Henry Morgenthau III, Grandson of Ambassador Morgenthau and Lifelong Supporter of US Affirmation of Armenian Genocide, Passes Away at 101
WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian Assembly of America and Armenian National Institute mourn the loss of a longtime friend of the Armenian people, Henry Morgenthau III, who dedicated himself to honoring the memory of his grandfather, Ambassador Henry Morgenthau. He passed away on July 11.
In countless public presentations, in television appearances, and in numerous publications, Henry Morgenthau III recounted his recollections of his grandfather with whom he lived in New York City. He was honored on many occasions by Armenian organizations across the country.
The Armenian National Institute and the Armenian Assembly of America shared the distinction of organizing Mr. Morgenthau’s trip to Armenia in 1999 where he was honored by the National Academy of Sciences, the Armenian Genocide Museum, and the City of Yerevan.
Morgenthau was joined by his sons Dr. Henry Ben Morgenthau and Kramer Morgenthau, as well as Armenian Assembly President Carolyn Mugar, longtime personal friend of Henry from the time of his residence in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Mrs. Kitty Dukakis, wife of the former governor of the state of Massachusetts and a board member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The Morgenthau delegation was received by the president of Armenia, Robert Kocharian, met with several other officials including U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Michael Lemmon, and was the guest of honor at the naming of a Yerevan city school in honor of Ambassador Morgenthau.
“My grandfather frequently told me that his attempts to save Armenian lives at the time of the Genocide and the establishment of the Near East Relief effort were the achievements that meant the most to him,” Morgenthau explained on the occasion. Ambassador Morgenthau served as President Woodrow Wilson’s emissary to the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
With Henry Morgenthau III’s endorsement, in 1996 the Armenian Assembly of America established the Henry Morgenthau Award for Meritorious Public Service which is given out to public officials in recognition of their contributions in defense of human rights. Recipients of the Assembly’s Morgenthau Award include the first U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia Harry Gilmore and U.S. Ambassador John Evans who publicly called for official U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
A friend also of the Armenian National Institute (ANI), Henry Morgenthau III encouraged the organization with symbolic gifts of $1915 and joined with supporters and Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Tatoul Markarian in the opening of the ANI Library, to which he contributed his grandfather’s library.
Henry Morgenthau III was an author and television producer. His family history, Mostly Morgenthaus, won the 1992 National Jewish Book Council prize for best memoir. He was a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. Morgenthau’s shows on Boston’s public television station, WGBH, won Peabody, Emmy, UPI, EFLA and Flaherty Film Festival awards. Morgenthau also updated his grandfather’s memoir, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, with a lengthy postscript about the Ambassador’s life in the 2003 edition of the book published by Wayne State University Press.
Henry Morgenthau III’s brother, Robert Morgenthau, also a vocal advocate for Armenian Genocide recognition, served as District Attorney for New York County in Manhattan. Their father, Henry Morgenthau II, was Secretary of the Treasury under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“The Armenian people have lost a true friend with Henry’s passing. His grandfather Ambassador Henry Morgenthau played a critical role as the first opponent of genocide on the world stage as he defended the Armenian people. With his first-hand familiarity of his grandfather’s legacy, Henry stood with the Armenian people throughout his life, always ready to step up immediately to lend his gravitas in support of all essential issues for Armenians,” stated Armenian Assembly President Carolyn Mugar.
“Despite his advancing age, Henry continued to participate in Armenian Genocide commemorative and advocacy events. He was honored at the community-wide Centennial Genocide Commemoration in Washington, D.C. in 2015, where he walked on stage surrounded by his children and grandchildren. The Morgenthaus are legendary within the Armenian community, who are grateful that this noted family validated their traumatic history as a people by informing the entire world,” she continued.
Carolyn added: “Henry was exemplary in carrying on Ambassador Morgenthau’s commitment to genocide recognition and prevention. We all honor him for his total resolve to relentlessly stand up and speak out against injustices of the past. He used his voice to deepen people’s recognition of the importance of acknowledging the truth in history and thereby using this truth to prevent the recurrence of atrocities.”
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
Last week, Florida Armenians Managing Editor Taniel Koushakjian sat down with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan during his trip to Washington, D.C. Sargsyan travelled to the U.S. to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City where he delivered an impassioned speech about the need for international condemnation of Azerbaijan military attacks against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh that has recently claimed several lives, including three Armenian female civilians, in the last few weeks.
From New York, President Sargsyan, accompanied by Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, Presidential Chief of Staff Vigen Sargsyan, and Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Tigran Sargsyan, travelled to Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings with Armenian American community leaders. Koushakjian shared with Sargsyan activities of the Armenian community in Florida marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Koushakjian explained that Florida is one of 43 states that has acknowledged the 1915 Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey, which was last proclaimed by former Governor Jeb Bush in 2006. Although Florida recognizes the Armenian Genocide, it does not have an official curriculum mandated by the state to teach the Armenian Genocide. Sargsyan inquired if the presidential candidate was aware of his strong record on the Armenian Genocide, which Koushakjian assured him was the case.
In that regard, Koushakjian talked about efforts by Florida Armenians and the Armenian Assembly of America to advance Armenian Genocide education in the Sunshine State despite lack of a state mandate. For instance, in April of this year Koushakjian presented an Armenian Genocide exhibit entitled “Iconic Images of the Armenian Genocide” at the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida (HMSWFL). In the lead up to the presentation, the Turkish Consulate in Miami wrote a threatening letter to the HMSWL objecting to the presentation and demanding it be canceled. Koushakjian explained to Sargsyan that Armenian Genocide denial exists around almost every street corner in America and that grassroots efforts promoting genocide education are vital to ensuring a future free of mass atrocities.
In addition, Koushakjian thanked Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian for his efforts to confront and assist with the Syrian refugee crisis. To date, Armenia has absorbed close to 20,000 refugees, the majority of which are the most vulnerable communities: Armenians, Assyrians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities. In addition to Armenian government efforts, Nalbandian has raised the cause of the Syrian peoples’ plight to the international community on several occasions this year alone. Koushakjian informed Nalbandian that Florida Armenians would do everything they can to inform the American public that Armenia is the last Christian safe haven in the Middle East.
In the afternoon, the Florida Armenians attended a luncheon on Capitol Hill hosted by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) and the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues in honor of President Sargsyan. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) gave remarks and introduced President Sargsyan. “For years, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has been a leading voice promoting awareness of the Holocaust and other genocides throughout history, and the Foundation has called upon all of us to have the courage to stand against such despicable brutality in the future,” stated Chairman Royce. “As the leader of a people who survived the first genocide of the twentieth century, President Sargsyan is well aware of the need for that courage. We must continue to speak the truth about the Armenian Genocide and learn its bitter lessons in order to help others who are targeted,” Royce said.
The luncheon featured remarks by special guest Robert M. Morgenthau, grandson of U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau, who received an award from IRWF Chairman Eduardo Eurnekian and co-founder Baruch Tanembaum for his efforts advancing Armenian Genocide recognition.
On Thursday, October 1, President Sargsyan concluded his visit to Washington with a presentation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.