At the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin was presented the book “Das Deutsche Reich und der Völkermord and den Armeniern” (German Reich and the Armenian Genocide), which contains numerous articles on the role of Germany during the genocide of the Armenians. The subject became relevant after the vote of recognition of the genocide of the Armenians by the German Parliament on 2 June 2016 and especially the assertion in the Bundestag text of Germany’s “share of responsibility” during the genocide. Even if the vote created Turkey’s anger, this recognition of Germany’s responsibility as an ally of Turkey during the genocide is of paramount importance and opens up new avenues of study on genocide.
What did Germany know about the crimes of 1915? It turns out from the German and foreign press reports of the time of the facts that Berlin was not ignorant of the mass massacres and the deportation of the Armenians. The historian Kristin Pchikkoltz, who has researched the German archives, asserts that the German government understood the necessity of the deportation of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire and knew that these deportations carried out by the Young Turks meant annihilation Of the Armenian people. “Germany had a large network of consulates in the Ottoman Empire, whose agents regularly informed Berlin of the situation of the Armenians and not only during the First World War, but even before that. The German government knew how difficult the Armenians were and how explosive the situation was, “ says the German historian.
At the presentation of the book, Rolf Hosfeld, director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin, stated that on 7 July 1915 the German Ambassador had returned from Constantinople to Berlin. The diplomat then wrote that the will of the Turkish leaders was the elimination of the Armenian nation in the Ottoman Empire. He also asserted that German diplomats at the time had very fairly presented what was later termed genocide. He recalled that the German parliamentarians had not only described the term “genocide” as having occurred in the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1916 but had also accepted the responsibility of Germany, which was the ally of Turkey . The German deputies also considered that Berlin had done nothing to save the Armenians from massacres and deportation.