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CITY OF ORPHANS: Relief Workers, Commissars and the "Builders of the New Armenia" Alexandropol/Leninakan 1919-1931

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by Nora N. Nercessian

This volume tells the story of the City of Orphans in four parts. Part One looks at events that led up to its formation in Alexandropol at a time when the city was experiencing a radical human and physical transformation under military imperatives. Part Two, which spans the decade of the 1920s, continues with NER's mistreatment by the local Revolutionary Committee in Alexandropol in fall 1920 followed by a third exodus, this time to Kars in December 1920 under the protection of Mustafa Kemal; the subsequent expulsion of 6,000 to 7,000 orphans from Kars to Alexandropol in the dead of winter 1921. Part Three covers the reconfiguration and retrenchment of the City of Orphans into the Polygon; the growing estrangement between NER and SSRA, followed by NER's final withdrawal from Armenia in spring 1931. Part Four shows two lists, both incomplete, which together provide a glimpse of the community of orphans and employees of the City of Orphans. This book is an attempt to honor a generation of children who had the tenacity to endure and the determination to survive their rites of passage, in one way or the other.

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