2008-04-30 / Features

Liu Honors Armenian Genocide Survivors

City Councilmember John C. Liu on April 24 hosted a commemoration of the Armenian Genocide with survivors and community leaders at the New York Armenian Home in Flushing, Queens. In observance of "Armenian Martyrs' Day", also known as "Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day", Liu honored two Flushing residents in recognition of their courage and strength.

Perouz Kalousdian, 98, was born in Palu on Dec. 22, 1909. She was six years old when she witnessed the genocide. Turkish soldiers came into her town and took all the males over the age of 15, including her two uncles, from their homes. They tied them up two by two and threw them over a bridge into the River Euphrates.

Rose Puccio, 94, was born in Kesaria on Jan. 15, 1914. She was a baby when the genocide began. Most of her family members were killed by the Turkish army and she was placed in an orphanage. Eventually, she was sent to Cuba. Her family in the United States was able to locate her after many years and she was brought to America.

Liu declared: "The lives of our honorees are a true testament to the triumph of the human spirit. These strong women endured horrific losses of both family and country during what is often called the first Holocaust of the 20th century, and it is my sincere honor to recognize these two distinguished survivors of the Armenian Holocaust."

Dr. Arthur Flug, Queensborough Community College Holocaust Resource Center executive director, stated: "How tragic it is that almost a century since the Armenian genocide has taken place and a handful of survivors are left, we are still faced with the perpetrators refusing to take responsibility, or, even less, acknowledge its existence."

Community Board 7 Vice Chair Charles Apelian, added, "Today is a sad commemoration of the horrific 1914 Turkish Genocide of my Armenian ancestors. I'm grateful for the opportunity to honor the few remaining survivors today at the New York Armenian Home in our Flushing community, and I am proud to be an Armenian American who descended from survivors just like those we honor today."

Between 1915 and 1923, two million Armenians living in Turkey were eliminated from their historic homeland through forced deportation and massacres. April 24 marks "Armenian Martyrs' Day", a day of solemn remembrance for Armenians around the world. On Apr. 24, 1915, nearly 250 Armenian intellectuals and leaders were rounded up in Ottoman Turkey and eventually murdered. According to reports, nearly 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children were lost as a result of the horrific genocide. There are currently eight million members of the Armenian diaspora living in communities throughout the world.

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