Armenian Genocide Museum Gifted Hundreds of Original Photographs

A group of Armenian Genocide orphans taken under the care of Near East Relief


YEREVAN—The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute has acquired a unique and rich collection of photos related to the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath. Highlighting the importance of the preservations of memory and its transmission to future generations, the heirs of the Khanikian family from Greece donated around 450 original photos to the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan.

The collection contains original photos documenting the lives of the countless orphans of the Genocide, the orphanages in the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, Greece and Syria, the orphan care activities of America’s Near East Relief organization, as well as photographs related to episodes of the history of the Armenian Genocide. The majority of the photographs have extremely important original captions on their back sides.

The director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, Hayk Demoyan, noted that “on the eve of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide the acquisition of this collection is not only symbolic, but also an exceptional event for our museum, and these photographs will find their special place in the exhibition of the new museum to be opened in 2015. Among the photos, the photo of Young Turk leader Ismail Hakki Bey arrested by British soldiers is of unique importance, indeed”

The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute thanked the Armenian Ambassador to Greece Gagik Ghalachyan for his help in the acquisition of this unique collection.

In early September 1915, American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau appealed to the U.S. State Department via telegraph, in which he considered it very necessary to set up a special committee in order to organize fundraising and finding resources to support those who survived the massacres.

From October, 1915, the fundraising organizations were carried out by the Armenian Relief Committee. Two similar committees in the Middle East operating before that were then united with the Armenian Relief Committee and formed “American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief”, which on August 6, 1919 was renamed as “Near East Relief” by the decision of the U.S. Congress.

Initially established as a temporary Committee, “Near East Relief” turned into a large organization. Originally it aimed at raising about $100,000, but during fifteen years of its activity the organization had more than 110 million dollars of investment in saving refugees and orphans. This humanitarian mission was carried out by American citizens and missionaries in the Caucasus, the Middle East and the Balkans. It was the first ever large-scale humanitarian effort of its kind.

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