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The Official Inauguration of Soghomon Tehlirian Square to Take Place in Marseille

MARSEILLE, France (A.W.)—A square in the French city of Marseille will be officially named after Soghomon Tehlirian—the Armenian who assassinated Talaat Pasha, the former Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, in Berlin on March 15, 1921—in a ceremony on April 21.

Soghomon Tehlirian

Marseille Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin, several public and political figures, as well as representatives of the French Armenian community will come together to officially welcome the naming of the square, in an inauguration event organized jointly by the Marseille municipality and the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France (CCAF).

Tehlirian was born in the village of Nerkin Bagarich, in the Erzurum region, and grew up in nearby Erzincan (Yerznga). He began his education at an Evangelical school in Erzincan, then attended the Ketronakan School of Constantinople. He began his higher education in engineering at a German university but returned to Erzincan when the First World War broke out.

In June 1915, during the deportation of Erzincan Armenians, Tehlirian witnessed the murder of his mother and brother, along with the rape and murder of his three sisters. He was struck on the head and left for dead. He survived and escaped to Tiflis, where he joined the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF).

Marseille Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin, several public and political figures, as well as representatives of the French Armenian community will come together to officially welcome the naming of the square

He participated in volunteer units commanded by General Andranik and also took part in the Volunteer regiment commanded by Sebouh.

In 1921 he was assigned to the ARF’s Operation Nemesis, which sought to punish Turkish officials guilty of organizing and carrying out the Armenian Genocide.

Tehlirian’s main target was Talaat Pasha, one of the triumvirate of Young Turk leaders who had ruled in the last days of the Ottoman Empire; he was a former minister of the interior and a grand vizier (prime minister). Talaat was killed by Tehlirian with a single bullet on the morning of March 15, 1921, in Berlin, in broad daylight. Tehlirian did not flee the scene and was immediately arrested.

He was tried for murder but was exonerated by the German court. His trial became a highly sensational event, examining not only Tehlirian’s guilt but also that of Talaat Pasha for the Armenian deportations and mass killings.

The trial influenced Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin, who was later to coin the term “genocide.” He reflected on the trial, “Why is a man punished when he kills another man? Why is the killing of a million a lesser crime than the killing of a single individual?”

After the assassination, Tehlirian moved to Serbia and married Anahit Tatikian, who was also from Erzincan. The couple moved to Belgium and lived there until 1945, when they moved to San Francisco.

Tehlirian died in 1960 and is buried at the Ararat Cemetery in Fresno, California.

7 Comments on The Official Inauguration of Soghomon Tehlirian Square to Take Place in Marseille

  1. Why don’t you point out that Raphael Lemkin was a Jew? Is there a reason to hide that fact?

    • Why don’t you point out that the prevailing majority of the Young Turk leaders were crypto-Jews? Is there a reason to hide that fact?

  2. Justice must prevail. It is great honor to the Armenian people in all around the world. Thank you France and French people of Marseille and fantastic work for those Armenians who worked I am sure very hard to turn this Idea into Reality. Good work. Most Armenians and myself are thankful. However, I would like to add with disappointment, when I look back to the last 100 years of Diasporan History, we, as a nation Never Were Able to grasp the MOMENT “Momende” to get organized and become an international force. A DIASPORAN FORCE. This shows that we never had a Leader of SUBSTANCE in Diaspora who could have the Vision to lead and Organize the communities around the world. We, unfortunately, have the misconception about our selves that we cannot be United. What a terrible notion. And I hear this from everywhere. Menk chenk gernar mianal. What an absurd thing to say. But WE CAN. Of course, we had leaders, few, yes, we had them, but they were silenced. Just to mention few such as Shahan Natali in the past, God bless his soul. Sarkis Zeitlian, what happened to him. There are his followers. His students, people who believed in him. There are all SILENCED. Why isn’t there a follow up. How come we gave in so quickly? No one talks about him anymore. How come? I hear only mur-murs. We in the Diaspora, are not in a good shape. Very unhealthy. Politically, Organizationally and Financially we are in a big mess. We are however, and we have very successful individuals and only few of them are contributing to our programs. We need to think about these very important issues and not only think but start TALKING ABOUT THEM and taking action. I learned that the School that ARF had in Lebanon to prepare future leaders have been closed. I ask WHY? Why? They say it is lack of Finances. Disgusting. Finances can be always available when the INTENTIONS and Visions of our leaders are Good and Clear. I work and get paid to listen to people’s problems every day. The Art of Listening. I believe we must choose people as leaders so they can prepare future LEADERS and not just leaders of internal politics but also Every leader MUST ATTEND and learn “The Art of Listening”. We do not have leaders who have Mastered The Art of Listening. My honesty and sincerity have no boundaries and I MUST SPEAK the TRUTH. We all have to. Otherwise, we are Dying as an Organization and as people of Diaspora. We must work hard to Re-Invent and re-organize the Diaspora and become a force to be reckon with and respected. When can achieve this by having a very strong Diaspora, Armenia and the Armenian Governments and our Enemies will take us very seriously. Otherwise, again, as we had chances before to grasp the “Moment” of the time which we missed, but hopefully we will be able to create another “MOMEND”. WE CAN DO IT.

  3. avatar Bedig Tersakian // April 14, 2017 at 9:11 am // Reply

    Naming a square Soghomon Tehlirian in Marseille is not only to honor the Hero but equally it is in respect of the German Justice!! They say “history repeats itself” I would say history also contradicts itself…look what the German Hitler did later on…but the German people was honest and decent enough to admit and compensate….while these two words don’t exist in the Turkish political dictionary!!!

  4. avatar Arthur Tehlirian // April 14, 2017 at 1:53 pm // Reply

    Proud to live under such a moving
    Last name…my thanks to the French people…Marseille was an important city that protected my greatuncle during difficult times agter THE trial !!

  5. I wonder how many people are visiting his resting place in Fresno. Instead of walking and yelling in LA , we need to go there every 24th April and show our respect to this great man. I wonder if our young generation knows about him and went there. We have a sacred place here and almost forgot about it. Let’s go there every year and put our flowers and pray for his soul.

  6. avatar Papken Hartunian // April 17, 2017 at 1:25 pm // Reply

    it is you and my responsibility to go over with them the stated facts. We should keep talking with them and hopefully some of then would follow your idea. For example, I live more than 40 years at USA and know almost everything about genocide, however, I did not know that Mr. Soghomon Tehlirian’s resting place is in Fresno. I thank you for your information. I should point out that there is Mr. Soghomon Tehlirian’s statue in Yerevan, Armenia.

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