Dr. Steven Leonard Jacobs holds the Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies and is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa. An ordained rabbi, Professor Jacobs is a specialist on the Holocaust and Genocide, Biblical Studies, Jewish-Jewish Christian Relations, and is one of the foremost authorities on Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), who coined the term “genocide” and devoted his life to the enactment of an international law on the punishment and prevention of genocide.
Among his numerous publications, Prof. Jacobs is the author of the chapter entitled, “Lemkin on Three Genocides: Comparing His Writings on the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Genocides,” in the recently published book, Genocide in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks 1913-1923, edited by George N. Shirinian (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2017, published in association with The Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center and The Zoryan Institute).
George N. Shirinian: Your unique contribution to this new book is a comparative study of the writings of Raphael Lemkin on Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Genocides. Who was Raphael Lemkin, and why is what he wrote important?
Dr. Steven Leonard Jacobs: Lemkin (1900-1959) was a Polish Jewish lawyer who immigrated to the United States after the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. His initial concerns during his teenage years with the gross inhumanity of groups of people in power to groups having little or none led him to a concern with international criminal law. After arriving in the US, he taught law at both Duke University and Yale University before joining the US Board of Economic Advisors in Washington, DC, and would later serve as an advisor to Justice post-WWII International Military Tribunal at Nuremburg, Germany, dealing with Nazi war criminals. He would devote the remaining thirteen years of his life to seeking the ultimately-successful ratification of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by the United Nations in December 1948. His coinage of the word “genocide” appeared in his magnum opus Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944), specifically Chapter 9 (pgs. 79-94). It is somewhat ironic that this small chapter in this massive volume of almost 650 pages became his life’s work.
His voluminous writings, and even a television appearance, on the subject of genocide brought the concept of mega-group murder to the attention of the world community of scholars, intellectuals, and the wider public, and began a debate about its various permutations and configurations which continues to this day. All this affirms him as the “Father of Genocide Studies,” an outgrowth and expansion of the field of Holocaust Studies.
GS: Lemkin wrote at a time when the study of the Ottoman destruction of the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks was in its infancy. What sources did he use? Did he say anything that historians today find useful?
SLJ: In addition to his 1944 text, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, Lemkin also intended to publish a three-volume History of Genocide (Antiquity, Middle Ages, Modern Times), as well as a monograph, Introduction to the Study of Genocide. Neither was completed nor published. In 2012, it was my good fortune to edit, introduce, and bring to publication both sets of texts, even though incomplete, in one volume, titled Lemkin on Genocide (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books). As to his use of sources, it is important to keep in mind that Lemkin was a master of many languages—Polish, Russian, French, German, Hebrew, Yiddish (and others!)—and was thus able to draw upon numerous publications in those languages which addressed the thirteen genocides included. Most of the sixty-three genocides reflected in his Outline were never addressed. An in depth examination of more than 20,000 pages of his archives only barely hints at these other texts. Lemkin left a substantial, untitled, 120-page monograph on the Armenian Genocide, along with a six-page summary, and the monograph has been published (Raphael Lemkin’s Dossier on the Armenian Genocide, Glendale, CA: Center for Armenian Remembrance, 2008). I have written several articles about Lemkin and the Armenian Genocide. As regards the Assyrian Genocide, not one but two chapters—Chapter 2 (“Assyrian Invasions”) of Volume I, and Chapter 2 (“Assyrians in Iraq”) of Volume III—are included among his papers. The latter constitutes a forty-two-page chapter in Lemkin on Genocide. Most interesting of all, however, with regard to the Greek Genocide, five chapters are presented in the outline, more than any other case. These are titled, “Genocide in Ancient Greece”, “Genocide against the Greeks,” “Greeks under Franks, “Greeks in Exile from Turkish Occupation,” and “Genocide by the Greeks against the Turks.” Unfortunately, none of these is found among his papers. Instead, what we do have are a large text of so-called “Background” of fifty-seven pages and a later edited and slightly smaller version (fifty-five pages) entitled “Greeks in the Ottoman Empire,” the title of which is not listed in the outline. Three additional chapters in Volume III—“Bulgaria under the Turks,” “Genocide by the Janissaries,” and “Smyrna”—would have proven most helpful regarding his thinking about both the Ottoman Empire and the post-Ottoman Kemalist regime. But, alas, they, too, are not found among his papers, and, in all likelihood, were never written. One chapter that does exist is on the massacre of Greeks in Chios during the Greek War of Independence. It constitutes six pages in Lemkin on Genocide. I have also written separately on Lemkin and the Genocide of the Greeks.
To historians today, not only are his bibliographies of value in visiting the various genocides he examined, but his historical summaries, comments and critiques regarding victims, perpetrators, and bystanders enlarge the work beyond simply that of reporting the past. Moreover, Lemkin broadened his concerns to include the arenas of morality, ethics, and practical and political responsibilities, with which we continually wrestle today.
GS: Your new article deals with Lemkin’s writings on three cases of genocide. What benefits are there, generally, to taking a comparative approach?
SLJ: In principle, comparative work begins with an open mind: bringing together two or more seemingly disparate cases, events, or people and looking not only for similarities but differences as well, and then expanding the search to include other scenarios as well. What can, ideally, result is a broadened perspective and understanding regarding those items under examination, and, further, their possible applicability as additional case studies are brought into the conversation. It is important to keep in mind that comparison is not the only tool that scholars bring to the table. Vetting historical documents, knowledge of specific languages and how they were understood at the time of their use, interviewing witnesses to contemporary events (and vetting the accuracy of their memories) are also used to ascertain the most accurate and complete pictures of those things under investigation. All tools used by various disciplines in the “human sciences” (history, literature, psychology, sociology, religious & Judaic studies, etc.) have, over the generations, proven their value in examining the past, and even going so far as to proving their applicability to both the present and the future.
GS: In this specific case of Raphael Lemkin, what has a comparative approach revealed?
SLJ: Strictly speaking, Lemkin was not a comparativist. He was of that “first” generation of historians, writers, and thinkers who saw as his task to “get the word out,” that is to say, present the evidence of those cases of genocide that were of importance to him—together with his own commentaries—and then let others expand the cases and draw further conclusions. His “mission,” if you will, was to get the world—at least the Western world—to view group murder in a whole new way, based on the reality that genocide has, historically, always been part of the human journey. His objective was to make others realize that it was not only the present moment (World War II and the Nazi murder of the Jews and its initial aftermath) that were genocidal, but, throughout human history, human power groups have engaged in genocide against non-power groups for a whole host of reasons (political, social, religious, economic, etc.).In doing so, Lemkin opened the door to this “darker side” of human history, and for that he is to be applauded. Additionally, it must also be noted that Lemkin was not a classically-trained historian, but, rather, a lawyer who saw his stage as that of international law. Scholar that he was, he filtered his work through the lens of its practical applicability, understanding law and its prosecutorial opportunities as the appropriate arena where past crimes could be evaluated, current perpetrators could be punished, and, ideally, future cases of genocide could be prevented.
GS: Lemkin is famous for coining the word “genocide” and providing the first comprehensive definition of it. Did he doubt that the term applies equally to the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks?
SLJ: Most assuredly he understood these three cases as genocide. Today, there are three sources of denial that they are genocide. One originates with the inheritor of the perpetrator Ottoman state, which seeks to evade any responsibility for past crimes, and those who support it for political or economic reasons. The second originates from what sociologists call “the competition of victims.” This refers to the tendency of some victim groups to want to make their genocide seem more important by denying status to others. The third originates with some genocide scholars, who are so caught up in narrowly defining what genocide is, that they lose sight of the impact on the survivors and their descendants. It is part of the work of scholars to define and categorize the events they/we study, and to expand and/or contract these same definitions, further refining similarities and differences, as they/we apply them to specific case studies. In the process, however, we must never lose sight of our humanity.
GS: Is there any reason for anyone today to doubt that the term applies equally to the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks?
SLJ: Not at all. My contribution to Genocide in the Ottoman Empire was to examine in depth, perhaps for the first time, Lemkin’s writings on these three genocides—Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek—what he wrote, what he saw as their similarities and differences, and fault not only the Turks but the Germans and British, as well, as uneven partners in these crimes. Certainly, Lemkin saw parallels between genocide in the Ottoman Empire and that in Nazi Germany.
More information is available from the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center, Tel: 312-964-5120, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
By George N. Shirinian
George N. Shirinian is Executive Director of the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, a division of the Zoryan Institute. His publications include Studies in Comparative Genocide and The Asia Minor Catastrophe and the Ottoman Greek Genocide: Essays on Asia Minor, Pontos, and Eastern Thrace, 1913–1923.
Source: The National Herald
On December 19, 2005, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced the appointment of Ambassador Frank G. Wisner as the Special Representative of the US Secretary of State to the Kosovo Status Talks.
Who is Frank G. Wisner, Jr.?
If his name sounds familiar that is because he is the son of Frank Gardiner Wisner, Sr., the CIA agent most responsible for the recruitment of Nazis by the US government after World War II. A former member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the World War II precursor to the CIA, Frank G. Wisner, Sr., was one of the most infamous ...
The basic cornerstones of the Croat ultraright nationalistic ideology
From the point of the ideology of the extreme Croat nationalism, the cardinal goal of ultraright nationalistic parties, groups, ideologists and politicians was to create for the first time after 1102 an independent, as much as a Greater and finally “Serben-frei” Croatia. In the 1990s it was an exactly ultraright nationalistic ideology that provided the main background for creation of a new normative order and values in the HDZ’s Croatia. This ideology had five cardinal cornerstones which gave the framework for building a new institutional order, political values and means to ...
Donald Franciszek Tusk, (born 22 April 1957) is a Polish politician and historian. He has been President of the European Council since 1 December 2014. Previously he was Prime Minister of Poland (2007–2014) and a co-founder and chairman of the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) party.
Tusk began his public career as an activist in his home town of Gdańsk, supporting Solidarity and organizing his fellow university students. With the exception of one four-year stretch, Tusk has served in the Third Republic Sejm (parliament) continuously since its first elections in 1991. He was Vice Marshal (deputy speaker) of the Senate from 1997 ...
Armenians and others around the world this month are marking the centennial of the genocide that left hundreds of thousands of Armenians dead early in the last century. The date April 24 is typically picked as the centennial day since it was on that day in 1915 that Turkish authorities rounded up Armenian intellectuals and leaders in Constantinople and murdered them.
It was the first step in a much broader slaughter. The Armenian centennial is getting the attention it deserves from sources as diverse as Pope Francis and Kim Kardashian. The Pope courageously used the word “genocide” in a mass this ...
A billboard at a construction site, with a photo of an Ottoman-style mosque with four minarets and the flag of Turkey, was erected recently in the center of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. With less than 2 million people, Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, is the home of over 800 mosques. Now the Islamic Community of Kosovo is building the “Central Mosque” at an estimated cost of $35- $40 million. Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is financing the project.
The Diyanet also financed the building of a similar mosque on a 10,000-square-meter parcel of land on ...
Back in February, we warned about the prospect of Israel selling F-16s to Croatia, a state in which WWII revisionism and Holocaust denial are running rampant, and memories of the Nazi puppet Independent State of Croatia are routinely glorified. In the meantime, that has become a done deal. But there is more. Not only will Israel sell half a billion dollars worth of fighter jets to Croatia, but on August 5, three Israeli F-16s, crewed by Israeli pilots, took part in a parade to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the “Operation Storm,” in which more than 2,300 Serbs were killed, including more than 1,200 civilians, among which more ...
Accoring to the “Zeri” news agency from the city of Priština, women who join the Islamic state are mostly 23 years of age, and before joining them they were “modern girls“.
One of them is Laura Huseni who was, according to the editor-in-chief of the “Zeri” magazine, a typical teenage girl from Kosovo who used to go out and have fun with her mates.
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A Message in the Bottle, One Hundred Years Later
Smyrna, Ottoman Empire, September 1922
Dear World –
Our time has come to disperse like wildflower seeds in the wind. We are the last storytellers and children of the Ancients, their legacy and their accomplishments.
The men and women have been separated. Many men were sent to the interior. Women clutching their babies, even in death, have walked miles. The elders have fallen by the roadside. The children, oh, the sweet children, their eyes are glazed with fear, their words lost, and, yet, they see a butterfly and for one moment, they smile. If only ...
There are horrific realities of history that must not be questioned, distorted or denied by anyone with even the slightest integrity or sense of decency.
The slaughter of millions of Jews in the death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Majdanek, Belzec, Chelmno and Sobibor during the Holocaust of World War II falls squarely in this category.
So does the fundamental fact that this ultimate crime against humanity was perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its multinational fascist accomplices.
Any attempt to deny or to attempt to trivialise or minimise the enormity of this genocide, or to rehabilitate its perpetrators in any way whatsoever, is, simply ...
Former slogan that has been so thunderously shouted within pre-election debates, and that was the last glimmer of declarative patriotism, dear both to politicians and football fans, by the development of the situation these days gets quite a different meaning.
Kosovo is Serbia sometimes means that the Serbs, if not otherwise, at least in their souls will not give up the holy Serbian land.
However, it might sound completely different today. Columns of Albanians from Kosovo carrying everything they own, leave Kosovo, pushing to catch last buses for a better life, moving towards Subotica, in order to try to reach some ...
Islamic forces entered Europe from Asia and North Africa in order to enslave, convert, persecute and either completely destroy Christianity or to enforce dhimmitude. Before this process began you had the complete annihilation of Christianity in many parts of North Africa and in various parts of the Middle East it was one long sojourn into dhimmitude, pogroms and massacres.
Christianity survived in some areas, for example in Egypt, however, numbers succumbed after Arab colonial and Islamic discrimination took route. Therefore, a complete Islamic inquisition took root in Arabia (modern day Saudi Arabia) and just like the Sunni Islamic inquisition against Buddhism ...
As will be shown here, the U.S. federal government, under President Donald Trump, is repeating the very same deception of the public, in regard to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, that it had perpetrated back in 2002, against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, under U.S. President George W. Bush. (By contrast, and for secret reasons, the U.S. federal government does everything possible to downplay the barbarisms, such as are occurring in Yemen, that are perpetrated by the fundamentalist Sunni Kings of Saudi Arabia, and Emirs of Qatar, even while exaggerating the barbarisms by the fundamentalist Shiite clerics who control Iran — a key ally ...
Tehmine Martoyan is lecturer at the University of Economy and Law (Yerevan, Armenia). She is also the president of Lazaryan Institute scientific and educational NGO.
Martoyan is the author of books and articles on the Armenians in Safavid Iran, and she has participated in international conferences and meetings in Armenia and abroad. She also translated into Armenian the book by Theofanis Malkidis titled The Greek Genocide: Thrace, Asia Minor, Pontus.
She has made two films dedicated to the Greek and Armenian populations in Smyrna. Her forthcoming book is titled Psychological and Political Causes of Annihilation of the Armenians and the Greeks in ...
The sad reality about the United States of America is that in a matter of a few hundreds years it managed to rewrite its own history into a mythological fantasy.
The concepts of liberty, freedom and free enterprise in the “land of the free, home of the brave” are a mere spin. The US was founded and became prosperous based on two original sins: firstly, on the mass murder of Native Americans and theft of their land by European colonialists; secondly, on slavery.
This grim reality is far removed from the fairy tale version of a nation that views itself in its ...
Once NATO’s 1999 war on Yugoslavia came to an end, units of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) poured across the border. The KLA wasted little time in implementing its dream of an independent Kosovo purged of all other nationalities. Among those bearing the brunt of ethnic hatred were the Roma, commonly known in the West as Gypsies. Under the protective umbrella of NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR), the KLA was free to launch a pogrom in which they beat, tortured, murdered and drove out every non-Albanian and every non-secessionist Albanian they could lay their hands on.
Not long after the war, I ...
Even those in Donetsk who originally supported Kiev have come to realize that Ukraine is waging a war against its own people.
The Ukrainian army’s shelling has turned many formerly pro-Ukrainian locals against Kiev
Although this article tries to make the people of Donetsk appear gullible and indoctrinated, it does make one incredible admission: Kiev is waging a vicious war against its own people—something that East Ukrainians will never forget, and probably never forgive. This article originally appeared in Financial Times
As world leaders convened in Minsk this week to decide the fate of east Ukraine, Tatiana Prussova, a teacher at Khartsysk school ...
George Mauropoulos, "The Forgotten Genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor", AHIF Policy Journal, American Hellenic Institute Foundation, Inc., Vol. 8, Spring 2017, pp. 3
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While much is said in some American media outlets about “fake news” in the US, the smallness of the matters being discussed might come into focus when compared with Ukraine, which is of late producing rather much fake news about the Holocaust and elementary points in World War II history.
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Atwood notes it is an American “myth” that the “North Korean Army suddenly attacked without warning, overwhelming surprised ROK defenders.” In fact, the North/South border “had been progressively militarized and there had been numerous cross border incursions by both sides going back to 1949.”
Part of what ...
Despite having the biggest military budget in the world, five times larger than the next six countries, the largest number of military bases – over 180 – in the world and the most expensive military industrial complex, the US has failed to win a single war in the 21st century.
In this paper we will enumerate the wars and proceed to analyze why, despite the powerful material basis for wars, it has led to failures.
The Lost Wars
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The 95th Anniversary of the Destruction of Greeks and Armenians in Smyrna
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