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Memoirs of a survivor

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  • #41


    I was in the very last convoy** that was forced out of the city. All of us knew that we were going to our living deaths. We marched in the heat of what felt like several suns, sweating as if blood were oozing out of us. We arrived at a desolate place where the earth looked like sand***. Women, taken away by groups, vanished out of sight. I did not know what was going on there. I was among those left behind.

    They took me too with my Karekin and my Yerchanig-only these two were left of my five children. I saw a large, deep hole in the ground. They removed our clothes at the edge of the hole until we were naked as at birth. They killed and threw the bodies down. As I looked inside, my mind went awry; those giving up the ghost lay there, enfolding the dead. I was hit on the head with something of iron; then once again at the back of my neck. I was thrown into the hole, holding the hands of my children. I do not remember anything after that.

    When I more or less came to, I saw that red [blood] was running through and down my hair. I dragged myself to one side and crouched. It was a place like a dungeon. Of a sudden, there was a suffocating smoke. They were burning twigs and things at the opening of the hole; there no longer was any hope of living.

    Hours later, curious Arab women came to see what was happening. They pulled me out. Where was I to look for my Karekin and my Yerchanig, under what corpses, burned and charred?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++++
    * This is the title of an article written in 1920 by Theotig, a prominent Armenian writer. The above passage is an excerpt from that article. Theotig testifies that the human sacrifice described here, "to the god Moloch of the Turanian non-nation" was reported to him personally. ["Non-nation" (chazc) is meant to suggest that the Turanians were not a nation but a big pack of animals.] The excerpt, translated from the Armenian (Gürün dialect,) is Gadar Dadourian's account of her ordeal during the 1915 Genocide perpetrated by theTurks on the Armenians. The word Merelots in the title (which Theotig is using in quotation marks) is short for Hishadag Merelots (Remembrance of the Dead).It often refers to the Monday after the Sunday of major feasts when prayers are said for the souls of the departed.
    ** The word 'convoy' is used here to translate the Turkish word katar. A katar is a convoy, but it refers more specifically to a file or string of animals and animal-drawn vehicles.

    *** The Turkish word that Gadar is using here is kumbet. This is an unusual word. The translator's guess is that it means "sandfaced", from kum (sand) and bet (face).
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++++

    Gadarine Dadourian was located by my father xxxxran in 1919 in Constantinople. She arrived at Ellis Island in April 1920. I was born in December 1920 and my brother Hovhaness was born in March 1923.

    ================================================== ======================================

    This article was translated from Armenian by Dr. HAGOP NERSOYAN as a special favor for Hagop and Helga Dadourian. We are deeply grateful to Dr. Hagop Nersoyan for the time and effort he contributed to make this translation available in English. This will enable the present and future generations to have a glimpse of some of the atrocities perpetrated by the Turks in the first GENOCIDE of the 20th Century.
    General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


    • #42
      Armenian Genocide survivor marks 100th birthday

      Glendale, Calif.– Armenian
      Genocide survivor Ghazaros
      Kademian recently celebrated his
      100th birthday by sharing a generous
      donation with the Armenian
      National Committee of America
      – Western Region (ANCA-WR). The
      donation will provide the ANCAWR
      the resources to continue its
      Armenian Genocide educational
      awareness programs across the
      Western United States .
      In a May 18, 2005, statement submitted
      to the Congressional Record,
      Rep. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.-29) had
      honored Ghazaros Kademian, a
      resident of Glendale. Kademian
      was only six years old when his
      family was forced into exile from
      their homeland in the village of
      Zeitoun. Kademian’s mother saved
      him and his siblings by fleeing the
      oncoming slaughter of the Ottoman
      “The ANCA-WR is honored that
      Ghazaros Kademian, a hero of the
      Armenian people, a survivor of the
      Armenian Genocide, has become
      one of our sponsors,” declared
      ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew
      Kzirian. “His generosity reflects
      his determination that our
      common story be told, with clarity
      to our fellow Americans.”
      Having survived the genocide,
      Kademian went on to marry an
      Armenian girl named Azadouhi
      and they had three children,
      Ohanes, Asdghig, and Anahid. He
      is also the proud to have seven
      grandchildren, all of whom know
      his remarkable story of faith, dedication,
      and survival. On April 29,
      the family of Ghazaros Kademian
      celebrated his 100th birthday by
      inviting his friends and family
      to mark the wonderful occasion.
      Among those present at the celebration
      held in Glendale were Rep.
      Schiff, Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian,
      and ANCA-WR-Chairperson Raffi Hamparian.

      Congressman Schiff's Blog

      Honoring the Achievements of Ghazaros Kademian
      Posted by: Adam Schiff (May 03, 2007, 10:37 AM)

      This weekend I also went to a very special birthday party. A gentleman named Ghazaros Kademian celebrated his one hundredth birthday – and what a remarkable birthday it was. A survivor of the Armenian Genocide, he lost his father at a very young age, when his father was murdered by Turkish Gendarmes. He and his family were forced to flee on foot, in a deportation that took them all the way to Kirkuk. He lost his mother when she died one cold morning on the steps of a church, was disconnected from his siblings, and orphaned. He survived, prospered, immigrated to the United States, raised his family, helped them raise their families, and has now lived to celebrate 100 years.

      His story, his courage and tenacity, his generosity towards others, is an incredible inspiration. When I think about the Genocide Resolution – and the importance of its passage in the Congress – I think about people like Ghazaros, who lost their whole family in the Armenian Genocide. And I think about the continuing injury to his family and to the memory of the loved ones he lost, caused by the continuing denial of that genocide.

      It’s often difficult to appreciate the loss of a million and a half people – to get your mind around the enormity of that crime. Sometimes it is far easier to look at it at the level of a single human being. And when I sit down with Ghazaros Kademian, it becomes very personal and much easier to appreciate the significance of what took place between 1915 and 1923.

      I hope we are successful in passing the Genocide Resolution this year – I believe we will be. It is still going to be a very difficult fight. But if not now, when? If after 92 years we don’t recognize the genocide, when will we? And how can we have the authority we need to condemn the genocide in Darfur, if we are unwilling to recognize other genocides that have gone on in the past?
      "All truth passes through three stages:
      First, it is ridiculed;
      Second, it is violently opposed; and
      Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

      Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)