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1.5 Million Died in Armenian Holocaust


Most people know that 6 million Jews were among the millions killed by the German Nazis during World War II. We soberly remember the Holocaust, as it was known, as probably the darkest hour of human history.


But did you know there were other massive genocides in the Twentieth Century? One of them happened on April 24, 1915, when the Turks slaughtered 1.5 million people in Armenia.


Most of them were Christians. The Turks were Muslims. The two groups got along all right for many decades, except that the Christians had to live under Islamic "dhimmi," which gave them fewer legal rights.


Then the Russians started defeating the Turks and taking the land that had been held by the Ottoman Empire. Apparently, the Muslim Turks scapegoated the Armenian Christians for their defeats -- they took it out on them, in other words.


With chilling foreshadowing of the Nazi Holocaust, there were mass deportations in which many died of starvation and exposure. Then Armenian Christians were herded into 25 concentration camps from Constantinople to the Iraqi and Syrian border, and from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. There were mass murders, mass poisonings, mass drownings, mass fires, rape, forced marches, and plenty more. Victims were not only men, but included women, children, the sick and the elderly.


Many Turks contend today that it is exaggeration to call what happened "genocide." They say there were many fewer deaths, and they were from inter-ethnic strife, disease and famine. However, most European countries, and most states in the United States, agree with the Armenian people that it was a holocaust, and should have been investigated and punished like the Nazi holocaust was.


For more on this distressing page in world history, see:





By Susan Darst Williams Heart Lessons 020 2006


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