Astrid Aghajanian survived the Armenian Genocide

June 14, 2012

When we focus on the number, 1,500,000 massacred in the Armenian Genocide, it is easy to lose sight of the individual lives touched by this man-made tragedy. Learning the stories of individuals is a meaningful way to come to know history.

The UK’s Independent published this powerful obituary which honors the life of Helen Astrid ‘Astghig’ Aghajanian, nee Gaidzakian:

Astrid Aghajanian: Survivor of the Armenian genocide who narrowly escaped death
June 14, 2012 | Independent.co.uk

Helen (Astghig/Astrid) Gaidzakian was born in Albistan, Turkey, March 28, 1913. She survived the deportation and massacre of the Armenians during the Armenian Genocide in Turkey. In 1942, she married Gaspar Aghajanian. The Aghajanians had two daughters. Widowed in 2007, Mrs. Aghajanian died in Gloucester May 11, 2012. Read about her life.

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Yes Turkey, it was Genocide — Vive la France!

December 23, 2011

Yesterday, we received the news from around the world that France’s lower house of Parliament voted to criminalize denial of the Armenian Genocide. Of course, Turkey’s Prime Minister went ballistic. In his tirade against France, Erdogan accused the French of stifling free speech. Ironically (of course), as the New York Times correctly noted, “Turkey’s own penal code makes affirming the genocide a crime on the grounds that it is an insult to Turkish identity. In March, Orhan Pamuk, a Nobel Prize winner, was fined 7,000 lira, about $3,700, for his statement in a Swiss newspaper that ‘we have killed 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians’.”

As new information concerning the Armenian Genocide occurs, I do my best to report it in this blog in a timely manner. However, yesterday, I was increasingly frustrated as I read articles published in the world’s leading newspapers, most using language which obfuscate the truth about the history of the first genocide occuring in the 20th century. There are official volumes (archives full) of the facts of Turkey’s systematic killing of between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians under the cover of World War I.

Turkish historian Taner Akcam has documented the motivation for this genocide in his master work, “A Shameful Act“. Basically, in addition to racial hatred of the non-Turkish, non-Muslim Armenian Christian minority, Turkey coveted the land the Armenians occupied for thousands of years. The Turkish government also saw an opportunity to create an instant Muslim, middleclass by taking all of the Armenians’ properties and belongings and redistributing the ‘bootie’ (including houses) to its Muslim population.

During the genocide, the United States Ambassador to Turkey was Henry Morgenthau. In his first-person account of the Armenian Genocide, he recalls a conversation with one of the masterminds of the genocide, Talaat Pasha:

One day Talaat made what was perhaps the most astonishing request I had ever heard.  The New York Life Insurance Company and the Equitable Life of New York had for years done considerable business among the Armenians.  The extent to which this people insured their lives was merely another indication of their thrifty habits.  “I wish,” Talaat now said, “that you would get the American Life insurance companies to send us a complete list of their Armenian policy holders.  They are practically dead now and have left no heirs to collect the money.  If … all escheats to the State, the Government is the beneficiary now. Will you do so?”

This was almost too much, and I lost my temper.  “You will get no such list from me,” I said, and I got up and left him.

Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, p. 339. [Source]

In addition to the records in government archives in the U.S., France, Germany, and Great Britain, there was an unprecedented humanitarian relief effort spearheaded by Evangelical and Catholic missionaries, who went to heroic lengths to save the Armenians. Many relief workers documented what they witnessed in Turkey, in brutal detail. There are thousands of eyewitness accounts and so much scholarly work on this subject, that the veracity of the facts cannot be disputed.

However, the Turkish government spends millions of dollars each year to lobby lawmakers in the United States and countries all over the world to vote against recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Turkey has also infiltrated some of the world’s leading universities, ensuring books about the Armenian Genocide are not available in their libraries and endowing chairs. The effort and amount of disinformation Turkey continues to manufacture about the Armenian Genocide is astonishing.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to the French government for standing up and saying no to Turkey. It is unlikely the United States and Israel will suddenly become enlightened with moral clarity, but one can always hope.


It’s not too late to submit Armenian Genocide testimony for Congressional Record

May 26, 2010

Schiff submits Armenian Genocide Survival Stories into Congressional Record
PanArmenian.net | May 26, 2010


Include your Armenian Genocide family stories in the US Congressional Record

May 17, 2010

Take Action:

If you have a family member who can tell the story of a mother or father (or any relative) who was a victim of the Ottoman Turks during the Armenian Genocide, please help them share their testimony in the US Congressional Record. Read and share the following newspaper article with your Armenian family and friends:

Rep. Schiff launches Armenian genocide Congressional Record Campaign
Whittier Daily News | May 15, 2010

[Email your family’s stories and memories of the Armenian genocide to Mary Hovagimian at mary.hovagimian@mail.house.gov. Ms. Hovagimian is a member of Representative Adam Schiff’s Pasadena (California) office staff. Rep. Schiff is working to bring H.R. 252 to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs.]

Related:

This weekend, I read David Kherdian’s award-winning book about his mother, Veron Dumehjian Kherdian. The book, The Road From Home: A True Story of Courage, Survival and Hope, is beautifully written and very inspirational. It gives us a window into Armenian life before, during and after the Armenian Genocide. I highly recommend it. (I’ve provided a link to the book on Amazon.com, but you may be able to find it in your library. It’s available as an audio book and for Kindle, too.

  • ISBN-10: 068814425X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688144258

Shogher Abraham Tonoyan’s Armenian Genocide History

December 31, 2009

Please read the testimony of Shogher Abraham Tonoyan (from 1915armeniangenocide.blogspot.com)

Shogher Abraham Tonoyan’s Armenian Genocide History

The 1915armeniangenocide.blogspot.com is dedicated to remembrance of the victims of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Empire. For more testimonials, be sure to visit that blog and share it with others.

If you know about other Armenian Genocide-related websites and blogs, please share their addresses via a comment or email. (Beware of the many false sites sponsored by parties spreading disinformation and propaganda.)


My Armenian Genocide Story

December 29, 2009

From Hrag Vartanian’s blogpage, his family’s Armenian Genocide history:
My Armenian Genocide Story


We need your family history and testimony about the Armenian Genocide

October 28, 2009

How can children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Armenian Genocide victims participate in the international dialogue of the moment?

In the Protocols signed by Armenia and Turkey, Turkey pledged to establish a commission to “investigate the Armenian Issue.” Each and every Armenian with a family history connected to the Armenian Genocide is invited to come forward now. The citizens of the world are waiting to hear from you. Please share your family history and testimony.

For more information about how you can participate, please send your confidential message using the comment form below.


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