In the spring of 1915, the Young Turk regime of the Ottoman began a genocide against its Armenian population under the cover of World War I. This minute-long excerpt features survivor Haroutune Aivazian. He describes the horror his mother faced when a town crier in Marash, a city in Cilcia in South West Anatolia, called for the Armenians of the community to gather in a square just outside of the town for deportation. As his mother prepared for the journey, a local Turkish man warned the family that deportation meant death. He advised them to tell any soldiers that came looking for them that they should explain that they could not leave because Aivazian’s father was serving in the Turkish military. Aivazian credits his survival to that intervention.
After heading the townsman’s advice, Aivazian sought the protection of German missionaries who sheltered him in their orphanage.
Author: Adam Strom, Chief Officer for Content Development, Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves has created a resource book on the Armenian Genocide called Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians it is available for a purchase or a free download.
Additional classroom resources including video, readings for the classroom, and lesson plans can be found at www.facinghistory.org/armeniangenocide
There is also a mini documentary of the Armenian Genocide with Armenian Genocide scholar Richard Hovannisian that provides an overview of this important history.