Armenian Genocide Survivor Diran Terzian Passes Away

TORONTO–One of the oldest remaining survivors of the Armenian Genocide, Diran Terzian, has passed away, the Armenian National Committee of Toronto (ANCT) reported this week, mourning the great loss and extending its deepest condolences to the Terzian family.

Terzian who was a long-time member of the ARF and other Armenian organizations, an ANC activist and supporter, and one of the oldest remaining survivors of the Armenian Genocide passed away on April 10, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario. Terzian, who was born in the historic city of Erzerum in 1912, lived a life full of faith and dedication to the Armenian Cause. He would have turned 97 in June. Terzian is survived by 3 children and their spouses, 5 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

Over the past several years he had become a regular honored attendee at community events organized by the ANCT, including a reception in October 2007 on the occasion of the Town of Markham’s unanimous passage of a resolution officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Markham Mayor, Frank Scarpitti, recognized Mr. Terzian as a special guest at the reception and presented him with a gift on behalf of the Town of Markham.

Terzian was also recognized as one of the last survivors of the Armenian Genocide in the Toronto area at the 92nd commemoration of the Armenian Genocide as the ANCT honored the Georgetown Boys in April 2007. In Ottawa alongside Canadian political dignitaries, Jason Kenney, Jim Karygiannis, Vivian Barbot, and Alexa McDonough, two survivors from the Genocide, Diran Terzian and Knar Bohdjalian, and other relatives of Genocide survivors, placed wreaths around the Centennial Flame, in memory of its 1.5 million victims.

“As time passes, fewer survivors of the Armenian Genocide remain but their memory still inspires us to seek justice for the Armenian Cause,” said ANCT chairperson Mr. Shahen Mirakian.

Terzian remained a mainstay at the community’s events until his final days. On December 8th 2007, Mr. Terzian participated in a cake cutting ceremony at an event at the Armenian Community Centre. Mr. Terzian also attended the 93rd commemoration of the Armenian Genocide organized by the ANCT in April 2008.

Terzian was present in the Ontario Legislature on March 26, 2007, when The Honorable Brad Duguid, Member of Provincial Parliament for Scarborough Centre, and currently the Minister of Labour, introduced Bill 189 which would designate April 24 of each year as Armenian Genocide Memorial Day. Mr. Duguid specifically mentioned the presence of Diran Terzian in his address to the Legislature.
“This is a somber moment for our community indeed” expressed Sam Manougian, member of the Armenian National Committee of Canada. “For years, Mr. Diran Terzian had been an icon of our community. Particularly for the youth, Mr. Terzian represented a tangible living link to our ancestral homeland including places such as Erzerum, Van, Ani, Dikranagerd and Kharpert, before they were stolen from the Armenian nation in the Armenian Genocide. Today is a very sad day for the Canadian-Armenian community, as we have lost an icon. But we vow to continue the struggle for the Armenian Cause in Mr. Terzian’s memory.”

The Armenian National Committee of Toronto is a chapter of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, a grassroots organization that was founded in 1965 to address the concerns of the Canadian Armenian community on a broad range of issues.

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