The Zohrab Center inaugurates its Spring Armenian enrichment series on Thursday, February 5 with a real-life detective story by Dr. Vartan Matiossian.
In 1921 the mastermind of the Armenian Genocide, Talaat Pasha, was killed in a Berlin street by a young avenger, Soghomon Tehlirian. This was the final act of Operation Nemesis, planned and partially carried out between 1919 and 1922 to fulfill the justice to the Armenian people that many believed had been denied them by tribunals.
In his memoirs, published in Armenian in 1953, Tehlirian unveiled many of the details of his action. For security reasons, he identified his immediate on-the-ground collaborators with pseudonyms: Hazor, Vaza, and a certain Haiko. Three decades later, the identity of the first two were revealed or inferred but the third operative, “Haiko,” has remained unidentified.
While waiting for the day that archival material will yield more information about him, a lucky hunch and a painstaking examination of data from the Armenian press and secondary literature has allowed Dr. Vartan Matiossian to identify by name and to outline the life and activities of “Haiko.”
Dr. Vartan Matiossian was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and lived in Buenos Aires until 2000, when he moved to the United States. He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires and has a Ph.D. in history from the Academy of Sciences, Armenia, having studied the Armenian community in Argentina from its beginnings until 1950.
A frequent visitor to the Zohrab Center, Dr. Matiossian currently serves as Executive Director of the Armenian National Education Committee of the Armenian Prelacy in New York. He has published extensively in the areas of Armenian history and literature in Armenian, Spanish and English, including 5 books and countless scholarly articles, essays and book reviews. He has also translated 15 Armenian books into Spanish and English.
Dr. Matiossian’s presentation will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 2nd. Avenue, New York on Thursday, February 5 at 7PM. The event, which will be followed by a reception, is free of charge and all are welcome.
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For further information, contact the Zohrab Center at email@example.com or (212) 686-0710.
Last week Anna Astvatsaturian Tucrotte presented her memoir, Nowhere: A Story of Exile, at the Zohrab Information Center. View her poignant presentation here.
On Thursday, October 9, Prof. Maxwell Johnson of the University of Notre Dame spoke at the Zohrab Center about the phenomenon of Christian martyrdom in the early church in light of the anticipated canonization by the Armenian Church of the countless martyrs of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 who surrendered their lives for the name of Jesus Christ.
The Zohrab Information Center will host an evening of original poetry on Thursday, October 23 at 7:00PM.
Featured will be three American-Armenian poets: Nancy Agabian, Lola Koundakjian, and Alan Semerdjian. They have chosen to read works that have been inspired by the Zohrab Center’s rich book collection.
Award-winning author Nancy Agabian is a part-time faculty member of the NYU Gallatin School. She was a Fulbright scholar to Armenia in 2006-7.
Alan Semerdjian is a poet, teacher, musician and artist, whose acclaimed collection of poems, In the Architecture of Bone, explorees issues of Genocide and survival.
Making her second visit to the Zohrab Center to read her work, Lola Koundakjian is an internationally acclaimed and published poet whose work has been translated into Spanish and Ukrainian. She is curator of the online Armenian Poetry Project.
The Evening of Poetry will place at the Zohrab Center of the Armenian Diocese, 630 Second Avenue, New York.
All are welcome to attend. Suggested donation is $5. Students with ID will be admitted free. A reception and refreshments will follow.
For further information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 686-0710. #ZICPoetry
One of the treasures of the Zohrab Center is its rich collection of historical photographs, some of them from 19th century Armenian communities in western Armenia and the Middle East, many of them documenting the early history of the Armenian community in the United States.
The collection, numbering hundreds of photographs, has grown gradually thanks to the donations of American Armenians going back to the establishment of the Diocese of the Armenian Church over a century ago.
One person working with the ZIC collection is Dr. Joseph Malikian, an expert in 19th and early 20th century Armenian photography and photographers, who has his own vast and precious personal collection of historical photographs, and who published the recent album, The Armenians in the Ottoman Empire: An Anthology and a Photo History (Antelias, Lebanon, 2011). (Read about a recent exhibit from his personal collection of Ottoman-era photographs).
Dr. Malikian recently brought to our attention one of the rare photographs that contains identifying information.
The print, measuring approximately 5 x 7 inches, depicts 8 well-dressed young men standing behind two distinguished gentlemen and an Armenian clergyman, all seated. On the reverse we read the following caption:
Ագ-Շէհիրի դպրոցի բարձրագոյն կարգի աշակերտները իրենց տնօրէնը Լեւոն Աղապապեան, Գարեգին Սրբազանը՝ ներկայիս Պօլսոյ պատրիարք Խաչատուրեանը, Արմենակ Օրմանեան։ 1913-1955.
The students of the senior class of the Ak-Shehir school [with] their principal, Levon Aghababian, Bishop Karekin Khachadourian—currently the Patriarch of Constantinople, [and] Armenak Ormanian. 1913-1955.
The fascinating photo and caption provide a glimpse into a long-forgotten page in the story of the Armenian people. Ak-Shehir is a city in west-central Turkey that had a small, but vibrant Armenian community far from the larger pre-Genocide Armenian centers hundreds of miles farther east.
Patriarch Karekin Khachadourian, a native of Trabizon, served as Patriarch of Constantinople from 1951-1961. The years “1913-1955″ that conclude the caption probably indicate the date of the photograph (1913) and the date that the caption was written (1955).
But who is Levon Aghababian, the principal? And who is Armenak Ormanian? Is the latter a relative of Maghakia Ormanian, the great intellectual and prolific scholar who converted from the Armenian Catholic Church eventually to become Patriarch of Constantinople in 1896?
If you can provide any additional information about these individuals, the photograph, or the Armenian community of Ak-Shehir, please post a note on this blog.