“I am looking for my sisters, Veronica Moonjian and Satenig Yacoubian, from Kharpert, Mezreh. Could those from Gaban Maden have word? Do any Armenians know where my sister’s children Arantsar and Vshnasp Moonjian are? Please reprint this in any Diasporan newspapers.”
This was a plea from a man separated by a Genocide that systematically eliminated over a million and a half Armenians by order of the Turkish Ottoman Empire toward the end of World War I. This man took out an advertisement in one of the Armenian newspapers searching for his loved ones four years after a date that would change his life forever.
On this day, April 24, 1915, the first abduction of hundreds of Armenian intellectuals took place by the Turks. The Armenians were arrested and swiftly executed. Soon to follow were death marches: men, women and children forced from their homes to march for days without food or water. Toward their impending death women were raped, children were thrown off of cliffs or drowned, innocent Armenians — all murdered because of their religion.
It’s the anguish of this man who spent years searching for his loved ones and escaping the Armenian Genocide in hopes that one day he would be reunited with his sisters.
That man, was my grandfather, Ardash Yacoubian.
I can’t even begin to imagine being separated from my parents or siblings for that many years only to find out that many of them were killed. In my grandfather’s case, his only sister, Satenig returned a few years later.
Today marks the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Although, as Armenians we only commemorate this tragic day in our history on April 24th, we acknowledge it each and every day. All of us, including my family, were touched by the ravages of the Armenian Genocide.
There is much written on the Armenian Genocide and I hope you will share this message and the links below and educate others about this dark chapter in Armenian history.
Armenian Genocide in New York Times
Armenian National Institute
The History Channel
The Armenian Genocide (PBS Documentary)
The Armenian Genocide: The Great War (YouTube)
The Armenian Journey (YouTube)
Many thanks to my cousin John Yacobian for sharing this advertisement with me which inspired me to write this short piece. John has been collecting our family ancestry information for several years. Thank you John!