Genocide Survivor Ghazaros Kademian Passes Away

The late Ghazaros Kademian

LOS ANGELES–Ghazaros Kademian, a longtime ANCA supporter and one of the oldest remaining survivors of the Armenian Genocide passed away on January 24 at his home in Glendale, California. Kademian, who was born in the historic city of Zeitoun in 1907, lived a life full of faith and dedication.

Over the past several years he had become a regular attendee at community events organized by the Armenian National Committee, the Armenian Youth Federation and Homenetmen.

"Sadly, this past weekend our beloved Ghazaros was called home," stated Armenian National Committee Western Region (ANC-WR) Chairman Vicken Sonentz-Papazian. "The story of the Armenian nation in the 20th and 21st century is encapsulated in the tragedy, struggle and rebirth of Ghazaros Kademian. While we bid farewell to our dear friend and colleague we are inspired by his indomitable will and remain forever indebted to the countless sacrifices he made in securing our future," he added.

At the 2007 ANC-WR Annual Banquet Mr. Kademian was saluted by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, who hailed him as a symbol of the Armenian will to survive and persevere. Mr. Kademian attended several Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) events including the annual protests at the Turkish Consulate on April 24th as well as a hunger strike "Fast for Remembrance" in January of 2006.

"The life of Ghazaros Kademian serves as motivation for us to continue our work towards Genocide recognition," expressed AYF WR Chairman Vache Thomassian. "As time passes, fewer and fewer survivors of the Armenian Genocide remain but their memory will inspire future generations to seek justice for the Armenian Cause," he added.

The very last letter written by Kademian was penned to the Turkish Government in anticipation of an AYF protest held at the Turkish Consulate on April 24, 2008. Kademian wrote "I pray that the Lord gives you (Turkish government) the wisdom to stop killing your own people, to listen to your own intellectuals, and stop killing them in the middle of your cities. Hopefully I will not wait long, and your government accepts its unjust actions and proceeds to remedy its mistakes. Ninety three years. No more tears."

"Ghazaros Kademian was and will remain an iconic Armenian hero. He represented our tragic past, our resurrection as a people and our common journey for justice," stated ANC-WR Board Member Raffi Hamparian. "His life was touched by genocide, but also by faith and family. His death reminds us all of the need to continue his support for the Armenian Cause. As Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote, ‘At the grave of a hero we end, not with sorrow at the inevitable loss but with contagion of his courage and with a kind of desperate joy we go back to the fight’," added Hamparian.

To mark his 100th birthday last year Mr. Kademian insisted on making a very generous donation to the ANC-WR to support the organization’s education and outreach efforts. Kademian miraculously survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and found a new home in Baghdad, Iraq. While in this newfound country, he helped the Armenian community by being an advisor and leader. A strong survivor of the genocide, Ghazaros and his wife Azadouhi raised three wonderful children; Ohannes Kademian, Asdghig Kaladjian, and Anahid Kademian.

On May 18, 2005 as a part of the Congressional Record, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA-29) honored Kademian noting that, "The courage of survivors like Ghazaros Kademian reminds all mankind of the extraordinary strength and determination of the Armenian people who endured the unspeakable atrocities perpetrated against them by the Ottoman Empire; ;It is our sacred obligation to honor the memory of the one and a half million men, women, and children systematically murdered during the Armenian Genocide; ;The story of Ghazaros Kademian’s family is terrible and tragic, but not uncommon. It is our responsibility to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and collectively demand reaffirmation of this crime against humanity."

In lieu of flowers, the Kademian family is encouraging community members to provide tax-deductible donations to the ANC-WR at 104 North Belmont Street, Glendale, CA 91206. For more information please call the ANC-WR offices at (818) 500-1918.

The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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