Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian (1926–2019)

Renowned American Armenian scientist, lawyer and historian Doctor, Professor Vahakn Dadrian has passed away on August 2 at age 93.

Dadrian had a degree in Mathematics, History and Law. His interdisciplinary background gave him a multifaceted look at historical and social problems, especially genocide. 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.

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.

In the 1970s, Dadrian participated in the creation of the comparative study of genocide.

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, the republic’s highest cultural award, the Khorenatzi medal. In 1999, Dadrian was awarded on behalf of the Holy See of Cilicia the Mesrob Mashdots Medal. 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.

Dadrian was the director of Genocide Research at Zoryan Institute.

Dadrian’s books and articles have been translated into more than 10 languages:

  • Autopsie du Génocide Arménien. Trans. Marc & Mikaël Nichanian. Brussels: Éditions Complexe, 1995, 266p.
  • Haykakan Tsekhaspanut`iune Khorhtaranayin ev Patmagitakan Knnarkumnerov (The treatment of the Ottoman genocide by the Ottoman parliament and its historical analysis). Watertown, MA: Baikar, 1995, 147p.
  • Jenosid Ulusal ve Uluslararasi Hukuk Sorunu Olarak: 1915 Ermeni Olay ve Hukuki Sonuçlar [Genocide as a problem of national and international law: The World War I Armenian case and its contemporary legal ramifications]. Trans. Yavuz Alogan. Istanbul: Belge Uluslararas Yaynclk, 1995, 221p.
  • The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus. Providence, RI & Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1995, 452p.
  • German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide: A Review of the Historical Evidence of German Complicity. Watertown, MA: Blue Crane Books, 1996, 304p.
  • Histoire du génocide arménien: Conflits nationaux des Balkans au Caucase. Traduit de l’anglais par Marc Nichanian. Paris: Stock, 1996, 694p.
  • The Key Elements in the Turkish Denial of the Armenian Genocide: A Case Study of Distortion and Falsification. Cambridge, MA and Toronto: Zoryan Institute, 1999, 84p.
  • Warrant for Genocide: Key Elements of Turko-Armenian Conflict. New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 1999, 214p.
  • Los elementos clave en el negacionismo Turco del Genocidio Armenia: un estudio de distorsión y falsificación. Translated by Eduardo A. Karsaclian. Buenos Aires: Fundación Armenia, 2002, 79p.
  • Historia Tis Armenikan Genoktonias [History of the Armenian Genocide]. Athens: Stokhastis, 2002, 685p.

  • Historia del Genocidio Armenio. Conflictos étnicos de los Balcanes a Anatolia y al Cáucaso. Translated by Eduardo A. Karsaclian. Buenos Aires: Imago Mundi, 2008, 434p.

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