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Living with a Turkish Family, Part 1

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Living with a Turkish Family, Part 1


Armenian massacres, 1915-1923.


Oral history video clip featuring Nazar Melkonian, survivor of the Armenian genocide. This video was originally produced by Media Entertainment, Inc., for the 2000 documentary The Genocide Factor.


Media Entertainment, Inc.


Genocide Factor Collection, Oral History Program, Tampa Library, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.


Tampa, Fla. : University of South Florida Tampa Library.




Melkonian, Nazar
McFarlane, Joan


Tape number: 4125B


video / mp4




Oral History


Armenian massacres, 1915-1923.

Oral History Item Type Metadata


McFarlane, Joan


Melkonian, Nazar


They -- these are the Turkish people that pick every -- each and every Armenian, whatever they found. Their aim is to do away with the Armenian nationality. They want to wipe out from the map. Anyway, so they took my sister. So my mom said, "Son, you stay here with this Kurd. I will go and if I can find your sister, I'll be back," and that was the last time that I've seen her. That was in 1915. That was the last time. She's still coming. So that was the last time I seen my mom and my sister; it's all gone.

So what happened to me? I stay with that Turk. He supposed to -- he made, like -- well, I was only a young kid, you know. He said, "You are going to be my son." I had to learn Kurdish, you know, to speak their language. So I stay with them for quite a while. Anyway, this happened to be 1916 and '17. Russia and Turks are fighting. Russia and Turks are fighting then. So these people that I'm staying with, they had to move in farther because Russians are coming near. We can hear the bombs, you know, the sound of bombs. So they move back.

And one of the Turkish man ask me, "I know" -- he knows I'm Armenian. He said, "You know what, if you could walk to the cross, this place out there -- see, the Russian make a cross. They will take you in." The man told me in Armenian, you know. He knows that I'm an Armenian. "Instead of coming with us, you can walk across this" -- there was a river out there, across that, and then make a cross to the Russian. "When you see a Russian soldier, you make a cross. They'll take you." I said, "Muhammad" -- his name was Muhammad -- "I am not able to go. I'm afraid they can kill me any time, whoever it is."

So what happened, I walked with them. I came with them, with the people. They moved from -- they had to move their cattle. They moved farther; they called the name Palu. They moved way out there. All the Armenians' houses are empty in there, because they' all gone. They all got killed. None of them -- there's so many houses empty, you know, nobody in there. So they moved in there. Now, they have cattle. I look after the cattle most of the time, you know, that's all I have to do; there is nothing else I can do. They haven't got much; they don't give me much.

Original Format

Beta tape




Media Entertainment, Inc., “Living with a Turkish Family, Part 1,” USF Library Special & Digital Collections Exhibits, accessed August 13, 2020,