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Anahid Oshagan Voskeritchian

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Long-time Educator Anahid Oshagan Voskeritchian Bio

Armenian News Network-Groong
December 7, 2005

By Taline Voskeritchian

AMMAN, JORDAN


Long-time educator and member of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), Anahid Oshagan Voskeritchian died on November 4, 2005 in Amman, Jordan. The first of Hagop Oshagan and Araxi Astradjian Oshagan's three children, she was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in 1919 and grew up in Cairo and Cyprus where Hagop Oshagan taught at local Armenian educational institutions. In 1934, the family settled in Jerusalem where Hagop Oshagan was invited to teach at the Tarkmantchats School. In the essay "Hagop Oshagan: An Intimate Portrait," Anahid Voskeritchian gives a deeply affecting account of the great writer's interior and domestic life.

In Jerusalem, Anahid Voskeritchian graduated from the American Academy with high distinction. She was unable to continue her education in Paris because of the outbreak of the Second World War and was forced to start working, the first Armenian woman in the community to do so. Hagop Oshagan's liberal views extended to other spheres of his children's lives: Anahid was also the first Armenian girl in Jerusalem to swim and play tennis. She continued playing tennis until her first of four known heart attacks, which happened on a tennis court in Amman.

Anahid married Diran Voskeritchian in Jerusalem in 1943. A native of Erzurum and the sole survivor of his extended family, Diran Voskeritchian later became one of the best known architects in the Middle East and the designer of more than 700 multi-story buildings, monuments, religious sites, and villas in Jordan, Palestine and elsewhere in the region. Diran Voskeritchian was for many years the resident architect of the renovations of the Holy Sepulchre (Sourp Haroutune) church in Jerusalem. He died in Boston in 1997.

In Jerusalem, Anahid joined the ARS as a founding member and was active of the Tripoli and Amman chapters. In her later life, she was honored on several occasions by the ARS and was key-note speaker at community gatherings in Amman.

With the outbreak of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the death of Hagop Oshagan, the Voskeritchians and Oshagans (Araxi and Hagop Oshagan's youngest child, Garo) were forced to leave Jerusalem and settle finally in the Jordanian capital. Amman was to be Anahid's home for the next five decades. In Amman, she taught history at the Christian Missionary School for many years until she was appointed principal of the local Armenian school, the Armenian General Benevolent Union/Tatossian-Yuzbashian School. During her 15-year tenure, the school became known for its high academic standards, and achieved an excellent reputation in Jordanian educational circles. After leaving the school, she developed educational materials for teaching Armenian and to published a series of children's plays and stories. More recently, and after the death of her brother, Vahe Oshagan, she devoted her time to making sure that her father's literary legacy would find its rightful home in the Republic of Armenia.

Until her death, Anahid was a first-rate Bridge player, an astute observer of regional politics, and an energetic member of reading and discussion groups in Amman. As one of her close friends said after the funeral, "Anahid was a school. When you visited her, it was always much more than coffee; you leaned something each time." Before her death, she had become curious about the discovery of DNA and was reading about the subject in preparation for a presentation for the French Circle.

Anahid had a very large circle of Armenian and non-Armenian friends in the Middle East, the Republic of Armenia, Europe and the US. Her funeral in Amman and the three days of mourning that followed brought together a vast array of individuals--friends, colleagues, students, Bridge partners; Muslims and Christians; simple folk and well-known local personalities.

Anahid was a remarkable woman of great intelligence, strong opinions and boundless energy." As one of her friends wrote, "It is not only Digin Anahid who has died, but also piece of that mysterious, old world which she personified so well." It is no exaggeration to say that her death signifies yet again the end of an era in the life of the Armenian diaspora and its literary culture.

Anahid Voskeritchian was buried in the Christian Cemetery in Amman. She is survived by her daughter Taline of Boston and her son Hratch of Los Angeles; three grandchildren--Tamar Salibian, Ani and Arda Voskeritchian; six nephews--Hayg, Ara, Zareh, Raffi, Berj, and Diran Oshagan; two cousins--Jeni Zerdelian in NY and Garo Astradjian in Sao Paolo; and countless friends, students and colleagues the world over.

Memorial services (Karasounk) will be held on Sunday, December 18, 2005 in Boston at St. Stephen's Armenian Church, and in Los Angeles at Ferrahian Holy Martyrs' Church in Encino. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Armenian Relief Society or Armenia Fund.