Commentary: Defense of a Hero - 2000

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In Defense of a Hero
Commentary by C. K. Garabed
Published in the Armenian Reporter International
June 10, 2000

Some so-called scholars have imputed racist views to General Dro Kanayan for his cooperating with the German government during World War II. Far from being motivated by racism, Dro was acting on the time-honored concept, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Being bitterly anti-communist, he would have made common cause with anyone who held out the possibility of helping to lift the yoke of oppressive communism from the necks of the Armenian people. After all, the USA sided with Stalin’s totalitarian regime because it was considered the lesser of two evils. Israel’s close ties to Turkey are a result of the Turkish regime’s antipathy to those countries that Israel considers its enemies. No true friend of the Armenians cam be happy with such a state of affairs, yet facts are facts. Even the Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel made a conscious decision to abandon the Armenians in favor of his fellow Jews in Turkey when he caved in to Turkish threats by canceling his participation in the Holocaust/Genocide Symposium in Tel Aviv in 1982.

Moreover, for anyone to make bold-faced statements about Kanayan’s relationship to the SS is to underestimate his political acumen. To put matters into perspective, it must be remembered that various national groups that were opposed to the communists formed legions to fight alongside the Germans. At least four battalions of ethnic Turks had rallied to the German cause. Armenian intelligence sources had learned of secret negotiations between Germany and Turkey whereby, in exchange for their support, the Turks would be given a free hand in the Caucasus. When Dro got wind of this, he foresaw the grave consequences to the Armenians, should the Germans succeed in their drive to Baku. For this reason, he was able through his contacts with the SS to persuade Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi ideologist, that the Armenians were the most reliable people in that region. When questioned by Hitler, who sought his advice about the Armenians, Rosenberg, who was opposed to Pan-Turanism, could assure him with confidence that Armenian was the best bolt between Turkey and Azerbaijan, and thus could stop a Pan-Turanian movement towards the East. Thus, it can be seen that Dro ranks not only as the hero of Karabagh, but the potential savior of the Armenian nation, as well.

A comparison may be in order here. The Zionists responsible for setting the stage for the establishment of the State of Israel were friends of the Nazis, as evidenced by the Ha’avara Agreements entered into in the 1930s, the aim of which was to facilitate the relocation of Jews from Germany to Palestine. Although the emigrants could not take German currency out of the country because their accounts were blocked, they were permitted under a clearing agreement to remove their capital by shipping German goods to the Jewish Agency for Palestine, which, in turn, reimbursed them in the local currency upon their arrival there. A subsequent barter agreement provided for the exchange of Palestine oranges for German timber, agricultural machinery, pumps, motor cars, etc. Should the pioneers of Israel be castigated for their close association with the avowed enemies of their people?