Coming from a wealthy family, her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother found safety with a wealthy Turkish family. Her family lost all their money and land. The family eventually moved to Constantinople, where Dadir married and raised two children, moving to America later in life.
The third survivor was Perouz Kalousdian. She was six years old when she witnessed the Armenian Genocide. She reports that the Turks took males over the age of 15 (including her uncles), tied them up two by two and threw them over the bridge into the River Euphrates.
The first stage of the Genocide occurred from 1894 until 1896, when more than 300,000 Armenians were massacred during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II. In 1909, approximately 30,000 Armenians were massacred in the area of Cilicia. The final stage of the genocide commenced on April 24, 1915, when more than 200 Armenian religious, political and intellectual leaders were arrested in Istanbul, then known as Constantinople, and murdered along with 5,000 of the poorest Armenians, who were actually butchered in the streets.
The Armenian Genocide was devised and implemented by the Central Committee of the Young Turk Party, formally known as the Committee for Union and Progress, which was dominated by Mehmed Talat Pasha, Ismail Enver Pasha and Ahmed Djemal Pasha of the Ottoman Empire. In the end, 1.5 million Armenians would be brutally killed and more than 500,00 exiled from the Ottoman Empire. The extermination was systematic, with many steps involved to ensure the annihilation of the Armenian race. One act involved the removal of Armenian troops, leaving civilians with no defense. Within several months, approximately 250,000 Armenians serving in the Ottoman army during World War I were disarmed and placed in forced labor battalions, where they were either starved or executed.
The Armenian people were deprived of their leadership and young men. With all opposition removed, they were then deported from every city, town and village of Anatolia and Western Armenia. In most instances, during the death marches the men and older boys were quickly separated and executed soon after the exile began. The unprotected women and children were marched for weeks into the Syrian desert and subjected to rape, torture and mutilation. Thousands were seized and forced into Turkish and Kurdish harems. Victims on the death marches were denied food and water, and many were brutalized and killed. Authorities in Trebizond on the Black Sea coast drowned Armenians in the sea while Armenians in Eastern Turkey were placed in cattle cars and transported to concentration camps in the desert. The majority of the deportees died on the marches or from starvation, disease and murder. By the end of 1923, the entire Armenian population of Anatolia and Western Armenia had been killed, deported or become refugees in other countries.
The Genocide served as a lesson for other tyrannical regimes. Adolph Hitler, when asked by his general staff on the eve of the invasion of Poland what the world would think and how they would be judged by history, replied, “It doesn’t matter. After all, who today remembers the extermination of the Armenians?”
Only one Turkish government, under Damad Ferit Pasha, has ever recognized the Armenian Genocide. His administration held war crime trials and condemned most of the instigators to the massacre. Every other Turkish government has continued to deny the Genocide
Thousands of Armenian-Americans will gather on April 25 in Times Square for the 26th annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration to pay tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians who were annihilated by the Ottoman Empire. Sam Azadian, founder of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration, recently passed away this year.
“There is so much overwhelming evidence,” Dr. Dennis R. Papazian, a professor emeritus and founding director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan and founding executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, a public interest organization in Washington, D.C. “The most incriminating document is the record kept by Talaat Pasha, the chief instigator and sponsor of the Armenian Genocide. It contains a minute record of the progress of the genocidal expulsions. He counted 900,000 victims in 1915 alone.”