NEW TITLES FOR YOUR SHELF
NAZI-BURNED BOOK ?
By Andy Turpin
Some books make you think. Some get you in trouble with radical ideas. In Nazi Germany, owning a copy of Heinrich Vierbucher?s ?
Published in 1930 in both German and French, this work is a valuable reprint edition not seen in English since 1985. A detailed and meticulously annotated monograph, it tells the story of the Armenian Genocide as witnessed first-hand by Heinrich Vierbucher, an army translator to General Otto Limon Von Sanders. Von Sanders was the military advisor and special commander to Turkish soldiers during WWI. Armenian Genocide scholars regard him as the ?litmus test? general, who proved it was possible for moral military men?German and Turkish?to have resisted collaboration and efforts to kill Armenians. Von Sanders later became the prime witness in the 1921 acquittal of Soghomon Tehlirian, who was tried in
In the book, Vierbucher indicts both the German military establishment and the German press for their complicity in the Genocide. Crucially, he quashes two strains of thought commonly cited by Armenian Genocide deniers. First, that the ?fog of war,? or the very nature of war, confounded the German?s view of what was occurring to the Armenians. (This is made with great reverence to the moral fiber of his superior, Von Sanders.) Second, that the stratagem of resolving the ?Armenian Question? through a genocide was first established by the Young Turks when they took power in 1908. Vierbucher states that such plans had been in motion since 1893, with the Armenian and Jewish massacres by Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamitt II and his German military advisors.
Following the WWI, Vierbucher became a legend among the German and European peace movements of the ?lost generation.? Since he served in the Imperial German army and was such a vocal Armenian Genocide witness, Vierbucher was targeted early for his writings and activism when the Nazis took power. After the publication of ?
Described briefly in the text and more in-depth in the notes is the role of fellow German Armen Theophil Wegner, a compatriot to Vierbucher in his quest to further knowledge of the Armenian Genocide and
Like Vierbucher, Wegner was punished by the Nazis for his views on the Armenian Genocide and his work in Jewish activism during the Holocaust. During WWII, he was interned in seven different concentration camps. Following the war, he was decorated by the State of Israel in 1967 and by the
An invaluable resource to any student or researcher of the Armenian Genocide, ?Armenia 1915? should be circulated en masse to those interested in the courage of not only those who fought for Armenia as a fedayi, but also those pacifists who took action in their own right.
Source: Hairenik weekly, Volume 72, No. 46, November 18, 2006