Armenian 'Genocide' Survivors 100 Years Later

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Armenia

April 24, 2015 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian genocide. This collection of footage interviews some of the few remaining survivors of the genocide from their homes in Armenia. The interviews come at a time when Armenia and Armenians around the world are preparing to commemorate the centennial of the genocide. The commemoration is being help with the hope of keeping the fragile memory of the genocide alive and gaining recognition of the tragedy from Turkey and the international community.

Script

  1. soundbite (English )
    Suren Manukyan, Vice Director, Armenian Holocaust Museum:
  2. soundbite (Armenian )
    Khostor Frangyan, 105 Year Old Armenian Genocide Survivor: Echmiadzin, Armenia The Turks swooped in our lands in order to exterminate us. My relatives were all killed. Only my grandfather escaped the massacre. He managed to hide, taking me with him to Syria. In the rural villages of the area, the most militant tried to escape the massacre climbing the Musa Dagh, Mount Moses, where for forty days they withstood the assault of the Ottoman army. Until, weary and tired, we raised high crosses to report our presence to the French and British ships that crossed the waters of the Mediterranean. We were saved by the arrival of a cruiser sent by the French government that carried thousands of people to Egypt. Only in 1946, at the end of World War II, I felt the call of the country, but the communist regime from Armenia deported me to Siberia. After the collapse of the USSR I returned home. Before I die I have only one dream that the Turks recognize their responsibility for the genocide.
  3. soundbite (Armenian)
    Silvard Atajyan, 103 Year Old Armenian Genocide Survivor: The Turks had too powerful an army for the weak Armenian forces. Our fighters were falling like flies. My father was killed, my uncle was murdered and his body was thrown into a river. Since that day, no one in my family has eaten fish. We would be dead if it was not for a French vessel that came to rescue us. They transported us to Egypt where I lived five years before I moved to Yerevan. The Armenian genocide is a huge tragedy that has been removed [from history]. My only wish is that for the centenary, the world starts again to speak about the Armenian holocaust.
  4. soundbite (English)
    Aram Ananyan, Director, Armen Press:
  5. soundbite (Armenian)
    Arevaluys Amalyan, 103 Year Old Armenian Genocide Survivor: Arabkir District of Yerevan. Arevaluys refuses to talk about her experience, so her grandaughter tells the story on her behalf. Grandma Arevaluys was born in a family of craftsmen in a village of western Armenia that today is part of Turkey. The father was brutally killed by the Turks in April 1915. The mother, Viviane, a beautiful girl of 25 years old, was kidnapped by a Turkish pasha that proposed her to get married in exchange of the salvation of her sons and the rest of her family. She said yes and had three other children with him. Arevaluys was then taken care by her grandfather and the other sisters. She went to Batumi [Georgia] in 1926 and to Yerevan in 1930, where she got married with grandpa Sargis, who was a smith. In the eighties, when the Pasha died, Viviane reached her brothers in Aleppo. She tried to get in touch with Arevaluys, but Gradma refused to talk to her. “How dare she got married with a Turk?” she still complains today, “It was better if they killed us all”. Viviane died at the age of 111 and till her last breath she hoped to see her daughter again.
  6. soundbite (Italian)
    Father David Sarbekyan, Director of the Ruben Savak Museum: The Ruben Savak museum collects letters, telegrams and paintings of Armenian exiles in Europe. Almost all of the telegrams and paintings in this museum are like passports that show why they have started painting in Genova, Italy. If we look at the paintings we can always see the sea without people. That is the Mediterranean Sea that brings home, like a sort of bridge that leads back home. Armenians, who were far away from Armenia, always wanted to go back home and they were painting a sea without people. Armenia is like a small island where Christianity is alive and our creed always remained the same.