Adolf Hitler to his Army commanders, August 22, 1939:"Thus for the time being I have sent to the East only my 'Death's Head Units' with the orders tokill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish race or language. Only in such away will we win the vital space that we need. Who still talks nowadays about the Armenians?
The term “genocide” is a combination of the Greek work “genos” meaning race,family or tribe and the Latin “cide”, which means killing. It was internat
ional lawspecialist Raphael Lemkin who coined the word and used it in print for the first
time in his most notable work “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation
- Analysis of Government -
Proposals for Redress (1944)”. Lemkin drafted a
resolution for a genocide convention treaty which received popular support and
was adopted by the United Nations in 1948, dubbed “
Convention on thePrevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
.” Born in Belarus, Lemkin
lived in Warsaw, Poland before the second world war. He escaped and soughtasylum in the United States during the Nazi occupation but lost 49 relatives in theholocaust.While an internationally recognized crime, the UN had very little teeth inenforcing the law of universal conscience. Seeming to drag its feet in thisenforcement, the nations of the UN take ages to rule a certain large-scale state-sponsored killing as genocide. In the meantime the bodies pile up. Just whattranspires behind the walls of an ethnic group or a government engaging ingenocide.
The Young Turks and the Armenians (1915-1918, 1,500,000 dead)
For over three centuries there existed an Armenian community in Asia Minor. Thiscommunity was invaded by the Ottoman Empire in the 16
century, which ruledover all of Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. When the empirefell, it was left with just the Christian Armenians and the Arabs of the Middle East.At the turn of the 20
century the ruling Young Turks officially recognized theconstitutional government of Armenia and guaranteed their basic rights.However, a new leadership among the Young Turks endeavored to expand theirborders to create a new empire called Turan and the Armenian homeland is in theway of this plan. When the first world war broke out in 1914, the Turks put intoaction a plan to annex the Armenian land through the annihilation of the entirepopulation.A coded telegram was sent to all provincial governors throughout Turkey withinstructions to exterminate the Armenians. The men were tied together withropes by death squads, brought to the outskirts of the towns and shot orbayoneted. The locals would join in on the massacre with knives and otherimplements. The women, elderly and children were herded to the Syrian desertunder the pretext of relocation and left there to die. These death marches wentfor hundreds of miles and lasted for months with over a million Armenians.