Maine Genocide Commemoration to Feature ‘The Great Fire’

On Thurs., May 14, Portland Public Library and the Armenian Cultural Association of Maine will host an evening to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Author Lou Ureneck will speak about his newly released book The Great Fire: One American’s Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century’s First Genocide.

The evening begins at 7:15 p.m. in the Rines Auditorium with comments from the president of the Armenian Cultural Association of Maine, Gerard Kiladjian, and will be punctuated with a historical photo display of Armenian culture in Maine. There will be a reception in the Lewis Gallery after the lecture.

The Great Fire: One American’s Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century’s First Genocide is the harrowing story of a Methodist minister and a principled American naval officer who helped rescue more than 250,000 refugees during the Genocide of Armenian and Greek Christians. It is a tale of bravery, morality, and politics, published to coincide with the Armenian Genocide Centennial. By turns harrowing and inspiring, The Great Fire uses eyewitness accounts, documents, and survivor narratives to bring this episode—extraordinary for its brutality as well as its heroism—to life.

Lou Ureneck, a former Nieman fellow and editor-in-residence at Harvard University, is a journalism professor at Boston University. He was deputy managing editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer and editor of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

Portland Public Library’s Brown Bag Lecture Series features bi-weekly reading and question-and-answer sessions with authors from around the nation as well as those who hail from Maine.

All Brown Bag Lectures are free to the public (unless specifically noted as a fundraiser). Because they usually take place over the lunch hour, guests are encouraged to bring their lunch; coffee is provided by Coffee by Design. Books on sale at each lecture are courtesy of Longfellow Books, which donates a portion of the proceeds to the Portland Public Library.

For more information,

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. Thank you for recognizing and commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Turkish Genocide against the Armenians. I am from Watertown, Massachusetts–now residing in Portland. I am the granddaughter of Albert Janjigian, a Genocide survivor, who, at age 12, hid under dead bodies to escape the horrors committed by the Turks. My grandfather was a prominent Watertown businessman and philanthropist. Again, thank you.

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