How the Armenian Genocide Shaped the Holocaust
Nowhere was the debate over what was going on in Turkey to the Armenians more heated than Germany—and the conclusions drawn would change history.
One day in the winter of 1941, as he “walked through the streets of the Warsaw Ghetto,” Hermann Wygoda, “Ghetto smuggler,” tried to make sense of what was happening to him and the people around him: “I wondered whether God knew what was going on beneath Him on this troubled earth. The only analogy I could find in history was perhaps the pogrom of the Jews in Alexandria at the time of the Roman governor Flaccus ... or the massacre of the Armenians by the Turks during World War I.”
Wygoda was not the only one seeing this parallel. The German Social Democrats in exile reported continuously on the situation in Germany in their “Germany reports”. In February 1939 they warned, “At this moment in Germany the unstoppable extermination of a minority is taking place by way of the brutal means of murder, of torment to the degree of absurdity, of plunder, of assault, and of starvation. What happened to the Armenians during the [world war] in Turkey is now being committed against the Jews, [but] slower and more systemically.”
We could also mention the famous German-Jewish writer Franz Werfel who in 1932/1933 wrote his most well-known novel about the Armenian Genocide, his Forty Days of Musa Dagh, mainly to warn Germany about Hitler. The book was later extremely popular in the Nazi-imposed ghettos of Eastern Europe.