Armenian Genocide Scholar Vahakn Dadrian Passes Away

By Asbarez | Monday, 05 August 2019

Professor Vahakn Dadrian

Professor Vahakn Dadrian

Prominent Armenian-American scholar and historian of the Armenian Genocide Professor Vahakn Dadrian passed away Friday. He was 93.

Reaction was swift to Dadrian’s passing, with President Armen Sarkissian, Prime Minister Nikpl Pashinyan, joining Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament to offer condolences.

“I knew Doctor Dadrian not only as a brilliant scholar but also as an excellent expert of international relations and a person communication with whom was instructive and gratifying. These recollections and memories of him will always stay bright with those who knew him and appreciated his accomplishments,” said President Sarkissian.

“Istanbul-born academician Vahakn Dadrian, who was best known for his works on the Armenian Genocide, has passed away. His books published in Turkey played an important role in the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. God bless his soul!” said Paylan, who represents the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in parliament in a Twitter post.

Vahakn Norair Dadrian was born in 1926 in Istanbul, Turkey to a family that lost many members during the Armenian Genocide. Dadrian first studied mathematics at the University of Berlin, after which he decided to switch to a completely different field, and studied philosophy at the University of Vienna, and later, international law at the University of Zürich. He completed his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Chicago.

Dadrian was not only an authority on Armenian genocide, but also on genocide studies and theory in general, being part of the so-called “first generation” of genocide scholars, who created this area of study in the 1970s.

Given his command of several languages, Dadrian was able to do research in various archives around the world, revealing previously unknown documents about the Armenian genocide and creating sociological typologies about the event that have become a reference for all scholars of the subject. One of his last works was the book, “Judgments in Istanbul,” co-authored with Prof. Taner Acam.

“He was my mentor. I owe him a lot… He is a big loss for Armenians and humanity. He will continue to live with us with his work. May his soul rest in peace,” Akcam said in a post on his Facebook page.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree for his research in the field of Armenian Genocide Studies by the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, and later, in 1998, he was made a member of the academy and honored by the President of Armenia with the republic’s highest cultural award, the Khorenatzi medal. In 1999, Dadrian received the Mesrob Mashdots medal from His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation sponsored him as director of a large Genocide study project, which culminated with the publication of articles, mainly in the Holocaust and Genocide studies magazines. He was the keynote speaker at the centennial of the John Marshall Law School and delivered a lecture to the British House of Commons in 1995. He also received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

He has lectured extensively in French, English and German in the Free University of Berlin, the Universities of Munich, Parma, Torino, Zürich, Uppsala, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne, Bochum, Münster, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Geneva, Brussels and UNESCO’s Paris center.