From Our Readers

Anna Astvatsaturian-Turcotte

My grandfather, Yegishe Astvatsaturian, fled the Genocide in 1915 and came to Baku, the capital of modern-day Azerbaijan. Yet for him, and many other Armenian families, the horrors followed him across borders in the early 20th century and returned to haunt us yet again in modern times.
“We were reliving the nightmare my grandfather endured, exactly 70 years later”

Denise Gentilini

It all started in 1915. My grandfather, Kourken Handjian, was only eight years old when his father, chief of police in Erzinga (modern-day Erzincan in Eastern Turkey) was murdered at the beginning of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks. When mass deportations began, Kourken's family was told to leave their palatial home and join the others on a death march to Deir ez-Zor. The suffering and the unthinkable crimes he had to witness were permanently burned into Kourken's mind.
Three-time Emmy Award winning composer works to tell her grandparents’ story

Lalai Manjikian

Khatcher Menakian, my maternal grandfather, was a Genocide survivor. My grandfather remained lucid and alert until his death at age 98. His body may have been tired and weak, yet his mind remained sharp and inquisitive over the years.
"Denial can never erase my grandfather’s life story."

Nune Aivazyan

It was my grandmother and her family who escaped the Genocide, leaving their hometown of Bitlis. My grandmother's name was Hasmik Melkumyan (Avagyan). She was born in 1913 and was the seventh child in her family.
"I am proud of my motherland and its great history"

Tigran Mutafyan

My Armenian heritage is the core of my essence. The Armenian language gave me a chance to understand who I am, what the world is to me, why I have to survive and what God is. I used to teach at the Saint Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy and had my own acting and directing studio there. I have a clear theory of how we should educate our people to help them succeed.
"My heritage is the core of my essence"

Elia Bilemjian

To me, my Armenian heritage means the survival and perpetuation of the Western Armenian language through my constant use and practice. I am captivated by traditional music and dance, especially of Western Armenian origin, and that is why I have become a student and performer of Armenian dance. It’s my inspiration.
"I am captivated by traditional music and dance"

Hripsime Bekyan

I am proud that I am Armenian, and that after such a brutal trial, the Armenian people have not lost their faith, humanity and conscience. I will always be an Armenian.
"I will always be an Armenian"

Linda Kianian-Aftandilian

My Armenian heritage is very important to me. I feel the responsibility to continue to teach my kids, as well as my students, about who we are. My biggest achievement besides being a mother is being a teacher. Each year on April 24th I was the one who went to the classroom to teach my students about the Armenian Genocide. I felt that was my biggest contribution. I could have taken a day off and marched, but I felt the need to teach my students about April 24th.
"My biggest achievement besides being a mother is being a teacher"

Jak Chakhalian

Sometimes in order to highlight the importance of every individual, regardless of his or her race or nationality, I say: “If you have nothing to be proud of, be proud of your nation.” Having said this, for me the importance of being Armenian came from the Genocide survival stories of our family, which were mentioned from time to time when we all got together on weekends at my grandparents' small apartment in Tbilisi, Georgia. We shared food, sang and danced, argued about politics and cracked jokes. Occasionally, a very old relative would show up and tell us kids some strange and dark stories about 1915.
“If you have nothing to be proud of, be proud of your nation”

Gohar and Mariam Trchunyan

Our Armenian heritage encourages us to help our country in any way we can and to pass on our legacy, which is the pride of our nation, to younger generations. We are a nation that went through terrible trials and tribulations, and even though we haven’t always been independent, we have survived. Our faith has given us power and hope that we fought for and that we will continue to fight for it in the future.
"Our Armenian heritage encourages us to help our country in any way we can"


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