoken out unendingly of Israel’s takeover and behavior in Golan Heights. Peaceful resistance has been the Druse strategy, even as Israel pretends to be a great wooer of the Druse. The hypocrisy has been monumental.] in Gulf Daily News, the Voice of Bahrain 17 February 2012 vol. 34 no. 2334. (Gulf Daily News carries many articles which bridge each of these outlooks.)
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> There are a number of ethnic Turks like History Professor Halil Berktay at Sabanci University in Istanbul, who have been brave enough to speak out (even in light of death threats) and say that what happened to the Armenians was genocide. See for instance the write-up in The Times Higher Education Supplement (London) 17 February 2005 “Genocide finally gets scholarly inquest” by Dorian Jones. Jones quotes conference organizer Dr. Berktay- “This has been the most enduring taboo of Turkish nationalist mythology. Five years ago, hardly anyone was speaking out about this.” It will not surprise many to read that some 320 of Turkey’s academic community signed a condemnatory petition against the meeting. Even so, there may be signs of a miniscule but nonetheless real crack in the wall of silence. Other ethnic Turks residing outside Turkey need not be mentioned for they are not at the same kind of risk as those living and working in Turkey.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See for example re myths being extant in Armenian history Anthony D. Smith, Myths and Memories of the Nation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). In Armenian tradition one reads about Tiridates the Great who was the head of a large unified state of Armenia. When the scholars start digging into the available ancient sources, however, there are quite a few challenges and inconsistencies that face them. Robert H. Hewsen in his "In Search of Tiridates the Great," Journal of the Society of Armenian Studies 2 (1985-1986): 11-49 has done a sterling job of resolving many of the issues surrounding the historic figures with the name Trdat but much remains to be understood. The sad fact is that it may never be. Similarly, Armenians often pride themselves on being the first nation to adopt Christianity as a state religion. This too has been a challenge to resolve and convincingly presented with all the rigorous documentation needed to make that tradition come alive. Nina Garsoian, an expert and meticulous scholar in ancient Armenian and medieval Armenian studies, has written an important article “Reality and myth in Armenian history,” published in Studi Orientali dell’ Università di Roma ‘la Sapienza’ 13 =The East and Meaning of History. International Conference (23-27 November 1992) pgs.118-145 (Rome, 1994) [reprinted in Church and Culture in early medieval Armenia, Aldershot, Brookfield, MA.) 1999]. It is a beautiful article that should be read by all professing an interest in Armenia. But one thing stands out, in all this scholarship, and this statement inevitably will be seen as chauvinistic, one inevitably comes away with the feeling that sources are examined mercilessly without political agenda. Would that the same could be said of Turkish attempts to unravel their muddy past but cannot rise to the challenge.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Erich S. Gruen, "The Use and Abuse of the Exodus Story," Jewish History 12, no. 1 (1998): 93-122.
“Folklore and Nationalism in Turkey'' published in Turkish Folklore and Oral Literatur: Selected Essays of İlhan Başgöz (ed.by Kemal Silay, Indian University Press, 1998) pgs. 41-52 gives an interesting perspective on the recasting of Turkish history and the issuance of guidelines to achieve this in early Republican period. Shlomo Sand’s book “The Invention of the Jewish People'' (translated into English from the original Hebrew in 2009, Verso: London and New York) is a good example of how the Jews have rewritten their own history, beginning in Germany in the 19th century, by converting it from an aggregate of varied cultures and ethnicities albeit importantly sharing one religion, into a nationalist, even racist narrative of an invented continuity for thousands of years. Not unexpectedly, this volume has not been well-reviewed by mainstream Israelis, much less Israeli historians.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Joan Peters, “From Time Immemorial : The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine,” 1st ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1984); Norman G. Finkelstein, “Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict”, 2nd ed. (London: New York, 2003). Also, Manfred Gerstenfeld (2007) “The multiple distortions of Holocaust memory.” Jewish Political Studies Review 19, 3/4, pgs. 35-55; and Power, politics , and scholarship by Norman Finkelstein, Margee Little and Jake Hess (April 23, 2008) ZNet, the spirit of resistance lives.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> There is considerable difference between ethnicity and nationalism and if one is to be able to surmount ancient attitudes and beliefs, much more has to be done by way of education (see Thomas Hylland Eriksen, "Ethnicity Versus Nationalism," Journal of Peace Research 28, no. 3 (1991): 263-278; Christian P. Scherrer, "Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Violence : Conflict Management, Human Rights, and Multilateral Regimes." (Burlington, VT, 2003) and references here cited. Some Armenians seem to have romanticized conceptions of who the Armenians are, and inevitably emphasize their martyrdom in the name of their Christian faith. Few seem nowadays to have thought very deeply as to ‘national’ boundaries, or have contemplated in depth, much less resolved, the question of “who are we?” This brings to mind an Australian friend whose mother was Armenian, born in Egypt of parents who fled eastern Turkey just before the genocide. A daughter married an Englishman, moved to New Zealand, had children, who in turn married non-Armenians. Despite a very real interest in her Armenian roots she has encountered more than a little prejudice and quasi-distancing in Australia by those who perceive themselves as ‘real;’ Armenians. Our answer to this sort of nonsensical behavior is that anyone who feels that he or she has Armenian interests or connections and who chooses to call themselves Armenian, are Armenians. The level of corruption and ridiculously poor leadership in the present-day ‘real’ ‘Republic’ of Armenia shows that late 19th and early 20th century western (some say ‘racist’) views concerning Armenians – especially those in which Armenians are described as incapable of governing themselves as an independent nation after World War I, were not too far off the mark. Fighting words? Maybe. Mind the Armenian Church that stands divided in the Diaspora, wherein for many years duplicate efforts have been undertaken to sustain power and identity. One can no longer blame ‘the Turks’ for all of Armenia’s shortcomings. Complaints that the Ottomans ruled with heavy boots are absolutely justified, but today the descendants of the same oppressed people feel free to be oppressors of their own people. In a like manner, even though the State of Israel came into being because of the Nazi holocaust, it apparently feels no compunction in oppressing the Palestinian Arabs (see Clifford A. Wright, Facts and Fables : The Arab-Israeli Conflict (London New York: Keegan Paul, 1989); Samih K. H Farsoun and Christina Zacharia Hawatmeh, Palestine and the Palestinians (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1997) and references there cited.). Many say that Israel’s behavior towards Gaza is genocidal. We think that Raphael Lemkin would agree.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Howard Zinn (2003), A People's History of the United States : 1492-Present, [New ]. ed. (New York: Harper Collins). Douglas A. Blackmon, "Slavery by Another Name the Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II” Books on slavery are too numerous to list. We have a book by David Brion Davis, "Slavery and Human Progress" which came out in 1984. It is excellent, but Davis has also published much more recent material. If you go to Amazon, you will find listings. We have not kept up with this scholarship, but in the 1970s and 1980s, it was accepted that the best scholar on slavery was Eugene Genovese. He was at the time a Marxist though he never let his politics intervene in his scholarly work on slavery. His politics have since moved to the right. He wrote two classic volumes on slavery: "Roll Jordan Roll: the World the Slaves Made" and a sequel, "The World the Slave Owners Made", and more recently, "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II." If you want material on the dirty deeds of the U.S. throughout the world, almost any of Noam Chomsky’s books would fit the bill. We would particularly recommend his 1992 book, “In remembrance of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' landing, "Year 501: The Conquest Continues." The footnotes in all of Noam's books are a great index to all of this material. We would also recommend the work of Michael McClintock, an ex-CIA official. In the 1980s, he published two volumes on Central America with a general title of "The American Connection.” Volume one was entitled: "State Terror and Popular Resistance in El Salvador" and Volume Two was entitled "State Terror and Popular Resistance in Guatemala." In 1992, he published "Instruments of Statecraft: U.S. Guerilla Warfare, Counter-Insurgency, Counter-Terrorism, 1940-1960."
You might also check out the work of Gareth Porter and John Prados who have produced great amount of material from the Vietnam War through the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. On the Korean War and the politics of Korea, north and south, the best English language scholar is Bruce Cummings. John Dower has written brilliantly about Japan and the U.S. going back to WW II and covering 9/11 and Iraq.
Finally, there is the work of Alfred McCoy who in the 1960s wrote a book entitled, "The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia." In the 1990s, he brought together all of his scholarship on the worldwide use of drugs for political purposes in his book, "The Politics of Heroin." More recently, he has focused his attention on torture and terror by the U.S.: "Policing America's Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State" and "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror."
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Journalist and writer Christopher Hedges has recalled being in Leipzig, German Democratic Republic on 9 November 1989 just before the Berlin Wall fell. Apparently, most of the experts and pundits predicted that it would be a rather long time before there would be free traffic between East and West Berlin, perhaps longer than a year. In fact, it turned out to be only a matter of hours before the beginning of the end had started. See Chris Hedges addresses “Occupy Harvard Part 2” November 28 2011 at about 5:44 minutes into the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ugU6ELwbi_o#!
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Dickran Kouymjian, "A Critical Bibliography for the History of Armenia from 1375 to 1605," Armenian Review 41, no. 1-161 (1988): 339-45; Robert H. Hewsen and Christopher C. Salvatico, "Armenia : A Historical Atlas." (University of Chicago Press, 2001).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> It will probably never be known whether anyone really thought in the 1940s that the notion of land reclamation would ‘go anywhere’ or will ‘go anywhere’. In the April 1945 Armenian National Committee’s “A Memorandum Relating to the Armenian Question” ([New York] Armenian National Committee, 1945).the proposition is put forward that the United Nations undertake “A solution, alike just and humane, [which] would be the joining of that part of Armenia, proposed by the Powers and delineated by President Wilson as the rightful Armenian State which yet remains, unproductive and desolate, in the hands of the Turks, to the now contiguous Armenian Republic. Thus, a peaceful and industrious people, whose manifold and long suffered wrongs have so often led to international disquiet, would be enabled to return to their homeland and live and work in peace and tranquility” pg. 12. The following year another booklet by James Garabed Mandalian, “What Do the Armenians Want?” ([New York]: Armenian National Committee, 1946) was published. In that 15 page document it states “During World War I, the Turks came near annihilating this people. They murdered one million, and ejected from their homes another million. They confiscated their property and lands. Nearly one million of them fought a last ditch battle and founded their republic. That is the Soviet Armenia of today…” See Simon Payaslian, "After Recognition," Armenian Forum 2 (2001): 33-56; Nicolas Tavitian, "The Fifth Purpose of Recognition, a Response to Simon Payaslian," Armenian Forum 2, (2001): 57-62; Khatchik Der Ghougasian, "The Genocide on Armenia's Foreign Policy. A Response to Simon Payaslian," Armenian Forum 2, (2001): 63-73; Simon Payaslian, "Reply to My Interlocutors," Armenian Forum 2, (2001): 75-76.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The learned word for a new word is a ‘neologism.’
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