When Armenian intellectuals were arrested in the Ottoman capital, on 24 April 1915, the Ottoman authorities had already embarked on their genocidal programme in the provinces. Only a week earlier, Ottoman forces had started the systematic murder of Armenian men around Lake Van. Hundreds of villages were attacked by government forces and their henchmen in Van-Dosb, Timar, Pergri, Arjesh, Arjak, Hayots Tsor, Aghpag, Gevash and other parts of Van-Vasbouragan.

While there were notable cases of Armenian resistance, especially in the city of Van and the Shadakh region, and the worst atrocities took place where Armenians could not – or refused – to defend themselves. When the Russians occupied these territories, they had to dispose of an estimated 55,000 Armenian corpses. In May 1915, Russia even urged its allies, Great Britain and France, to hold Ottoman leaders personally responsible for such massacres.

In this commemorative lecture, historian Ara Saraan (Gomidas Institute, London) will discuss the destruction of Armenians in the Van region as a dress rehersal for the mass murder of Armenians in the rest of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. He will present his findings in an illustrated power-point presentation with photographs, maps and diagrams.

Ara Sarafan is a historian specialising on the late Ottoman Empire. His latest work is the English translation of A-Do, Van 1915: The Great Events of Vasbouragan, (Gomidas Institute: 2017), ISBN 978-1-909382-37-4

For more information please contact info@gomidas.org