Armenians of Nirze, Turkey: Roots of an Armenian-American
“…the queen of villages, our Nirze…” —Toros Torosian, What We Had
History records that Armenians have had a presence of millennia in Anatolia. Under Ottoman rule, religion, language, traditions and common values contributed to the strong bonds between villagers and villages and towns. Armenians contributed much to the cultural, economic life of the country and in its progress. In addition to the majority peasants, farmers and merchants, Armenians were also engineers, doctors, architects, teachers, businessmen, artists, writers, clerics and state bureaucrats. This world came to an abrupt end beginning in April 1915 when the Ottoman government arrested a large number of Armenian political, intellectual and religious leaders in the capital and in the provinces and led them to their cruel death. That was the opening move that would be followed by the deportations and massacres of Armenians, a chapter in history now known as the Armenian Genocide. A 3000 year-old civilization was eliminated between 1915-1923. The story of the village of Nirze, northeast of Kayseri/Gesaria, in central Anatolia, Turkey, is a microcosm of the Armenian experience, past and present. Its history mirrors that of thousands of other villages. This book attempts to provide a glimpse into the vanished way of life in Armenian villages and to share its traditions and values with the public at large, with deep respect for the memory of those who perished and with compassion for those who survived. It is with the ardent hope that citizens of Turkey will understand the crime that was committed against Armenians and what they lost. Through education we may hope to achieve a common understanding of history and to reject denial of the Armenian Genocide. We have a moral obligation to tell the harrowing stories of what happened in 1915 during the Armenian Genocide. Their stories live on; they are remembered.
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