FRANKFURT — This year’s central commemoration of the Armenian Genocide was held in the historic Paulskirche in Frankfurt, organized by the Diocese of the Armenian Church in Germany, the Central Council of Armenians in Germany, together with the Armenian Embassy in Berlin.
St. Paul’s Church was the place where the first freely elected legislators convened in 1848 to deliberate on the first democratic constitution for the nascent German state, a site comparable to Independence Hall in Philadelphia for Americans. The war raging in Ukraine defined an extraordinary political context which impacted remarks offered by several participants.
Ani Smith-Dagesyan, from the Central Council of Armenians in Germany, opened the event and introduced the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in Germany, Viktor Yengibaryan, who in his address referred to the resolution on the Armenian Genocide passed by the Bundestag (Parliament) on June 2, 2016, which signaled Germany’s contribution to the international process of recognition and prevention of similar crimes against humanity. Yengibaryan presented his country’s efforts to advance the international campaign to prevent genocide.
Representatives of the local and regional political bodies, Dr. Bastian Bergerhoff, treasurer of the City of Frankfurt, and Karin Müller, vice [resident of the Hessen State Legislature, drew attention to the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, as well as Artsakh — a theme to be developed by the keynote speaker. Bishop Serovpé Isakhanyan, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church, read the April 24 message by Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, and offered requiem prayers. The event was framed by musical selections from Komitas and J.S. Bach performed by the April String Quartet.
Democracy as Democratic Defense
Swiss historian Dr. Hans-Lukas Kieser is professor of Ottoman and Turkish history at the University of Zurich, currently a lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and the author of several scholarly studies on the genocide, including a biography of Talaat Pasha, Father of Modern Turkey, Architect of Genocide. In his keynote, Kieser explored the concept of true democracy, with critical reflections on the significance of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty.