The German-Armenian Society was founded on June 16, 1914 immediately before the outbreak of the First World War. Johannes Lepsius, the driving force, had previously worked for decades for the beleaguered Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. In the Republic of Armenia, he is highly revered. At the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, he has an honorary grave. 100 years after its foundation the Society is still very active. Its interests include conferences, lectures and publications, such as the quarterly magazine ADK.
From: Raffi Kantian <R.Kantian@t-online.de>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2014 04:50:24 +0000 (UTC)
THE CENTENARY OF THE GERMAN-ARMENIAN SOCIETY, 1914-2014
Contact: Dr. Raffi Kantian
The Centenary of the German-Armenian Society, 1914-2014
The German-Armenian Society was founded on June 16, 1914 immediately before the outbreak of the First World War. Johannes Lepsius, the driving force, had previously worked for decades for the beleaguered
Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. In the Republic of Armenia, he is highly revered. At the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, he has an honorary grave.
100 years after its foundation the Society is still very active. Its interests include conferences, lectures and publications, such as the quarterly magazine ADK. For more information, please refer to the website (see above).
The German-Armenian Society commemorated its establishment 100 years ago with a conference and a ceremonial act on June 14, 2014 in the Landtag (Legislative Assembly) of Brandenburg, one of the federal
states of Germany, jointly organized with the Lepsiushaus Potsdam (LHP).
The welcome by Dr. Raffi Kantian (German-Armenian Society) and Dr. Rolf Hosfeld (LHP) followed the lecture “From the Armenian Reforms 1913 to the Armenian Genocide 1915 – Continuity and Change in the Tasks of the German-Armenian Society” by Prof. Dr. Manfred Aschke. This is a very interesting topic, because it was the last reform package in favor of the Armenians. It was signed in February 1914, but was
revoked by the Ottoman side immediately after the outbreak of the First World War. Important in this context is the role of Johannes Lepsius, who was instrumental in bringing about the reform package.
Prof. Dr. Hacik Gazer’s lecture “The German-Armenian cultural cooperation in the 19th century using the example of the Armenian Students” went to the trail almost to the beginning of the 19th
The focus of his remarks was the Armenian Evangelical Church and the students who came to Germany through its help. Revealing was the social positioning of the sponsors of these students, among whom was
Karl Richard Lepsius, the founder of Egyptology in Germany and father of Johannes Lepsius.
“The German Bundestag and the Armenian resolution of June 2005” was the topic of Dr. Christoph Bergner, Member of the German Bundestag. He had the lead in the draft resolution of the CDU / CSU Parliamentary
Group in February 2005, which was the basis of the known bipartisan “Armenian Resolution”. It was unanimously adopted by the German Bundestag on 16 June 2005.
However, the speaker focused primarily – this is very rare in this debate – on the ultimately failed petition of the Armenians in 2000 and subjected it to a critical scrutiny. In addition, Dr. Bergner discussed the reasons why for the extremely belated reaction of Germany to the Armenian Genocide. As expected, after his lecture a lively discussion was held, questions concerning the share of Prof. Goltz at the “Armenian Resolution” were asked.
Prof. Dr. Armenuhi Drost-Abgarjan was the speaker of the last lecture. She talked about the “Cultural Cooperation between Saxony-Anhalt and the Republic of Armenia”. The work of the “MESROP
Center for Armenian Studies” took a quite prominent place.
The meeting ended with the panel discussion “Armenia, Germany and Europe – An Overview and Outlook Today”. The participants were Marie Luise Beck, Member of the German Bundestag, Alliance ’90 / The
Greens, Dr. Ute Finckh-KrÃ¤mer, Member of the German Bundestag, Social Democrat, and Ashot Smbatyan, ChargÃ© d’Affaires, Armenian Embassy in Berlin. The moderator was Dr. Raffi Kantian. A deputy from the CDU / CSU parliamentary group could not be won. The discussion focused mainly
on the issues related to the EU association and accession of Armenia to the Customs Union and the political factors that have led to this decision. What politics can do in 2015 for the 100th Anniversary was
one of issues touched upon subsequently.
Quite a number of high-ranking guests honored our anniversary event. Gunter Fritsch, President of the Landtag (Legislative Assembly) of Brandenburg; Ashot Smbatyan, ChargÃ© d’Affaires, Armenian Embassy in Berlin; Hasmik Poghosyan, Minister of Culture, Republic of Armenia; Stephan Dorgerloh, Minister of Culture of Saxony-Anhalt; Martin Gorholt, State Secretary Ministry of Science, Research and Culture
of Brandenburg; and Jann Jakobs, Lord Mayor of Potsdam were there.
Also the prelates His Eminence Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian, Primate of the Armenian Church in Germany; Bishop Dr. Markus DrÃ¶ge, spiritual head of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper
Lusatia; Episcopal Vicar for Ecumenism, Rev. Dr. Matthias Fenski, Archdiocese of Berlin; Heilgard Asmus, General Superintendent for the Sprengel of Potsdam of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia, attended the ceremonial act.
The speeches of Dr. Raffi Kantian, DAG, and Dr. Rolf Hosfeld, LHP,
opened the ceremonial act.
A special program was the Ecumenical prayer for the founders of the German-Armenian Society and those whom they tried to help, which was celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian, Bishop
Dr. Markus DrÃ¶ge and Episcopal Vicar for Ecumenism, Rev. Dr. MatthiasFenski and Father Gnel. Artak Kirakosyan, tenor, and Asatur Baljyan, baritone, were involved in the liturgical chant.
The President of the Landtag of Brandenburg Gunter Fritsch opened the round of greetings, followed by Ashot Smbatyan, ChargÃ© d’Affaires, Armenian Embassy in Berlin. He reverted at the one hand the history
of the German-Armenian Society, on the other hand he dwelled on its current work, and in particular on the ADK.
The Armenian Culture Minister Poghosyan was also among the well-wishers; she distinguished some of the attendees.
The Minister of Culture of Saxony-Anhalt, Stephan Dorgerloh, was one of the well-wishers, too. His state is for quite some time involved in a successful partnership with the Republic of Armenia. Recently
the parties signed in Halle (Saale) a letter of intent with which the cooperation will be extended. He recalled, inter alia, the family backgrounds of Lepsius family in Schulpforta in Naumburg, Saxony-Anhalt. There Johannes Lepsius’ father, Charles Richard Lepsius visited the school, as did Friedrich Nietzsche.
Martin Gorholt, State Secretary Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of Brandenburg, and Jann Jakobs, Lord Mayor of Potsdam, delivered the last two greetings.
The keynote address was given by Prof. Dr. Jan-Hendrik Olbertz, President of the Humboldt University of Berlin.
Artak Kirakosyan, tenor, and Asatur Baljyan, baritone, were in charge of the musical impressions. Komitas sounded at times hauntingly beautiful and intricately engraved – with gentle tones.
Additional information both on the conference and the ceremonial act is here:
On the occasion of its anniversary, the Society published the book “100 Jahre Deutsch-Armenische Gesellschaft erinnern gedenken gestalten”.
The greetings of Serge Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia,Prof.
Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag, Dr. Vahan Hovhannesyan, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in Germany, His Holiness Garegin II., Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Aram
I., Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, His Eminence Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian, Primate of the Armenian Church in Germany, the chairman of the Protestant Church in Germany, the chairman of the
German Bishops’ Conference, and Prof. Manfred Aschke representing the Lepsius family are at the start of the book.
This book is not just about the past and present of the German-Armenian Society, but also about the German-Armenian cultural and political relations over the past 100 to 150 years. Prominent coverage is given to the German-Ottoman-Turkish relations of the time, to the extent they relate to the Armenians.
The topics: Prof. Gazer addresses the academic relations in the late 19th century and focuses in particular on the Armenian Academic Association of Leipzig. Dr. Regina Randhofer deals in particular with
the Berlin years of Komitas, Prof. Hans-Lukas Kieser’s theme is the role of the German Empire in the Armenian Question. When Dr. Axel Meissner writes about the processes that led to the establishment of
the Society, he details also the Armenian policies of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century. Prof. Armenuhi Drost-Abgaryan
introduces some of the founders of the Society, in his article Dr. Ashot Hayruni focuses on the activities of Johannes Lepsius during the First World War, his encounter with Enver Pasha is illustrated
therein. Dr. Rolf Hosfeld introduces Johannes Lepsius as an historian of the time. Prof. Martin Tamcke’s piece is about the relationship between Lepsius’ encounter with Enver Pasha and Franz Werfel’s
novel “The 40 Days of Musa Dagh”. The filmmakers Merlyn Solakhan and Manfred Blank follow in “Ashes and Phoenix” the footsteps of the humanitarian aid by Johannes Lepsius and his friends in
Urfa. Prof. Peter Frank RÃ¶seler traces the activities of the Society in the years 1918-1956. In the following article Dr. Raffi Kantian
deals with the period starting with 1972and presents the Society’s present-day activities in detail. A comprehensive description of the process that led to the “Armenian Resolution” of the German Bundestag
in 2005 is delivered by Dr. Raffi Kantian. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, currently Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in the UN, outlines the political and economic relations between Armenia and the Federal
Republic of Germany, whereas the Minister of Culture of Saxony-Anhalt Stephan Dorgerloh summarizes the cultural and scientific relations of his federal state with Armenia.
In the last section some of the organizations operating in Germany are presented, for example the Diocese of the Armenian Church in Germany (SerovpÃ© Isakhanyan), the Central Council of Armenians
in Germany (Madlen Vartian & Tamar Hamouchian), the Association of Armenian Entrepreneurs (Manuk Acemyan), Armen Haghnazarian and the Organization Research on Armenian Architecture RAA (Giorgio Bavaj),
MESROP Center for Armenian Studies (Armenuhi Drost-Abgaryan & Hermine Buchholz Nazaryan), Lepsiushaus Potsdam (Roy Knocke), Institute for Armenian Issues (Alice Maroukhian) and AGA (Tessa Hofmann).
More details on the book including its ordering can be found here: http://www.deutscharmenischegesellschaft.de/2014/06/02/100-jahre-deutsch-armenische-gesellschaft-erinnern-gedenken-gestalten/