At the Crossroads of Der Zor: Death, Survival, and Humanitarian Resistance in Aleppo, 1915–1917

At the Crossroads of Der Zor: Death, Survival, and Humanitarian Resistance in Aleppo, 1915–1917

in collaboration with Luther and Nancy Eskijian
London: Gomidas Institute, 2002,
136 pp., map, photos,
ISBN 0-903656-12-5, paperback,
UK£14.00 / US$22.00
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The humanitarian assistance of foreigners saved tens of thousands of Armenians from death in the Armenian Genocide of 1915. These efforts have been well documented. But the role of the Armenians themselves in the relief work has received scant attention.

This study argues that Armenians initiated and organized relief efforts as an active form of resistance against the Genocide. It focuses on one crucial location, Aleppo, where caravans of survivors converged, and on one extraordinary individual, the Reverend Hovhannes Eskijian.

Reverend Eskijian identified the survival of Armenian orphans—along with the few remaining teachers, physicians, and other intellectuals—as the only way to enable the reemergence of an Armenian community after the Genocide. Thus, the fight for the survival of orphaned children became a main axiom of combating the Ottoman government’s genocidal logic. The success of the "humanitarian resistance" depended not on the total number of survivors, but on the number of young Armenians who could avoid death or forced assimilation and form new Armenian families.

At the Crossroads of Der Zor is based on a solid array of English, German, Armenian, and Turkish sources.

Hilmar Kaiser specializes in late Ottoman social and economic history and the history of the Armenian Genocide. He received his Ph.D. from the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. He is the author of Imperialism, Racism, and Development Theories: The Construction of a Dominant Paradigm on Ottoman Armenians (1997), and editor of Marsovan 1915: The Diaries of Bertha Morley (1999) and Eberhard Wolffskeel von Reichenberg, Zeitoun, Mousa Dagh, Ourfa: Letters on the Armenian Genocide (2001), all published by Gomidas. He is currently working on a special collection of British documents on the Adana massacres of 1909.   [2002]

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