The Armenian Genocide: Anne Smith's Family Story
My father, aunt,and various relatives were survivors of the genocide. I had an aunt who at the time of the march was about 8 years old, along with several brothers, sisters, mother, father, cousins were forced out of their village of Ovajic. My aunt was finally sold to an Arab family in order to save her life. I believe she was the youngest. A sister was attacked by one of the Turkish soldiers and because of her struggle, both of her eyes were gouged out with a sword in front of the family. They were not allowed to help her in anyway and were forced to leave her and ordered to keep marching. The rest of the family all died eventually on the march.
My Aunt, who was sold to the Arab family, was finally located after the end of the war. Her brother, my father, who had been drafted into the Turkish Navy during this time, was allowed to look for any missing relatives. Fortunately he found her in the last village he was going to because he was ready to give up.. She was watching a flock of sheep for the family at the time. She had changed considerably because she had been tatooed on the face and was also 4 years older. Her brother had a picture of her with him and sent it with a family member (Arab) to show her. She immediately recognized him, however, she had to convince him that she was his sister.
My sister, Takouhie, was named after the aunt who had her eyes gouged out. Two uncles escaped the march because they were already in the U.S. at the time.My father and the sister he rescued, arrived in the U.S. soon after.
My father never forgot that incident , naturally. We heard the story many times as children. My mother had a Greek father, so her family never were forced to leave. It is a sad commentary that the Turks to this day, deny that it ever happened. I just feel really sorry. It is hard to say anything. I am afraid all of my cousins, sisters etc. who were born after that happened, have become too assimilated into the American culture to fully appreciate what they went through.
Friday, March 20, 1998 9:04 PM