The Armenian Genocide was met with a great international response, drawing the attention of the international community and the media. The countries of Scandinavia were no exception. The Armenian Genocide Museum–Institute on April 20 and 21 organized an International conference entitled The Armenian Genocide and the Scandinavian Response dedicated to Fridtjof Nansen’s 150th anniversary.
During the conference, historians and researchers from Armenia, Sweden, Denmark and Norway presented papers on various aspects of the topic.
As neutral countries, Scandinavians demonstrated unbiased and objective attitude toward the Armenian Genocide. From the beginning of the 20th century prominent Scandinavian relief workers like Maria Jacobson, Alma Johansson, Bodil Catharine Biorn and Karen Jeppe undertook difficult missions, providing help to the needy and saving the lives of thousands of Armenians.
The efforts of prominent Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat Fridtjof Nansen were of equal importance. As high commissioner of the League of Nations he took steps to repatriate the homeless Armenians starting in 1925.
In his speech, Armenian Genocide Museum–Institute Director Hayk Denyan discussed the theme of “Armenian Genocide and Common European memory.”
“The Armenian Genocide topic is not merely Armenian and Turkish issue,” he said. “There is no European country, the history of which was not connected with the Genocide.”
It is true that thousands of Armenians were saved and survived, living in camps of various European countries. And Nansen was one who played a great role in helping them to maintain their Armenian identity. In 1925, he visited Armenia with the aim to organize Armenian orphans’ migration to the homeland.
The Armenian Genocide Museum’s exhibit entitled, Armenian Genocide and Scandinavian Response opened April 23. It will later move to Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Moreover, events dedicated to Fridtjof Nansen’s 150th anniversary will continue in Armenia throughout the year.