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News

ALEXANDRAPOL ORPHANS AT ''KAZACHI POST'' ORPHANAGE
“100 Photographic Stories of the Armenian Genocide”

23.11.2019


Thousands of orphans are gathered in the square of “Kazachi Post” orphanage for standing in row.

The photo was taken from the bell tower of Orthodox Church in the territory of barrack.

Alexandrapol 29.10.1926



The photograph is about the American Near East Relief's activities in Alexandrapol.

According to the agreement signed in 1919 with the Mayor of Alexandrapol the American Near East Relief Committee took the Armenian orphans of the city under its care. The abandoned barracks and warehouses of the Imperial Russian Army became the shelter for around 20.000 homeless orphans.

The Relief was engaged in the vocational training of the orphans: the boys were learning painting, carpentry, tailoring, shoemaking, and the girls were attending nursing courses to work in the hospitals after graduation. The orphans spent half of the day at school, and the other half at workshops. On Saturdays and Sundays there were no classes, and the children were engaged in the cleaning of the orphanages.

In ''Vorbaqaghaq'' (City of the orphans) attention was paid also to the spiritual education of the orphans: children went to church every Sunday, and attended religion classes during the week. The orphanages had theatre groups, children choirs. The orphanage published their newspapers.

… They brought me to Alexandrapol, more precisely, to Leninakan orphanage. Here they were keeping us in an American orphanage. It was a bad period - famine, epidemics. I grew up with other orphans half-starved. Shiraz, Nayri Zaryan, Khachik Dashtents, Samson Gasparyan and others were with me. Then the girls’ orphanage was separated. I stayed there for ten years. Once we were informed that some people were choosing those with good voices to take to the city for musical education. I was thirteen-fourteen years old girl, when a composer Nikoghayos Tigranyan and a famous singer Tigran Nalbandyan wished to listen to me at the orphanage director's office.

Shoghik Mkrtchian
Armenian National Artist - Survivor of the Armenian Genocide
V. Svazlian, The Armenian Genocide. Testimonies of the Eye-Witness Survivors, Yerevan, 2011, p. 166.


Photo: Collection of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute



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