Nare Karoyan

Pianist Nare Karoyan grew up in Yerevan, surrounded by contemporary art and dozens of vinyl records. This special atmosphere, created by the merging of different means of expression, remains an inexhaustible source of energy for her. During her quest to hone her artistic skills, Nare has had the honor to work with unique personalities like Pascal Devoyon, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Peter Eicher, Anthony Spiri and Gérard Buquet. But none of this would have been possible without Boghos Noubar Pasha – a wealthy Armenian who purchased her orphaned great-grandparents from the Turks and Kurds during the Armenian Genocide and gave them a new life. Below, Nare tells her family’s story in her own words.
Armenian pianist maps her family’s history with music

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

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"

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"

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"

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."

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"

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”

Eliza O’Doherty

My father's family comes from Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey). My grandfather imported from Austria the red felt that was used to make fezzes — traditional hats worn by all men in the Ottoman Empire. The family had a house in the Armenian quarter, which was not far from the Jewish quarter. On Fridays my father would light the gas lamps for his family's Jewish friends.
"The French my father learned in college probably saved his life"

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"

Peter Bahlawanian

As one of the first Armenian music producers in North America, my father became a great role model for me. He started the record company PE-KO Records and produced legendary singers like Harout Pamboukjian, Paul Baghdadlian, Adiss Harmandyan, Manuel and many more.
"I continue to find new ways of bringing Armenians together"

Maral Attallah

Ever since I was a child, I knew that being Armenian was part of my identity. Whenever I was lost, I would say things like “My name is Maral Necole Attallah, I am Armenian Orthodox, I live at…” My parents said I included the “Armenian Orthodox” part on my own.
I have always wanted to bring honor to my family

Talene Yotnotsian

Being Armenian is a huge part of my identity. I am a third generation Armenian, born from a line of Armenian Genocide survivors who have handed down a cross for me to carry, a reminder that as an Armenian descendant I must continue to thrive and maintain our rich Indo-European culture.
“I am an American girl with an Armenian name, living with nothing but Armenian pride”

“I am honoring my ancestors”

Every voice deserves to be heard and every story is worth telling. Here are five survival stories submitted by our users. More coming soon!
Survival stories submitted by our users