”Genocide Survivors, Community Builders: The Family of John and Artemis Mirak”

‘Genocide Survivors, Community Builders: The Family of John and Artemis Mirak’ –


“Genocide Survivors, Community Builders: The Family of John and Artemis Mirak,” is the story of two Armenian orphans uprooted from their homes in the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide and their life in the New World, where they became an example of courage and achievement in both their Armenian and non-Armenian communities.

 The family history was written by their oldest son, Dr. Robert Mirak, the author of “Torn Between Two Lands: Armenians in America, 1890 to World War I” (Harvard University Press, 1983).

 At its center is Zaven Mirakian, who became John Mirak, a restless, ambitious, and talented businessman. From a humble start, he built an impressive and innovative automobile enterprise, Mirak Chevrolet and affiliates, for which he was recognized locally and nationally.

He also succeeded in major real estate developments in Greater Boston. In addition, he donated both his time and resources to an endless list of charities from his hometown of Arlington to national Armenian organizations, as well as hospitals and sanitaria overseas. His wife, Artemis (née Eramian), not only assisted her husband’s efforts but, while he was away during World War II, raised their four children and inspired them to seek higher education and achievement.

The book is also a study in acculturation, tracing the evolution of the family from its immigrant origins to Arlington and Winchester, where the children grew up and were education. It highlights the tensions of the second generation caught between the cultures of the Old World on the one hand, and the New World on the other. It also shows how the children and grandchildren of the founders carried on the family traditions of service, especially to the Armenian community in the U.S. and in Armenia.

Published by the Armenian Cultural Foundation of Arlington, the study with illustrations is available at the ACF, 441 Mystic St. in Arlington; Book Ends, at 559 Main St. in Winchester; the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, 395 Concord Ave. in Belmont and online at Amazon.com.

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