Armenian ‘Holocaust’ also worthy of remembrance

World War II in Europe had just ended and more and more was coming out in the news about Nazi atrocities and the Holocaust.
Most of my fellow students at Creston Junior High in The Bronx were also Jewish, so naturally we were all horrified at the whole gruesome set of events which were being referred to as “The Holocaust.”
The more time that passes, the more details we learn about the Shoah and continue to be tormented by what was allowed to occur.
One of my non-Jewish friends, Robert Thomasian, who rarely said anything of a serious nature, suddenly blurted out on the way home from school, “My people also had a Holocaust!”
He explained that Armenians call it Medz Yeghern, “the great crime,” the massacre of 1.5 million Armenian people and other atrocities carried out by Ottoman Turkey before and during World War I.
In later years, as a history major, I read in more detail the gruesome aspects of Turkey’s policies against Armenians, Assyrians and Ottoman Greeks, all of which Turkey and its ally, Azerbaijan, claim do not fit the definition of genocide.
You may be surprised to learn that Israel, the United States, and many of Turkey’s strategic military allies and trading partners also refuse to stamp Turkey with the “genocide” label.
Visiting in Turkey in recent years we were indeed told that Turkey did not commit genocide.
On the other hand, there are 29 other nations and many historians and scholars who do recognize the organized manner of Armenian killings as genocide.
Sadly, we need to be aware that there have been numerous genocides in our lifetime, although none compares to the methodical killing of Europe’s Jewish people.
Robert, wherever you may be, thank you for speaking up about your people’s suffering.
This year, Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, was May 4 and Armenian Holocaust Day was April 24.

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