European Armenia’s Denounce Removal of Armenian Genocide from German Schools

BRUSSELS(Combined Sources)–Reacting to the eastern German’state of Brandenburg’s removal of a reference to the Armenian genocide from a German’school curriculum–the European Armenian Federation denounced the unacceptable attitude of the state–expressing that the decision of the local German authorities is symptomatic of a lack of courage by a certain segment of European leaders in dealing with this critical issue.

Following extensive pressure from Turkish authorities–the German’state of Brandenburg eliminated half a sentence on the Armenia’s included in ninth and tenth grade history classes after a Turkish diplomat complained to state Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck–the newspaper Die Welt reported. Prime Minister Platzeck is a member of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats (SPD). Schroeder is a strong supporter of Turkey’s bid to become a member of the European Union.

The Federation explained that this position only encourages Turkey to export its denialist propaganda to Europe. It continued to deplore the deep consequences of the complicity between and European leaders and Turkey’s historical revisionists on the European project.

"How can we believe the goodwill statemen’s made by German leaders when they allow genocide denial to be instilled in the minds of the German children?" asked Hilda Tchoboian–chairwoman of the European Armenian Federation. "The 90th anniversary of the Genocide must mark the end of European complicity–as shown by its silence during the extermination of the Armenia’s. We call upon all German political leaders to turn this regrettable initiative into an act of justice best representing this great nation," said Tchoboian.

Brandenburg was the first German’state in 2002 to include the Armenian genocide in its teaching guidelines. In October 2004–however–the Ministry of Education reversed a decision calling on Bochum’s Institute for Genocides and Diasporas to prepare a book on the Armenian Genocide. The book would have been the first of a series of three on genocide related issues and collective violence in the twentieth century. The order was cancelled by incoming Minister of Education Holger Rupprecht (SPD)–at the request of Prime Minister Platzeck–who had succumbed to Turkish lobbying efforts.

Bochum University’s Director of the Institute for Genocides and Diasporas–Prof. Mihran Dabag–denounced the decision–stating–"The Armenian genocide is inseparable from European remembrance. It is the first genocidal achievement of our common history." He continued to argue that–"At the very time when the world commemorates the victims of the Nazi camps–our country must–if we are sincere in our fight against negationism–and give a firm answer to Turkey’s denial. The Brandenburg government must reconsider its decision and carry out its genocides teaching project."

The Potsdam government’s announcement provoked a chorus of protests in German television news shows and dozens of print articles–available on the European Armenian Federation’s website–www.eafjd.org. Policy-makers from throughout the political spectrum denounced the unacceptable position of the state.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU)–which serves as junior coalition partner in Brandenburg’s government–is infuriated over the change to the state’s schoolbooks. "The impression created is fatal," said Sven Patke–the state CDU secretary general.

The head of the Central Committee of Armenia’s in Germany–Schavarsh Ovassapian–told Die Welt the move was "a scandal."It is depressing–if what’s in schoolbooks in Brandenburg can be dictated from Ankara," he said.

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