In the 20th century, the nation of Germany had a dark and tumultuous past. Ultranationalists, militarists, and imperialists ruled during the darkest years in which Berlin played a direct role in several genocides, such as the Holocaust and Namibia, or overlooked ones, such as the Armenian Genocide.

Nevertheless, there were military personnel disgusted with the actions of their government, one of which was Armin Wegner. Wanting to help his country in need, Wegner became a medic with a will and determination to serve others. What he would witness would push him beyond his duties in the military to where he would benefit all of humankind.

Starving Armenian children, from Armin T. Wegner’s Collection

Career in the German Military

Armin T Wegner was born in 1886 in the Rhine Province of Germany. When Europe was embroiled in the Great War, Wegner volunteered to serve his nation and empire, enrolling as a volunteer nurse in German-occupied Poland. Here, 2nd Lt Wegner earned the Iron Cross for treatment of wounded soldiers under heavy fire.

Fighting France and Britain on the Western Front, the German high command convinced the Ottoman Empire to join the Central Powers. The Ottomans were under pressure from successive military defeats in the Balkans and North Africa, which saw a tremendous loss in territory.