TOULON, France (A.W.)—On Oct. 15, Armenian Ambassador to France Viguen Tchitetchian, unveiled a plaque in honor of French sailors who saved the 4,100 Armenians of Musa Dagh from extermination by the Turkish army and irregulars during the Armenian Genocide, reported French Armenian journalist Jean Eckian.
The unveiling, held in Toulon’s port, was attended by Secretary of State Hubert Falco.
“They are the pride of our Navy, they are the honor of the French army, the honor of entire France,” said Falco in his speech.
Falco also recalled the historic ties that bind Armenia with France. “These are the links of brotherhood and of the heart. The winds of history, with winds of pain and sorrow, have pushed successive generations of Armenians to France. They settled here. They worked, often under harsh conditions. They raised their children,” he said. “They have integrated into French society. They brought to it the best they had in themselves. They even shed their blood for a homeland that is now theirs.”
In 1915, the Armenians of Musa Dagh resisted Turkish troops for close to 50 days. On Sept. 12, a French battleship, Guichen, approached the shores to communicate with the Armenians. Soon, four other French battleships joined Guichen and bombed several Turkish positions on Musa Dagh and the surrounding regions. The Armenians were brought on board the battleships and were transported to Port Said in Egypt.
The heroic struggle of the people of Musa Dagh is immortalized in Franz Werfel’s celebrated novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh.