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Andrea Peto: A Survivor of the Armenian Genocide as a Perpetrator of the Holocaust: The Case of Eghia Hovhanessian

“How does a survivor of a genocide become a perpetrator of another genocide?” our Research Affiliate Andrea Peto asks in her chapter in Critical Approaches to Genocide - History, Politics and Aesthetics of 1915 (Routledge, 2023).

The chapter analyzes the life of lawyer Hovhannesian Eghia, one of the survivors of the Armenian genocide living in Hungary, who was sentenced by the People's Court in 1946 to five years imprisonment, confiscation of his property and five years of disenfranchisement.

“Hovhannesian was a prominent member of the Hungarian-Armenian community in Budapest, the third richest taxpayer in the affluent and proud provincial city of Godoll, who, as a member of the Armenian community in Budapest, played an important role in establishing the cultural and religious institutions for Armenians who fled to Budapest,” she writes, adding that “he maintained a very friendly relationship with the head of the local administration, Laszlo Endre (1895–1946). He accepted and cultivated the lucrative friendship with Endre and he published instigating anti-Semitic texts in his journal.”

Taking a transnational and transhistorical approach, Critical Approaches to Genocide, edited by Hulya Adak, Fatma Muge Gocek and Ronald Grigor Suny, redresses and replaces the silencing of the Armenian Genocide. It seeks to unsettle nationalist narratives and address areas such as aesthetics, gender, and sexuality. By bringing forward various dimensions of the human experience, including the political, socioeconomic, cultural, social, gendered, and legal contexts within which such silencing occurred, the essays address the methodological silences and processes of selectivity and exclusion in scholarship on the Armenian Genocide. The interdisciplinary approach makes this volume a useful resource for all students and scholars interested in the Armenian Genocide and memory studies.

Learn more about the book here.