According to official statistics there are 33 Genocide survivors living in Armenia today. They are, of course, very old and memory mostly fails them, but they remain beautiful and strong at heart. Most of them have children, grand children and even great grandchildren and live with their families, who owe their lives to these elders’ struggle and ultimate survival. In the fall of 2014 renowned photographers Diana Markosian and Karen Mirzoyan have had the honor and privilege of being allowed into their homes to photograph the lives the survivors and their families lead today especially for the 100 LIVES initiative. On the eve of the Genocide’s 100th anniversary we bring you ten poignant photo essays about the strength and courage it takes to survive.
1. MOVSES HANESHYAN
One hundred and four-year-old Movses Haneshyan was born in the Kebussieh village in the region of Musа Dagh (present-day Turkey). In 1915 his family was deported to Syria.
2. HRIPSIME HAJI SARGSYAN
Genocide survivor Hripsime Haji Sargsyan was born in the Tavshanli Village in the Kyutahia Region of Western Anatolia. Hripsime recalled that it was early in the morning when Turks, armed with rifles, came knocking on their door.
3. OVSANNA GEVORGYAN - MIRKHOYAN
Ovsanna Gevorgyan - Mirkhoyan was born in 1915, although the exact day and place of her birth is unknown. The only thing she remembers is that her family used to live in a village near Istanbul.
4. KNYAZ SHIRINYAN
One hundred and three-year-old Knyaz Shirinyan is from the Alashkert district (now Eleshkirt in North-Eastern Turkey). He is the firstborn of his parents: Abraham and Khanum. The family escaped from Zrchi and crossed the Arax River in 1918.
5. YEPRAKSIA BARSEGHYAN-GEVORGYAN
Yepraksia Barseghyan-Gevorgyan was born on April 23, 1914 in the Laloyi Mavrak village, Kars Province. Yepraksia fled the Genocide with her mother and two brothers. Her father was killed by the Turks.
6. MARIAM SAHAKYAN
Mariam Sahakyan turned 100 in January 2015. She was born in Sasun, a district in the Batman Province of modern-day Turkey. She survived thanks to the Kurds, who helped her family.
7. NVARD SUDJYAN
Nvard Sudjyan is from Van (modern day Turkey). According to her documents, she was born in 1915, but she insists that she was in fact born two years earlier, in 1913.
8. MARGARITA MKHITARYAN
Margarita Mkhitaryan was born in 1915 in Kars. She escaped the massacres with her mother and brother in 1917-1918.
9. ZARUHI GHAZARYAN
Zaruhi Ghazaryan was born in 1911 in Sasun. She passed away on December 16, 2014.
10. AHARON MANUKYAN
Aharon Manukyan was born on March 20, 1914 in the Kendananc village in Van. Aharon was only one year old when his family had to leave home. He has no memories of those days, but his mother Mariam told him that she had managed to escape with her three sons: Aharon, Meliqset and Vahram.