SURVIVOR: BIOGRAPHY OF ARAM ANDONIAN
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SURVIVOR: BIOGRAPHY OF ARAM ANDONIAN

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by Rita Soulahian

Survivor of the Armenian Genocide, Aram Andonian (1875-1951, was among the 200 Armenian intellectuals who were arrested in Constantinople on April 24, 1915. On the way to the killing fields, he broke his hip and was sent to a hospital, while his friends were butchered near Ankara. By the time the war was over, he had been arrested and had escaped more than 20 times and spent time in a concentration camp in the Syrian- desert.

After the Armistice in 1918, he dedicated himself to transcribing the stories of the survivors. In 1919, he published the first literary work on the Armenian Genocide. In Those Dark Days; was acclaimed by literary critic Hagop Oshagan as the most perceptive account of the life in Ottoman Turkish concentration camps, its filth, cruelty of the gendarmes, hunger and death of women and children. In 1919, Andonian also published The Great Crime, the first systematic portrayal of the events of 1915-1918 as a great crime against humanity. The copies of the telegrams proving the premeditated nature of the felony published in the book fueled a debate between Turkish deniers and Armenian and French historians of the Armenian Genocide.

In 1919, Andonian was hired as the secretary for the Armenian National Delegation to Paris Peace Conference. The delegation was headed by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) founder, Boghos Nubar. Andonian was also the first curator of the AGBU Nubarian Library in Paris. In 1941, during the German occupation in France, the ancient manuscripts of the library were confiscated and shipped to Berlin. After the war, Aram Andonian successfully fought and retrieved the German heist of the Nubarian library s valuable collection.

The reader of this biography will be acquainted with the life of Aram Andonian, the veritable founder of Armenian Genocide studies and will form an informed opinion on the unfolding of the Armenian Genocide as well as its documentation by survivors and onlookers.