The photo is of the Armenian orphans gathered from deserts and brought to Jerusalem in 1918. These tattered, barefoot and bald headed boys are of different age groups. Most of them did not speak Armenian and had lost their national identity. It took some time to turn them back to their national Armenian identity.
In 1915-1923 as a result of the Armenian Genocide thousands of the Armenian children were left orphans and converted to Islam. Many of them had died of hunger and various epidemics raging at that time.
In autumn 1918, after the end of the World War I, the Armenian associations, the Armenian Church, different individuals, especially soldiers of the Armenian Legion and the Armenian Volunteer Regiments, foreign relief organizations (the American Committee for Relief in the Near East, the Lord Mayor’s Fund of London, the Danish Women's Union, the Russian "Red Cross", the Union of Russian Cities, etc.), as well as international organizations (the “Red Cross”, the League of Nations) carried out active operations to save the Armenian orphans from inevitable loss.
The Armenian orphans were gathered from different parts of the Ottoman Empire, Syrian deserts, freed from the Muslim families and Turkish state orphanages.
As a result of the orphan gathering operations in 1918-21, more than 77.000 Armenian children were gathered and sheltered in the orphanages of the Armenian and foreign relief organizations of Turkey, Caucasus and the Near East as well as state orphanages in the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
“Thousands of the Armenian children were scattered in the villages in the Turkish houses, mostly as servants, very few as adoptees, or adult girls as wives. Just after the armistice, not only as a Patriarch, but as an Armenian individual it was one of my first duties to collect the Armenian orphans and bring them back to the nation”.
The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople
The source of the photo Nubarian Library collection, Paris
From “100 Photographic Stories of Armenian Genocide” book