This unique person has a long revolutionary history which we will hardly be able to cover, it being outside the scope of this work.
We shall write of him as classmate and teacher, knowing him personally as a patriotic man (also being helped by the monthly “Ardzvi Vasburagan”).
He was born in Aygestan Van on April 12, 1864. He received his primary education in the Haygazian school of Van, and later in the teachers’ school opened by Portukalian. There he was first among nearly all of his classmates in every course he took. In gymnasium and in swimming he amazed us classmates and the people generally for his skills. By nature he was prudent and restrained, modest and entertaining, but at the same time energetic and clever.
While still a student he also taught, ready to help his friends. It was through his efforts that the “Patriotic Union” was organized, which later became the “Armenagan Party,” the group that would later protect Van. During the eighties, when the school was closed, Avedisian [Terlemezian] taught physical education and military classes on the “Sev Kar” [Black Stone] mountain to the youth of the times, some of whom would become heroes in the fighting of ‘96.
During those days when in the Araruts parish there were the Boghosian-Aboghosian controversies, Avedisian fell under suspicion in the eyes of the government. As a result he fled to Urmi and Salmasd where he taught for about two years. He then went to Constantinople where he became involved in banking. But there too he fell under suspicion and was arrested and was to be exiled to Gharb-Tarabluz. But before arriving there he, as we said above he had learned swimming in Lake Van, saw a French ship near Malta and took advantage of the opportunity by jumping into the lake and swimming to the ship. He reached the ship which took him to Marseilles where he found his benefactor, teacher M. Portukalian.
This man of Van sang, and continued to sing, a song he composed to suit his bold manner -- “When my skiff overturns in the tempestuous sea, I shall never lose hope in the broiling waters.”
When in 1891-2, I was coming to America for the first time, I met him in Marseilles where we were together for two months. Though being assistant editor of the “Armenya” paper, and very busy, he spared some of his time helping Armenian refugees by gathering them and teaching them English and other useful subjects, and as an academic course in physical training he was teaching youth the use of rifles. He concluded from the 1894 fighting in Sasun that Van was also being threatened. For that he wanted to be closer to his beloved birthplace, and when the opportunity came he slipped in. Here was Avedisian, a supervisor in Tabriz and in Salmasd, but also busying himself as an organizer for the preparation of the youth. In 1895 he secretly entered
Van and took on the position of leading the Armenagan party. When this writer asked (from Boston) if he could go to Van and be of help, the deceased one had then written saying ,’We have many operators here. Your stay there and complete your medical training. You will be more useful later. If you must leave, go to Constantinople. There we will show you how to organize supporters. What we need is money for arms.’
The fighting of ’96 is well known and is history, as is his death along with more than 500 select youth martyred near Bartholomew [the monastery near Bashkale].
Among the 500 was his brother Krikoris.
May his remains rest in peace. Van still bemoans his loss.
He was a son of a multi-branched, commercial, and well-known family in a non-Armenian parish. Born in 1882, he was a pensive and self-confident person. Having completed the parish school he continued in self study and then went on to Constantinople where he gained good opportunities to give flight to his poetic spirit.
Returning to Van, he occupied himself in teaching and writing. With the upheavals of 1915 he joined the Armenian caravan to the Caucasus where he settled, until his death in 1928 with the longing for Van and Varak remaining in his heart. But that was not to be fulfilled.
With a pen-name of “Pokrig Yerkich” Michael turned out much with his pen, beyond the articles and writings that he submitted to the papers. We find many of his patriotic songs in song books. Here is a sampling of some of his tender poems.
FAREWELL, by HAIRIG (From his mouth)
Mnas paryav, Vasburagan, Van hayrenik im, ayzhm dkhur,
Ur yes dzna hay hor zavag, ur mayrs gabets im khantzarur.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[Continues, translation below]
Farewell, Vasburagan, my fatherland Van, now sad,
Where I was born, the son of an Armenian, where my mother swaddled me.
Farewell, to you of other faiths, and the holy font of the church,
Where I was baptized with cross and chrysm, becoming an Armenian.
Farewell, Varak mountain and my beloved monastery,
Where we breathed the free air, and I learned to pen my thoughts.
Farewell, Varak mountain with the kiss of your life-giving air,
Whence you gave flight to Hairig, the literary eagle, with loving heart.
Farewell, my brotherhood, farmer, worker, plow,
You made bountiful my fields of Varak, my dear old Varak.
Farewell, mother Armenia, with mementos of its ancient glory.
I shall never, never forget you, ah, wait, wait patiently.
Farewell, my compatriots, my beloved people of Armenia,
This pilgrim father will not forget you; you are his life and love.
Farewell, may you fare well in the world of your fatherland,
When your God will free it, may Armenia persist in your hopes.
Farewell, Armenian villager, worker son in the fields of Armenia,
Keep the soil and the plow ever-ready, be courageous in your husbandry.
Farewell, little singer, do not forget your song and its words.
Stay and live for the sake of the ancestors of the lands of Van.
Michael also has a ten-verse, bold song, “Son of Garin.”
Lure hnchets i Hayastan, medzats hayots partzr ashkharhits
- - - - - - - -- -[translation below of the given three lines]
The news sounded throughout Armenia, from the world of Great Armenia,
All Armenian hearts trembled, the Armenian awakened from his deep sleep,
The son of Garin rang out the earlier news of freedom.
He completed studies at the Yeramian school, 1897-1915, and taught at the Santekhdian and other schools.
In 1915 he went to the Caucasus and taught at the refugee schools of Kantzag and Yerevan. He was well liked in whatever he undertook for his simple and modest nature.
(With cognomens of ‘Blond, ‘Gift,’ and ‘Nerses’)
He was born on January 5, 1865, in the Tukh Manug Parish of Aygestan, Van. He received his primary education in the St. Hagop and St. Ghugas schools. He graduated from the Portukalian Teachers’ college in 1894. During those years he taught at several schools in Van. Being one of the founders of the Armenagan Party he served that organization well. While traveling between Persia and Van he was set upon by Kurds in a village and surrounded in a house set on fire. and bravely, with his companions, broke through the flames and escaped, battling the Kurds.
A month before the 1896 event, Beozigian, K. Manugian, A. Egarian, K. Ararksian, and others went to Persia to acquire and transport arms. The group, on crossing the Persian border, were arrested and imprisoned until June 3 when the fighting was starting in Van, and as a result they were unable to be of help. It was being said that Ferik Saadettin benefited from the absence of this well known group and gained in the fighting.
In the spring he started teaching at the parish schools of Salmasd and then Tabriz, and in 1906 he went to Bulgaria on party business. On his return he continued teaching at Salmasd, and later, about 1909, he was seen in Adrianopolis and Egypt.
He was in Armenia in 1923-25 and taught in the American schools in Leninagan. He was commissioned by the A. G. B. U. to establish branches of the Union in Tabriz and Tehran.
Beozigian spent the last days of his life in Tehran where he died on May 21, 1942. The Tehran newspapers gave much space to reporting on his ceremonial burial, saying that Armenians, and especially the people of Vasburagan, suffered a great loss in the death of Beozigian, who was the personification of wisdom and selflessness, and who was loved by all the people. As a colleague of this splendid person I still feel his sad loss. We are happy to point out that his son, Barkev, is endowed with the soul of his father, and we hope that he will give perpetuity to his father’s fame.
Krikor Beozigian has been the signatory of many articles in Armenian papers. We are sure that he has left many unpublished writings. We offer here one of his poems.
ODE TO THE MEMORY OF AVEDISIAN
Blessed and unforgettable is your glorious memory,
A forceful worker in our much-persecuted people.
You knew how to use your high talent to cultivate our hearts.
And plant the sweet seeds of our principle of freedom.
With the power of your pen you stirred the delicate strings of our feelings,
And directed our steps toward the goal of our purposes.
You died fearlessly, and for the sake of our nation you taught everywhere,
Taking on the majestic, but difficult, role of an apostle.
Scorning the vanity and luxury of the world,
And resigning yourself to prison, bullet, and torture and deprivation
You threw yourself courageously into every kind of arena,
And you became a model as an innovator and leader.
Neither did you enjoy Europe’s wealth, nor the base appeal of foreign lands,
Nor did the charm of the dark-eyed beauties of the Caucasus
Ensnare your kind and noble majestic soul,
And limit the sincere love you bore for your comrades.
You were both soldier and teacher, commander and supervisor.
You remained mild-tempered, becoming to the heart you inherited.
You were protector of saints, power for the weak, wherever they were.
Even your foes acknowledged the resourcefulness of your mind.
You were a brave champion for the Armenagan principle.
To your very last breath you declared Armenia to be your fatherland.
You were born Armenian, and died Armenian, and made that name precious,
And left us an unquenchable memory -- glorious.
He was born in Van and received his primary education in the local schools, but because of his innate skills and stubborn efforts he was able to shine in the nation and in government circles as a competent and effective leader. He was a member of the city council, and at times served as its chairman. Along with being mayor and with his contacts with high government officials he was very beneficial to the local Armenian people. In visits to Constantinople, Europe, and America, and elsewhere he acquired much experience.
In 1915, along with the people of Van, he sought refuge in the Caucasus where he continued with his service to the nation, even being elected to membership in various councils. In 1919 he was elected by the local Armenian refugees from Turkish Armenia as delegate to the Paris Conference. After returning to Constantinople and the Caucasus, and remaining for a while, he went to Paris and settled there permanently. He, along with Boghos Nubar and Kapriel Noradungian, served in the National Delegation.
With his sharp senses, he learned to know people where he had visited and lived, and he has described them in a timely manner. With his feelings and his ideas, Terzibashian was a person with popular scope and an ideal Armenian patriot. He was a member of the Ramgavar party and he worked in support of its constructive program. With his intelligent mind and his thoughtful and reasonable writings he won the hearts, respect, and esteem of those who knew him. And we feel sure that he would have been even more valuable to the Armenian people had not his death occurred too early, in Paris, in 1947.
Even though he was born in a very well-to-do family, he had tried, in his later years especially, to write not only to satisfy his feelings, but also make a living. Some of his works are the following, Yergu dari Addis Ababai mech, Atosi 101 badmvatskner, Ardzive ir puynin mech, Boghos Nubar, Antranig.
Putting aside the first two, let us encapsulate Ardzive ir puynin mech (Khrimian and Varak), which was published in 1938 by our compatriot and most generous supporter Mr. Nshan Nalpantian. Mr. Levon Gerdan wrote a review, saying, “You have recalled Van and also Khrimian Hairig, names which awaken in me memories that had long since gone into the mist of time. That great man Khrimian, who used to visit us in Constantinople when I was still a boy, seemed to me to be a giant. Our family worshipped him, and my uncle played a big role in getting him to occupy the throne at Echmiadzin. I read your book with pleasure. It showed Khrimian’s far-sightedness in political storms, his creating the journal “Ardzvi Vasburagan” in Varak monastery, opening an agricultural school, and the seminary. I met Karekin Srvantzdiants there, one of our churchmen who knew how to keep their religious belief consonant with their patriotic feelings. Also, the Russian ambassador, who, even in his later years, remained an optimistic and enjoyment-loving person. He related to me anecdotes about Tsarist Russia, Russo-Turkish politics, and the times of his ambassadorship in Van. Five years ago (1933), in Tiflis, Yerevan, and Echmiadzin, I met many people of Van, good people, who had retained their racial characteristics, despite the trauma of exile and tribulation.”
The book tells about contemporary people and events, and Terzibashian, in his own and captivating style, tells mainly of Khrimian’s life in Van.
Nubar: a large volume, is not a biography, but is about his being the founder of the A.G.B.U., President of the National Delegation, and about the history connected with them, written with the adornment of his sharp memory. It tells about the beginning of the Van branch, and gives a step-by-step account of events leading up to participation by the National Delegation in Cairo and Paris. The demand then was concern with the Armenian Question. After telling about Terzibashian’s organizing the Van branch, he did not forget to describe the local happenings, the building of the seminary, help on the Karamajian killing, and the glorious arrival and shameful departure of Marzban Hofi. It tells of his going to the Caucasus, the Russian revolution, and other important matters.
Antranig: another large volume, which does not cover the entire life of this hero, for that would make it even larger. It is the author’s recollection, especially of the 1904-1927 events. The author has brought in contemporary events and persons blended in with Antranig’s life, making digressions for their historical importance. These facts are based on available supportive documents, and written in a manner to be pleasing to the reader.
In place of a Foreword is the introduction by Dikran Gamsaragan which says, “I read those pleasing words throughout one whole night. For your unique writing style brings people and events to life, and gives the reader flight and captivates him. It is a rare and precious ability for a writer to have.”
His Eminence, Yeghishe Vartabed Derderian
Patriarchal Locum Tenens of the St. James Monastery of Jerusalem
For biography, see elsewhere in this work
He was born in the St. Hagop Beoli parish. He received his primary education in the parish school, and later was well enriched in the Portukalian Teachers’ school. For his calm and mild nature and his diligence in his studies he was loved and respected by all those who knew him. After completing the teachers’ school and teaching in several schools, he became famous as superintendent for the union of parish schools. For his exemplary and helpful behavior he became well liked by students and teachers alike. He gave of his mind, his soul, whatever he had, especially from his deep experience. When this writer returned to Van from America in the spring of 1897 he found Kondakjian in two responsible positions, director and leader. He was president of the regional executive committee of the Armenagan Party, which he managed effectively, winning respect and esteem and admiration, which was a rare attribute then, or even at any time.
He married Miss Yeghisapet, the senior teacher-nun at the St. Sandukht school, who, having essentially the same personal attributes, with him formed a ideal couple. But, unfortunately, that marriage did not last long. Yeghishe had a serious illness which prematurely sent him to the grave. The students, the teachers, and all the people of Van wept, bemoaning the loss of that productive and unique life. A great loss in truth.
Birth, February 14, 1858 -- Death, August 22, 1939
He was born in the St. Hagop parish of Van. He received his primary education in the St. Luke school of the parish under the tutelage of poet and teacher Dikran Amirjanian. Studying there also was blind Hampartzum Yeramian, whose rise and development was aided indirectly by Kalusd who invited him regularly to his home to read books to him. In this way both of them were benefited by becoming enriched in knowledge. The same service was being rendered by my older brother Simon. As a result of this dual activity, Kalusd later dedicated himself to teaching, which he did for thirty years, making a good name for himself.
Kalusd had the opportunity once again to be with the unfortunate Yeramian in Cairo, helping him with the publication of his two-volume work “Hushartzanner.”
Before becoming an emigrant, Kalusd was a blessing to our family in Van by saving us during the famine of 1880. He did so by working very hard at the excavations at the “Zump-zump Maghara” under the British ambassador Clayton, thereby providing our large family with food. He continued doing so with his strong mental capabilities as a teacher in the Dzevsdan village of Van. But finding the pay to be too small he left that position and joined the well-known Kapamajian firm of Van. A short time later he went on an adventure to the Caucasus in search of a better livelihood. However, finding it difficult, he returned, and at the age of 25 he undertook a courageous step by going off to distant Cairo in 1883. He worked in the Khdiv palace where there happened to be several from Van. After he had been working there for some years, a political change in the country led to Armenians’ being removed from the palace. Kalusd did work on his own until 1939, when on a vacation trip to Lebanon he died, at the age of 81.
Kalusd Kazanjian led a very interesting life in Egypt. By nature he was charming, sociable, and independent, well liked by his compatriots as well as foreigners. When he was asked for help, he left his work to satisfy those requesting help. He enjoyed having a good time, and was ready to be of service for his nation and his friends. After his death, the executive committee of the local branch of the Vasburagan Union wrote us, “We regret exceedingly the loss of our veteran companion Kalusd Kazanjian.” In his papers, we found a commendation from the local branch of the Ramgavar Liberal Party that rewarded him as honorary veteran, and faithful and generous friend.
One of the earliest members of the compatriots group of Egypt he, despite his advanced age, worked with youthful vigor to keep the love of Vasburagan alive, and to maintain correspondence with those with whom he had come in contact. The oldest of the deceased’s three children, Nerses, after having the needed education through the help of his father, came to America and studied electrical engineering at the Wentworth Institute. For many years he has, with his wife (teacher), been maintaining a kindergarten in Brooklyn, with an open-air summer camp some distance away in the hills.
Kalusd Kazanjian, being a humorist, has many writings in that theme. Some of them have been published in the paper “Arev” of Cairo.
Here is an example of a charming and beautiful entertaining piece.
HRASHAKORDZ BANIR [Miraculous Cheese]
Tzez yergu khosk gukam usel, Yekibdosi azniv hayer
Angeghdz siruys havasdiki e, zor tzez gudam paregamner\
----- [Translation below]--------
I have some words for you, Armenians of Egypt,
It is the assurance of my sincere heart that I give you, friends.
This is a unique jest that I hope you will not reject.
Bless you, if you use it, your parents and children.
Some physicians say the only universal cure is water,
But others of them believe that air is more important for man.
But I say that only cheese from Van provides nourishment and power,
For I have proved it. It makes man strong and energetic.
The air of Armenia is vital, the water is life-giving, the soil fertile,
Sheep eat the green grass of mountains, the milk is sweet and pure.
The fruit are eternal, wheat is invaluable.
If there were no persecution by Kurds, people would remain happy.
For thirty days, my food was always cheese.
When I awaken in the morning my breakfast is cheese.
During the day wetted bread of wheat, and with it cheese.
In the evening, at the table, I eat only cheese.
I would die for its sacred strength. Look nowhere else for it in vain.
Should you want to remain in health, live long, hear my words.
In all the world there are only two things, healthful and profitable,
Take two pieces of dry bread from the oven , wet them, and eat them with cheese.
Should you wander over the world, France, the Balkans,
Should you pour over the books of our ancestors, or read history,
You would never find the equal, ever, the like of Van cheese.
The eater of cheese will keep his heart’s fire inextinguishable.
I feel no need to dwell long on cheese,
Or about the countless miracles it has performed, from creation till now.
In Armenia the grown-ups and children live with this cheese,
And thanks to it they are in hale health, women and men.
Should you one day have a cough, or have caught a cold,
Seek quickly Isah-Kulian, buy cheese ground fine,
Dry a half, draw it into your nose, three times, and the remainder,
Rub it on your body, and be assured, to have confidence in this physician.
Should, by chance, your house go up in flames, and you find your body scorched,
Or, in travel, your enemy should shoot you with a bullet,
Melt the cheese and put it on a clean cloth, oiled,
Then press the cheese into the bullet wound, may God be witness.
If you have stomach colic, or have cancer on your body,
Or if some abscess or a spot mar your beautiful complexion,
The oil of cheese will be the cure. Look nowhere else for another cure.
Or drink three drops within, and three or four rub on outside.
If you ever have a severe dry cough, or are wasting away,
Do not yield to destiny; do not say this is my dark fate.
The oil of cheese, taken internally, will quickly cure your body.
Try it and hope, and have invincible faith.
Your blood, if withered, or your body is worn out, then you are near death,
Then there is no hope or cure in medicines, doctors, saints, and quacks.
Place a bit of cheese under your pillow, and believe with sincere faith,
That its power will even spare you from death.
If you ever become stupid, or you have no dexterity,
And if, rarely, there is no cheese, do not complain, think of a means,
Ask your friend if he has some cheese rennet that he has kept,
Get it and swallow it. It will give you brains and save you from evil pricks.
Should you come upon, one day, in the sizzling heat of Egypt,
A husky youth, with handsome face and ruddy cheeks,
Very polite and educated, and generous toward the wretched,
Know for certain that he has eaten of the cheese of Van.
As a weak member of our nation, but as a true friend of yours,
I beg of you, if you would live long years of health,
Do not take my advice as prattle or promotion.
Write quickly to Abdiul Aziz, our tea-dealer friend.
In closing my words I would like all Armenians, wherever they may be,
To like one another, and Armenia, and be in agreement with me,
With wretched Vasburagan being freed from the tyrannical despot,
To go there and see, with their own eyes, our miraculous Van Cheese.
SETRAK DER SARKISIANTS
He, the youngest of seven brothers (two of them clergymen), became secretary of the committee formed to provide help in the famine that followed the war of 1878. He traveled in 1891 to the Caucasus, Constantinople, and Jerusalem to visit his beloved Hairig, and on his return he described the conditions of the people in exile.
It was said that Setrak wanted to be ordained a vartabed, like his two older brothers, but on considering that Patriarch Harutiun had imposed the condition that he remain in Jerusalem, he did not agree. After that his life was one of wandering. In his later years he went to London where his only means of livelihood was teaching Armenian to the students of the Gulbenkian school.
For his biography see elsewhere
This writer, on the occasion of his going to Van in 1896, stopped in London, hoping to see him. The poor man was living in a simple room, with a bed and one or two chairs for his guests while he sat on the bed. He had a Van-Shadakh coverlet, telling sadly of its being the only memento he had of the fatherland to give him comfort, and that he could not sleep without having that to cover him in bed. Devgants spent his last days in Nice, France, where he died in 1937. In response to our interest and our questions, Mr. Arshag Safrasdian wrote recently, saying that he could not learn what had happened to his belongings, especially his important works and writings. He could not even find a photograph of him, which I wanted to have.
As we said above, unfortunately we were unable to obtain any of the intellectual material he produced in his later years. During his earlier years he had written a number of effective novels which were masterpieces that gave immortality to his name. One was “Shahen yev Sibir,” a distressing and anguishing story, written in about 1830, telling of the Kurdish rebellion and upheavals, and on the events and difficulties during the emigration from Turkey to Yerevan and the Caucasus during the days of Nerses Ashdaragetsi, personified in the character “Shahen.” He also wrote “Vararani Gaydzer,” a patriotic work.
The Other Devgants Bothers
Misak, singer, teacher: He graduated from the American school of Van. He wrote of popular practices and traditions, in the local dialect, also humorous writings and articles. He died in 1905.
Haig, goldsmith-engraver: He wrote “Artsunki Hovidner,” also in the Van dialect.
Harutiun: He was born in 1890, and received his primary education in the City-Center Hisusian school, learning Armenian from his brother Setrak, and French and Turkish from Amirjanian. He developed intellectually through self effort, for he had natural ability. He attended the Garin Sanasarian school, and on returning to Van, he dedicated himself to teaching. He wrote children’s stories and songs, and some revolutionary pieces that were lost during the 1915 upheavals.
Of the seven brothers, two were churchmen, and five remained as lay persons, but as fruitful trees, each of them leaving valuable works. All thirsted after education and erudition, drinking at the spring of knowledge and gaining satisfaction from it.
YENOVK DER ARISDAGESIAN
He was born in 1863, in Van, and studied under the famous teacher Koloz. He lived for a long time in Constantinople engaged in commerce, and also in the Caucasus and in Persia. For many years he was an enthusiast of literature. He wrote biographies of Khrimian and of teacher Koloz, which remain with Haig Ajemian, and are unpublished. He also has works on patriotism.
When he was in Constantinople, in 1890, he had close contact with Khrimian, and he has written about the unfortunate circumstances connected with Hairig’s exile to Jerusalem as well as a eulogy on the occasion of the death.
A few years after the death of Amirjanian another star would fade, Nshan Shirvanian, who received his education at the Varak seminary. For about a decade, he lived in Constantinople where he studied several languages. He was always ready with his entertaining words, and also having the skill in poetry as a minstrel he often made presentations of historic events and figures, such as an Arabian pasha, Musa Bey, and Dr. Reynolds.
In 1880, the Kurdish clan chief of Daron had been violating the daughter of the village mayor, Giulizar. Protests were being forwarded to Constantinople. Musa Bey was summoned to Constantinople where he was tried and sentenced. Two years later Giulizar married a member of the Ottoman council, the well-known Kegham Der Garabedian, in 1908. These events form the axis of Shirvanian’s history.
Shirvanian first studied Turkish in Van’s schools, and then for a few years served in the American embassy as an interpreter. Besides knowing Armenian and Turkish, he knew French and English, and even Persian when he recited and sang in the pure dialect of Saadi, Feriusi, and Giulisdan.
Turks, in order to extract from him secrets of the embassies, violated him and, in a cave, tortured him in a very cruel manner, and eventually released him. The British ambassador did not defend him, until the dismissal of Ambassador Halward. He too was dismissed and died some time about 1900. Alas, that a man with such a mind and talent should be lost, a loss that the people of Van had to bear.
He was born in Aygestan, Van, in a large family (his uncle was a priest in the churches of Norashen). I met him in 1897 when I was teaching humanities in the Norashen school. I found him to be one of the most competent of the students, and the English he learned through me developed rapidly and he soon surpassed me. He became a well-known figure for his adroitness and wisdom. On graduating from the local school, Arshag served for a time as teacher assistant and was given the opportunity to become secretary and interpreter for the British ambassador in Bitlis.
In 1901 he went to Mush to follow Antranig in his captivating activity. But he continued working with the ambassador, to help the suffering Armenian people in every way.
On resigning in 1911 from his position, Safrasdian went to England, passing through Echmiadzin and Constantinople. He enrolled in the British university, 1912-1915, for the study of law. In 1915 he went to the Caucasus to join the volunteer unit, and went to Persia and Syria, andthen in 1916 to Van, Bitlis, and Garin. In 1917 he was invited by the English-Armenian committee to work with the Armenian National Delegation under the presidency of Nubar Pasha.
In 1918, the British government sent him to Baku to assist in the organization of the Armeno-Georgian military unit. In 1919 he went to Paris to work for the Armenian National Delegation, and in 1921 he came to America with Noradungian on a special mission (when it became the second time we had the good fortune of seeing one another).
At the end of that same year he was sent by the National Delegation and the Nansen charitable organization to Armenia to provide assistance, food and clothing to the Armenian refugees. In 1922, after visiting Constantinople and Armenia, he returned to his scientific studies.
He participated in international scientific assemblies in Rome, Berlin, Brussels, and Paris where he presented papers on Armenian culture, history, and other topics, receiving commendation.
After receiving his primary education Safrasdian continued his education through self study. He carried on extensive writing for the newspapers, sending valuable articles to the Constantinople papers from London. He wrote for the Mshag paper and the Ararat monthly of London. He wrote countless articles from 1916 to 1937 to the Baikar and Arev papers, on scientific and historical topics, as well as on his visits to Armenia.
He has published a number of pamphlets in English on Armenian archeology. He wrote of the travels of Xenophon through Persia and Armenia, that tell of his visit, the hospitality of the Armenians, their culture, and other aspects of the race. He wrote also of our historical topics: Anushavan Ishkhani, Huri Yergir, the principality of Khalk- Haygazants, and other topics.
He has Armenological articles in Pazmaveb, and in Hantes Amsorya. Other works are “The Geography of Byzantium and Armenia (in English), “Kurds and Kurdistan” (in English). He has also written scientific papers for the “Armenian Mirror” and “Gotchnag.”
This diligent and erudite individual is undertaking to gather and bring to light obscure past events of Armenian history, and tie them in to our middle and modern history, and give us a comprehensive Armenian history .
We wish him the ability and success in this undertaking.
He was born in Van, in the city, on May 3, 1878. In addition to his primary education he studied at the Yeramian and Sanasarian schools. He was a merchant and a representative in Van for the New York Life Insurance Company and the Singer Sewing Machine Company. In order to gather genealogical information and study early traditions, he traveled throughout Vasburagan. He had contact with the people in the villages. When in Constantinople in the 1915 period, through his ingenuity he was able to avoid the criminal action by the Turks against Armenian intellectuals and escape to Paris where until today  he stubbornly works on his past, present, and future writings. He has a large quantity of genealogical works, and collections of fairy tales, as well as a comprehensive work on botany. He has countless unpublished manuscripts, waiting for patrons for support.
In 1900 he was rewarded with the H. Izmirlian literary prize. In 1913 he was responsible for founding the Hayakidum publishing society which was an accumulating fund that would, after his death, be transferred to Armenia.
Works that have been published: Mayreni Ashkharh, Hushigk Hayasdani, Areveelyan gam Haygagan Khaghashkharh, Hayasdani Vosgehanker, Hampartzman Vijag, Bghntze Kaghaki Badmutiun, Asulis Hayasdani, Koghtan Yerker, Leyli Mejrum, Piur Ag-Hazar Ag, Sasunagan, Zuyk Siraharner, Varaki Hopelian, Pusapanagan, Bjingo (song).
Chituni was a tireless worker, researcher and analyst, and the result of all that was an enormous amount of unpublished material, amounting to more than thirty works.. This prolific worker is worthy of much encouragement.
He was born in the Van canton of Shadakh, in 1891, in the village called Gajed or Gashd., the son of an energetic, poor farmer. In order not to die of starvation his father, Shahen, with his two children, about four or five years old, and his wife, started out for Van. But his wife died on the way, and Shahen with his two children lived for a while in Avants, and then Aygestan.
With their father’s death in 1898, the two children were placed in the American orphanage, and in the school which was attended by both orphans and children of Aygestan. It was a more satisfying environment for Garabed that led him, at the age of 12, to write poetry.
The revolutionary spirit of Van inspired him, giving flight to his mind. The teacher, Sahag Tarpinian, gave fatherly advice, and also direction to the boy’s initial efforts, seeing the worth in him. Shahinian completed his studies in that high-level American institution in the spring of 1907. For a year he taught in Avants, the year of the Tashnag traitor, Tavo, which he did not forget. In 1908 he went to Tabriz to continue his education. There he served in the American establishment, both as teacher and student. Accepting an invitation in 1910 he returned to Van, as teacher in the American school, and at the same time satisfying his yearning for the fatherland.
His first poem was published in Tabriz, in the paper published by Hayrabed Banirian, of Van, and at the same time he worked with the local Social Democrat paper “Zank.”
In Van, together with Hovhannes Avakian and Sbiriton Zhamgochian they published the “Van-Dosp” weekly. In that same period Shahinian went to Shadakh to gather folk material, and then returned to Van, bearing with him the rich treasures of Leyli u Mejrum, Gashdi Kacher, and Heyran u Jeyran.
When the time came for the cursed Turkish military conscription Shahinian went to breathe American air, and there, in order to earn a livelihood, he joined the labor movement. The first period of Shahinian’s (G. Sidal) poetry would naturally be spirited, on patriotism and revenge. In 1919 he published “Kusanyerker” [Songs of the Kusans]. G. Sidal began to work with the Azk-Bahag, Hairenik, Piunig, Nor Or, Nor Kir, and Lraper papers. Inspired by the Russian revolution, he became one of the founders of the local branch of “HOG” [Hayasdani Oknutian Gomide], as well as unstinting supporter and friend of the liberal ranks.
The second period of Shahinian’s writing began in 1920, dedicated to the labor class, to the cultivation of Armenian legends, and to the glorification of the accomplishments and the ascent taking place in Armenia. During this period the following were published. Garavani Yedeven, Kisheren Minchev Lusapats, Lusapatsi Yerker, Kiughn Im Heravor, Sasna Dzrer, Gashdi Kacher, Hazaran Blbul, and Desa Mer Yergri Arevadzake.
G. Sidal tries to benefit Armenian literature with his works, and he feels it to be a duty toward his glorious people.
VARTN INCH ANEM?
[What Would I Do with the Rose?]
Marmar karen gevgevalen, Sinam gakav tev arav, yar
Oror, shoror punch gabelen mshag aghchign hantn yegav, yar
Punchn er kakar, yarn annman
Sirdes dzaghgav varti nman.
Chuner gakavn yaris kelki, tezig nazan shorore yar
Varte chuner yaris temki pttun zhebdi posore, yar
Mernim yaris shoror kelkin
Hur u hrashk arev deskin.
Punchn intz dvav, punchn inch anem, shud ge tormi talgahar, yar
Tuyl dur tshed mi vart kaghem vor tarm e mishd u talar, yar
Talar aghchig, yeraz u puyr,
Vartn inch anem yerp ga hampuyr?
The Sino-partridge took flight off the marble stone, yar [dear one].
The farm girl, swaying to and fro, tying a bouquet, came from the fields, yar.
The bouquet was a dumpling, the dear girl peerless.
My heart blossomed like a rose.
The partridge did not have my dear one’s walk, nor her gracefulness, yar.
The rose did not have the blossoming of my dear one’s smile, yar.
I would die for my dear one’s graceful walk,
Her fiery and magnificent looks.
She gave me the bouquet. What would I do with it? It will wilt quickly, yar.
Let me pluck a rose from your lips, always fresh and lush, yar.
Luscious girl, a fragrant dream,
What would I do with a rose, when there is a kiss!
He studied the Armenian Grabar [classical] quite well while in the Surp Prgich Hospital in Constantinople, and turned to teaching. In 1865 he became the senior teacher in the foreigners’ school, and during the 1870-80 decade he turned out many graduates who became parishioners, council members, merchants, and teachers. Yeramian, of the same age as my brother, studied there. Saharuni knew Turkish and French, though not enough to be teaching them. He had French books on zoology and botany. It was said that his inadequate knowledge and the retrogressive and Der Totig methods that he continued to employ led to his being challenged by the trustees, and that he was dismissed from his position. However, he opened a special school in the same parish, and then was named senior teacher in the Hisusian [Jesuit] school. But there again, behaving in a sordid manner, he lost his popularity and was dismissed, despite the defense by the influential diocesan primate, Bishop Boghos Melikian.
Saharuni was ordained a priest in the later years of his life. With the death of his wife and thus becoming a “shushdag” vartabed, he was named the Arachnort of the Aghpag diocese and head abbot of the St. Bartholomew monastery, where he later died inconspicuously.
As we said, Yeramian, during the period 1864-68, studied language from Saharuni, including the elements of classical Armenian. Unfortunately, Saharuni, though he had the mental capacity, was unable to hold the honor of teaching at a high level due to his unfavorable nature.
He was born in 1889, in the village of Mashdag, of Hayots Tzor, of Van. His parents were simple but fine and noble people. He spent his childhood and early youth in the same environment where he received his education in the Der Totig period, until 1894, when he had a better teacher in Mr. Hagop Mudoian (now in Hamadan, Persia).
While only 16, he was sent various places in Vasburagan, far from his native region. A few years later, through his own efforts, he was able to enter the American high school of Van, and after a special course of study, he was sent to distant regions of Vasburagan, to Avants, Shadakh, Agants, and elsewhere, to teach Armenian children and instill in them the principles of freedom and truth.
During his youth and in his continuing environment he had quite an adventurous life in the political arena. Hardly having reached full maturity, Nshan became molded into the thinking of the Ramgavar Liberal movement, without having any training in revolutionary thinking. The inspiring influence of Portukalian and Avedisian naturally found acceptance in his young spirit, and this mold grew, especially when his youthful spirit could not bear the adventurous activity of the so-called “revolutionists” in those days, in the rural areas where the poor villagers were being exploited in the name of volunteerism .
He was often troubled that the Ramgavar party was following a conservative and weak policy in their revolutionary and national life. Nshan was trying to prove that they were using a wrong approach in dealing with their opponents.
Nshan was being successful in managing the Ramgavor organ, “Van-Dosb,” in Van, in spite of the antagonistic attitude of the tashnag friends who often made nighttime attacks to destroy his editorial, but also they were threatening him with bodily harm in a terroristic way.
In the heroic Vasburagan battle of 1915, each of the political parties had bared swords in self-defense as much as they were able. Nshan was always at the lead in attack, and loved to be in the most dangerous situations, offering protection and encouragement to the squad assigned to him, modestly standing shoulder to shoulder with his men confronting hundreds of the enemy.
After the Van retreat he felt impatient remaining in the comfortable ranks of the teachers in Yerevan, and he returned with the immortal A. Yegarian to the rebuilding of his native city where he served his party until his death.
Nshan was a man of mind and arms. With his solid logic he often silenced his adversary unready in his revolutionary fancies, and in the face of physical attack he displayed an equally powerful fist.
In his youth he tied the love knot with Miss Hranush Janikian, and together they formed an enviable home, with four boys, named Zhirayr, Hrayr, Norayr, and Dirayr now living in Watertown, America.
Toward the end of 1919 and early 1920, when the Turkish troops were attacking Yerevan, and when the Tashnag government needed dependable and brave commanders, they called on Nshan to accept the responsibility of Yerevan’s defense, under the overall command of the Kanaker central authority, on condition that he give up working with the Ramgavar political party. In those days, when everybody wanted to hold office, and be a freebooter, and when the proposal had such a sting in it, Nshan declined the honor in order to avoid being traitor to his own convictions and principles that he held so dearly to the end, casting aside his position and the
But alas, when toward the end of 1920 Yerevan was taken by the communist forces, and Nshan had every means available to him to leave the country and adjust to the new circumstances and find a suitable niche for himself, as did many strongly patriotic Tashnags. he, with a different concept of patriotism, fell into the Tashnag trap by joining in the February rebellion. Being in the first wave he was shot in the back, from fire by his companions, leaving his friends, wife, and young ones in deep grief.
By nature Nshan was sincere and sociable and with a high level of spiritual and mental capacity. For his valuable traits he had become well liked by those who knew him.
He was an ingenious teacher and a popular and brave soldier, imbued with the spirit of progress.
He was born in the city of Van during the sixties, of a fine family. His primary education was received in the local Hisusian [Jesuit] school where Amirjanian was teaching. Later he became an assistant teacher in the same school, and then, through the help of missionary Dr. Reynolds, he studied at the Armenia (later Euphrates) College, of Harput, in 1880. In 1883 he became the senior teacher in the American school in Van. Later he was named Vice Supervisor, and he gave great impetus to the school management. He was skilled in mathematics and in English, For a time he taught in the Yeramian school, algebra and surveying. For his quality of being easy to approach, he was liked by all.
In 1887 he married Zaruhi Nahabedian, a charming young woman, and together they formed a fine family. To learn English, this writer, in the nineties, attended the missionary school and was helped considerably by Nshan, with whom I established a warm friendship. After the ‘96 fighting in Van he had lost hope and went to the Caucasus with the intention of going to America. When I was returning to Van from America and came across him, he cried out, “All of us are fleeing from the fire, and you are running into it?” On reaching America, he and his family settled in St. Louis, and worked there. But sadly he parted from us in 1930, never to return.
He was a true son of Van, though physically weak in appearance, he had strong mental resources. In spite of not having been to a university, he was able through self study to reach the intellectual level of scholars. Having mastered the classical Armenian language, for nearly thirty years he lectured in Van’s schools, teaching and developing the minds of children. In addition, he followed the national revolutionary movement, being active in the programs of the Armenagan political party center, as a conservative, yet a valuable advisor. He too was part of the caravan of refugees in 1915 to Yerevan, where he died. Of course, he had writings, but they have been lost. He was the author of the poem [”Mi lar, mayrig”] known to the people of Van, and often sung.
Do not cry, mother; do not cry, father, sisters, brothers, spouse.
For the love of the soil of our fatherland, we all fell together.
When we became aware of the wretchedness of our world
We felt it a duty to protest for what we needed ...
[Mi lar mayrig, mi lar hayrig, mi kork, yeghpayrk, amusin.
Hayreniki hoghin, siruyn hamar menk hos ingank miasin.
Mer ashkharhi tshvarutyants, yerp menk yeghank kidagits
Poghokelu bardk zkatsink, kutse linin garegits...
This song with long verses he composed during the well-known battles of ‘96. For the “Ashkhadank” newspaper of Van in 1915 he wrote this powerful article with heading “Nahadagner” [Martyrs].
“They pass before me, line after line, these gloomy majestic souls. The strain and crucifixion borne by the race for centuries brought about revolt, and the tearing eyes showed the anger fired there. The heart turned to hard stone, and the legs into iron. There they pass on, bold songs issuing form their mouths, chests thrust forward in the face of the bombs and bullets that were rained on us like hail by the tyrant. But who cared! Faith illuminates the fog-enshrouded future, and they move on, unshaken, but with no return. Ah, there I see it. They look forward, they look back saddened, by the once-hopeful Armenian people now become corpses. The faces of this saved race are illuminated by godly light, for was it not their faith that was the salvation of their blood? It would be necessary to cross the Red Sea of Israel to reach the Promised Land. And now they die with joyous faces and peaceful hearts, without having had doubts in their lives ... that they should have tribulations about the crisis of their deaths.
“They lived happy and free; they died heedlessly and free. Was it not in that manner that those who believed in an ideal died? ‘Death understood is immortality,’ and the most perfect manifestation of that principle is found in Him who was God on Golgotha. And so it was heroically on the field of Avarayr. And again it was they who became immortal, battling on the hills of Bartholomew and Karahisar, behind the earthern bulwarks of Van and Aygestan, in trenches ... Glory to all those martyrs!”
He was born in 1888, on the eastern side of Aygestan, of Van, in a beautiful house shaded by the trees of a dense grove in the Chavush gardens. He received his early education in a happy and playful environment with playmates. He completed education at the Yeramian school in 1900 and spent six years in teaching. Khrimian and Portukalian instilled their patriotic zeal on Krikor, as they did for so many youths of Van. Krikor boiled within with patriotic enthusiasm, and he wanted to be helpful to his fatherland. After the ‘95-’96 massacres of Vasburagan, the savage Armenocide scheme of Bahri Pasha was being put into play. In June 1896, the 7-day heroic battle started, and it ended with the martyrdom of Avedisian and 6-700 of his companions. Kachperuni was able, with great difficulty, to get out of the country, with the desire to expand his education in America. But because he did not know English, with the advice and help of the bereaved Karekin Manugian, a request was made of Miss Alice Stone Blackwell, a friend of Armenians, to place an advertisement in papers to find an American family that would take him into their home, as she had kindly done for many other Armenians. But unfortunately, that was at the time when the rich New York merchant, Tavshanjian, was killed, which led American families to back away from their very benevolent practice. Kachperuni was obliged to go to work at a factory [in America]. The proclamation of the Ottoman Constitution gave Kachperuni the opportunity to return to Van, where he married Miss Mayis Tarpinian, who was also to be his future workmate. For four more years Kachperuni was engaged in teaching. The time was approaching for the 1915 epic battle of Van. Kachperuni and about 15 intellectual companions he had called upon organized the “Armenian Red Cross.” They received training under nurse Garabed Ajemian, and during the fighting they performed effective service.
Giving first aid to sick and wounded Armenian soldiers, they then transferred them to the hospital set up by Dr. Ussher. After the fighting had ceased and during the days when there was an Armenian government, Kachperuni served as secretary in two of the branches. During the retreat of July, he and his family, with difficulty, went to the Caucasus, losing two children, Dzilvan and Aikvan. For a year, he taught at the refugee school in Baku. Altogether, he taught for about eleven years, and that was under the most trying conditions. He went once again to America where he was made fortunate with having the children Eliz, Husag, Sisag, and Sirak. Let us now hear Kachperuni.
“If I did not have the good fortune of higher education (university) in the past, that unquenchable fire of desire in me, despite my being a factory worker, led me to giving my children that opportunity of higher education. If, in this inglorious life, I have a just pride, it is that my purpose has in fact been fulfilled. My children are masters in their own specialties. Eliz is a physician, specializing in pediatrics. Husag succeeded in earning the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, and he is an assistant professor in English literature at Harvard University, and he has the means to rise to a higher level. Sirak, who before being conscripted into the military, graduated from Harvard Dental School, and on completing studies at the Ann Arbor University in Orthodontics, now teaches there. My youngest, Sisag, having graduated from business school, now works in the office of a large firm. I hope that he will, with his skills, rise to a higher office.”
In giving this information to the reader about the highly worthwhile services performed by Kachperuni, bringing much honor to the Armenian people, we here want to add that both husband and wife equally, through much sacrifice and parental loving care, brought about the successes that we see here before our eyes. We are delighted to watch the progress and success of that family. It is an honor to the parents, a joy to the nation, especially the Vasburagantsi.
The Kachperuni couple have sometimes been supportive of the Tashnag party, but today, as just and understanding people, they believe in the reality of an Armenia, and its glorious rise. It is there that they find Armenian physical and spiritual progress and life, and in that way they are gratified.
He was one of the bright students of the Varak Seminary. Being ingenious and skilled in oratory, he became famous in Van, and through Hairig’s intercession, he was adopted by Boghos Nubar. And thanks to the latter, he was placed in the French Grinian agricultural school, from which he graduated with high honors, in the sixties. He received a gold medal from the hand of Emperor Napoleon III, for his successful thesis.
Along with his bright mind, Vosdanig also was physically attractive, and because of it, he had contact with the French nobility, a life in business, and an engagement with a known French young woman. Unfortunately, his lavish living and his financial losses led to his creditors’ having him arrested, preventing him from marrying. He died in prison. Vosdanig had many written works that appeared in Khrimian’s “Ardzvi Vasburagan,” in beautiful and majestic classical Armenian.
DIKRAN ODIAN (ASO)
He was born in Van in 1880. After completing the parish schools, he went to Persia where he engaged in teaching and became a Hunchagian worker. He went to Tiflis in 1906, where, being under suspicion, he was imprisoned for two years. He returned to Van in 1915 as a Hunchag leader where he was imprisoned along with companions Abraham Prudian, Ardashes Solakian, G.
Dantoian, and Haig Aramelian, all of whom were killed in a remote spot, under government orders.
Odian, besides writing for a number of papers in Tiflis, Constantinople, and America (under the pseudonym of Aso), was editor of the “Yergir” paper (Hunchag). He wrote “Garmir Orer,” “Tadastan,” “Vahe,” “Tiutsaznuhin,” and other works.
He was born in the Pingian village of Agn, and studied under the teachers from the Sanasarian school who had come to Agn. His father was a victim of the massacres of ‘96. In ’97 Hovhannes was sent to an orphanage in Switzerland from which he graduated in 1902, and taught in that same institution for two years. He then went to the Anatolian College of Marsovan, and in three years received the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He was named principal of the local Evangelical school, and two years later he was invited to the American high school of Van, as teacher for the highest four grades.
In 1910 he married teacher Aghavni Jemberjian, and thus became a “Vani Pesa.” In 1915, he moved with his family to the Caucasus and then to America. After working in an office in New York, he moved to Boston as assistant editor of the “Azk” daily paper. Then, beginning in 1919, he joined the editorial staff of the “Hayasdani Gotchnag” weekly paper. With his prolific mind he kept the paper at its high calling. During his days in Van, Avakian, along with his heavy duties as teacher, published a journal, “Van Dosp,” together with the famous poet of the time, G. Sidal and Ardag Tarpinian. The journal was dedicated purely to the provincial literature.
His works were “Varazpurga Jampan,” “Koharner Hay Kraganutian,” “ Kragan Temker,” “Avedis Aharonian,” “Aysbes Abretsank,” and “Havakadzo Endir Badmvatskneru.” In addition he has manuscripts for “Kragan Temker II,” “Kegharvesdagan Sharzhum,” “Temker u Tebker,” and a variety of other items.
Writing sometimes over his own name and sometime over a pen-name (Vagh, Vagharchian, Hrayr, Asbaruni,, and Kraser), Avakian wrote articles for “Arevelk,” “Piuragn,” “Azk,” “Baikar,” “Piumig,” “Hayasdanyayts Yegeghetsi,” “Nor Kir,” “Navasart,” as well as for the Teotig yearbooks, “Gyank yev Arvesd,” and “Hay-Amerigian” yearbooks.
After having been away from Van for nearly 35 years , Mr. Hovhannes Avakian still keeps Van-Vasburagan constantly present in his mind, full of memories, proof of which lies in his being warmly supportive of the local people of Vasburagan, and being always ready to take part in their activities and programs.
He was born in the Araruts parish of Van. When still young, he attended school for only two years. But through a stubborn will, self study, and taking lessons separately, he developed himself to become a teacher, and also superintendent, in the coeducational school of Arark and in the American boys high school, from 1896 to 1908. During those twelve years he produced competent and mature students. He was a competent and caring teacher. The missionaries were much helped by his skill as a speaker, and called on him to give sermons.
Being versed in English and Turkish, he served as spokesman for the missionaries before the government, enabling them to buy land and build schools, meeting places [churches], and hospitals. It was through his intercession that Dr. Ussher was not expelled, and that Kruzian and many others were released from prison.
For his unrestrained comments and his criticism of faults, Tarpinian was unable to work very long with Dr. Reynolds, and he resigned, turning instead to commerce in Van and Akhpag. Tarpinian was a man of ideas, an Armenologist, sharp of mind, critic, a writer of articles, and a teacher and superintendent. He was supportive of Armenian ideas. Concerning the luxurious life and living of the missionaries, it is said that one day, in a public gathering, he jumped up and said, “If we have a luxurious life, honey, and butter, we will always pray, and speak no lies.” His reference was clear.
We are sure that Tarpinian must have had some written works of his mind, but we have not seen any. We know that he was a correspondent with the papers “Avedaper” and “Byzantium.”
He died in June 1915. His son, Manuel Mizuri, is a medical technician in America.
A brother of Sahag Tarpinian, Khachadur received his early education in the foreigners’ school, a classmate of Yeramian’s. He went to the Caucasus where he was mentally well enriched. He studied child education, and going to Kars in 1878, during the time when Aghvanian was diocesan bishop, he was secretary, and taught in accordance with Russian-Armenian pedology, with which he had become familiar. On returning to Van in the eighties he became principal in the Hisusian school in the city, for a year. He was then invited to become principal in the co-educational school of Araruts, and later as teacher in the Yeramian intermediate school for five or six years, becoming the right hand of the school’s founder and innovator of pedological principles, until his tragic death in 1896.
He was the son of the much-talented teacher and orator Sahag Tarpinian. He was born in Van in 1894, in the Arark parish. His virtuous mother, sister of the physician Nalchajian now living in Chelsea, and named Isguhi, was a strong-minded woman, an example for the women of the village of Avants, a model mother.
Samuel graduated from the missionary high school of Van in 1909, a member of the first graduating class after the Hurriet. For a year, Samuel studied French separately under one of the teachers, Mr. Hovhannes Avakian, and with that resource went to Constantinople and entered Robert College. He graduated in 1914 and was invited by the missionaries in Van and by the principal of the Central school, M. Minasian, to teach in Van, but Samuel, having fallen in love with one of the Robert College students, married her and remained in Constantinople, and in the College. The war had started in 1914, and Samuel came under the control of the government. For three months he showed his helpfulness, but virtually as a prisoner, while his wife, Sonia, with her newly born child was exiled to Der Zor where she remained until the end of the war. She became one of the first to return and she succeeded immediately in getting her husband released from prison. Samuel became an interpreter for the central bureau of the British occupation army, doing the translations of the communications between the German commander Lehmann von Saunders and Mustafa Kemal.
He came to America at the end of November 1919, and the following summer he entered Columbia University where he studied for three months. He then went to Michigan college and studied mineralogy until 1923, and continued for the next five years on copper and iron mines in Michigan and Minnesota. In 1928 he went to Detroit and worked in development of production machinery.
Samuel now has three sons and two daughters, all now grown. They form a large family. His brother, Manuel, lives in the Detroit area where he operates a successful clothes-cleaning factory.
He was born in Van in 1877, and studied at the Yeramian school. Orphaned, without father or mother (of the Bobovian family), he was skilled in may ways. On graduating from the Yeramian school he went to the Caucasus in 1895 and was entered in the sixth grade of the Kevorkian Seminary, fulfilling the need to be at least 18 years of age to enter the lecture classes. But the Seminary courses were not satisfying him, and Khrimian Hairig sent him to the Nersesian seminary of Tiflis. But Seferian studied German under a teacher of the German community there and became proficient in German in six months. He then went to the Holy Cross monastery of Crimea, and there was taught Russian for a year by Bishop Khoren Stepan. With his diploma he went to St. Petersburg where, with his pleasing voice and his successful singing of the church liturgy he became a choir member of the local Armenian church.
With the money he had earned, he entered the local Academy of Eastern Languages, graduates of which were being placed in ambassadorial positions. With his magnificent aptitude, Seferian not only mastered German and French, but also classical Armenian (grabar), Russian, English, Tatar, Persian, and Mohammedan and Arabic ancient languages, having made translations in those languages. He was an untiring reader of European literature, such as Bismarck’s memoirs, Pushkin’s works, and others, writing theses on them during the fours years at the academy and being the first in his class. Finally, troubled by his view of the future, he went to the Caucasus and became an accountant in a Tiflis bank. He married and became the father of five or six children. During the war he became the president of a society set up to help refugees. With the Soviet revolution, he lost his position in the bank, and with the closure of the bank we know nothing now of his whereabouts or what his condition is.
There is no doubt that he must have some activity that utilized his mental capabilities., but what they are we do not know.
AZKANAZ (AZKIN) MARDIROSIAN
He was born in Aygestan, Van, in December 1896. His father was killed with the Avedisian group, after having fired his last bullet, in the vicinity of the Bartholomew monastery.
Azkin’s birth took place a few months after the father’s death, leaving him an orphan. His grandfather’s brother took over the family’s resources and took care of the orphan, himself also benefiting. In spite of her grief over her husband’s tragic loss, the mother took care that the orphan would get an education. She placed him in the Holy Translator’s co-educational school of Araruts, which he completed in six months, with great success, in spite of not having his own class book, finding it necessary to use his classmate’s book. He then went on to the Haigazian central school, which he also completed.
In 1911 he went to Salmasd and became a teacher in the villages of Ghezelja, Ghalasar, and Payachug. He was at it for seven years, which he considered to be his “life’s most happy years.” He married in 1915. He was a correspondent for the “Aravod” paper of Tabriz, and later for a number of papers in the Caucasus, such as the “Aghpiur Daraz,” a children’s paper, always under a pen name. He wrote a number of free works. In Salmasd, he took part in a number of thrusts made by revolutionary groups. The Turkish military, in 1917, had set its eyes on the Caucasus and Iran. A military group was being formed in Salmasd. Azkin Bluzian, and with one or two comrades, joined that group of Assyrians with the thought that for self-defense the two neighboring races could assemble about 5000 rifles. In March of the next spring (1918) during the last retreat from Van, 20,000 people of Vasburagan were surrounded in the Godoli Tzor by the troops of chief Amgo. Bluzian and V. Shirvanian, and about 300 cavalry, struck at the back of the enemy ranks and freed the refugees, taking them to Salmasd and settling them there, with the help of the local leaders. A month later, their group once again became engaged with Ali Hasa Pasha’s troops, negating the pasha’s plan to lay siege on Yerevan and annihilate the Armenian people on the spot, as was the satanic plan of the Turks.
Bluzian spent his nights in the inn, in the moonlight, writing prose and poetry, as well as details of the fighting.
His writings appeared at the time in the Tiflis paper “Horizon,” “Bolso Verchin Lurer” paper of Constantinople, and other papers.
As at first in Salmasd, then again after his adventurous life, Bluzian continued in his teaching, in Constantsia, Constantinople, and Marseilles, while now he is to be found in Valence, France. After having dedicated twenty years of his life to the work he loved, he has signed articles appearing in the “Hairenik” and “Husaper” papers, and in “Harach” more than 30 articles. At various times he published poetical works, quatrains and prose, always under a pen name, such as, A. Nayiri, Enni, Ararktsi, Aygestantsi, Dospetsi, Azkin.
His unpublished works are “400 Karyagner” and “Hakhtabandz Nahanch.” These two works amount to about 800 pages, and they have historical value for the contemporary times.
BOGHOS DER BEDROSIAN
He was born on February 12, 1883, in the Rushduni province. He received his primary education locally, and then went on to the missionary school of Van. He completed his studies successfully and taught in schools for several years. He married a young woman recommended by the missionary Mrs. Reynolds, one who would become a very worthy and helpful life-mate for him. In 1907 they came to America together. At first Boghos engaged in photoengraving, while at the same time raising his intellectual level. From 1919 to 1927, he served as secretary to the Central Committee of the Armenian General Benevolent Union. He also served faithfully on the editorial staff of the “Hoosharar” paper, to the benefit of the Union. However, it pains us to say that finding the activities of the staff workers of the Union to be unsatisfactory, he resigned. He found a satisfying position in Boston.
That event, as well as the accidental death of his young child became the cause for his withdrawing somewhat from Armenian life, except for a few of his trusted and sincere friends. He wrote a number of articles for a number of papers.
An orphan from the parish of Shadakh, he lived during the seventies in Yeramian’s home where he also had his early education. He returned to Shadakh and, for 15 years, he taught small children and the illiterate youth, and he also trained groups to take part in revolutionary activity. Our friend, Murad Muradian of blessed memory, has many stories about him. He died in his youth before 1895, and his wife in 1896. Yeramian handed over the other orphans to the missionaries to be educated to serve in their particular fields.
DIKRAN DEROIAN (VAZKEN)
He was born in 1873, in Aygestan, Van, in a well-to-do family. He was one of the brilliant stars of the revolution, but because the character of his revolutionary activity does not fit in our collection, we shall tell only about the educational aspects of his life. His father, a Paulician, had made great sacrifices to that purpose. In school, Dikran had been a good and diligent student, to the point of stirring the jealously of his friends. His teachers had appreciated him as an assiduous student, worthy of being admitted to the Central school. But, unfortunately, the school was being closed in 1885, and Dikran’s education was left incomplete. As a result, Dikran joined in his father’s business, a tailor shop. At that time, a vibrant movement had begun in the student ranks. The students of the Central school had surged upon the foreigners’ school where enthusiastic and principled teachers, like Akribashian and Avedisian, were on the staff, and self-study was important to the students. Dikran was dedicated to teaching, and to be more helpful to his people. The movement was growing, and all the students were holding patriotism above all else. In 1886 there was fighting, led by Avedisian, against Turkish troops. The sad and unforgettable day of May 28 was at hand. Akribashian’s death had a strong effect on the people, and Vazken was writing an emotional song filled with vengeance: “Tu ov tsangali Van im hayrenik, siruyt garodov mashvim yes herik.” His pitiful death (through betrayal) occurred on January 2, 1898, in the village of Grubash. Two friends were killed with him.
MISS ZARUHI DEROIAN
In telling about Vazken we do not want to forget about his sister Zaruhi, who became a collaborator with her brother in his revolutionary activity in Van. She was imprisoned, exiled to Jerusalem, and became a nun there in the Damascus monastery (to repent). She went to Germany to study pedagogy, and then returned to Egypt, to teach primary grade pupils in Cairo schools of Kalusdian, Alexandria, and Port Said.
Vazken has left a number of songs, one of which is the following.
IN AVEDISIAN’S MEMORY
Like a wounded lion fallen to the ground,
You growled with your formidable, powerful voice.
“Oh, you foe, pitiless enemy, wicked,
Who so meanly took vengeance on the Armenian.”
How sweet was the gun you handled,
Against your enemy facing you on the field of battle.
You fought like a peerless hero,
Landing your blows and entering your grave.
With your grand height and sweet tongue
You gave of your heart, of your life for the pitiful Armenian.
Alas, you did not savor the fruit of your labors.
You died, O brave one, leaving us in grief.
Freedom for the Armenian native, the Armenian race
Was your aim, oh, your priceless death,
You cried out, “Freedom,” until your final breath,
When you were glorified, without complaint.
You left your testament to the Armenian lad, with true faith,
To remember your infinite love and tenderness,
To remember your inspired spirit of revenge,
To avenge, slaughter, crush the vile Kurd.
Now that you have found your rest in the earth’s bosom,
You renewed the bitter sore in our hearts.
We vow, from now on, never to forget you, your name,
Until there dawns upon us a new hope for freedom.
And when spring comes, with its sweet breezes,
We gather in groups around your grave,
We shall weave garlands, and compose songs in your name,
And cover your shrine all over with flowers.
He was born in Van in 1909, one of many children, 13 sisters and brothers, but the only one to have survived the 1915 tragedy. His parents took him to Yerevan where he grew up, becoming educated in the Kh. Abovian school. He then entered the multi-arts school where he became a specialist teacher in agriculture.
He served in the Red Army in 1942, and in 1944 he was sent to America for the purpose of developing his specialty. On returning to Armenia, he introduced a new method whereby, with only one worker, sour soil can be made fertile, whereas it had taken a whole factory to accomplish it. For this he was honored with the Stalin prize. Unfortunately, we do not know of his further accomplishments.
He was born in Van in 1912. Having learned English and French, after studying in those lands, he went to Jerusalem, where he opened, and has, his own school. He has been a literary person. His works are “Nor Lusin,” “Mishd Kuyrt Bidi Ellam,” “Leran Aghchig,” “Zhamatrutiun Rosemaryi Villayin Mech,” “Sere Ge Dzaghgi Nuyn Chap,” “Yerp Ledkin Dunen Ge Herana,” and other works.