Diyarbakir Exodus Chronicles Memories Of Three Families


13:55, 14 August, 2013

YEREVAN, 14 AUGUST, ARMENPRESS: The late Josephine Mangasarian’s
Diyarbakir Exodus is more than the story of a singular life; the
memoir is an extensive family history – the interconnected stories
of Mangasarian’s mother’s, father’s and husband’s families – between
the years 1895 and 1927. In April, the Mangasarian family published
her unfinished memoir, reports Armenpress referring to Armenian
Mirror Spactator.

In 1905, Josephine Mangasarian’s father, Achod Amassian, accepted
a transfer from his post at the Diyarbakir telegraph office at the
mysterious urging of the telegraph office’s director and relocated
his young family there – roughly a 15-day journey. Her family was in
Aleppo at the time of the Genocide and deportations and she watched as
countless relatives came to Aleppo seeking refuge and rebuilding. At
one time, 20 people were living in her family home, many of whom were
friends and family who had fled the massacres.

Josephine Mangasarian wrote of how she collected these stories,
saying, “The events that I have described in this family memoir are
all true. The account of these incidents was related to me by the
survivors who took refuge in my family’s home in Aleppo.” Her father’s
position at the telegraph office afforded her access to secret messages
that he decoded corroborating the mass killings and much of what she
learned was confirmed by eyewitness accounts from family members.

The publication of Diyarbakir Exodus itself was a family endeavor.

Josephine Mangasarian began the work with three detailed genealogical
charts completed in her late 80s. From there, she wrote 270 pages by
hand about her family and the events during this time period.

Josephine Mangasarian died in 2002 before she could complete the
section on the 35 years of her life spent in Baghdad, Iraq after they
left Syria. Her son, John Mangasarian, had already begun aiding his
mother in her endeavor by transcribing and typing her handwritten

Upon her death, he continued editing and assembling the materials
for the book until he passed the torch to his sister-in-law, Claire
Mangasarian, in 2010. In 2011, John Mangasarian died and she continued
editing and assembling the manuscript.

Claire Mangasarian described her mother-in-law as a “very generous
and very confident in her own ability,” who had spent years of her
life working with charitable organizations in Baghdad. According
to Claire Mangasarian, Josephine was known for her “sharp mind”
and spoke five languages.

Unlike many memoirs centered on Genocide survival, “hers shows the
day-to-day life and situation of a young Armenian woman and the
experiences of these families that fled during turbulent times and
started to rebuild,” said Claire Mangasarian.

In addition to the three family histories – that of the Amassians,
Kurkgys and Mangasarians – Diyarbakir Exodus includes several rare
photographs offering a visual perspective into these stories

From: Baghdasarian