About The Interviews

Hampartzoum and Ovsanna Chitjian were both interviewed on numerous occasions starting in 1977 regarding their experiences of survival thru the 1915 Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey. Listening to the tape recordings gives the listener an intimate insight thru the survivors own voice and feelings. Unfortunately often times when Hampartzoum would begin to sob as he recollected memories, the student interviewers would stop recording because they felt bad. Bedros’s interview is the only example of allowing Hampartzoum to talk without interruption nor did he stop the recorder when Hampartzoum would begin to cry. These interviews have been archived here for historical reference.

The USC Shoah Foundation has acquired and included into their archives The Armenian Genocide Interviews recorded by Dr. Michael Hagopian. Hampartzoum Chitjian is archived among these survivors now residing at The USC Shoah Foundation.

For more information about the USC Shoah Foundation, Click Here

Outtakes from Dr. Michael Hagopian’s documentary

“Mr. Hagopian’s documentary films on the Armenian Genocide are a path-breaking work that will help inform generations to come of the facts of the first genocide of the last century,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Pasadena), who screened some of the films on Capitol Hill and worked with the filmmaker on a variety of local Armenian issues. “He will be deeply missed.”

“Hagopian received two Emmy nominations in 1976 for “The Forgotten Genocide.” His last film in a trilogy on the Genocide, “The River Ran Red,” won Best International Historical Documentary at the Amnesty International Film Festival in November and at the New York International Film & Video Festival in 2009.”

“Through his life and career, Dr. J. Michael Hagopian is proof that a single person can change humankind’s understanding of itself,” Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian said in remarks made several months ago at a commemoration for Hagopian. “He is proof that we can rise above intolerance and ensure future generations are armed with the information needed to combat bigotry in all forms.”

For more information about Michael Hagopian, please CLICK HERE.

Michael Hagopian filming Hampartzoum Chitjian for his documentary about the Armenian Genocide.

Dr. Michael Hagopian

Sara’s notes on the audio tapes

Sara Reflects on The Interviews

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Sample Transcripts from the Interviews

Excerpt from Ovsanna Interview 1996

Excerpt from Ovsanna Interview 1996

Excerpt from Ovsanna Interview

Excerpt from Hampartzoum’s Interview from 1977

Excerpt from Hampartzoum’s Interviews

Excerpt from Hampartzoum’s Interviews

Excerpt from Hampartzoum’s Interviews

Excerpt from Hampartzoum’s Interviews

One more sample Transcript From The Interviews


FROM THE H CHITJIAN 1977 (audio transcripts) 88

[Interviewer] In all the cities?

[H. Chitjian] The whole city was like that. At least all of Tabriz was like this. When we traveled to Baghdad, it was like that on the roads also. They would not let any Christian… Even where they sold tea, they would not let you enter. You had to take your own cup. They would hold it with a piece of paper and fill it. They would not touch your cup.

[Interviewer] So there was no interaction between Christians and…

[H. Chitjian] They would not give jobs to Christians. There were two quarters, Kiliseh and Khalata, where the Armenians lived. They [soldiers from Armenia] were all piled up in those quarters. Many of them were hungry, very hungry. In the streets they begged for a piece of bread. “Mayrig, mayrig”… They had worked or fought as soldiers with [General] Antranik.[1] They had certificates from Antranik. They would beg for a single piece of bread. There was not any bread. It a was very difficult situation. The deacon told us that we would see when we went out.

The archbishop told his aide [Dikran] to give five tuman, that is about one dollar, to each of us. He gave us five tuman each. We thought that the five tuman would be enough to live on until we received some news from America, from my brothers.

When we got out, we realized that five tuman was nothing and that there was famine. When we first got out and started walking in the street, we saw that they were selling watermelons nearby. At that time we did not know yet that they considered the Armenians as muhrrdahl. They were selling watermelons. [Avedis] went and saw the watermelons cut in halves. He took one of the watermelons, that is one piece. Then he saw another piece and said: “I want this one, it is better.” When we touched both pieces the Persian vendor demanded that we pay for both of them. We told him that we wanted only one piece because it was more than enough for both of us. The owner asked: “Are you not Armenians?” We said that we were. He said: “You are muhrrdahl. How am I going to sell that piece? It would have been alright if you hadn’t touched it.”

[1] This must be the summer of 1921, about six months after the fall of Armenia to Bolsheviks, who drove out all anti-Bolshevik forces once they gained control.