Communing online across the Armenian diaspora

May 20, 2010

Earlier today, I ‘chatted’ with an Armenian in Beirut on Facebook. His family (like my grandfather’s family) was from Marash. Several months ago, I discovered a Facebook page with Marashtzi Canadian Armenians sharing pictures of their summer picnic. Last summer, I met an Israeli-born Armenian woman while I was visiting Jerusalem and learned that her family was also from Marash. Here, in New York City, many Armenian families are the children and grandchildren of genocide survivors from Marash. In fact, the husband of my Armenian grocer (Yaranush) is also Marashtzi.

These are just a few examples of how Armenians from one town decimated by the Ottoman Turks built their lives in the cities where they were welcomed all over the world. And now, through the Internet, we are finding one another. I wish our grandparents could be alive to know their children are rebuilding Marash—and Van, Sepastia, Aintab, Kayseri, Constantinople, Everek, Harpoot, Zeitun, Diyarbekir, Urfa, Sivas—in their hearts and here online.

Learn how Vartoosh and Arshile Gorky escaped the Armenian Genocide

February 25, 2010
Arshile Gorky and his mother, Lady Shushanik

Arshile Gorky and his mother, Lady Shushanik (from

Arshile Gorky's, The Artist and his Mother (from

Arshile Gorky’s given name was Vosdanik Adoian. He and his family were originally from Van, in historic Armenia. They fled their beloved homeland during the Armenian Genocide, living briefly in Yerevan (where Gorky’s mother tragically died from starvation in his arms).

During one of my research visits to Ellis Island, historian Barry Moreno recommended that I read, The Many Worlds of Arshile Gorky,  a biography written by the world-renowned artist’s nephew, Karlen Mooradian. The book is in the Ellis Island Bob Hope Memorial Library collection. It  includes an interview with Vartoosh Adoian Mooradian, Gorky’s sister and the author’s mother, as well as interviews with several of Gorky’s contemporaries.

The book describes historic Van, which influenced and inspired Gorky’s work, and it depicts the Yerevan of nearly a century ago. In The Many Worlds of Arshile Gorky, Vartoosh details the family’s odyssey from the shores of Lake Van (including their deportation march) to the shores beyond Ellis Island (living in New England and Manhattan). Vartoosh’s interview provides insights into Armenian immigrant life and struggles during, and beyond, the Great Depression.

Did you know Gorky was fired from Hood Rubber Company in Watertown, Massachusetts, for drawing on the frames that held sneaker tops? The Hood Rubber Company employed many Armenian immigrants who fled Turkey and came to America.


I came across an article in the Armenian Reporter online, mentioning an upcoming Armenian Genocide Commemoration Essay Contest. For more information, follow this link to the article:

%d bloggers like this: