Cummings Foundation Grant Recipient
FAREWELL KHARPERT: Autobiography of Boghos Jafarian
FAREWELL KHARPERT: Autobiography of Boghos Jafarian
Claire Mangasarian

FAREWELL KHARPERT: Autobiography of Boghos Jafarian

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By Boghos Jafarian, Edited by Leon Mangasarian, Supplementary chapters by Claire Mangasarian

Farewell Kharpert is the memoir of a man caught in the grip of a genocide that engulfs his native land and dooms many of its people. Boghos Jafarian chronicles his narrow escaped from the deadly fate that befalls many of his compatriots and begins his autobiography by recalling an earlier family history: "In the house of my eldest brother, Bedros, not far from my own home in Mesirch, in Central Asia Minor of the Ottoman Empire and which is today the Republic of Turkey, my brother preserved and updated a family history which contained a record of my ancestors extending to distant generation. This record was lost at the time of the deportation and massacre of Armenians in 1915."

Thus writing, at the age of 75, Boghos Jafarian takes up the thread of family history broken 40 years earlier. He traces his ancestors from the Caucasus to Persia, and finally to the city of Kharpert. He recalls incidents and anecdotes about his father and grandfather which depicts their strong and lively personalities. His poignant autobiography spans the turbulent times of World War I during which he nearly lost his life as a result of the massacre and deportations of Armenians carried out by the Ottomans. His experiences in the united States between 1897 and 1904 prepare him for his return to Kharpert to join his two brothers in an import and export business and in the establishment of a silk factory there. The massacre of 1915 shatters the lives and dreams of most Armenians living under Ottoman rule.

For readers interested in family relationships, the appendices describe the families of Boghos Jafarian's brothers and sisters as well as the families of his wife's parents. These appendices include 12 family charts, 9 of which are accompanied by a photo of the group. This 256-page books contains more than 45 photos. Included are rare photographs of Kharpert before 1915, along with photos of Boghos and Nazley Jafarian and many of their relatives. One remarkable photo contains 100 people. A legend describes the relationship of each person to the Jafarian family.

Claire Mangasarian (1989)