Wolfgang Gust, German scholar, and his wife Ingrid Gust, human rights lawyer, through their tireless efforts, painstakingly collected and published documents from the German Foreign Office Archive. These official documents revealed the extent of the Ottoman policy and planning with regards to the Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire. The Gusts collected, restored, translated and published these historical archives in collaboration with Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian, Director of Genocide Research of the Zoryan Institute. The Institute’s staff also assisted with translation, editing and publishing of the book in German (2005), Turkish (2012) and English (2014). The German edition played a major role in the German Parliament’s announcement on the Armenian Genocide on June 2, 2016.

Wolfgang Gust

These documents are of paramount importance in understanding the Armenian Genocide, since only Germany had the right to report official, uncensored, daily events during the ongoing deportations and massacres. German diplomats across the Ottoman Empire employees of the Baghdad Railway were the most important non-Armenian eye-witnesses of the genocide, as they were allowed to enter the areas where the atrocities occurred. When one reads the original documents, the word used by German officials again and again, is Ausrottung, meaning “eradication” or “extermination.”

Here is a link to a brief excerpt from a 2016 interview with Wolfgang Gust that was produced by Zoryan board member and filmmaker Theodore Bogosian, presented here as part of our ZI e-Chronicles series.