July 18, 2014

Identifying and honoring Muslim rescuers of Armenians

Eurnekian: “This is an unchartered territory waiting to be discovered”

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) and Kaloosdian/Mugar Chair – Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, join forces in a major research effort under the supervision of Prof. Taner Akcam

Eduardo Eurnekian, Chairman of the IRWF announced the launching of an ambitious research project which will identify Turks and Kurds that reached-out to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Eurnekian elaborated further: “The main mission of the IRWF is to unveil untold stories of rescue and solidarity. The issue of the Muslim rescuers who went out of their way to save Armenians at the beginning of the 20th century, was not properly studied yet. This is an unchartered territory waiting to be discovered. It is a great honor to join forces with Prof. Taner Akcam and his Chair at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University in an attempt to identify and honor the many Turks and Kurds that lended a hand to their Armenian neighbors in one of the darkest periods of mankind. We do the same concerning the Holocaust. Rather than focusing on the evil, we strive to highlight the spirit of solidarity of the women and men who, like Raoul Wallenberg, oftentimes risked their own lives to save others. This is our duty towards those saviors and above all, our obligation towards the young generations that should be aware of these role models”.

The research project will start in the next weeks, under the professional supervision of Professor Taner Akcam, a world-renowned Turkish historian and sociologist who devoted his efforts to try and reconcile the narratives of the Armenian and Turks.

The investigation will be conducted by an in-depth and painstaking research “on the ground”, in Muslim (Turkish and Kurd) provinces in which most killing occurred and where most of these stories have been passed on verbally from generation to generation.

The project and its funding was approved by the Board of the IRWF and it is expected to last one year.

Once concluded, the research will be published and the IRWF will pay tribute to the Muslim rescuers and incorporate their stories into its educational programs.

“Recognition of goodness is one of the pillars of our mission and we are confident that this ambitious research will enable us to add more names to the list of rescuers”, Eurnekian stressed.