The Forty Days of Musa Dagh
The Forty Days of Musa Dagh (German: Die vierzig Tage des Musa Dagh) is a 1933 novel by Austrian-Bohemian writer Franz Werfel based on events that took place in 1915, during the second year of World War I and at the beginning of the Armenian Genocide.
The novel focuses on the self-defense by a small community of Armenians living near Musa Dagh, a mountain in Vilayet of Aleppo in the Ottoman Empire—now in Hatay Province, part of southern Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast—as well the events in Constantinople (Istanbul) and provincial capitals, where the Young Turk government orchestrated the deportations, concentration camps and massacres of the empire's Armenian citizens. This policy, as well as who bore responsibility for it, has been controversial and contested since 1915. Because of this or perhaps in spite of it, the facts and scope of the Armenian Genocide were little known until Werfel's novel, which entailed voluminous research and is generally accepted as based on historical events.The novel was originally published in German in November 1933. It achieved great international success and has been credited with awakening the world to the evidence of the persecution and genocide inflicted on the Armenian nation during World War I. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh also foreshadows the Holocaust of World War II due in part to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, which paralleled the novel's creation. In 2012, David R. Godine, Publisher, issued a revised and expanded English translation of The Forty Days of Musa Dagh that incorporates virtually all of the material left out of Geoffrey Dunlop's 1934 translation. Due to Turkish government efforts to prevent development of a film version, only one film adaptation from 1982 has been produced.
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