Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Grigoris Balakian
- Publish Date: 2009-03-31
Never before in English, Armenian Golgotha is the most dramatic and comprehensive eyewitness account of the first modern genocide.
On April 24, 1915, the priest Grigoris Balakian was arrested along with some 250 other intellectuals and leaders of Constantinopleâs Armenian community. It was the beginning of the Ottoman Turkish governmentâs systematic attempt to eliminate the Armenian people from Turkey; it was a campaign that continued through World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, by which time more than a million Armenians had been annihilated and expunged from their historic homeland. For Grigoris Balakian, himself condemned, it was also the beginning of a four-year ordeal during which he would bear witness to a seemingly endless caravan of blood.
Balakian sees his countrymen sent in carts, on donkeys, or on foot to face certain death in the desert of northern Syria. Many would not even survive the journey, suffering starvation, disease, mutilation, and rape, among other tortures, before being slaughtered en route. In these pages, he brings to life the words and deeds of survivors, foreign witnesses, and Turkish officials involved in the massacre process, and also of those few brave, righteous Turks, who, with some of their German allies working for the Baghdad Railway, resisted orders calling for the death of the Armenians. Miraculously, Balakian manages to escape, and his flightâthrough forest and over mountain, in disguise as a railroad worker and then as a German soldierâis a suspenseful, harrowing odyssey that makes possible his singular testimony.
Full of shrewd insights into the political, historical, and cultural context of the Armenian genocideâthe template for the subsequent mass killings that have cast a shadow across the twentieth century and beyondâthis memoir is destined to become a classic of survivor literature. Armenian Golgotha is sure to deepen our understanding of a catastrophic crime that the Turkish government, the Ottomansâ successor, denies to this day.