AT THE CROSSROADS OF DER ZOR: Death, Survival, and Humanitarian Resistance in Aleppo, 1915-1917

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by Hilmar Kaiser, in collaboration with Luther and Nancy Eskijian

At the Crossroads of Der Zor is the first academic thesis on the humanitarian resistance against the Genocide of Armenians in 1915. It presents a compelling picture that Armenians were not simply passive victims at the hands of Turkish authorities. This study shows how a number of individuals, such as Rev. Hovhannes Eskijian, gave up their lives in order to save Armenian orphans and others as part of a resistance movement. The survival of these orphans was seen as the very antithesis of the genocide perpetrated against Armenians. All hope was placed in these these youngsters, and through them, the survival of the Armenian nation after the calamities of 1915. Kaiser also shows that the fate of Armenian orphans depended on the crucial help which came from the outside world, especially the United States, and the role played by an unlikely alliance of people, such as the Swiss missionary Beatrice Rohner, the Aleppo German Consul Walter Rossler, and a number of American diplomats and missionaries. Their work was carried out in a clandestine fashion, in an atmosphere of persecution and death, organized by the Ottoman authorities. At the Crossroads of Der Zor is another title in Kaiser's work on the Armenian Genocide, based on a solid array of English, German, Armenian and Turkish sources. Each title remains a milestone in the historiography of the Armenian Genocide. Luther Eskijian is Rev. Hovhannes Eskijian’s son, and Nancy, his granddaughter.