The June 2016 recognition of the Armenian Massacres as a “Genocide”, by the German Bundestag, may not have been accomplished without Wolfgang Gust’s book “ The Armenian Genocide: Evidence from the German Foreign Office Archives, 1915-1916″ published by The Zoryan Institute”.
2005 was the year that the German Bundestag first recognized and commemorated the Armenians that were subject to the “violence, murder and expulsion during the First World War”. Though an advancement in Germany’s stance surrounding the events of 1915, the term”genocide” was not used to describe the events in the passed resolution. Coincidentally, 2005 also marked the timely publication of this ground breaking book by the German scholar, Wolfgang Gust.
He and his wife, Ingrid Gust, a human rights lawyer, through their tireless efforts, painstakingly collected and published documents from the German Foreign Office Archive. These official documents revealed the details of the Ottoman policy and planning in regards to the killing and deportations of 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).
Following the German publication in 2005, The Zoryan Institute took it upon itself to distribute copies to 400 members of the German Bundestag.
The German edition of the book played a major role in providing the German Parliamentarian, Cem Özdemir, the tools to confidently put forth the 2016 motion for Germany to recognize the Armenian Genocide. This motion was successfully passed in June 2016 by the German Bundestag.
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 continuously used by German officials to describe the events is “ausrottung”, meaning “eradication” or “extermination”.
As part of the ZI e-Chronicles, Zoryan board member and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Theodore Bogosian interviewed Wolfgang Gust in 2016.