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I plan to collect historical documents and articles by various authors in this blog, usually without comments. Opinions expressed within the articles belong to the authors and do not always coincide with those of mine.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Armenian Collaboration With The Nazi Regime

During World War II, while the Turkish Government was giving asylum to many Jews fleeing from Hitler's tyranny, anti-Semitism engulfed the Armenian circles in the Nazi-occupied territories. A publication of the Armenian Information Service in New York, entitled Dashnak Collaboration With The Nazi Regime, purports to show that Armenian sympathies with racism had reached dangerous proportions. The following quotation from the Armenian daily Hairenik of 19, 20 and 21 August 1936 exposes something much more than prejudice and bigotry:
''Jews being the most fanatical nationalists and race-worshippers...  are compelled to create an atmosphere..of internationalism and world citizenship in order to preserve their race... As the British use battleships to occupy lands..Jews use internationalism or communism as a weapon.. Sometimes it is difficult to eradicate these poisonous elements when they have struck deep root like a chronic disease. And when it becomes necessary for a people to eradicate them... these attempts are regarded revolutionary. During a surgical operation, the flow of blood is a natural thing... Under such conditions, dictatorships seem to have a role of saviour [1].''
In May 1935 the Armenians of Bucharest attacked the Jews of that city, while the Greeks of Salonika attacked the Jews in the August of the same year. During World War II, Armenian volunteers, under the wings of Hitler's Germany, were used in rounding up Jews and other ''undesirables'' destined for the Nazi concentration camps. The Armenians also published a German-language magazine, with fascist and anti-Semitic tendencies, supporting Nazi doctrines directed to the extermination of 'inferior' races [2].
This is confirmed by Armenophil Christopher J. Walker, who admits that the Armenians collaborated with the Nazis. According to him, members of the Dashnak Party, then living in the occupied areas, including a number of prominent persons, entertained pro-Axis sympathies. A report in an American magazine went so far as to claim that the Nazis had picked on the Dashnaktsutiun to do fifth-column work, promising the party an autonomous state for its cooperation. Walker goes on to claim that relations between the Nazis and the Dashnaks living in the occupied areas were close and active. On 30 December 1941 an Armenian batallion was formed by a decision of the Army Command (Wehrmacht), known as the 'Armenian 812th Battalion'. It was commanded by Dro, and was made up of a small number of committed recruits, and a larger number of Armenians. Early on, the total number of recruits was 8,000; this number later grew to 20,000. The 812th Batallion was operational in Crimea and the North Caucasus.[3]
A year later, on 15 December 1942, an Armenian National Council was granted official recognition by Alfred Rosenberg, the German Minister of the occupied areas. The Council's president was Professor Ardashes Abeghian, its vice-president Abraham Giulkhandanian, and it numbered among its members Nzhdeh and Vahan Papazian. From that date until the end of 1944 it published a weekly journal, Armenien, edited by Viken Shant (the son of Levon), who also broadcast on Radio Berlin. The whole idea was to prove to the Germans that the Armenians were 'Aryans'. With the aid of Dr.Paul Rohrbach they seemed to have achieved this as the Nazis did not persecute the Armenians in the occupied lands [3].
[1] Quoted by James Mandalian: 'Who are the Dashnags?' Boston, Hairenik Press, 1944, pp.13-4.
[2] Turkkaya Ataov: 'Hitler and the Armenian Question', Ankara 1984, p.91.
[3] C.J. Walker: 'Armenia: The Survival of a Nation', London, 1980, pp.356-8.

Source: SONYEL, Salahi R.: Turco- ­Armenian Relations in the Context of the Jewish Holocaust. Belleten, LIV,210(1990). pp.739-­772.

Some additional information and quotes from the web are given below. 

The Armenian SS unit was formed following a directive of Himmler in the beginning of December 1944.[1] The Armenian Liaison Staff actively recruited volunteers[2] and by February 1945 a cavalry formation of one thousand Armenians was integrated into the larger Caucasian Waffen-SS unit. The Armenian SS formation was employed 
last in Klagenfurt.[3] In addition to this exclusively Armenian unit, N@zi Armenians also served in the thirty eight other SS divisions, one of them even in the elite 'Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler.'[4]

[1] Meyer, Berkian, ibid., pp. 136-137.
[2] United States National Archives, #$%$ Roll 167, pp 2700157/2700158, SS-Headquarters, Amtsgruppe D - Oststelle, see 'Documents 3 and 4.'
[3] Georg Tessin, 'Verbaende und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945,' (Frankfurt am Main 1965-1980), Volume 14, Armenian Legion/Waffen SS.
[4] Meyer, Berkian, ibid., p. 119.

Derounian says that

"Greece was honeycombed with Dashnags serving as N@zi spies. One of them even recruited parachutists for fifth column work behind Allied lines."[1]

Several Armenians were arrested by the British and sentenced by the Greek government as collaborators in espionage.[2] In Rumania many N@zi Dashnags were found in Antonescu's Iron Guard during arrest of members after the war. Bulgaria was the operational base of Tzeghagrons-founder Garagin Nezhdeh, who commanded a network of espionage from there.

[1] John Roy Carlson (Arthur Derounian), 'The Armenian Displaced Persons,' ibid., p. 20.
[2] Meyer, Berkian, ibid., p. 150.

As early as 1934, K. S. Papazian asserted in 'Patriotism Perverted' that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF)

'leans toward Fascism and Hitlerism.'[1]

At that time, he could not have foreseen that the Armenians would actively assume a pro-German stance and even collaborate in World War II. His book was dealing with the Armenian genocide of Turkish and Kurdish population of eastern Anatolia. However, extreme rightwing ideological tendencies could be observed within the Dashnagtzoutune long before the outbreak of the Second World War.

In 1936, for example, O. Zarmooni of the 'Tzeghagrons' was quoted in the 'Hairenik Weekly:'

"The race is force: it is treasure. If we follow history we shall see that races, due to their innate force, have created the nations and these have been secure only insofar as they have reverted to the race after becoming a nation. Today Germany and Italy are strong because as nations they live and breath in terms of race. On the other hand, Russia is comparatively weak because she is bereft of social sanctities."[2]

[1] K. S. Papazian, 'Patriotism Perverted,' (Boston, Baikar Press 1934), Preface.
[2] 'Hairenik Weekly,' Friday, April 10, 1936, 'The Race is our Refuge' by O. Zarmooni.

Christopher Walker’s "ARMENIA: THE SURVIVAL OF A NATION" contains the following information of direct relevance to the N@zi Holocaust:

a) Dro, a former Defense Minister of the Armenian Republic, and the most respected of Armenian Nationalist leaders, established an Armenian Provisional Republic in Berlin during World War II.

b) this ‘provisional government’ fully endorsed and espoused the social theories of the N@zis, declared themselves and all Armenians to be members of the Aryan ‘Super-Race;”

c) they published an Anti-Semitic, racist journal, thereby aligning themselves with the N@zis and their efforts to exterminate the Jews; and,

d) they mobilized an Armenian Army of up to 20,000 members which fought side by side with the Wehrmacht.

Source: Arye Gut, Jewish Journal, April 25, 2015:

Austrian historian Erich Feigl wrote that in December, 1942, Dro visited Himmler. “Dro had a practice of killing without any compassion, and this strongly impressed Himmler.”

Source: Maxime Gauin, October 14, 2014:

..two of the main perpetrators of the ethnic cleansing against Azeris in the Caucasus were Drastamat Kanayan, also known as Dro, who was later an officer in the N@zi army and Garegin Nzhdeh, who collaborated with Axis powers and the Soviets. Armenian apologists try to trivialize the alliance between the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Third Reich as simply opportunistic. It was not. At a time around 1922 when Hitler was a completely obscure politician, the ARF was already obsessed by the idea of the "Aryan race."..

The following quote is from an Armenian forum writer:

"the Armenian community in Potsdam, Germany published an academic book on Armenian studies called Armeniertum-Arivertum, meaning Armenism-Aryanism. Three thousand copies were printed under the leadership of Artashes Abeghyan in cooperation with German Armenologists Yohannes Lepsus and Paul Rohrbakh.... Armenian military General Garegin Njdeh, published another book called Armenia-the Cradle of Aryans in Asia. After those publications, the German Interior Ministry issued a document recognizing Armenians as an Aryan nation."

Walter F. Weiker, 'Ottomans, Turks and the Jewish Polity: A History of the Jews of Turkey,' The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, University Press of America (1992). ISBN 0-8191-8644-9.
  ''..Turkey welcomed Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, including
  at least forty professors who were particularly useful in the 1930s
  reform of Istanbul University, as well as doctors, entrepreneurs and
  a variety of other individuals. In this sphere as well, Turkey also
  allowed itself to be a transit point for sizeable numbers of Jews
  seeking to go to Palestine. An activity in which the Jews of Turkey
  had a great part was frequently to restock the supplies of ships
  going to Palestine even when Turkish authorities refused to let the
  passengers disembark. At least 1200 refugees on numerous small ships
  were given supplies to enable them to continue on their journeys.
  Other exemplary actions were those of then-Turkish consul in Marseilles
  Necdet Kent, who intervened vigorously to save Turkish Jews there who
  had actually been loaded into freight cars by the Germans, and by
  Turkish consul-general in Rhodes Salahattin Ulkumen, who acted
  similarly there in 1943 [80].''
[80] For a summary, see Jerusalem Post, International Edition, April 23, 1988.

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