Saturday, October 18, 2014

Marash, Turkey -- Photos of Marash bring back sad memories for Armenian families

Photo courtesy of Özcan Gülkesen
No longer the Bilezikdjian home.  Photo taken c. 2000, Marash (now known as Kahraman Marash), Turkey

They say the house had the most magnificent baths!

This was the house in which Garabed Agha Bilezikdjian hid his extended  family during the Armenian Genocide.  As Grandpa Peter told it, there was a family in every corner of the living room.  There was a high wall around the house and a well for water in the center, both of which allowed for survival of the family.

When the photographer was asked why the house was in such disrepair, he said that some kerosene sniffers inadvertently caused the house to be set on fire.  It is well known in the city of Marash as the former abode of the Bilezikdjian Family.
1917 Marash German hospital - Marash Alman Hastanesi. Photo courtesy of Özcan Gülkesen

A photo of the German Hospital  in Marash, Turkey, where Marash Girl's Grandma Yepros used to work c. 1918-1922. She worked for a loaf of bread a day! It was in this hospital that she saw the Turkish soldier wearing the coat of her mother-in-law, Marta Ganimian Bilezikdjian.  When Grandma Yepros admired the coat, he bragged, I took that coat off of the giavour before Ithrew her into the ovens!  Grandma Yepros, who the soldier thought was Turkish,  had all she could do to quell her grief stricken screams and continue to care for the injured Turkish soldier at Alman Hastanesi. Oh, Marash Girl shouldn't tell you that; it's too awful and she had forgotten until this moment!

Bethel Orphanage - Photo courtesy of Edward & Mary Ann Kazanjian - Photo darken  during a recent trip to  Marash

Marash Girl, named Bethel after her Grandmother Yepros Kurtgusian Bilezikian, in memory of the orphanage that took Yepros in after she and her sister Mary (Mairie Baju) hid in a closet in their home in Marash and witnessed Turkish soldiers bludgeoning their parents to death.  As Grandma told it, somewhere around 1895, Grandma Yepros, then a little girl of 8 and her sister Mayry, then a little girl of 5, were with their parents at home when a knock came at the door.  Their parents told them to hide behind the curtains in the closet and never to make a peep, no matter what they saw or heard.  Their parents opened the front door, Turkish soldiers came in and  . . .   Soon after, German missionaries retrieved the two little girls, now orphaned, placing them in the Bethel Orphanage (photo above).  Whenever Marash Girl is asked about the origin of her name, she must tell this story.  So sad.  

N.B. Bethel (or Paytel in Armenian) means "House of God" . . . we are all Bethels, are we not?  Our bodies are Temples of the Living Spirit!)

     The current condition of the orphanage at Kumbet quarter... Photo courtesy of Ozcan Gulkesen via Facebook.

1919 Maraşlı Ermeni bayanlar Bethel Alman Yetimhanesinde yufka ekmek yapıyor
(Bethel Orphanage - Kumbet)) 
[Marash Armenian ladies making bread dough in the German orphanage, Bethel (Bethel Orphanage-Kumbet, Marash, Ottoman Empire] 
Photo courtesy of Ozcan Gulkesen via Facebook.
Is the date of this photo correct?  Or should it be 1900?


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