The first-ever attempt to address the mass killings of Armenians in Germany was made back in 1916 during the Genocide.
Reichstag member, the founder-to-be of the Communist Party of Germany Karl Liebknecht sent a written appeal to Bethmann Hollweg, the Reich Chancellor on December 20, 1915, to learn whether the German government was aware of the massacres of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. The response of the 26th session of the 13th convocation of Reichstag and the fierce reaction of the Reich’s members prove that humanist Liebknecht had risen an question, uncomfortable for the German government.
Armeniangenocide100.org presents Liebknecht’s written appeal and the transcript of the short discussion on the issue:
An excerpt from the transcript of 26th session of the 13th convocation of Reichstag:
President: We are passing to the agenda. The written appeals form the first part of the agenda. N 12 is the first of them. Reichstag member Dr. Liebknecht is invited to present the appeal.
Dr. Liebknecht: Is the Imperial Chancellor aware of the fact that during the ongoing war hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the allied Turkish Empire have been exiled and massacred? What measures has the Reich Chancellor taken for the need for repentance to awaken in allied Turkey, for the conditions of the Armenians left in Turkey to become worthy of human dignity, to prevent the recurrence of such disasters.
President: The Imperial Envoy, Director of the Political Department of the German Foreign Office, Dr. von Stumm is invited to answer the inquiry.
Dr. von Strumm: The Imperial Chancellor is aware that some time ago the Sublime Porte, compelled by the rebellious machinations of our enemies, evacuated the Armenian population in certain parts of the Turkish Empire and allocated new residential areas to them. Due to certain repercussions of these measures, an exchange of ideas is taking place between the German and the Turkish governments. Further details cannot be disclosed.
Dr. Liebknecht: I am asking you to give me the right to make a supplement in the request. (Excitement is observed in the courtroom)
Persident: Dr. Liebknecht is invited to make a supplement in the request.
Dr. Liebknecht: Is the Imperial Chancellor aware that professor Lepsius virtually spoke of an extermination of the Turkish Armenians…?
(The president’s ring. The speaker tries to continue talking. Call – Silence! Silence!)
President: Mr. deputy, this is a new appeal, which I cannot accept.
Dr. Liebknecht: Mr. President, please, keep to the rules of procedure.
If Mr. President listened to the appeal up to the end (excitement is observed in the courtroom), he would be able to decide whether it is a new request or not. By the way, it is noteworthy that the president was not self-willed in concluding a new appeal was being submitted, but was influenced by the audience’s reaction.
President: Dr. Liebknecht, I forbid such criticism against my regulations. (Stormy applause). We pass on to the next written appeal on the agenda…