Many Americans have never heard that Turks killed 1.5 million Armenians in and around 1915. April 25, 1915 is generally considered the day the nightmare began but there were smaller amounts murdered a few years before that.
I publish this piece from an interesting website because it’s about a BOOK and I love books…and it includes, in not too many words, the rather complicated history of the genocide period. For sheer facts, I’d also direct you to HERE.** Please make sure you read the last sentence of the article below; it says a lot. The Turks still deny what they did. This is a surprisingly weighty sticking point to their not getting into the EU, so my hat’s off to a group I don’t usually admire (the EU) for finding the denial of the Turks egregious enough to keep them out of the EU…..Please read this article:
MGM was to produce a film version of The Forty Days of Musa Dagh in the 1930s.
Franz Werfel did not lead a quiet, stable life. Then again, the times in which he lived did not lend themselves to such luxuries. Born in 1890 to a German-speaking, Jewish family in Czech-speaking, predominantly Christian Prague, Werfel lived through a Europe that was fundamentally altered in the decades that followed. His adult life was tied to Vienna, although he also lived elsewhere on the Continent, before ending up in the United States.
His literary works had a following among the public and artistic circles, especially in Austria and Germany after World War I. This was the period of the rise of the Nazi Party and growing, institutionalised anti-Semitism. Werfel moved as far away as possible from his heritage – even carrying out an affair and later marrying a socialite known for her disdain for Judaism. Regardless, the written work for which he is most celebrated today bridges the experience of the Armenian and Jewish peoples, and not by coincidence.
(Image: Crucified Christian girls)
The Mount of Moses – or Musa Dagh – is located in the far south-eastern corner of the Mediterranean coast of Turkey today. It used to be populated with a number of Armenian villages, the inhabitants of which got organised in 1915, using their higher ground to resist the approaching Ottoman forces. For 53 days, the 4,000-5,000 villagers of Musa Dagh fought back, until – heeding the SOS sign painted onto a large sheet – French warships passing by evacuated them. (One Musa Dagh village, Vakıf, remains in Turkey, populated with local Armenians, while another set of Armenian villages around the town of Kessab, just across the border in Syria, was attacked by forces entering from Turkey in March, 2014, over the course of the Syrian civil war; these outposts are what remains of the native population of the medieval Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.)
It was on a honeymoon of sorts in the Middle East around 1930 that Franz Werfel came face-to-face with the survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Their story had already been shunted aside, but a little enquiry and some research inspired Werfel to take up that single episode from 1915 and turn it into one of the most influential novels of its day. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh caused a sensation, given the background of its author and the language and time-period in which it was published – German, 1933, the year Hitler came to power. It did not take long for the circumstances of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire to be likened to that of the Jews in central and eastern Europe, especially in Germany, where the book was banned, and where copies of it were burned. Another country that unsurprisingly played an active role in suppressing Franz Werfel’s work was Turkey, where, likewise, the book was prohibited and burned – even by the remaining Armenians of Istanbul, who were quick to toe the official line as did the Jewish community in Turkey (Z: I would question this remark; Armenians do not deny the genocide other than under duress). However, Franz Werfel’s book was being circulated in both the ghettos of Nazi-occupied Europe, as well as Jewish fighters in Palestine. New Musa Daghs were being called for in the struggle against oppression and genocide, over two decades after the original Armenian resistance.
Turkish machinations made their way across the Atlantic as well, where Forty Days was causing such a stir that MGM had made up its mind to turn it into an epic movie, starring Clark Gable. Diplomatic wranglings from Ankara and interference by the State Department in DC all the way to Hollywood finally had their effect: the film was put on hold, its rights passing down until a low-budget production was put together in the early ’80s.
Although Franz Werfel died in 1945, his influence lives on, certainly beyond Armenian circles. The likes of Sylvester Stallone and Mel Gibson have expressed interest in recent years of reviving a Forty Days of Musa Dagh movie project, but both have caved under Turkish pressure . (END OF ARTICLE)
Z: Since some of my Armenian relatives were lost in the genocide (young mothers losing new husbands and infants, great uncles dying by beheading, my grandmother walking 3 months in the desert at the age of 9 years old, to survive, (thankfully…she was wonderful)…and my stories are nothing compared to some of the brutality of what happened there), I wanted to publish this today in honor of the 100th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. I don’t often call it a genocide because, clearly, we still exist, but it was what I call “the low tech holocaust” because we weren’t thrown into high tech ovens but were killed with swords, guns, babies cut out of pregnant mothers, walking to exhausted deaths, etc etc……… And most people have never heard of this. 1.5 people killed and most people aren’t taught about it here in America. It should be heard.
God bless all the Armenians who lost their lives simply for being intelligent and for being Christians in a Muslim world which they’d helped bring into the 20th century through art and science.
This post is dedicated to their memories.
P.S. I published particularly gruesome pictures (there are thousands more) because Turks still completely deny this happened, or say the Armenians had it coming to them. I think the pictures say a lot, and the fact that so many women and babies were brutally killed.
**The Armenian Genocide ] also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, traditionally by Armenians, as Medz Yeghern (Armenian: Մեծ Եղեռն, “Great Crime”), was the Ottoman government‘s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects from their historic homeland within the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre.
The Turks today say that European insistence on their admitting the genocide shows that Europe is becoming more and more ‘racist’. Seriously. And HERE is an article by a Turk, published by Al Jazeera, and he has another viewpoint I saw; I felt it dishonest not to present his side, too. My feeling is that I don’t care how provoked the Armenians might have made the Turks, one doesn’t massacre innocent women and children in the hundreds of thousands.
God bless the dead……particularly those who died in such agony….which is almost all of them. Please say a prayer.