The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) has joined in worldwide commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide with an online exhibition and a special statement honoring its victims.
“On the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum remembers the suffering of the Armenian people,” said the statement issued on the eve of the genocide centennial marked on April 24. “The Ottoman government, controlled by the Committee of Union and Progress systematically eliminated the Armenian ethnic presence in the Anatolia region of its empire.”
“Between the spring of 1915 and the end of autumn 1916, Ottoman authorities arrested, deported, conducted mass killings, and created conditions intended to cause widespread death among Armenian Christians,” added the Washington-based government institution engaged in the documentation and study of the Jewish Holocaust.
The USHMM posted on a “Special Focus” section of its website dozens of World War One-era photographs of the infamous “death marches” of Armenian civilians driven out of their homes, harrowing accounts by genocide survivors and background information about the slaughter. It also provides links to other facts related to the genocide.
In its separate statement, the museum also made a reference to Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish lawyer who coined the term “genocide.” “The origins of the term ‘genocide’ rest, in part, in the events of 1915-16 in Anatolia, then part of the Ottoman Turkish empire,” it explained.
“The Museum calls on all governments and private institutions to make freely available complete archives relevant to these events,” concluded the statement.
The Armenian Assembly of America, an advocacy group campaigning for U.S. recognition of the genocide, thanked the USHMM for the “historic” statement. “The continued attention by USHMM to the Armenian Genocide since its founding through lectures, exhibits, and publications is tremendously appreciated,” its co-chairs, Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian, said in a weekend press release.