Susanna G. Hovhannisyan
Key words – Hovhannes Tumanyan, Echmiadzin, refugees, orphans, genocide, diaries, drafts, records, children, Nvard, Satenik Ohanjanyan, Western Armenia, Van, Alashkert, Erzrum, Mush, Berkri, Tiramerik, Abaga, Khndzorken, Bitlis, Datvan, Panchi, Manazkert.
The article introduces a few episodes of Tumanyan’s activities in Echmiadzin during the period of the Armenian Genocide, particularly August-September of 1915. Tumanyan’s diaries kept many testimonies about the life of orphans and refugees sheltered in Echmiadzin during that period.
Heroism of a teacher Hakob Jrbashyan and Arpiar Safrastyan to save 300 children of a bording school of Varag is represented, the incidents, which took place while migrating to Igdir from Shatakh, Archesh, Van, Alashkert, Erzrum, Mush and other regions of Western Armenia, as well as description of massacre which took place in Gortsot, Tiramerik, Abagha, Berkri, Khndzorken, Bitlis, Mush, Datavan, Panchi and other places are represented. There are also facts about material losses of the Armenian people in Manazkert and Western villages: statistical data about the refugees who had become victims of epidemic during a month in Echmiadzin, which are expressed in Tumanyan’s telegrams sent to the Armenian National Bureau.
18 out of 100 articles of literary-critical, political-public nature written by the poet during the period from 1914 to 1918 remained unfinished and in draft condition which often remind records. Today these drafts have also value of ratification: they express testimonies and thoughts of the poet as a witness of Genocide. The author emphasized horrors of Genocide and created an image of human-beast.
The poet’s orphan-protecting activities started in Echmiadzin which continued until the end of his life. In February of 1920 by the initiative of Haskel / High Commissioner Colonel of Allies (appointed in summer of 1919) / Armenian Orphans and Refugees Subscription Committee was formed and Tumanyan was elected as chairman.
Tumanyan’s selfless bravery and multi-layer devoted activities carried out during Genocide period are considered to be a striking example of humanity and patriotism in the history of all nations.