Morristown, N.J. (May 5, 2018) – Between 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenian people were massacred by the Ottoman Empire. Despite this massive loss of life, it's considered to be the "forgotten genocide" because so few people in modern society even remember it occurred. However, the College of Saint Elizabeth's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education is committed to raising awareness about this egregious tragedy.
"It is our responsibly to be the voice for those who feel they cannot have a voice or do not have a voice," says Helen J. Streubert, president of CSE. "I ask us all to continue the work that we're doing to shed light on the atrocities that have been committed around the world and educate others on how subtly they invade our space."
Michael Bobelian, award-winning author, lawyer and journalist who wrote the book "Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-long Struggle for Justice," spoke about the consequences of ignoring history in his keynote speech.
"[Hitler] told his soldiers to be ruthless and show no mercy just before WWI because," as Bobelian recounts, he asked them, 'who speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?' Unfortunately, Hitler was right and by the late 1930s the world had moved on."
Due to the widespread denial of the Armenian genocide by the Turkish government, Hitler was able to capitalize on this neglect and rationalize his extreme violence against Jewish people.
"We must ensure that these tragedies are never forgotten and that they're always at the forefront of everyone's discussions on a daily basis," urged Dr. Amy Weiss, Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education.
Dr. Vartan Abodo, a retired mathematics professor and former director of the Armenian Radio Hour of New Jersey, then discussed the rich culture of present day Armenians.
"What you see today is the Armenian present," says Abodo. "We are 9,000 miles away from Armenia right now and our people are still surviving with their language, culture and religion."
The evening included traditional dance performances by the prestigious Shushi Armenian Dance Ensemble. This group, comprised entirely of dedicated volunteers, has performed to sold-out crowds all over the world.
This celebratory, commemorative and hopeful occasion then concluded with words from Father Arakel, an Armenian priest.
"The Armenian Genocide continues to stand as an important reminder today that crimes against humanity must not go without recognition and condemnation."