Let Them Not Return

Sayfo – The Genocide Against the Assyrian, Syriac, and Chaldean Christians in the Ottoman Empire

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David Gaunt, Naures Atto, Soner O. Barthoma
  • New York, NY: 
    Berghahn Books
    , May
     274 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


The mass killing of Ottoman Armenians is today widely recognized, both within and outside scholarly circles, as an act of genocide. What is less well known, however, is that it took place within a broader context of Ottoman violence against minority groups during and after the First World War. Among those populations decimated were the indigenous Christian Assyrians (also known as Syriacs or Chaldeans) who lived in the borderlands of present-day Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. This volume is the first scholarly edited collection focused on the Assyrian genocide, or "Sayfo" (literally, "sword" in Aramaic), presenting historical, psychological, anthropological, and political perspectives that shed much-needed light on a neglected historical atrocity.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

David Gaunt is Professor of History at the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University, and a member of the European Academy. He has written extensively on mass violence and genocide in Eastern Europe and in the Ottoman Empire. His Massacres, Resistors, Protectors (2006) is considered the seminal work on the Assyrian, Syriac, and Chaldean genocide.

Naures Atto is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in World Christianities and their Diaspora in the European Context and Principal Investigator in the Aramaic Online Project at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of Hostages in the Homeland, Orphans in the Diaspora: Identity Discourses among the Assyrian/Syriac elites in the European Diaspora (2011).

Soner O. Barthoma is an independent researcher in the field of Political Science and co-coordinator of the Erasmus+ Aramaic Online Project at Freie Universität Berlin. He is the author of several articles about the modern history of Assyrians in Turkey.


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