Schiff Submits Story of Kevork "George" Hakalmazian, Survivor of the Armenian Genocide, into the Congressional Record

Washington, DC – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) submitted an additional story to be included in the Congressional Record – one of many submissions into the national record as part of Rep. Schiff’s Armenian Genocide Congressional Record Project.

“Kevork “George” Hakalmazian’s survival story builds upon previous stories that have been submitted to help document and preserve the accounts of Armenians who survived the Armenian Genocide,” Rep. Schiff said.  “This project is part on an ongoing effort to finally recognize the Genocide, and honor the memory of a million and a half innocent men, women and children, who were brutally murdered by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923.  One story at a time, we are working together to raise awareness about this important issue, and educate Members of Congress and Americans across the nation on the necessity of recognizing the Genocide.”

The Armenian Genocide Congressional Record Project, pioneered by Rep. Schiff, is part of an ongoing effort to parallel H. Res. 252, the Congressional resolution he sponsored to recognize and commemorate the Genocide. Rep. Schiff continues to encourage survivors of the Genocide and their families from throughout the country to participate in the project by sending in the stories of what happened to their family during the Genocide. 

Please send your family's story to Mary Hovagimian in Rep. Schiff’s Pasadena office at mary.hovagimian@mail.house.gov.

Below please find the story submitted today as included in the Congressional Record: 


Hon. Adam Schiff
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Rep. Adam B. Schiff
Mr. SCHIFF. Madame Speaker, I rise today to memorialize and record a courageous story of survival of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian Genocide, perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulted in the death of 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children. As the U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau documented at the time, it was a campaign of "race extermination."

The campaign to annihilate the Armenian people failed, as illustrated by the proud Armenian nation and prosperous diaspora. It is difficult if not impossible to find an Armenian family not touched by the genocide, and while there are some survivors still with us, it is imperative that we record their stories. Through the Armenian Genocide Congressional Record Project, I hope to document the harrowing stories of the survivors in an effort to preserve their accounts and to help educate the Members of Congress now and in the future of the necessity of recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

This is one of those stories:


“My grandfather, Kevork “George” Hakalmazian, lost his family in the genocide somewhere around age seven. His father was forced to give my grandpa’s sister in marriage to the Turkish mayor of their town, Peri. My grandpa never saw his sister again. Shortly after, when my grandpa’s father, Sarkis, was reading the Bible one afternoon in front of their house, Turkish soldiers took him and my grandpa’s mother, Oghapar, away. My grandfather never saw them again. My grandpa and the other children of the village, including his older brother Hagop, were rounded up by the soldiers and taken to the nearby river. At the river they were separated by size. My grandpa’s nephew, the son of his eldest brother who was already living in the USA, was separated in the group of smaller children away from my grandpa and his brother, Hagop. The smaller children were thrown into the river to drown, except my grandpa’s nephew knew how to swim. When the Turkish soldiers saw him swimming, they shot him dead in the water. For the next few years, my grandpa and Hagop were forced to work for a Turkish farm owner. They were his slaves. Eventually, my grandpa and Hagop were rescued by an older cousin, Marderos, who helped them escape to an orphanage in Lebanon. It was there that their eldest brother, Martin, who was living in Chicago at the time, found them and sent for them to come to America. My grandfather arrived in Ellis Island on July 4, 1923. He didn’t know his birthday, so for every year after that his birthday was July 4th.”