Vatican Archives Shed Light on the Armenian Genocide

Vatican Archives Shed Light on the Armenian Genocide March 21, 2015
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ana Ulin https://www.flickr.com/photos/anaulin/
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ana Ulin https://www.flickr.com/photos/anaulin/

This year is the 100th anniversary of what is often called “The Forgotten Genocide,” which is the Armenian Genocide.

This slaughter of Christians by the Ottoman Turks occurred during World War I. Together, the formed the kick-off for the bloodbath that we remember as the 20th Century.

I’m going to write about the Armenian Genocide after Lent. The Vatican Archives are a source of information about this forgotten genocide of Christians.

From Catholic News Service:

.- Ahead of Pope Francis’ Mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, newly released historic documents confirm the Holy See’s broad commitment to helping the Armenian people at a time when few others would.

The Italian Jesuit-run magazine La Civiltà Cattolica stressed that newly published documents “prove how the Holy See, always informed about events, had not remained passive, but was strongly committed to face the issue” of the Armenian Genocide. “Benedict XV was the only ruler or religious leader to voice out a protest against the ‘massive crime’.”

The Armenian Genocide is considered to have begun April 24, 1915 with a massacre of Armenians in Istanbul. Over the next eight years, 1.5 million Armenians would be killed and millions more displaced.


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5 responses to “Vatican Archives Shed Light on the Armenian Genocide”

  1. There has always been near silence on what the Ottomans did to the Armenians. I am glad to see this and look forward to your piece.

  2. Actually, the Allied governments did a lot to publicize the horrors taking place in Turkey – after all, Turkey was their enemy in the war. Indeed, there was a curious kind of indirect cooperation between deadly enemies: the best sources for the Armenian massacres were the protests and confidential reports of German diplomats and other personnel on the spot, which somehow found their way to London. Check this chapter in a contemporary book: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/10881/10881-h/10881-h.htm#Crescent_and_Iron_Cross_Chapter_III It is grimly amusing to find, in this same book, that – according to the same confidential British sources, the German government had saved the Jewish settlers in Palestine from a similar fate, because they saw them as a possible future nucleus of Germanizing settlement in what they had planned to turn into their own protectorate. This is very credible; before 1919, Jew-bashing was not widespread in Germany, certainly less so than in Britain. It was the shock of defeat plus the publication of The Protocols that suddenly made it a popular passion.

    The Armenian massacre was on the whole well known. It was certainly not forgotten..In 1933, the great writer F. Werfel (the same who wrote a famous novel on the Marian visions at Lourdes, “Song of Bernadette”) wrote a novel about it, called “The forty days of Musa Dagh”, which was a worldwide hit with both public and critics. The reason, in the end,why people stopped talking about it – and about the equally horrible slaughter carried out a few years later against the native Anatolian Greeks – is that Turkey remained triumphantly in possession, and that there was not much that anyone could do about it.

    • I’ve just begin reading a book about the American response to the Armenian Genocide, and I was surprised by the extent of the American response, at least on a private level.

    • Thanks for the references, Fabio. I really don’t know much about WWI in general. Bad education, but it’s my responsibility, now.

    • Also important for the reason this horror was flushed down the memory hole was the discovery of oil in the Middle East and its growing importance after WW1

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