The Role of Azerbaijan in World War II and as a Refuge in the Caucasus from the Holocaust

17–19 October 2012
Baku, Azerbaijan

This international symposium was jointly organised in Baku by TEAS and the Paris-based Yahad-In Unum research organisation. It began with introductions by Tale Heydarov, Chairman and Founder, TEAS and Ali Hasanov, Head, Socio-Political Department, Azerbaijani Presidential Administration. Keynote papers were delivered by Father Patrick Desbois, President, Yahad-In Unum and Paul Shapiro, Director, Centre for Advanced Holocaust Studies, US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Following this, 18 papers were delivered by leading Azerbaijani historians and international academics from France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK, and the US. During their presentations, the speakers outlined the central importance of Azerbaijani oil in fuelling the Soviet armed forces in their fight against Nazi Germany and the importance placed on Azerbaijani resources by the Nazi elite. They also discussed Azerbaijan’s other contributions to the Soviet war effort.

Other main topics included the Nazi campaign to exterminate the Jewish community and other sections of society and Azerbaijan’s position as a place of refuge. The presentations opened up new perspectives on the country’s role in World War II, and generated lively debate between the speakers and delegates, which included academics, journalists and students.

This was a groundbreaking event, and both local and international participants expressed their eagerness to continue further co-operation. Further research into the Azerbaijani role in World War II is planned, and TEAS and Yahad-In Unum are committed to building on this landmark initiative.