The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute presents a special project “100 Photographic Stories about the Armenian Genocide”. The volume presents 100 famous, partly known and unknown photos, which bear unique conceptual and iconographic information on the Armenian Genocide as an irrefutable evidences of the crimes committed in the Ottoman Empire against humanity and civilization.
The history of Armenian Genocide is documented by tens of thousands of documents, including diplomatic reports, eyewitness testimonies, written memoirs and oral histories of survivors. Beside all of these, hundreds of photos made by Armenian and foreign photographers in the years of Genocide are also special and exceptional documentary proofs of the Armenian Genocide.
The photo, which perpetuates a particular episode and instant, has invaluable role and significance in forming not individual but common sensory perception and conclusion about occurrences and historical events. In these terms, visual materials have special value among other documentary materials.
The immortalization of the episodes of wars and massacres gives the opportunity not only to form an idea about the incidents took place before more than hundred years, but also to become the eyewitness of those episodes and feel the recorded instant for at least one time.
The first photos of mass murders and violence against Armenians were especially widespread during Hamidian massacres in 1894-1896. Photos made after a few days after the Armenian massacres in Erzurum by the journalist of English illustrated newspaper “The Graphic” were the first to be published in the press and have been republished in various foreign periodicals, oftentimes on the front pages of newspapers. During that period many photographs and engraves of the Armenian massacres in Constantinople and their consequences were also made. The photograph collection of the mass slaughter and destruction in the provinces of Adana and Aleppo in April 1909 has its unique place among other photo collections. The atrocities of Cilicia were recorded by the hundreds of photos made by Armenian and foreign photographers after few days of that horror. Some of them were even published by international postal services as postcards.
Armenian Genocide, Holocaust and other genocides are documented in thousands of photos. In case of Holocaust the photos of horrific scenes were mostly taken and maintained by the Nazi soldiers, whereas the majority of Armenian Genocide photos have been made by soldiers and correspondents of the Russian Army, as well as German soldiers and officials serving in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
These photos form different collections, among which the collections of German officer Armin Wegner, Austrian biologist Victor Pitchman, Norwegian missionary Bodil Bjorn, Frank Danielian and others are worth mentioning. The photos of two Danish Armenophiles Maria Jacobsen and Karen Jeppe, Syrian-Armenian photographer Vardan Terunian and collections of American Near East Relief Committee also give the notion of the Armenian Genocide, its dimensions and terrible consequences.
Year after year new photos proofing the Armenian Genocide and its consequences are being appeared, which enable to deal with the occurred tragedy. Ironically, the Turkish criminals had to give the photos of their bloody atrocities to Armenian photographers, who were almost irreplaceable in the whole territory of the Empire, in order to depicture them.
Years ago, during the works of Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute for the collections enriching and developing new exhibition the author of these lines have discovered and replenished photographic collection of the museum with new original photos. Most of those photos, unfortunately, had been forgotten and withdrawn from circulation. The terrible scenes of the Genocide recorded in these photographs give us the opportunity to speak in the language of real facts in our uncompromising struggle against the Turkish denial.
The efforts of developing a photographic iconography of Armenian Genocide, the validation of its units, the verification and coordination of their sources are yet another topic of discussion. The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute is carrying out continuous works in these directions.
The hundred photos included in this volume were selected from thousands photos, choosing the exceptional stories of the photos, providing the reader the opportunity to get a deeper insight of the tragedy that befell the Armenian people.
The photos presented in this book are exclusive evidences of the genocidal policy carried out by the Turkish Government against the Armenians. They are also irrefutable and undeniable proofs to condemn the heinous crime, to ponder on the elimination of its consequences, to speak and act, and to prevent such crimes in the future.