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ANCC Mourns the Passing of Canada’s Last Verified Armenian Genocide Survivor

 

OTTAWA, Canada—The last verified survivor of the Armenian Genocide in Canada, Knar Bohjelian-Yemenidjian, passed away peacefully on Jan. 19 in Montreal. She is survived by her two sons, three grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Knar Bohjelian-Yemenidjian in 2016 (Photo: Vrej-Armen Artinian)

Knar Bohjelian-Yemenidjian was born in Gesaria (current day Kayseri, Turkey), in 1909. In 1915, during the Ottoman Turkish government’s genocidal campaign against the Armenian population of the empire, she, along with her family found herself in the deportation marches that culminated in the systematic annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians. Like many Armenians at the time, she was forced to assume an Islamic identity in order to survive. After the genocide, she settled in Egypt, reclaiming her Armenian identity and forming a family that eventually settled in Montreal, Canada in 1971.

Armenian Genocide survivors, living examples of resilience, rebirth and fortitude, found themselves in a world that stood passive as the perpetrator denied its past and intentionally misconstrued history with impunity. Despite the fact that they had no sense of closure with their past, they remained hopeful and optimistic, becoming the greatest sources of influence for all the generations that followed.

Although Turkey continues to deny the Armenian Genocide today, Knar Bohjelian-Yemenidjian and many survivors that chose Canada as their new home, were fortunate enough to have lived in a country, where the pain that was inflicted upon them and millions of other innocent Armenians was courageously recognized as a genocide by the Canadian Senate in 2002, the House of Commons in 2004 and the Government in 2006.

Furthermore, Mrs. Bohjelian-Yemenidjian lived long enough to see the Canadian House of Commons, on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, unanimously pass Motion 587, declaring the month of April as Genocide Remembrance Condemnation and Prevention Month.

Knar (Top left) in a family photo taken in Alexandria, Egypt in 1931 (Photo: Courtesy of the Yemenidjian Family)

“We strongly believe that it is only through our concerted efforts as Canadians, that we can strengthen our promise to fight against injustice and bolster our commitment to uphold the truth and prevent future violations of human rights” said Shahen Mirakian, President of the Armenian National Committee of Canada.

“As we witness the passing of an entire generation that did not see justice being served throughout their lifetime, we stand ever resolute in our struggle against denial and impunity and restate our steadfast commitment in our pursuit for justice” added Mirakian.

Knar (R) during her first visit to Montreal in 1967. (Photo: Courtesy of the Yemenidjian Family)

As countries, such as Canada stand up against injustice and take a principled stance on issues of human rights, we rest assured that the legacy of Knar Bohjelian-Yemenidjian and others will be upheld, and history will never be forgotten.

The ANCC mourns the passing of Knar Bohjelian-Yemenidjian and expresses its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased.

1 Comment on ANCC Mourns the Passing of Canada’s Last Verified Armenian Genocide Survivor

  1. avatar zavenkurdian // January 24, 2017 at 11:40 am // Reply

    My mother, Sirvart Kirishjian Kurdian, was born in 1912 in Erzouroum. She presently resides in Thornhill, Ontario, with my sister Hasmig. Another survivor, Mrs Kokorian, resides in Toronto. Zaven Kurdian, 107 Calvin Chambers Rd., Thornhill, Ontario. 905 889 9468. Currently can be reached at 954 564 1412 (Fort Lauderdale).

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