Elizabeth Sweeney

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The Armenian Genocide:
Elizabeth Sweeney's Family Story


I'm doing this project on the Genocide in History. I'm only 16 years old and not 100% Armenian, but I'm very interested in the nationality. I'm half Armenian. My great grandfather, Oscar Chaderjian grew up in Armenia and had two brothers. I have to talk to my uncle Arim to get the facts straight but he told me this three years ago so I'll try to remember.I don't know if it was during the 1896 massacre or the 1915-1923 genocide. The only reason I don't know is because, supposedly he was a Russian Armenian and it wouldn't go together with the story I've been told. But his father was a teacher, the Turks broke down the door to his classroom and shot him right there, he of course died. They then rounded up his family and marched them across the dessert. During this time his mother and one of his brothers died, I don't know how. Eventually he and his brother escaped, they went back to Armenia and married. It was an arranged marriaged, made because his wife needed to get out before she was deported. Only fourteen, she moved to California with him and his brothers family. He went back to fight the Turks, he scaled mountains and blew up bridges and hated the Turks with every part of himself (so did my grandmother and she hated nobody). He won two medals of honor and returned back to America. He had five children Stella, Arim, Johnny, Annie and Mary (My grandmother). Johnny was the only one who lost touch, when he married. The rest have all visited frequently. My grandmother attended first grade not knowing a word of English, yet learned it perfectly, no slang, within less than half a year. When she was only twelve her mother died of TB. In California after WWII, she met my all Irish grandfather (You can image what a match that must have been) and they eventually got married and moved to New York. They were always making fun of each other, jokingly, like calling each other "the tribe" and "mick" or "hick". She became a micro-biologist and remains the only one who was ever good at math. She made the best Armenian food, like shish keabob, pilaf, pokloova (I don't know how to spell it). Her father moved in with my dad, and his two sisters. He had a really nice Armenian accent and when he swore (which was rare) it sounded better than an American accent. He died of old age. Now as I'm learning new things about it from my research, it is disturbing to know that I'd have no clue about it, were it not from my family background and that one part in a Holocaust survivors speech at school. The Armenian Genocide set the tone for the Holocaust, Cambodia, etc. and I think if we learn about the Holocaust, we should learn about the Genocide. I know it wasn't 6 million people, but it was still a substantial amount. Hitler referred to it and used it as support. Your site is great and eye opening. I've been particularly looking for pictures because that is what it's going to take to make my classmates maybe start to understand how awful it was. At this site, I found some that I will use, thank you.

Sunday, May 10, 1998 5:59 PM




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