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Online exhibition



GENOCIDE AND EVACUATION
THE EVACUATION OF ARMENIAN CHILDREN FROM THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE DURING 1915-1923






Group of 5000 Armenian children evacuated from Kharberd, 1922
As a result of the Armenian Genocide about 500 000 Armenian children were killed during 1915-1923 (they were burned, poisoned, strangled), some of them died of starvation and various epidemic diseases. The children, who survived the Genocide were left orphaned and were forced to convert to Islam. The Armenian associations, church organizations, foreign relief organizations (American Near East Relief Committee, The Lord Mayor’s Fund of London, Danish Women's Union, The Russian Red Cross, Union of Russian Cities, etc.), as well as international organizations (Red Cross, The League of Nations) were involved in saving the survived Armenian children from impending death and bringing them out of the Ottoman borders.

Taking the children, who were on the verge of death, out of the Ottoman Empire would insure their physical security and solve the problem of residency and national education. In fact, the evacuated children were those, who had been recruited from uninhabited places (deserts and forests), streets, where they were involved in begging, Muslim families and Turkish state orphanages. The children found in the war zone were also evacuated by the help of Russian and British soldiers.

The first large-scale evacuation of the Armenian children in the years of the Armenian Genocide was during the battle of Musa Dagh. In spring of 1915, the Young Turks’ government started the massacres and the deportation of the Armenian population in Western Armenia and other areas of the Ottoman Empire.

On 30 July six Armenian villages of Svedia in the Mediterranean coastal region with 6000 Armenian population were given the order of deportation.

Small part of the Armenian population there obeyed to the command, while the rest (about 5000 Armenians) climbed Musa Dagh and resort to self-defense, which lasted 53 days. French ships “Gishen” and “Joan d'Arc” reached for help on 13-15 September and could evacuate 4058 people, bringing them to Port Said in Egypt. A few children were born on board the French battleships and were called with symbolic names, such as Gishen, Freedom, etc.

1563 Armenian children reached Port Said. In the same period the evacuation of the Armenian children continued in Khunus, Van, Bitlis and other places.

Along with the expansion of the Kemalist movement in the Asia Minor during 1921-1922, a perilous situation occured for the Armenian children in the orphanages that operated within the Ottoman Empire, and this was further exacerbated after the massacres of the Armenians in Cilicia perpetrated by the Kemalists. As a result of those massacres thousands of Armenians from Ayntap, Marash, Hajn, Mersin and other places were forced to leave their ancestral homes. During the mass deportation of the Cilician Armenians at the end of 1921, about 7500 Armenian orphans were evacuated to Aleppo, Beirut, Damascus and Alexandretta, most of them were taken under the protection of National Care Association and AGBU.

One of the dramatic episodes of evacuation occurred on December 1921 in the township of Nahr El Oman in the province of Basra, where 816 Armenian orphans were transported to Jerusalem and were welcomed by Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Yeghishe Durian, national figures and a number of local Armenians.

As a result of the massacres perpetrated by Young Turks and Kemalists, thousands of Armenian orphans were on the brink of destruction in the whole territory of the Ottoman Empire. For this concern a meeting was held on 7 February, 1922 in Aleppo between American Near East Relief staff and the Armenian delegation headed by vicar of the diocese priest Haroutyun Yesayan and authorized by Catholicos of Cilicia Sahak II. The commission decided to transport the Armenian orphans, who sheltered in the Turkey’s southern and southeastern orphanages, to Syria and Lebanon, and from northern and northwestern regions to the Caucasus and Greece. By the decision of the American Near East Relief, Armenian and Greek orphans from Central Turkey, Kayseri, Konya and Sebastia, and northern regions, Trabizon, Samsun were transported to Constantinople and then to Greece by ship and placed in 13 orphanages. From Trace, another part of the decaying Ottoman Empire, the Armenian orphans were transported to Romania and Bulgaria, and from Izmir and Bursa to Greece by river of Maritsa.

Jacob Küntzler and his wife Elizabeth were in charge of the evacuation progress from South and southeastern parts of Turkey (Urfa and nearby, Mardin, Kharberd, Agn and Malatia). They were working in the Urfa branch of American Near East Relief and were involved in taking care of the Armenian orphans. They were selected for this job thanks to their brilliant knowledge of the area and the mastery of Turkish language. In April, 1922 Künzler organized the largest evacuation ever: 5000 orphans were brought out from Kharberd and the vicinities. According to Künzler’s statistics, totally 8000 Armenian children were evacuated from south and southeastern parts of Turkey. They were placed in Syrian and Lebanese orphanages.

In September 1922 about 5000 Greek and Armenian orphans were evacuated by the Kemalists during the devastating fire of Smyrna through the help of Sara Cornig, a worker in Smyrna branch of American Near East Relief. Those children were transported to Greece by American warships. As a result of evacuation works, thousands of Armenian orphans were saved from Young Turks’ and Kemalists’ genocidal operations.

According to the data provided by J. Barton, , about 30 000 Armenian and Greek orphans were evacuated to Syria, Lebanon and Greece thanks to the rescue operations carried out by American Near East Relief. As many as 12 000 Armenian children were from south and southeastern parts of the Empire.






The evacuation of Musa Dagh Armenians to Port Said by French battleships, 1915





Children evacuated from Musa Dagh to Port Said, 1915





Children evacuated from Musa Dagh to Port Said, 1915





Children evacuated from Musa Dagh to Port Said, 1915




The evacuation of 816 Armenian orphans from Nahr El-Omar to Jerusalem, 1921




The Armenian orphans in Jerusalem, 1922




The evacuation of blind and disabled Armenian orphans from Turkey by J.Küntzler, 1922




Routes showing the evacuation of 8000 Armenian orphans from Turkey by J. Küntzler, 1922




A group of Armenian orphans evacuating from Turkey, 1922




Group of 5 000 Armenian children evacuated from Kharberd, 1922




A group of Armenian orphans evacuating from Turkey, 1922




The first group of 130 Armenian orphans (out of 8000, evacuated from Turkey)
having rest after two days of difficult journey





Armenian orphans evacuated from Urfa near the Kurdish village of Suruj, 1922




1400 Armenian orphans evacuated from Turkey were given a shelter in Ghazirie orphanage (Lebanon)




Armenian children being evacuated by American Near East Relief workers and taking the ship, 1922




Armenian orphans climbing the ship with their backpacks and rescue rings,
accompanied with American Near East Relief workers, 1922





Armenian children at the platform waiting for the ship, 1922




A group of thousand children evacuated from Turkey.
They are forced to leave their ancestral homeland, 1922





Rows of little orphans evacuating from Turkey, 1922




Armenian children evacuated from Smyrna by Sara Cornig, 1922




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VIRTUAL MUSEUM

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

genocide
The Comparative Analysis of the 20th Century Genocides
International Association of Genocide Scholars
The twelfth meeting
8-12 July 2015, Yerevan

LEMKIN SCHOLARSHIP

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AGMI ANNOUNCES 2018
LEMKIN SCHOLARSHIP FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS

SPECIAL PROJECT

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100 PHOTO STORIES ABOUT THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE


TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS

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Temporary exhibitions dedicated to the Armenian Genocide

During 2015, within the framework of the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the AGMI plans to organize nearly twenty different multilingual exhibitions of new scientific scholarship using modern technologies and design in different countries simultaneously. There will be accompanying exhibition leaflets, catalogues and booklets in Armenian and foreign languages. In parallel, the AGMI plans to publish memoirs and monographs in Armenian and foreign languages.

REMEMBER

remember
Murad Kyurikyan - one of the famous figures of Hunchak party from Sebastia. He was arrested in 1915. After being subjected to unimaginable sufferings for 40 days,he was violently killed. Victim of Armenian Genocide.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE STUDIES  

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE STUDIES
RA, Armenia Yerevan 0028
Tsitsernakaberd memorial complex
Tel: (374 10) 39 09 81
Fax: (374 10) 39 10 41
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