Lecture Examining Armenian Genocide through One Photograph

"There are many secrets in this photograph on both personal and historical levels–and all are important to find."
–Stephen Kurkjian

The lecture "’Kiss My Children’s Eyes': A Search for Answers to the Armenian Genocide through One Remarkable Photograph," will take place at the Ararat-Eskijian Museum (AEM) on Sunday–March 5–at 4:00 PM. The event is organized by the Ararat-Eskijian Museum–the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)–and Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigative reporter–Stephen Kurkjian–who will discuss his quest to uncover the mysteries of a photograph and his encounter with some incredible findings. The lecture presentation will be followed by a reception.

The photograph in question depicts a group of Armenian men’standing under Turkish guard in front of a building in Gesaria (Caesarea) in 1915. The building is a prison and the men–most of whose names are listed under the photograph–will soon be taken away and murdered–early victims of the Genocide committed against the Armenia’s by the Ottoman Empire. Who took this photograph and why? Who were these men and how did they die? What became of their families? These are some of the questions Stephen Kurkjian asked… and set out to answer.

The photograph is extraordinary as it is one of the very few which have emerged from the Genocide showing identified Armenian men during what was essentially a death march. Yet it has never been researched–until now. Ninety years after it was taken–Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Steve Kurkjian–the son of a survivor–has attempted–with the assistance of Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives–to decode the story told by this photograph.

Using his skills as a reporter and the historical documentary resources available to him–Kurkjian has unraveled some–but not all–of the mysteries of the photograph–and–with the research assistance of Dr. Vahakn N. Dadrian–Director of Genocide Research for the Zoryan Institute and renowned genocide scholar–traced how the Armenian genocide came to Gesaria. Focusing on the microcosm offered by this single photograph–Kurkjian has found a unique window into the destruction of the Armenia’s of the Ottoman Empire.

The Ararat-Eskijian Museum was founded in 1993 by Armenian genocide survivor–philanthropist–and art collector–Luther Eskijian–to preserve the Armenian history and heritage for future generations. It is located on the grounds of the Ararat Home at 15105 Mission Hills Road–Mission Hills–CA 91345. For information call AEM (818) 838-4862 or visit www.ararat-eskijian-museum.com or contact NAASR Director Marc Mamigonian (617) 489-1610 or marc@naasr.org. Free admission and parking.

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