From Nazi Germany to Ottoman Turkey, Genocides Begin in the Wilderness, Far From Prying Eyes

Many believe the Jewish Holocaust was planned by the Nazis at a Berlin lakeside villa at Wannsee on 20 January 1942. Most historians still think the Armenian Holocaust was hatched up by the Ottoman Turks in Istanbul in 1915. Of course, we’ve long known that the mass slaughter of Europe’s Jews began the moment the Germans crossed the Polish border on 1 September 1939 – and carried on across the Soviet Union in 1941, seven months before Wannsee.

By Robert Fisk

But now, almost incredibly, we discover that the liquidation of Christian Armenian men, women and children was first instigated on 1 December 1914 in the far away city of Erzurum – not on 24 April 1915, when Armenians commemorate the first killings of the genocide perpetrated against them. And that back in that fatal December month, the Turkish “Special Organisation” – the Ottoman equivalent of the later German SS and Einsatzgruppen – organised the immediate liquidation of Armenians “liable to carry out attacks against Muslims”.

We already know the terrifying statistics of the two genocides. The Armenian Medz Yeghern (Great Crime) destroyed a million and a half souls. The Jewish Shoah (Holocaust), which began less than a quarter of a century later, destroyed at least six million souls.

The Turks – and, alas, the Kurds – committed these crimes against humanity of the First World War. The Germans – and, alas, many Slavic peoples of the Nazi-occupied states – committed these crimes against humanity of the Second World War.

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