After the 1915 Armenian genocide, Krikor Guerguerian, a priest and genocide survivor, traveled the world collecting evidence to document the atrocities. Recently, Clark University history professor Taner Akcam, who holds an endowed chair at Clark’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, collaborated with Turkish experts and graduate students on a digital repository that makes Guerguerian’s vast collection of incriminating documents available to scholars worldwide.

The newly launched Krikor Guerguerian Archive comprises thousands of original Ottoman documents and Guerguerian’s extensive, unpublished writings. It includes the long-missing handwritten memoirs of Naim Bey, an Ottoman bureaucrat stationed in Aleppo who actively participated in the deportation and massacres of Armenians; documents from the Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate containing firsthand information about the Armenian genocide; and critical papers from the Istanbul perpetrator trials held from 1919 to 1922 that were long assumed vanished.

Among the most noteworthy materials are ciphered telegrams that Ottoman Interior Minister Talat Pasha, army commanders, and the chief of the government’s paramilitary sent to governors throughout the Empire. Some of these telegrams, written on government letterhead stamped with the official Ottoman seal, clearly outline the Ottoman government’s planning and execution of the genocide. The telegrams were the cornerstone of Mr. Akçam’s recently published book, “Killing Orders: Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide.”

Mr. Akçam was granted access to the unpublished collection in 2015 by Dr. Edmund Guerguerian, nephew of Krikor Guerguerian, and he has worked diligently to ensure that other scholars of the Armenian genocide have access to these important documents. He engaged his doctoral candidates Ani Ohanian, Anna Aleksanyan and Burçin Gerçek, and former students Ümit Kurt and Emre Can Dağlıoğlu, to help create and launch the digital archive. The group collaborated with others in Paris and Istanbul to translate materials into English.

Mr. Akcam noted that while the publication of these documents will not end Turkish denialism, it will force Turkey to change its denialist rhetoric. “Until recently, their main argument was that there are no documents that prove the genocidal intent of Ottoman government. In this archive we publish several ‘killing orders’ and they are authentic,” he said.

Funding for the creation of the Krikor Guerguerian Archive was provided by the Caloust Gulbenkian Foundation, the Jirair Nishanian Foundation, the Armenian General Benevolent Union, the Knights & Daughters of Vartan, and the Dadourian Foundation. Original materials included in the Guerguerian Archive were donated to the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research in Belmont, where they will become part of NAASR’s Mardigian Library. Researchers will be able to access original materials included in the digital archive after the opening of the NAASR headquarters building next fall.

Clark University will maintain the digital archive, according to Mr. Akcam.

For more information about the online archive, call (508) 793-8897.

Millennium Fellows graduate

Sixteen Becker College students graduated from the Millennium Fellowship program sponsored by the Millennium Campus Network and the United Nations Academic Impact. As part of the program, students started unique service projects to improve the quality of life for people in Central Massachusetts and beyond. Nelly Garcia, a nursing student expected to graduate in 2021, started a homework help program for students at the Elm Park Community School in Worcester. Alissa Quaratiello, a student in the B.A. to M.A. program in mental health counseling, started a food pantry for students on the Becker campus.

The students took part in a virtual graduation with Millennium Fellow cohorts from around the world. The Class of 2018 includes 530 students from 30 campuses in 13 nations. Becker College was the only institution of higher education in Greater Worcester that was chosen to participate. Becker College President Nancy Crimmin congratulated the graduates in Worcester and around the world on their accomplishments and urged them to continue their work to better their communities.