Survivors: Krikor Shirozian

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Shira // 1910-1995

Krikor Shirozian was five years old when he and his mother were deported from their home in Shira, Turkey.  Although he was a young boy during the Armenian Genocide, he vividly remembered the last moment he shared with his mother.  One night, as the procession of Armenians was resting, Krikor asked his mother if she would always be with him. “Of course sonnow rest your head on my lap so you know I am with you.”

In the morning, when Krikor woke up, his head was resting on the ground and his mother was gone. He ran along the caravan, crying, asking if anyone knew where his mother was. They all stared at him with blank expressions, for they too had lost their loved ones.

Completely alone and helpless, Krikor found himself surrounded by three Turkish soldiers on horses.  One aimed to shoot him but a sympathetic gendarme reasoned with his comrade that he was only a child and should be spared. The soldier with a gun backed away and the gendarme lifted Krikor and rode with him to the Euphrates River, where he was delivered to an orphanage.  The orphanage named him Shirozian, after the town he was from because his last name was unknown.

Some time later, he was taken to a Kurdish farmer’s family, where he was treated like a slave and lived in the stable with the animals.  He was forced to carry out back-breaking duties, hardly fed, and often beaten.

When he grew old enough to escape, he fled to Syria, where he met his wife, Vergeen, who was also an Armenian Genocide survivor.  They had four children and moved to the United States in the 1970s.

Krikor passed away in 1995 in Philadelphia.  He is survived by his four children, seven grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

Honored by Melineh Merdjanian and Shirozian Family 

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