An Armenian Boy Raised by Turks
Oral History Item Type Metadata
This is from 1915 until 1920 -- not twenty-eight , before that. When he was about twelve or fourteen, he overhears the husband and wife talking that he can marry one of the daughters, whichever one he likes. And our last name means "blond" in Armenian, and he's fair, and he knew that he was not an Arab. So he decided to run away. But he wasn't too smart: he ran away and walked in the daytime. They found him and brought him back. He was like twelve or fourteen.
Then he decided -- he waited, and what he did is he worked as a shepherd. He took care of the sheep and the goats, and that's all. He had no education. He waited until he was a little bit older, and he left again. This time he walked only at night and slept during the day and stayed off the roads. And he gets to a place called Mardin.
Now Mardin is a small city, I guess, or a town. And there a husband and wife have no children, and they decide they'll take him. And he stays with this family until the husband dies, and by that time he's about like sixteen. And everyone says, "Oh, that's not proper, that's not her son. They shouldn't live together," and they tell him he has to go. And he leaves, and he's walking in the desert, and he comes across this Ibrahim Pasha's tribe, nomadic Arabs.
And while he's walking around, he finds one man who sees that he's not an Arab -- you can tell the difference -- and he says to him, "Come here," he says, "you're one of the Armenian children. I'm Armenian. If you don't make any trouble, I'll see that you have some food. Just mix in with the people. Don't make any problems."
Well, he gets to be so good he teaches this pasha's son sharpshooting. They go shooting rabbits and whatever else is in the desert that they shoot. And he stayed there, and he used to come into a place called Ra's al-'Ayn in Syria, where they would buy like their rice or their bulgur, staples. And there, an Armenian would bring that stuff from Aleppo. The man, when he sees my brother, says to him, "You know, you're not an Arab. If you want to go where your people are, the next time you come to the marketplace, be ready and I'll take you with me."
So the next time he goes and he meets this man, and his name was Panjarjian. And he was from the same town as my parents were. And he takes him into Halab. When they take them there, anyone that's found like that, they would take to the church. And people would come and see who came from there, and if there are any other Armenians in that area to go back and look for their people.