Adrina Dadrian Children’s Playwright and Novelist Dies

NICE–France–After a long and debilitating illness–Ms. Adrina Dadrian–the older sister of genocide scholar Vahakn Dadrian–passed on in Nice–France–on February 21. Her funeral took place on February 28 in Nice’s St. Mary’s Armenian Church.

Born in Chorum–at the time a district of Ankara province–she had endured as a mere infant all the hardships of the deportations. She–like several others of the extended Dadrian family–survived–however–these ordeals because they belonged to the first convoy leaving Chorum in the summer of 1915. The local Turkish authorities decided to spare their lives on account of her father’s high position as a judge and benefactor.

The two subsequent convoys were all mercilessly massacred on the way to Yazgad–in transit to the Arabian deserts. By coincidence–three of these surviving members of the first in Conesus–New York)–and Arpine Dadrian (a cousin in Detroit) likewise passed on in the last 2.5 years.

After receiving her primary education in the Armenian school Aramian–in Kadiky–a district in Istanbul’s Asiatic side– Dadrian attended the local Notre Dame de Sion–a school run by French Catholic nuns. She then turned to Armenian literature–studying under the tutelage of the noted feminist Armenian writer Sybil (Zabel Asadour). She began teaching and writing at the age of fourteen. For her higher education–she went to Europe–attending the Universities of Berlin and Vienna–where she concentrated on Armenology and comparative literature.

Upon her return to Istanbul–she founded–together with literary critic and chronicler Pakarad Teryan–Bardez–a pedagogical illustrated weekly for Armenian school children that lasted 26 years. During this period–she cultivated the art of theater for children–producing dozens of plays–some of which were published in Bardez–while others–22 of them–were staged in various theaters of Istanbul in the 1951-1967 period. One of them was an operetta with piano music created by Istanbul’s Armenian composer Sirvart Karamanoogian. Nearly all of these still remain in man’script form and–along with her other creations–especially short stories–fables–and poems for children–in 1995 have been deposited as part of her archive in Yerevan’s Museum for Literature and Art.

Some of her plays have been staged also in several Diaspora Armenian schools–such as in Nice–Detroit–Geneva–and Montreal. In addition–she produced–together with Teryan–educational material for two levels of kindergarten children–and a textbook for first class pupils (Aypenaran).

Apart from all these–she turned to French literature when in 1969 she left Istanbul for good and established residence first in Paris and during the last 30 years in Nice. Totally absorbed in French literature–she began to switch from romanticism to realism when creating heroes for her novels–which became her last choice of a genre for modern Armenian literature.

She published four novels–titled Mayteroun Vura–Kehenee Djampoun Vura–Tchorrort Mu Gu Pundurvee–and Heghinag Getzeer. In all of them she tackles the problems of the cruelties of human’suffering–the persecution of vulnerable human groups–the inequities in life–the elusiveness of human happiness–and the unending struggle for justice.

She was personally honored by the Armenian Writers Union in Yerevan–the Patriarchate of Istanbul–which promoted her pedagogical undertakings throughout the Armenian school system and Armenian cultural life in Istanbul–the Union of French-Armenian Writers in Paris (1984)–and was the winner of the first prize of Cairo’s National Endowment Fund competition.

In addition to Prof. Dadrian–she is survived by her younger sister–Meline Hazaryan of St. Petersburg–Florida–and several cousins in France–Egypt–and Canada.

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