Soghomon Tehlirian in the history of Operation Nemesis

Soghomon Tehlirian (1896-1960) was an Armenian survivor of the Armenian Genocide and a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) who took part in Operation Nemesis, a covert operation to assassinate the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide. After the war, Tehlirian went to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and assassinated Harutian Mgrditichian, a collaborator who had worked for the Ottoman secret police and helped compile the list of Armenian intellectuals who were deported and subsequently killed on 24 April 1915. This event marked the beginning of the Armenian Genocide.

The successful assassination of Mgrditichian convinced the Nemesis operatives that Tehlirian was capable of carrying out more high-profile missions. As a result, he was entrusted with the assassination of Talaat Pasha, one of the main architects of the Armenian Genocide and a former Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.

In mid-1920, the Nemesis organization arranged for Soghomon Tehlirian to travel to the United States. There, he was briefed by Garo Pasdermadjian (also known as Armen Garo), an Armenian statesman and member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), about the situation regarding the major perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide. Garo informed Tehlirian that the death sentences pronounced against the principal architects of the genocide had not been carried out and that those responsible were continuing their anti-Armenian activities from exile.

This information likely motivated and solidified Tehlirian’s commitment to seeking justice for the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

In the autumn of 1920, the Turkish nationalist movement led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk invaded Armenia. Around this time, Soghomon Tehlirian received photographs of seven leading Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) leaders, whose locations were being tracked by Operation Nemesis. He then departed for Europe, making his way first to Paris.

In Geneva, Tehlirian obtained a visa to travel to Berlin, posing as a mechanical engineering student. He left for Berlin on December 2, 1920. His orders came from Shahan Natalie, a key figure in the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and one of the masterminds behind Operation Nemesis.

Natalie instructed Tehlirian, “You blow up the skull of the Number 1 nation-murderer and you don’t try to flee. You stand there, your foot on the corpse and surrender to the police, who will come and handcuff you.”

Operation Nemesis was a secret mission organized by the ARF to assassinate the primary perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide. It was headed by Armen Garo (Garo Pasdermadjian), Shahan Natalie, and Aaron Sachaklian. The operation targeted key figures of the Ottoman Empire, particularly those from the CUP, who played significant roles in organizing and executing the genocide. The mission aimed to seek justice and retribution for the atrocities committed against the Armenian people during World War I.

The success of the mission brought international attention to the Armenian cause and highlighted the failure of the international community to hold the perpetrators of the genocide accountable.

The operation, led by the ARF and the Nemesis organization, continued to target other key figures responsible for the genocide to seek justice and retribution for the Armenian people.

On 15 March 1921, Tehlirian assassinated Talaat Pasha in Berlin, Germany. He was arrested and put on trial, but the jury found him not guilty. The trial received widespread attention and helped raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide in the international community. After the trial, Tehlirian continued his life in various countries and eventually settled in the United States, where he passed away in 1960.

Vigen Avetisyan based on analysis by McCurdy, Hofmann by Mano Chil

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