SAN FRANCISCO–The Sarkis Kotanjian Library officially opened on February 14–when the Hamazkayin library at the San Francisco community center was renamed in honor of Kotanjian–who was not only a devoted Armenian–but also a loyal member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF).
On the occasion–his son Varoujan–who has been a consistent supporter and respected member of the San Francisco Armenian community–along with Kotanjian’s daughter Emma Girgosian–donated $30,000 to the local ARF Christapor gomideh.
Opening remarks were delivered by close family friend Azad Azadkhanian–who presented a profile of Sarkis Kotanjian–recalling traits and recollecting events from their friendship.
Sarkis Kotanjian was born in the Armenian city of Gars in 1893. On graduating from the local school–Kotanjian enlisted as an officer in the Russian army.
Despite being wounded while fighting in Gorbad during WWI–Kotanjian saved the lives of 600 fellow soldiers–and received a medal of honor from the Russian army–and later the title of knight.
In 1958–Kotanjian settled in San Francisco with his wife Heghine–to reunite with his children Varoujan and Emma.
Kotanjian established the first Armenian cemetery in SF–the "Ararat" cemetery–and according to his wishes–was the first person to be buried there–dying on August 29–1965.
ARF Christapor gomideh representative Hrair Sarkisian–referring to Sarkis Kotanjian’s involvement in the ARF–recounted Kotanjian’s imprisonment in 1921–along with Nigol Aghbalian–Hovhannes Katchazouni–Levon Shant–and subsequent banishment to Siberia.
"We are here to day to honor a humble hero–who always avoided accolades and positions of prestige. He was one of those ARF members who fought in the 1918 battles of Gharakilise–Bashabaran–and Sardarabad."
After the war in 1945–Kotanjian settled in Tehran–continuing his involvement in the ARF–and establishing a construction business.
"It is perhaps an injustice to summarize the life of a meritorious friend in a few lines. His black and white photo–however–served as a symbol; we were able to visualize him–and be able to–to some small degree–familiarize ourselves with his achievemen’s," he continued.
"Tonight became a reality thanks to his son Varoujan and daughter Emma; I’m proud to say that from this point on–this library will bear the name of Sarkis Kotanjian," concluded Sarkisian.
Last to speak was Sarkis Kotanjian’s son Varoujan–who expressed gratitude that the opportunity to hold such an occasion was provided–which allows his father’s memory will live on forever. On behalf of the ARF–Sarkisian presented the ARF Album Atlas to Varoujan.