Operation Nemesis: Using a murder trial to teach about the Armenian Genocide

Soghomon Tehlirian, a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, assassinated Talaat Pasha, the primary architect of the Armenian Genocide, in Berlin in 1921. Although there was no doubt Tehlirian committed the murder, the jury found him not guilty, after hearing 2 days of testimony about the genocide planned and executed by Talaat Pasha. The trial helped motivate Raphael Lemkin to coin the word “genocide.”

Soghomon Tehlirian

It was later learned that the assassination of Talaat Pasha was part of a plan called “Operation Nemesis” to assassinate the leading perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide, who had been found guilty by a special criminal tribunal, but had fled to other countries to avoid their sentences.

Educators can download a the “Operation Nemesis” lesson plan, created by  2022 GenEd Teacher Fellow, Manuel Lopez, on this trial.

The lesson plan has a link to primary sources on this topic.

GenEd also offers summaries of the Tehlirian trial testimony that can be used alongside this lesson and/or as a mock trial activity.