BY HAGOP GOUDSOUZIAN
Today I am inspired not to make a new film, but rather to help friends find their lost relatives. I am inspired by a post on Facebook by Lilit Mirzoyan who is searching for her relatives.
To help her and others I started a Facebook Page “Find My Armenian Relative.” Within the first 12 hours three individuals had posted searching for a relative. Here is the Page’s first story as posted by her:
“My great-grandfather Artashes Mirzoyan was a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation “Dashnaktsutyun” and lived in Gegharot village, near the town of Spitak, Armenia.
“When the Bolsheviks came to Armenia in the 1920s, they gathered the anti-Soviet citizens and exiled them to Siberia. This was a quick and easy method of getting them out of the way. This practice continued for decades and came to its peak during Stalin’s rule.
“Some of the non pro-Soviet people were warned and managed to escape to the closest more or less friendly country at the time – Iran. That’s what my great-grandfather did. He left his wife and 4(?) children, including my grandfather and escaped, hoping one day the whole family will reunite. That never happened…
“In the beginning he was able to send letters and some of them got to his wife. Later on the letters just stopped coming. This is the only letter from him that survived where he is writing to his wife [as posted on Facebook] telling how much he missed his family and asking about their children.
“After the Soviet Union collapsed, my father initiated a search in order to find any information about his grandfather. And he did find out that Artashes (my great-grandfather) indeed lived in Tehran after he escaped from Soviet Armenia. He was a young man and married in Tehran and had children (2 sons (?)). These children emigrated from Iran, most probably to the USA.
“My father had also found out that Artashes himself is buried in the Armenian cemetery in Tehran. Unfortunately, my father is not alive anymore, so I can’t ask him how and what else he found out.
“At the time I wasn’t much interested in family history, so I don’t recall all the details he used to tell me. But now I am in Artashes’ shoes, living in a country where I have no relatives. Well, not the exactly, but almost, because I can go and see my relatives in Armenia any time I want.
“Nevertheless, life abroad is not that easy without family or relatives and I would like to find people that are from my family to introduce them to my children. Even though we never met, I still have a feeling we’ll have a lot to talk about.
“I AM LOOKING FOR THE CHILDREN OR GRANDCHILDREN OF MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER ARTASHES MIRZOYAN. Please help me find any information about them.
This touching story is but one of the life of the “andounee” and “taparagan” Armenian life. We thought we had found our final destination. Here, many of us alone, yet we are not alone. Every time we moved we left someone behind. Some were taken to Siberia while others the grand children of the Genocide. To Armenians, “family” is sacred; it is our history, the very essence of who we are and our keel.
Help me connect Lilit Mirzoyan and other Armenians with their lost relatives. Take a peak, post, read, help, and share.
You can reach Lilit Mirzoyan with the Facebook Page “Find My Armenian Relative” or post about the person you are looking for.