Armin T. Wegner was born on October 16, 1886 in the town of Elberfeld (now suburb of Wuppertal)/ Rhineland in Germany. Following the military alliance of Germany and Turkey, he served in the German Sanitary Corps of the Turkish Army during WWI. As a personal caretaker of Field Marshall von der Goltz, he traveled with him along the Baghdad railroad in Mesopotamia, where he witnessed the Armenian Genocide.
Disobeying orders intended to stifle news of the massacres, he gathered information on the Genocide - collected notes, annotations, documents, letters and took hundreds of photographs in the Armenian deporation camps - visible proof of the systematic destruction of the Armenians. At the request of the Turkish Command, Wegner was eventually arrested by the Germans and was recalled to Germany. His photographs were confiscated and destroyed, however, he managed to smuggle some emulsions in his belt with images of the Armenian Genocide.
Wegner was also one of the earlier voices to protest Hitler’s treatment of the Jews in Germany. He was the only writer in Nazi Germany ever to publicly protest against the persecution of the Jews. In 1933 he was arrested by Gestapo, a few days after he sent an open letter to Hitler protesting the state-organized boycott against the Jews of Germany. He would suffer incarceration in seven Nazi concentration camps and prisons before he could make his escape to Italy. He died in Rome at the age of 92 on May 17, 1978.
“My conscience calls me to bear witness. I am the voice of the exiled who scream in the desert.” - Armin Wegner