Excerpt from Chapter 3

Massacre and Deportation

Beginning of the end, 1915. Turkey had been at war for six months, having entered the war on Germany’s side on October 29, 1914. My father’s eldest brother, Minas, had already been conscripted into the army, as had his uncle Alexan.

Excerpt from Chapter 15

Suppressed Memories and Hidden History

On one visit with my father, I told him of the book I was reading, Hitler and the Armenian Genocide by Kevork B. Bardakjian. In the book, the author recounts that in 1943, the remains of the man most instrumental in destroying the Armenians was returned to Turkey from Germany. At the end of the First World War, Talaat had escaped to Germany. He feared retribution from the victors, as Germany and Turkey lost the war, and revenge by the Armenians. He was assassinated by Soghomon Tehlirian, an Armenian genocide survivor, on March 13, 1921.

Excerpt from Chapter 16

The Scars He Carried

The scar on the top of my father’s head was a puckered-up jagged line, like a wayward tributary of a mighty river. Near the scar was a square indentation, a half an inch in diameter, that was actually evidence of a bayonet entry. When we were younger, he would tell us his story of escape from Basmakhanien station. Then, Father would pull up his pant leg and show us the other scar where the bayonet had also entered. He was, according to my Aunt Rebecca, a “Leftover of the Sword,” a derogatory term used to designate a survivor of the genocide. In my father’s case, he was someone forever haunted by memories of the dead and dying. I wonder now whether he must have felt guilt at having survived. Was that why he could never really enjoy life and realize how lucky he was with such a wonderful wife and loving children?