The SJSU Program of Jewish Studies co-hosted a presentation today by Dr. Taner Akcam of Clark University about the Krikor Guergeurian Archive. Dr. Akcam discovered the private archive and, in recent years, has cataloged and digitized the many documents that present the smoking gun for the widely held position the Turkish government committed a genocide against its Armenian subjects in 1915-1916. The Turkish government denies the genocide ever took place (and United States, Israel, and Great Britain refuse to join historians and many governments in officially recognizing the Armenian genocide, for geopolitical reasons).
It is all the more significant and necessary (in the world of Jewish Studies, at least), that Dr. Akcam presented today. Coincidently, today is the Jewish holiday of Purim (from the Book of Esther, about how Judean exiles of ancient Persia were saved from genocide).
Some may deem it odd for Jewish Studies to co-host a presentation about one of the darkest and saddest episodes in modern history on the day of revelry, carnivals, costumes, and games. Let’s say, in the history of mass murder in the twentieth century, if the Holocaust in 1941-1945 is the grand finale and the 1919 pogroms in the Ukraine is setting up the stage, the Armenian genocide in 1915-1916 is the first draft of the script. In fact, what Dr. Akcam has done, in discovering and publicizing the archive recently, is a real cause for celebration. He has uncovered the original script of the horror for the world to witness.