By Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
BERLIN — Among the events in the German capital commemorating the 101st anniversary of the Armenian genocide was a special ceremony to dedicate a khachkar in memory of the victims. On the invitation of the German-Armenian Society (DAG) and the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, a large crowd gathered on April 23 at the
for the unveiling of the impressive large stone cross. Among the honored guests were Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in Germany, leaders of the German Protestant and Catholic churches, Archimandrite Serovpe Isakhanyan, members of the Bundestag (Parliament) and Berlin parliament and senate, former German ambassadors to Armenia, a representative of the Foreign Ministry, and members of the DAG as well as other Armenian organizations.
The dedication ceremony opened with remarks by Dr. Raffi Kantian, President of the DAG, and Armenian Ambassador Aschot Smbatyan. As Dr. Kantian recounted, it was on the very same place on May 14, 1919, that the first commemorative service in honor of the memory of the genocide victims took place on German soil. Such an event “would have been unthinkable during World War I, due to Imperial Germany’s alliance policy” he said; but “the young Weimar Republic made it possible.”
An article published by the DAG’s journal at the time had reported that the mass had been celebrated by members of the Mkhitarist Order from Vienna, all in the Armenian language, and sung with the participation of the St. Hedwig’s choir. The article had noted that the service constituted a protest against the Turkish crimes, a protest delivered in a dignified manner. It wrote, “The fact that it took place in the capital of the German Empire, which had been a wartime ally of the Ottomans, gave this protest heightened significance and emphasis.”