I recently read an article on the front page of the Chronicle about Pittsburgh’s Holocaust Center marking Yom HaShoah, and I wanted to remind your readers that the U.S. and 29 other countries recognize as genocide a mass murder that occurred during World War I.
According to Wikipedia, during the invasion of Russian and Persian territories by paramilitary units of the Ottoman Empire in 1915, a massacre of approximately 1 million ethnic Armenians took place. Apparently, the paramilitary units assumed that some isolated efforts by Armenian groups to oppose the invasion led to a conclusion that the Armenian population was fighting the Ottoman empire.
Between 100,000 to 200,000 Armenian women, children, elderly and those physically challenged were sent on death marches into the Syrian desert with no food or water (and frequent attacks); those who survived the death marches were dispersed to concentration camps. In early 1916, another wave of massacres was ordered. In addition, between 100,000 to 200,000 ethnic Armenians were forcibly converted to Islam during this time period. The Turkish government denies a crime against the Armenians occurred.
I learned about this from an Armenian classmate when I was studying archaeology at the University of Michigan in the early 1970s. I’m now retired but try to keep up with archaeological findings. I always hope for good news but have no doubt that other evidence of similar inhumane events will be found, unfortunately.