As A Tool For Combating Armenian Genocide And Holocaust Denial
Dr. Paul Bartrop
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - The Holocaust
Center of Northern California and The Genocide Education Project
hosted lecturer Dr. Paul Bartrop, a prominent Holocaust and
Genocide Studies Fellow at Deakin University in Melbourne,
Australia, on Sunday, December 18 at the Holocaust Center in San
Francisco. Dr. Bartrop addressed members of the Armenian
community and Holocaust Center community about the role and
importance of education to thwart genocide denial.
In his lecture, Dr. Bartrop
pointed out some recent examples of denial, noting Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust, writer
Orhan Pamuk's trial in Turkey for insulting the country with
mention of the Armenian Genocide, and the lawsuit against the
Massachusetts Board of Education for removing denial literature
on the Armenian Genocide. Bartrop contended that if we study
genocide, we must study attempts to deny it as well, since
denial is the final phase of genocide and its use completes the
process of annihilation.
Bartrop discussed some of the
challenges of dealing with denial in the classroom – to what
extent should students be exposed to deniers, how teachers can
help students understand and question the motives of genocide
deniers, and how to combat denial. At a minimum, he asserted,
students should know that deniers exists, recognize their
motives and be prepared to answer questions of opposition.
These are lessons in social responsibility.
Bartrop went on to discuss the
various forms and processes of denial, including either
rationalizing or trivializing genocide, how deniers falsify
research findings, misquote or dismiss the veracity of the
evidence to the contrary. "Teaching about genocide is a matter
of self-interest if we wish to live in a civilized society which
elevates humanity and denigrates barbarism of the kind the
perpetrators of genocide have practiced," concluded Dr. Bartrop.
Raffi Momjian, Executive Director
of The Genocide Education Project stated, "Both our communities
are being dehumanized to this day, the Jewish community
continues to face anti-Semitic forces, while the Armenians must
deal with denial of their genocide." He concluded, "We are
convinced that the most effective way to combat anti-Semitism
and denial is through education."
Morgan Blum, Head Educator of the
Holocaust Center of Northern California, commented, "We were
very pleased to have an opportunity to host an event of common
interest for both the Armenian and Holocaust Center community.
We can gain great perspective by studying the unique aspects of
the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide, as well as understanding
the common elements which adds to the richness of Comparative
The Genocide Education
Project is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization that assists educators in
teaching about human rights and genocide, particularly the
Armenian Genocide, by developing and distributing instructional
materials, providing access to teaching resources and organizing
Founded in 1977, the Holocaust
Center of Northern California is the region's most important
resource for Holocaust education, research and remembrance.
The Center strives to educate people of all ages about the
consequences of racism, hatred and indifference. For more
information, call (415) 777-9060, or visit the website at