BURBANK, Calif.—The presentation of the broadcast version documentary “Orphans of the Genocide” directed by four time Emmy award winner Bared Maronian, took place on Sunday, September 30th at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodbury University in Burbank, California. This well attended event was organized by Ararat- Eskijian Museum, with the support of both the Western Diocese of America and the Prelacy churches.
Martin Eskijian welcomed the attendees on behalf of the Ararat-Eskijian Museum and invited the world-renowned Armenian Genocide scholar, Professor Vahakn N . Dadrian to the stage. Professor Dadrian gave a compelling introductory lecture on the extreme cruelty these young orphan children experienced at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Not only were some brutally murdered by hatchets, poison and swords, but also the novel method of mass drowning at the shores of the Black Sea and sections of the Euphrates River, especially in the Harput province, was utilized. Often the victims were mercilessly brutalized through sexual abuse, before being murdered, irrespective of the gender. Children placed in Turkish homes were almost always sexually abused and brothels were common. Another, milder form of perpetration involved the reducing of female victims in many Turkish households to the status of a concubine. In rare instances the female victims were integrated in a Turkish household as a legitimate wife, often as one of several wives, or, as a single wife. Very few of these could, or wanted to return to their original household after the end of the war.
Professor Dadrian’s eye opening lecture was followed by Bared Maronian’s dynamic presentation of the Armenoid Team’s inception, accomplishments and future plans with a focus on the team’s current project, “Orphans of the Genocide” that consists of a documentary film and a companion book, telling the story of untold numbers of Armenian children who had become prime targets by the organizers of the Genocide. Maronian’s extraordinary work depicts a theme that for decades has remained overlooked by historians trying to explore the various aspects of the World War I cataclysm that nearly obliterated the Armenian nation.
The material in question almost entirely focuses on the surviving Armenian children. The extreme and deplorable condition and abuses of these surviving orphans allows insight into the overall context and intent of the crime. The object of “Turkification” also was a form of genocide that was perpetrated on the Armenian nation by stripping the children of their Armenian identity. Maronian showed 4 complete segments of the broadcast version of the film, which resonated a benchmark production value and a unique story telling technique. At the conclusion of hid presentation, Maronian gave the attendees a chance to express their thoughts on his film, who in return praised the well researched and produced touching film depicting the stories of the Armenian Genocide orphans.
Maronian thanked the attendees for their support especially all those who generously contributed to his project. The seed-money for the project was provided by Alecco Bezikian, who is the son of an Armenian Genocide Orphan. Dr. Noubar Ouzounian and Sarah Chitjian, both a son and a daughter of Genocide orphans continually supported “Orphans of the Genocide”. “I wholeheartedly thank all those who made this project possible, specially the curator of Ararat-Eskijian Museum, Maggie Goschin-Mangassarian who adopted this project from it’s inception”.
Among the dignitaries were accomplished Hollywood producer Howard Kazanjian and Missak Keleshian, the researcher who unrevealed the story of the Armenian Genocide orphans of Aintoura, Lebanon, who were destined for “Turkification”.
The closing words were delivered by Nancy Eskijian, Esq., who reiterated the importance of supporting the project at hand in any way possible.
Finally, Western Primate Hovnan Derderian commended Maronian’s work and concluded his words by saying, “after seeing this powerful film, I can attest that genocide has a different meaning to me.”
Upon the conclusion of the event the guests were invited to a reception at the atrium of the Fletcher Jones Foundation Auditorium of Woodbury University, where 18 images depicting the experiences of Armenian Genocide orphans were displayed on special canvas prints.