Chitjian Family Bios
The eldest brother of Hampartzoum Chitjian
Bedros was the first of the Chitjian Family to come to America and had left Kharpert before the Genocide to avoid the draft at age 17. His mother became sick from the thought that she would never see her first son again. He was known to be quite poetic, having written many poems in his lifetime. His complete biography is available on page 22 of the PDF. Below is an example from one of his many poetic writings.
A Glimpse into Nishan’s Soul
Nishan’s mother died while giving birth to him. Nishan was the youngest brother of Hampartzoum Chitjian and was killed at the age of 5. Kerop witnessed his brother Nishan being stabbed in the stomach and thrown in the river by an Ottoman Turkish guard.
Kerop Chitjian Bio Highlights
(Hampartzoum’s tallest brother)
Kaspar Chitjian was Hampartzoum’s younger brother by 15 minutes. For the first 2 years Hampartzoum was nursed by an other mother because Kaspar was born with a kidney problem thus needing special attention from their mother. Kaspar stayed indoors much of the time due to his sickness while Hampartzoum played outside much of the time.
Since Kaspar was more fragile, Hampartzoum took the role of protecting him. From 1915 to 1920 Hampartzoum did his best to keep Kaspar safe while Hampartzoum “lived the life of a dog” roaming from village to village as an incognito Turk, looking for work and sleeping in barns.
Later in life while living in Los Angeles Kaspar was quite active in the church and thus quite popular.
Kaspar died with all his teeth while Hampartzoum lost most of his. Hampartzoum would often joke with Kaspar saying he had all his teeth because Kaspar was nursed by their mother while Hampartzoum was not.
The Year of Bereavement by Sara (Zaruhy) Chitjian
The Year of Bereavement
It was just a beautiful day in May 6, 1983. Hampartzoum had just returned home from his customary walk. He entered the den to assure Ovsanna, his wife, and daughter, Zaruhy that he had returned. Before he had time to sit down, the telephone rang. Zaruhy answered; it was Sam, Mihran’s son. She wondered what “good news could he have?”
Almost all of the “senior” Chitjian were gone. The twins Hampartzoum and Kaspar were the only remaining brothers out of five. Their generation coming to an end… The “Hye Tahd” was not yet resolved. This was a deep solemn concern for both brothers!
After 83 years, the twins once again became close, just as they were the first 14 years of their lives when they were inseparable. In 1915, suddenly they were brutally torn apart never to resume the relationship that they once cherished. But by age 80, once again they were reaching out to one another.
For the first time they actually celebrated their birthday together. For Hampartzoum this was a miracle; or was it a “Dream or Reality”? After living six years of a “dog’s life”, during the aftermath of the 1915 genocide, followed by losing your homeland, finding themselves in foreign countries, with foreign languages and customs, experiencing the effects of a Depression, world wars, etc., the burdens and responsibility of raising a family etc., in 1981, they were both still alive and with a relatively healthy mind and body — Hampartzoum considered this a miracle! Jealousy and animosities were long gone! Once again they began to seek each other out.
But now there were new obstacles to confront. Neither one could drive a distance of 30 or so miles; they lived about 30 miles apart. Thus there were more phone calls, holiday cards, etc. They cherished the few occasions when Zaruhy drove Hampartzoum to Kaspar’s market, where Kaspar had an office atop his storeroom. His desk was cluttered with letters that the brothers had written to each other during those “dog days.” Once again they began to yearn for the days in their “Yergeer” where life was so sweet! There was their father, mother brothers and sisters…
“Are you sitting?” Sam inquired once again over the phone. Hampartzoum didn’t know what he meant. What difference does it make if you were sitting or standing?
Sam continued without a change of voice, or a warning. In a flat voice he stated, “Kaspar is dead; he died this afternoon. The funeral will be…”
Hampartzoum could listen no more. The phone was dropped. Kaspar was buried on May 20, 1983. Hampartzoum wrote his twin’s obituary. He included in his coffin an envelope containing a bundle of fiberglass he had taken from the technology museum in Soviet Armenia, along with a few pebbles he had picked up from here and there in 1969 during his visit to our Hayrenik.
“This fiberglass yarn will lead you down a long, narrow highway with this sacred chip from Erepuni, and by rolling it over and over until you reach the summit of Mount Ararat and Massis. This will become much darker, larger than both Mount Ararat and Massis together! Take your revenge and hurl that huge, powerful, flaming missile upon Turkey. Don’t forget and remember that you were named Massis!
Then as you arise, take this news as a gift to your father and the 11/2 million martyrs!”
At some point, Hampartzoum resumed his daily afternoon walks. Now as he walked he had to reconcile with the loss of Kaspar; for 82 years he always regarded Kaspar as a part of his heart. He always felt that since they were born together they had a special connection… Hampartzoum was trying to get a grip on reality … His twin was now gone!
But within a day or two, during these walks, Hampartzoum began to notice a strange feeling… For a week or two he kept this to himself. But since it was affecting his behavior, he reluctantly confided with Ovsanna… He felt maybe she could explain the disturbance… She was a Protestant, as was her father, Sarkis.
Remembering the morning Sarkis died: he was sent to Hampartzoum’s ice cream parlor to bring back a bag of walnuts. As usual, when Sarkis went out for a stroll, he carried Mardig, who was 2 1/2 years old, and along the way he visited with his neighbors. On this particular day, as he walked and greeted his friends, he bid each one a final farewell; of course the neighbors didn’t quite understand what Sarkis meant. Hampartzoum noticed Sarkis looked tired. Thus, after giving him a bag of walnuts, he hired a cab and sent Sarkis home.
No sooner when Sarkis returned home, he laid down to rest! Within an hour he died…
Both Ovsanna and Hampartzoum had experienced this phenomenon… Now Hampartzoum was experiencing being haunted by a weird “vapor” circling over his right shoulder, whispering in his ear. Kaspar was beckoning Hampartzoum to join him!
Even though Ovsanna attempted to reassure him that it was just nonsense, she became disturbed; she did not want to lose him. She knew about the special attachment Hampartzoum had with Kaspar! And she was never ever able to explain her own father’s last day! Within a few days, they confided with Zaruhy. They knew she would laugh it off … She had never experienced such a phenomenon!
However, when Zaruhy heard this, without letting either one know, she too became concerned! She was furious that Kaspar could have a strong hold on her father! She always felt that Kaspar was jealous of her father’s successes… It wasn’t enough his son married an Armenian, while he gloated over the fact that Hampartzoum’s son married a non-Armenian. For Hampartzoum that was another form of genocide, the White Chart! That should have satisfied Kaspar; but, no, he wanted more… Since Hampartzoum was born first, he should have died first!
Both Ovsanna and Zaruhy tried to convince Hampartzoum that the disturbance was all nonsense! With one excuse or another they tried to keep Hampartzoum from taking his daily walk!!
Helping Kaspar Get Out of a difficult situation
Kaspar’s Letter of Demand for compensation.
Original Language letter translated in English
An interesting letter from Kaspar that he wrote to the commission of Abandoned Property in Zonguldak to ask for 7,500 Ottoman gold for the loss of property and family due to The Armenian Genocide.
For Kaspar’s Funeral
More About Kaspar