This memoir recalls Yervant Alexanian's death-defying experiences in the center of the Armenian Genocide. Like other Armenians of his generation, he was an eyewitness to the massacre and dislocation of his family and fellow countrymen in Ottoman Turkey during World War I. Alexanian was conscripted into the Turkish army-but unlike others so conscripted, he survived.
Alexanian was forced to become an onlooker while he watched the atrocities unfold. His story of resourceful action and fateful turns is a suspenseful "insider's account" of a Genocide survivor. From his singular position, Alexanian was able to document the tragedy of his people in his journals and diaries, but he also offers us a behind-the-scenes look into the motivations and actions of Turkish military officials as they committed the atrocities. His story continues after the war as we follow the trail of his journey through Europe and finally to America, where he found solace and was able to start anew with fellow survivors.
No comparable account exists in the literature of the Armenian Genocide. This edition, translated from Alexanian's hand-written Armenian-language chronicle, includes never-before-seen documents and photos that the author preserved. Through his eyes we relive the astonishing cruelty of the Genocide's perpetrators-but also rare, unexpected acts of humanity between victim and oppressor.
About the Author
Table of Contents
Foreword Israel W. Charny
Introduction Sergio La Porta
Translator’s Preface Simon Beugekian
Memoirs of Yervant (Edward) Alexanian
Chapter 1: Childhood Early Life
Chapter 2: School Years
Chapter 3: Life in Sivas before Deportations
Chapter 4: Deportations and Genocide
Chapter 5: Life in the Army
Chapter 6: Istanbul
Chapter 7: America
Final Thoughts (1953)
Appendix A: Reflections of Yervant Alexanian
Appendix B: Letters of Yervant Alexanian
Appendix C: Documents of Yervant Alexanian (Facsimile with English Transcript/Translation)
Timeline of Yervant N. Alexanian
Select Bibliography and Further Reading
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An astounding, perceptive observation of the vagueries of human nature during time of catastrophic stress and upheaval - the Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the 20th century - told in extraordinary detail, but without rancor, by a young Armenian boy with a photographic memory who was conscripted into the Otoman Army at the age of 19. Yervant Alexanian describes in detail the life of his family and minority Armenians from 1895 through the 1915 Genocide in the city of Sivas, Turkey, including the deportations, his 3 1/2 years of service in the Ottoman Army - during which time he learns of the murder of 51 members of his family on the Death March, and his survival, due to his unique abilities, and eventual migration to the United States. Throughout this memoir, Yervant's photographic memory enables him to paint a vivid, detailed picture for the reader, providing the names of his classmates, teachers (and what subject each taught), relatives, shop owners that employed him and what each shop sold, government officials, fellow conscripts and officers. The book is replete with rare documents translated into English and photographs of the period and places mentioned and provides a birds eye first hand account of life in Sivas from 1895 - 1920. I was unable to put the book down and salute both the author and his daughter for this ground-breaking, one of a kind, information presented in such a riveting manner. Wanting more, I tried to find another book on this aspect of the Armenian Genocide, but was unable to, so I cherish Forced into Genocide all the more and will reread it. Karen Richardson