“Islamized” Armenians during the Genocide: A Case Study by Prof. Armen Marsoobian on May 29 at ZIC

In the summer of 1915 Tsolag Dildilian and his family converted to Islam and adopted Turkish identity as a condition for remaining in their hometown of #Marzovan (Merzifon) in north-central Turkey. Like many “hidden Armenians,” they postured as Muslim Turks in public, but never swayed from their Armenian Christian identity at home. In so doing they were able to rescue and hide significant numbers of young Armenian men and women during the Genocide.

The Dildilian family home in Marzovan just prior to the 1915 deportations and Genocide.
The Dildilian family home in Marzovan just prior to the 1915 deportations and Genocide.

Dr. Armen T. Marsoobian, Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University, will tell the story of the Dildilian-Der-Haroutiounian families and describe daily life in a Genocide-era Turkish city where the only remaining Armenians were those who had purportedly adopted Turkish identity. Prof. Marsoobian’s presentation is based on extensive family memoirs, letters, oral testimony and scores of historic photographs.

Entitled, Resisting the Darkness: The Story of an “Islamized” Armenian Family in #Marzovan (Armenia) 1915-1919, Marsoobian’s richly illustrated presentation will take place at the Zohrab Center on Thursday, May 29 at 7PM. The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. For further information contact the Zohrab Center at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710.

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Of the approximately 12,000 Armenians living in #Marzovan and its associated villages, a small number remained behind at the conclusion of the deportations in August 1915. Continue reading ““Islamized” Armenians during the Genocide: A Case Study by Prof. Armen Marsoobian on May 29 at ZIC”

The Gardens of Silihadar. Book Presentation by Jennifer Manoukian on Tuesday, May 6

2014-04 SilihdarThe Zohrab Center will host a book presentation by Jennifer Manoukian, whose new, English translation of the autobiography of Zabel Yessayan entitled, The Gardens of Silihdar, has just been published. The event is being co-sponsored by the Armenian Network of America Greater New York Region.

The presentation will take place on Tuesday, May 6 at 2014 at 7PM at the Armenian Diocese, 630 Second Avenue, New York.

Author, educator and social activist Zabel Yessayan (1878-1943) is today recognized as one of the greatest writers in Western Armenian literature. Her poignant 1935 autobiography displays the fierce determination of an Ottoman era Armenian intellectual who refused to accept the restrictions placed on women in Ottoman Turkey, and affords a vivid account of Armenian community life in Constantinople at the end of the nineteenth century.

Jennifer Manoukian, an authority on the writings of Zabel Yessayan, will present her newly-published English translation of Yessayan's autobiography at the ZIC
Jennifer Manoukian, an authority on the writings of Zabel Yessayan, will present her newly-published English translation of Yessayan’s autobiography at the ZIC

Jennifer Manoukian, is a graduate of Rutger’s University and a former Zohrab Center intern. She is an accomplished translator and an authority on the writings of Yessayan. She recently published a translation of an essay by the 19th-century novelist Srpouhi Dussap (née Vahanian) entitled, Women’s Inactivitywhich addresses social struggles particular to Armenian women.

At her Zohrab presentation Manoukian will present The Gardens of Silihdar, and introduce the life and work of Zabel Yessayan, a bold, one-of-a-kind figure in Western Armenian literature. The presentation is free and open to the public. A wine and cheese reception will follow, during which attendees may purchase the book.

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In her long and eventful life, Zabel Yessayan never strayed from her beliefs, despite often facing both governmental and social pressures. Continue reading “The Gardens of Silihadar. Book Presentation by Jennifer Manoukian on Tuesday, May 6”