MOSCOW (ANI/PanArmenian.net)–The exhibit "Armin Wegner and the Armenian Genocide" opened in Moscow on Tuesday at the Russian Cultural Institution–in commemoration of the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
The exhibit is based on the book by Italian historian Giovanni Guaita–"A Cry form Ararat: Armin Wegner and the Armenian Genocide," which was recently republished in Moscow.
Russian State Duma Deputies–prominent scholars–representatives of the Serbian–Kurdish–Assyrian–and Tatar communities of Moscow were all on hand at the opening ceremony.
Senator Nikolay Ryzhkov noted the importance of denouncing the massive crime that has been silenced by world powers–and urged non-Armenia’s to join the fair struggle of the Armenian people.
International law specialist Professor Yuri Barsegov said recognition of the Armenian genocide should be achieved via International Law–and must follow with reparations.
A Cry form Ararat: Armin Wegner and the Armenian Genocide," is Guaita’s third work on Armenian issues.
He said that he undertook the project of presenting eyewitness Wegner’s rich archive in order to remind humanity of history’s cruel pages. Guaita is now working on his fourth project on Armenia’s.
The Russian-Armenian Cooperation Organization–which sponsored the exhibit–said that the exhibition will travel to various Russian regions.
Armin T. Wegner–whose photographic collection documen’s conditions in Armenian deportation camps in 1915-1916–was born in Germany in 1886. At the outbreak of World War I–he enrolled as a volunteer nurse in Poland during the winter of 1914-1915–and was decorated with the Iron Cross for assisting the wounded under fire. In April 1915–following the military alliance of Germany and Turkey–he was sent to the Middle East as a member of the German Sanitary Corps. Between July and August–he used his leave to investigate the rumors about the Armenian massacres that had reached him from several sources. In the autumn of the same year–with the rank of second-lieutenant in the retinue of Field Marshal Von der Goltz–commander of the 6th Ottoman army in Turkey–he traveled through Asia Minor.
Eluding the strict orders of the Turkish and German authorities (intended to prevent the spread of news–information–correspondence–visual evidence)–Wegner collected notes–annotations–documen’s–and letters and took hundreds of photographs in the Armenian deportation camps. With the help of foreign consulates and embassies of other countries–he was able to send some of this material to Germany and the United States. His clandestine mail routes were discovered and Wegner was arrested by the Germans at the request of the Turkish Command-and was put to serve in the cholera wards. Having fallen seriously ill–he left Baghdad for Constantinople in November 1916. Hidden in his belt were his photographic plates and those of other German officers with images of the Armenian Genocide to which he had been a witness. In December of the same year he was recalled to Germany.
Wegner was deeply moved by the tragedy of the Armenian people to which he had been eyewitness in Ottoman Turkey. Between 1918 and 1921–he became an active member of pacifist and anti-military movemen’s while dedicating his literary and poetic output to the search for the truth about himself and his fellow man. On February 23–1919–Wegner’s "Open Letter to President Wilson" appealing for the creation of an independent Armenian state was published in Berliner Tageblatt.
A man of conscience who protested his country’s responsibilities in the Armenian Genocide–Wegner was also one of the earliest voices to protest Hitler’s treatment of the Jews in Germany. He dedicated a great part of his life to the fight for Armenian and Jewish human rights.
In 1968 he received an invitation to Armenia from the Catholicos of All Armenia’s and was awarded with the Order of Saint Gregory the Illuminator.
Armin Wegner died in Rome at the age of 92 on May 17–1978.