AZG Armenian Daily #015, 31/01/2009

Press Release


New Book Offers Critical New Insights into Germany and the Armenian

Paul Leverkuehn, A German Officer during the Armenian Genocide: A
Biography of Max von Scheubner-Richter, translated by Alasdair Lean
with a preface by Jorge Vartparonian and a historical introduction by
Hilmar Kaiser, London: Gomidas Institute, 2009, cxxx + 153 pages, map,
photos, index, ISBN 978-1-903656-81-5, UK£17.00. Available from
[email protected]

One of the tangible links between the Armenian Genocide and the
Holocaust is in the person of Max Von Scheubner-Richther, the German
Consul in Erzurum in 1915 who later became a co-founder of the
National Socialist (Nazi) Party in Germany, only our years later. This
personal link to Adolph Hitler has led to much speculation about
Hitler's intimate knowledge of the Armenian Genocide, and how such
knowledge might have influenced the organisation of the Final Solution
in Europe.

Scheubner-Richter was one of Hitler's most trusted and revered
colleagues, one deemed irreplaceable by the leader following his death
in the Munich Putsch of 1923. Given their close relationship it is
unthinkable that the mass murder of an ethnic group that
Scheubner-Richter witnessed was never discussed with Hitler who had a
similar plan in mind for Jews. In "A German Officer During The
Armenian Genocide", it is impossible to ignore the observations that
Scheubner Richter makes about the Armenian Genocide, both verbally and
in written correspondence, that were later to become features of the

A German Officer during the Armenian Genocide is a new English
language biography of Scheubner-Richter, translated from the German
original, and gives us unique insights into one of the most
tantalising links between the Armenian Genocide and the
Holocaust. This translation also includes a seminal introduction by
the German historian, Hilmar Kaiser, who discusses Scheubner-Richter's
involvement in the genocide of Armenians in 1915. Kaiser's
introduction draws on German foreign office documents and other
archival materials including Armenian testimonies, to bring fresh
light to otherwise speculative and sometimes sensationalised
discussions about Germany's involvement in the Armenian Genocide.

According to both the original German biography, which was written by
a colleague of Scheubner-Richter in the Ottoman Empire, and Kaiser's
introduction, Scheubner-Richter took a commendable position in trying
to avert the destruction of Armenians. His contacts varied from direct
relations with the Armenian prelate of Erzurum (Smpad Saadetian), and
the provincial governor (Tahsin Bey), to various intermediaries and
Armenian deportees. Scheubner-Richter also communicated his concerns
to the German ambassador Hans Von Wangenheim in Constantinople, and
thus created an archival record of what he observed around him. He was
not the only German consul in the Ottoman Empire who acted to save
Armenians, yet as in other cases, the German foreign office was
confronted with the hard reality that the fate of Ottoman Armenian was
an internal Ottoman matter, while the German priority had to be the
maintenance of the Turko-German alliance and winning the war.

Consequently, German intercession on behalf of Armenians was limited,
and this limitation allowed the Allied powers and some later
commentators to allege German complicity in the destruction of Ottoman
Armenians in 1915. A German Officer during the Armenian Genocide
brings important new research into light for a more informed
discussion and substantive analysis of the subject matter.

According to Ara Sarafian, the publication of A German Officer during
the Armenian Genocide is part of the Gomidas Institute's ongoing
commitment to engage the Armenian Genocide issue in a critical
manner. This publication is the Gomidas Institute's second publication
addressing German involvement in the Armenian Genocide.

For more information, contact Gomidas Institute, 42 Blythe Rd., London
W14 0HA, England, Tel: (020) 7603 7242, Email: [email protected]