As I mentioned earlier, my Great Grandmother was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. As a young girl, she lived with her large and wealthy family in Aintab, Turkey. Her father was a well respected and liked merchant, well known by Turkish officials. In the months leading up to the events now called the Armenian Genocide, officials of the Turkish government repeatedly assured my Great Grandmother’s family and father that there was no need to worry about the safety of the family. They promised not to harm the family.
The family’s neighbor’s had a son, a youngster, who worked as a servant boy in the officials’ offices. One night, while working, he overheard the officials stating that they would be getting rid of my Great Grandmother’s family like all the other Armenians. As soon as he could, he left work and informed by Great Grandmother’s family of what he had overheard. Likely saving my Great Grandmother’s life.
On hearing what was about the happen to their family,to prevent the Turks from taking everything, my Great Great Grandmother began burning some of their belongings and instructed a few of her children to bury the most valuable of these belongings under a nearby church. Not much later the Turks arrived at their doorstep. Beating them with whips and sticks, demanding that they leave their home. My Great Grandmother hid in the home, witnessing her family members get tortured, beaten, raped, and killed, from her vantage point. Soon, the remaining surviving members of her family and herself were forced to march hundreds of miles, first to the city of Aleppo and then to the desert of Havran Cholu. They were left there in the desert to die without water or food. Of her large family only a handful were able to survive the beatings and later the treacherous conditions of the desert. These remaining members managed to escape to Aleppo. With no money and no belongings they survived by eating grain that they found trapped in the bristles of brooms and off the coats of horses. Later, what remained of the family lived in Iskandarun, before moving to Lebanon.
My Great Grandmother lived an incredibly long life passing away, in Los Angeles, at a very very old age on Christmas Eve in the late 1990’s. Please take a moment today to remember those who were murdered in the Armenian Genocide…
The series of posts on the Armenian Genocide:
- Part 1 – The Armenian Genocide
- Part 2 – What Transpired
- Part 3 – Recognition of the Armenian Genocide
- Part 4 – A Survivor’s Account of the Armenian Genocide – My Great Grandmother.