FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2017
Contact: Sevag Belian (613) 235-2622
Ottawa – The oldest survivor of the Armenian Genocide in Canada, Knar Bohdjelian-Yemenedjian , passed away peacefully last night in Montreal, at age 108. She is survived by her two sons, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Knar Bohdjelian-Yemenedjian 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 Bohdjelian-Yemenedjian 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. Bohdjelian-Yemenedjian 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.
“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.
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 Bohdjelian-Yemenedjian and others will be upheld, and history will never be forgotten.
The ANCC mourns the passing of Knar Bohdjelian-Yemenedjian and expresses its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased.
The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots human rights organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues and works to eliminate abuses of human rights throughout Canada and the world.