Walnut Creek – One of only two remaining survivors of the 1915 Armenian Genocide living in the Bay Area passed away on March 13, 2008. Hayganoush Markarian died of natural causes earlier this week at the age of 106. Last October, Hayganoush’s story of survival was presented by Rep. Lynn Woolsey to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA) during the mark up of H. Res. 106 (the Armenian Genocide resolution). Rep. Woolsey displayed Hayganoush’s photograph to committee members prior to the resolution being passed. It now awaits a full House vote.
“Our community was formed by the survivors of the Armenian Genocide, therefore it is heart-wrenching for us to see the very last of them leave us. They are the only link left that ties us to the atrocious events of 1915, but they also represent the will of our people to survive and rebuild,” said Roxanne Makasdjian, Bay Area ANC chairperson. “We are especially sad that before Hayganoush Markarian’s passing, she was not able to witness her adopted country’s official recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” she added.
Markarian was born Hayganoush Azarian on January 24, 1902, in the city of Kharpert, located within Western Armenia where most Armenians lived before the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Beginning in 1915, the Ottoman Turkish government forcibly deported and massacred 1.5 million Armenians in a systematic campaign of annihilation.
Later in life, Hayganoush Markarian settled in Lebanon and the United States and became an active member of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS). The ARS, the oldest Armenian social service organization, was established in 1910 in New York City to provide humanitarian assistance to Armenians in need. She continued her membership until her unfortunate death earlier this week.
The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo caption: Hayganoush Markarian