107 Year Old Armenian Genocide Survivor Knar Yemenidjian: I Remember, I Demand
107 Year Old Armenian Genocide Survivor Knar Yemenidjian: I Remember, I Demand –
Knar Yemenidjian (Born 1909, Kayseri) is one of the last Armenian Genocide survivors in Canada. Knar Yemenidjian has 2 sons, 3 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
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Knar Bohjelian-Yeminidjian was born in 1909 in Kayseri. When the massacres and the assault on Kayseri began, she and her family sought refuge in a barn for a few months. Her family was then deported, but not too far from their home, the reason being that her father was a soldier in the Turkish military. Growing up, Bohjelian recalls how her mother tied a scarf to her brother’s head so that he would pass for a girl, given that all the men were being rounded up and killed. Following a governmental decree and with their grandmother’s backing, Bohjelian’s family was forced to Turkify themselves in order to survive. Subsequently, Bohjelian and her entire family bore Turkish names.
Once a cease-fire was announced, her parents decided to flee the region. In 1928, they travelled to Ankara, then Constantinople. After staying for 11 months, they made their way to Greece by boat and two days later, arrived in Alexandria, Egypt. She was 19 years old by then. Bohjelian claims that the only reason they survived the Armenian genocide is because they took up Turkish identities.
She remains grateful towards her grandmother who (surely reluctantly) encouraged the Bohjelian family to take on Turkish identities. Bohjelian got married and lived in Egypt for over 40 years before moving to Montreal in 1971 with her family. She survived the genocide against all odds.