Dickran Der Ghazarian
I remember it was early April, 1915, when all the men in Kharpert went to work, but never returned. My father was among them and we heard he was taken to a jail in Mezre. My sister went to see him. She said he was alive but severely beaten.
Not long after that, I don’t remember how long, a Turkish gendarme came to our door and told us to pack everything because we were being “transported to safety.” We packed and waited.
The next day, a group of mule drivers came to take us, but they realized we did not have much money so they didn’t bother with us. We missed the first caravan and we waited.
The next day, Turkish gendarmes came looking for Armenians again, and they found us. They were surprised that we hadn’t gone and they told us to wait for the second caravan. A friend of my father’s had by now warned my mother that these deportations were an excuse for murder, so my mother hid us in the basement. When the gendarmes came knocking on our door to deport us, no one answered the door. They thought we had already been deported. A Turkish neighbor tried to the tell the gendarmes that we were still home, but they didn’t believe her. The second caravan left and we were still in Kharpert.
When time came for the third caravan, a kind Assyrian neighbor, at great risk to herself and her family, hid us in her home.
So we missed all three caravans leaving Kharpert. We were not deported. Everyone in my family, except my father, survived the Genocide.