Day 10 of 30 Days of Testimony: Jerry Papazian on the testimony of Sam Kadorian

Sam Kadorian was born in 1907 in Hussenig, a small village in the province of Kharpert, in the eastern plains of Anatolia. He survived the Genocide in 1915 at the age of 8 when the Turkish gendarmes grabbed all the young boys of the village ages 5 to 10 and threw them into a pile on the sandy beach of the shores of the Euphrates River and starting jabbing them with their swords and bayonets. Fortunately, they only nipped his cheek and his grandmother later found him and nursed him back to health. The families of the other boys were not as fortunate as they were forced to dig graves to bury their children and grandchildren, or ended up just pushing them into the Euphrates River, where their bodies floated away.

I met Sam years ago and remember him fondly, as my maternal great grandparents came from Hussenig. My great grandfather Krekor Vaznaian had 10 brothers and sisters, some of whom left Hussenig for the dream of the New World, while others remained. In 1896, he married Kohar Movsesian of Hussenig and traveled alone to Boston where he hoped to make his fortune and return to his new bride. Instead, Kohar joined him in the United States and the two eventually settled in Los Angeles in the late 1920s, after short stays in St. Paul, Minnesota, Fresno and Sacramento.  Krekor never learned the details of the fate of the members of his family who stayed in Hussenig, though none were as fortunate as Sam Kadorian.

Author: Jerry Papazian Chairman, Armenian Film Foundation

For more information about Hussenig, I recommend the book Hussenig – The origin, history and destruction of an Armenian town, by Marderos Deranian