On the enduring legacy of Karnig Panian and his story.
At the dawn of World War I, Karnig Panian was a young Armenian boy living in an Anatolian village in what was then the Ottoman Empire. In his lifetime he witnessed and experienced firsthand the mass persecution, deportation, and extermination of the Armenians, a minority group both by dint of religion and ethnicity, at the hands of the nationalist Ottoman government. His memoir describes his experiences as a refugee in the deserts of Syria and as an orphan in an Antoura facility whose administrators sought to “Turkify” non-Turkish children. It also chronicles his personal struggle to guard against despair and erasure in the context of war and extreme loss.
In commemoration of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24th), we share an excerpt from his memoir, as well as a few words on Karnig's life and legacy from Armenian-American scholar, Vartan Gregorian, and Houry Boyamian, Karnig Panian’s daughter.