(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee)


Birth of Varoujan Khedeshian
(April 7, 1937)


Varoujan Khedeshian was one of the most innovative directors of Armenian theater in the Diaspora during the second half of the twentieth century.

He was born on April 7, 1937, in Aley (Lebanon). At the age of sixteen, he debuted in the Hamazkayin “Kaspar Ipekian” dramatic troupe, directed by Georges Sarkissian, another famous name of Diasporan theater.

In 1960 he went to London to study at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. He graduated in 1965 and returned to Lebanon, where he joined the Hamazkayin “Levon Shant” dramatic troupe. Two years later, he founded the “Theatre 67” dramatic troupe, which had a very important role in the Lebanese Armenian community until the beginning of the civil war in 1975. Khedeshian was noted for staging works from the Armenian and international repertoire that went outside the mold of tradition, introducing the audience to contemporary works by playwrights like Arthur Miller, Peter Weiss, Edward Albee, and Neil Simon. He would maintain this approach when he took over the direction of the “Kaspar Ipekian” from 1989-2000. He translated a total of 22 plays from English into Armenian.

Some of the works he directed included, along with “Ancient Gods” and “The Emperor” (Levon Shant), “By the Road of Heaven” and “Up to Where?” (Hagop Oshagan), “Alafranca,” “The Oriental Dentist,” and “Brother Balthazar” (Hagop Baronian), “The Piper of the Mountains of Armenia” (Hamasdegh), world-famous works like “The Merchant of Venice” (William Shakespeare), “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (Edward Albee), “Marat/Sade” (Peter Weiss), “The Crucible,” “View from the Bridge,” “The Price,” and “All My Sons” (Arthur Miller), “The Prisoner of Second Avenue” and “Barefoot in the Park” (Neil Simon), “The Master Builder” (Henrik Ibsen), “Romulus the Great” (Friedrich Dürrenmatt), “The Venetian Twins” (Carlo Goldoni), “The Caretaker” (Harold Pinter).

From 1979-1987 Khedeshian staged five dramatic performances in Armenia, both in Yerevan and Leninakan (now Gyumri), and received the “Bedros Atamian” medal in 1987, becoming the first Diasporan Armenian who earned this award during the Soviet period.

His decades-long theatrical activity earned him multiple accolades and several distinctions late in life. In 2000 he was decorated with the “St. Mesrob Mashdots” order of the Holy See of Cilicia by Catholicos Aram I and the Hamazkayin order by the Central Executive Board of this organization. In 2008 the Ministry of Culture of Armenia awarded him its gold medal, and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II bestowed upon him the “St. Sahag-St. Mesrob” medal of the Armenian Church. Meanwhile, in 2004 he had received the order of the Institute of Arts of Lebanese University, where he had taught dramatic art from 1971-1999.

Varoujan Khedeshian passed away on December 28, 2015, in Beirut, at the age of sixty-eight.

Bishop Karekin Servantzdian


(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee)




Birth and Death of

Bishop Karekin Servantzdian

(November 17, 1840 – November 17, 1892)


Together with his mentor, Khrimian Hayrig, Bishop Karekin Servantzdian was a remarkable ecclesiastic who worked actively for the well-being of Armenians in their historical territories and even engaged in political activities. At the same time, he became a founder of sorts of Armenian folklore studies.


Servantzdiants was born in Van on November 17, 1840. He studied in his birthplace, and then graduated from the seminary at the monastery of the Holy Cross of Varak, where he was designated as teacher. When Khrimian became the superior of the monastery in 1858, he resumed the publication of his paper Ardzvi Vaspurakan, which had initially been printed in Constantinople (1855-1856), and named young Servantzdiants deputy editor of the weekly from 1860-1862.


Khrimian and the future ecclesiastic toured the Armenian provinces in 1860-1861. Servantzdian depicted the painful situation of the Armenian working class, subject to exploitation by Turks and Kurds. The Ottoman authorities took him under surveillance. He also collected samples of folkloric texts and sayings. His initiative contributed to the opening of schools in various places. In 1862 he became principal and teacher of the seminary attached to the monastery of Surp Garabed in Moush, and edited another publication by Khrimian, Ardzvi Darono (1863-1865), a biweekly. In 1866 he published a textbook, New Reader, in Constantinople.


In 1867 Servantzdian was ordained a celibate priest in Karin (Erzerum) and sent to Van as preacher. Soon he became general director of the schools of Karin, and two years later, he was designated deputy abbot of the monastery of Surp Garabed.


While a champion of popular education and culture, Servantzdian did not shy away from engaging in more difficult tasks. In 1872 he participated in the foundation of the clandestine political group “Union and Salvation,” created in Van. He was designated vicar of the diocese of Van in 1879. Patriarch Nerses Varjabedian sent him to tour the Armenian provinces in 1879-1880 and prepare exhaustive reports about the situation of the population. At the same time, he also recorded many samples of oral literature and described rites, customs, and beliefs.


By then, Servantzdian was actively publishing his findings. His book of 1874, Գրոց ու բրոց (Krots oo prots, loosely “From Written and Oral Sources”), consecrated his name as the discoverer of the Armenian national epic David of Sassoon. The young priest recorded for the first time an account of the epic, which has been regarded as one of the best among 150 recorded published and unpublished accounts. He published another book of written texts, From Old and New, in the same year. New books appeared in the next decade: Manna (1876), where he included folkloric material and the description of the neighborhoods and historical monuments of Van; Toros Aghpar (1879), where he spoke about the economic situation of the country, and the Armenian emigration; and With Taste and Smell (1884), which included a description of Armenian places, historical monuments, and weather, and also literary sketches of various figures of the past and popular tales.


In 1881 Servantzdian participated in the organization of another patriotic secret organization, “The Black Cross,” and by order of the government had to leave Van. He became vicar of the diocese of Bitlis and then took the same position in Kharpert. He traveled to Echmiadzin in 1885 and was ordained bishop the next year. Then he was designated primate of Trebizonda and then of Daron, at the same time becoming abbot of Surp Garabed.


Servantzdian’s patriotic activities and stance triggered the displeasure of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Consequently, Patriarch Haroutioun Vehabedian (1885-1888) fired him from his positions in Daron and had him sent back to Constantinople. Under strict surveillance, he worked as preacher at the Holy Trinity Church of the district of Pera, teacher at the Getronagan School, and chairman of the Religious Council. His contributions to the fields of ethnology and archaeology earned him an honorary membership in the Imperial Academy of Archaeology of St. Petersburg (Russia).

After a long illness, Bishop Karekin Servantzdian passed away on the day of his fifty-second birthday, November 17, 1892. His legacy became a stepping stone for the development of Armenian ethnology and folklore studies in the twentieth century.


Mikhail Loris-Melikov



(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee)



Birth of Count Mikhail Loris-Melikov

(November 2, 1824)


Among many Armenian soldiers who served the Russian Empire, the name of Mikhail Loris-Melikov was also relevant for his political labor.


His actual name was Mikayel Loris-Melikian. He was the scion of an ancient noble family from Lori, which owned the province in the Middle Ages. They later entered the aristocratic society of Georgia, and the princely family of the Loris-Melikovs was approved in 1832 as part of the Russian nobility.


Mikhail Loris-Melikov was born on November 2, 1824, in Tiflis (Georgia), and was educated in St. Petersburg, first at the Lazarian Institute of Oriental Languages and afterwards at the Guards’ Cadet Institute. In 1843 he joined a hussar regiment and was sent to the Caucasus in 1847. He would spend some thirty years there and make a career both as a distinguished cavalry officer and an able administrator, working to ensure a transition from military to civil administration. He was governor of the region of Terek (nowadays the northeastern Caucasus) from 1863-1875.

Loris-Melikov, who reached the rank of cavalry general in 1875, commanded an army corps on the Ottoman frontier in Asia Minor during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. He took the fortress of Ardahan and was rebuffed by Ottoman general Ahmed Muhtar Pasha at Zevin, but he subsequently carried a conclusive victory over his opponent at Alaja, took the impregnable fortress of Kars by storm, and laid siege to Erzerum. His distinguished military service in the war earned him the title of Count, and he was awarded the Order of Saint George of the second degree for his service in Alaja in October 1877.


In 1878 Loris-Melikov was transferred to the region of the Lower Volga as temporary governor-general to combat an outbreak of the plague. His effectiveness at the work earned him another transfer, this time to the provinces to Central Russia to combat the terrorist activities of nihilists and anarchists.


He was successful in his task, and he was appointed chief of the Supreme Administrative Commission created in St. Petersburg after an assassination attempt against Czar Alexander II in February 1880. He showed his preference for the use of ordinary legal methods rather than exception extralegal measures, believing that the best policy was to strike at the root of the evil. He recommended a scheme of administrative and economic reforms to the Russian emperor with the aim of alleviating the causes of social discontent. Alexander II, who was not convinced of the efficacy of police repression, dissolved the Supreme Commission in August 1880 and appointed Count Loris-Melikov Interior Minister with exceptional powers in November.


The scheme of reforms was never carried out. On March 13, 1881, the very day that the emperor signed a decree creating several commissions to prepare reforms in various branches of government, he was the victim of a conspiracy by nihilist terrorists. His son and successor Alexander III adopted an anti-reformist policy and started to undo the reforms promulgated by his father. This led Loris-Melikov to resign in May and retire from active life. He wrote several historical and political works, living in Germany and then in Nice (France) until his death on December 24, 1888. His remnants were moved to Tiflis and buried in the courtyard of the Armenian monastery of Tiflis. 


Anton Kochinian

(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee)


Birth of Anton Kochinian

(October 25, 1913)


Anton Kochinian

Anton Kochinian


Anton Kochinian was a remarkable, yet underrated figure in the history of Soviet Armenia during the 1950-1970s, despite being in top leadership positions for most of that period.

He was born in the village of Shahali (now Vahagni), in the district of Lori, on October 25, 1913, in the family of an agriculturist. He studied in the local school, then entered the youth organization of the Communist Party (1928) and studied in the school of the organization until 1931. He went to Tiflis to study at the Armenian pedagogical technical school in 1932, but left after a year and he was sent to Yerevan to study at the agricultural school of the youth organization (1933-1935).

After working on the editorial boards of local newspapers from Tavush and Vayots dzor (1935-1937), Kochinian rapidly rose in the party ranks. First he was secretary of the regional committee of the district of Azizbekov (Siunik) from 1937-1939, and from 1939-1940 secretary of personnel and then first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth Organization. In 1940 he was elected member of the Central Committee of the Armenian Communist Party, and in 1941-1943 he led regional committees in Yerevan and Kotayk.

After spending two years in Moscow as an auditor at the higher school for party organizers, in 1946 he was elected third secretary of the Central Committee of the Armenian Communist Party, and in 1947 secretary of personnel.

In November 1952 Kochinian was promoted to the post of president of the Council of Ministers. He would occupy this position of prime minister for almost fourteen years, during the tenures of Grigori Arutyunov (1937-1953), Suren Tovmasian (1953-1960), and Yakob Zarobian (1960-1966) as the party’s first secretaries. Kochinian was selected by the Moscow leadership to replace Zarobian in February 1966 after the latter failed to contain the demonstrations of April 1965 on the fiftieth anniversary of the genocide.

During his more than two decades both as prime minister and first secretary of the party, Kochinian recorded a series of important achievements. The economic progress of Armenia was backed by an important program of industrialization. This included the construction of chemical factories in Alaverdi and Kirovakan (nowadays Vanadzor), the industrial complexes of Hrazdan and Charentsavan, and factories in Sevan and Dilijan, complemented by railways that ensured transportation of raw materials and production. The “Yeraz” truck factory (1964) in Yerevan and big electronic factories in the city of Abovian were added in this period. Thermoelectric centrals were built in Yerevan, Kirovakan, and Hrazdan, as well as the hydroelectric central of Tatev and the cascade of Vorotan. The construction of the 48 kilometers-long Arpa-Sevan tunnel, which would bring the waters of the Arpa River to Sevan Lake, started in 1963. Kochinian’s active participation was instrumental in the decision to build the nuclear central of Metzamor, started in 1969, which would lead Armenia to energy self-sufficiency. Several thousand hectares of orchards were planted, along the construction of the canal of Aparan and the reservoir of Garni. The Yerevan-Sevan highway and the Kapan-Goris route were also built.

Besides a network of sanatoria, pioneer camps, and tourism areas throughout the republic, the sports complex of Tzaghkadzor, which would be used to train the Soviet winter sports teams, was built in the 1960s, and some important public works in Yerevan started in the early 1970s, such as enlargement of the Zvartnots airport (1973), the Hrazdan stadium (1971), and the Rossiya movie theater (1970). The first steps to build the subway network were taken in 1972.

Kochinian was also instrumental in the inauguration of the genocide memorial of Tzitzernakaberd (1967), the monument of Sardarabad (1968), and the Erebuni museum (1968). The latter coincided with the celebration of the 2750th anniversary of the foundation of Yerevan with great fanfare. He also raised the issue of Karabagh in 1966.

During Kochinian’s tenure as first secretary, Soviet Armenia earned three of the five all-Soviet decorations it had throughout its history for reaching high marks in economic activity (1968, 1970, and 1972). Kochinian himself was twice decorated with the order of Lenin.

In November 1974 he was replaced by Karen Demirjian under pretexts of “serious flaws in leadership” and practically left unemployed. He passed away on December 1, 1990. On the centennial of Kochinian’s birth, two busts were inaugurated in Yerevan and in his birthplace in Vahagni (Lori).



(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee)



(October 24, 1929)

Sos Sargsyan

Sos Sargsyan became one of the most renowned Armenian actors in the second half of the twentieth century.


He was born in Stepanavan, in the Lori region of Armenia, on October 24, 1929. He debuted on the stage in 1947 as David Copperfield in a homonymous play based on Charles Dickens’ novel. He moved to Yerevan in 1948 and started performing at the Theater of the Young Spectator. Meanwhile, he entered the Yerevan Fine Arts and Theatre Institute, from where he graduated in 1954. Upon graduation, at the age of twenty-five, he entered the Gabriel Sundukian Drama Theatre, the premier theatrical ensemble of the country, where he worked for the next thirty-seven years.


Sargsyan was one of those actors who did not need to make recourse to external emphasis and emotions in order to reflect his feelings. During his lengthy career, he performed roles in many plays both by Armenian and non-Armenian authors. Roles like Ben Alexander (William Saroyan’s My Heart is in the Mountains), Don Quixote (Mikhail Bulgakov’s homonymous play), Iago (William Shakespeare’s Othello), or King Lear (Shakespeare’s homonymous play), among others, cemented his fame.


He played in over forty films, including unforgettable roles in Armenian classic movies like Guys from the Army Band (1961), Triangle (1967, Armenian SSR State Prize in 1975), We Are Our Mountains (1969), Khatabala (1971), Nahapet (1977), Dzori Miro (1981), Gikor (1982), and others. His cinematographic participations included various Russian films, most particularly Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972). He was the narrator of the documentary Matenadaran (1988, Armenian SSR State Prize).


In 1992 he established the Hamazkayin Theater, which he headed until the end of his life. Sargsyan continued directing and playing, both in theater and cinema. Simultaneously, he was the dean of the Yerevan Institute of Theater and Cinema from 1997-2005, and served as a member of its board of directors from 2006 until his death. He published several novels, memoirs, and collections of essays between 1991 and 2013.


His lengthy career of more than sixty years earned him many distinctions. He was named Popular Artist of Armenia in 1972 and of the Soviet Union in 1986). He was also awarded the Mesrop Mashtots medal of the Republic of Armenia (1996), the St. Sahak-St. Mesrop medal of the Armenian Church (2000), and the Mekhitar Gosh medal of the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh (2001). He was named honorary citizen of Yerevan in 2000 and earned the title of Professor in 2003.


Sos Sargsyan was also active in the political field. He was elected deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from 1989-1991, and in October 1991 he was nominated by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation as candidate in the first presidential election in independent Armenia. In 2009 he was elected to the National Assembly on the A.R.F. list. On the same year, he was elected as member of the Public Council, an advisory body to the President of Armenia.

The famous actor passed away on September 26, 2013, in Yerevan, and was buried at the Komitas Pantheon.


Vilmos Lázár

(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee)


Death of Vilmos Lázár

(October 6, 1849)


Vilmos Lázár

Vilmos Lázár


The centuries-old Armenian community of Transylvania—currently part of Romania–had essentially lost the language by the nineteenth century, but had kept a strong sense of identity. They were fully integrated to the life of Hungary, which was part of Austria since 1526. It should not be surprising that several military leaders of the Hungarian-Revolution of 1848-1849 were Armenian. One of them was Vilmos (pronounced Vilmosh) Lázár.


Lázár’s (originally Lazarian) ancestors had moved from Gherla (Armenopolis), the Armenian center of Transylvania, to the region of Banat—currently divided between Romania, Serbia, and Hungary—and received a title of nobility. He was born in the city of Nagybecskerek (nowadays Zrenjanin in Serbia) on October 24, 1815. In 1834 he began his military career in the service of the 34th regiment of infantry in the imperial army. He was commissioned by Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria as a second lieutenant in the Hussar regiment, but in 1844 he retired and returned to his estate farm in Zemplen with his wife, Baroness Mária Revitzky. He worked at the railway company in 1847.


The echo of the French revolution of 1848 spread throughout the continent and found fertile ground in Hungary, where nationalist trends had generated an awakening of patriotism. On March 15, 1848, a revolt against the Habsburg dynasty exploded. Led by Lajos Kossuth, poet Sándor Petöfi, and Mór Jókai, it soon became a war of independence. Emperor Franz-Joseph asked for help to Czar Nicholas I of Russia to fight against the revolution.


Lázár took the revolutionary side and volunteered his services to the Hungarian army. He successively became a lieutenant (October 1848), captain (November), major (January 1849). In April 1849 he was appointed as commander of a brigade stationed in Zemplén. At the end of the month the brigade was reassigned to the legion forming in Upper Hungary. In mid-June Lázár became the commander of division in the legion and participated in the Dukla Pass battle against a Russian army. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in July and fought in the last battles of the war of independence. He was promoted to colonel on August 12, but the next day the revolutionary army surrendered to the Austrian-Russian forces. On August 19 Lázár had to do the same with the remainder of his troops (4,600 people).


The promise of an amnesty went unfulfilled. On October 6, 1849, thirteen Hungarian officers were condemned to death by the Austrian forces of occupation in Arad (Transylvania). The date was purposefully selected, because it marked the first anniversary of the failed insurrection of Vienna in 1848 and the supremacy of Austrian power.


Although Lázár only had the rank of colonel, he was considered to have equal status with the generals in the Arad military court martial. He was sentenced to execution by firing squad together with three other colleagues, including General Ernö Kiss, also of Armenian origin. Nine others were hanged.


Vilmos Lázár’s remnants were uncovered in 1913 at the cemetery of the fortress of Arad. His body was then laid to rest in the crypt with a monument that honors him as one of the 13 Martyrs of Arad. Four streets in Budapest and other cities are named after him.


Since 1997, on each October 6, the Armenian community of Hungary organizes a tribute to Vilmos Lázár and Ernö Kiss at the square that remembers the martyrs of Arad in the city of Veszprém.



Saturday, September 29, 2018 @ 7 pm


Although Şahan Arzruni played the straight man alongside Victor Borge in concert for several years, the Istanbul-born, New York-based musician has enjoyed an accomplished career in his own right as concert pianist, recording artist and musicologist. He has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the White House as well as on The Tonight Show and the BBC. His discography of over a dozen albums includes recordings of Chopin and Bartok. For his concert at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, Arzruni will focus on music by fellow Armenian composers such as Aram Khachaturian, Alan Hovhannes, Gomidas Vartabed and others.

For all ages. General Admission. All tickets $25. Children 11 and under are free. Run time 90 minutes plus 15 minutes intermission.



(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee)


Death of Enver Pasha

(August 4, 1922)


Anyone who is aware of the history of the Armenian Genocide has heard the name of Enver Pasha as one of its key executors.

Unlike its mastermind, Talaat, Ismail Enver Pasha was a military officer, born in Constantinople on November 22, 1881. He studied in different military schools and graduated in 1903 with distinction. In 1906 he was sent to the Third Army, stationed in Salonica. He became a member of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) during his service.

When the Young Turk coup broke out in June 1908, Enver became one of its military leaders. He was actively involved in the suppression of the attempt of countercoup of April 1909, which tried to restore Abdul Hamid’s absolute powers. Afterwards, he was sent to Berlin as a military attaché, where he strengthened the ties between German and Ottoman military.

During the Italo-Turkish war of 1911, Enver left Berlin and organized the defense of Libya, where he was appointed governor of Benghazi. He was called back to Constantinople when the First Balkan War started in October 1912 and ascended to the grade of lieutenant colonel. In the same year, the CUP fell from government and was replaced by the Liberal Union party. However, the severe Ottoman defeat in the First Balkan War weakened the government and Enver organized a coup in January 1913. The power returned to the CUP and the triumvirate formed by Enver, Talaat, and Jemal Pasha took charge until the end of World War I. Enver became Minister of War and married into the royal family. When in June 1913 the Second Balkan War broke out, he reversed some of the losses by recapturing Adrianople (nowadays Edirne) from the Bulgarians.

Enver was an architect of the Ottoman-German alliance in World War I, expecting a quick victory that would benefit the empire. He assumed command of the Ottoman forces in the Caucasus. Pursuing his quest for a Pan-Turkic empire stretching to Central Asia, he wanted to force the Russians out and take back Kars and Batum, which had been ceded after the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878. His offensive in the thick of winter ended with a catastrophic defeat at the Battle of Sarikamish in December 1914 – January 1915 and tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers dying in the subsequent retreat. On his return to Constantinople, Enver blamed his failure on his Armenian soldiers, although in January 1915 an Armenian soldier had carried him through battle lines on his back and saved his life, and a letter written by Enver himself to the Prelate of Konia, Bishop Karekin Khachadourian, praised the Armenians for their bravery and faithfulness in February 1915.

Enver played a major role in the Armenian Genocide. He took the first steps by ordering the Armenian recruits in the Ottoman army to be disarmed and reassigned to labor battalions before their summary executions. These instructions were explained on the basis of accusations of treasonous activity, but the defeat of his army only provided the pretext for escalating a campaign of extermination that was also unleashed against the civilian population with the use of the secret paramilitary Special Organization (Teshkilât-i-Mahsusa) to systematically massacre deported Armenians.

After the collapse of the Russian front in 1918, the Ottoman armies advanced into the Caucasus. The Third Army, commanded by Vehib Pasha, entered the territory of Eastern Armenia, and was halted at the battles of Sardarabad, Bash Aparan, and Gharakilise in May 1918. A new military force called the Army of Islam, commanded by Enver’s half-brother Nuri, advanced towards the territory of today’s Azerbaijan and, in combination with the Tatars (Azerbaijanis), occupied Baku on September 15, organizing a massacre of the local Armenian population.

However, the Ottoman Empire was faced with defeat. Enver was dismissed from his ministerial position in October 1918, and a month later he fled into exile together with other CUP members. Tried in absentia by a postwar courts-martial for crimes of “plunging the country into war without a legitimate reason, forced deportation of Armenians, and leaving the country without permission,” he was condemned to death in July 1919.

Enver first went to Germany, and shuttled back and forth between Berlin and Moscow trying to build a German-Soviet alliance. He went to Baku in September 1920 and took part in the Congress of Eastern Peoples. In July 1921 he tried to return to Turkey, but Mustafa Kemal did not want him among his forces, as he explicitly rejected Enver’s Pan-Turkic ideas. He traveled to Moscow where he managed to win the trust of the Soviet authorities. In November 1921 he was sent by Lenin to Bukhara, in Turkestan, to help suppress a revolt against the local Bolshevik regime. Instead, along with a small number of followers, he defected to the rebels and united their different groups under his own command to fight against the Red Army.

On August 4, 1922, a cavalry brigade of the Red Army under the command of Hakob Melkumian (known in Russian sources as Yakov Melkumov) launched a surprise attack over Enver’s headquarters near the village of Ab-i-Derya. The attack ended with Enver’s death. There are different versions. According to Melkumov’s memoirs, Enver managed to escape on horseback and hid for several days in the village of Chaghan. After the hideout was located, the Soviet troops stormed the village and Enver was killed by Melkumov himself in the ensuing combat.

Enver’s body was buried near Ab-i-Derya. As it happened with Talaat in 1943, the remains of this executioner of the Armenian people were brought to Turkey in 1996 and reburied at the Monument of Liberty cemetery in Shishli, Istanbul.



Milwaukee Armenian Fest

By David Luhrssen


On July 22, St. John the Baptist Armenian Church in Greenfield, WI, held Milwaukee’s annual Armenian Fest. The festival has grown in recent years from its origins as a church-family picnic into a regionally recognized event that draws attention from the local news media and has gained a large non-Armenian audience.

The lack of leftover food from this year’s Armenian Fest is an indicator that 2018 was the event’s most successful year to date.

Armenian Fest’s main attraction remains the food. The offerings are almost entirely homemade from old family recipes and include pilaf, boreg, sarma, yalanjee, hummus and desserts such as paklava and borma as well as beef and chicken shish-kabobs grilled over an open fire. But the festival also kept the crowd engaged with live music by Chicago’s Hye Vibes, Racine’s Stepan Froonjian and performances by Chicago’s  Hamazkayin Sardarabad Dancers. Armenian wine, beer, preserves and honey were sold along with books, CDs and t-shirts.

Armenian Fest has become the Milwaukee Armenian community’s opportunity to give southeastern Wisconsin a taste of Armenian food, culture and hospitality.


(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee)

Birth of Levon Orbeli

(June 25, 1882) 

 Levon Orbeli

Levon (also known as Leon) Orbeli was the middle brother in a family of scientists and an important physiologist, mostly active in Russia, who made important contributions to this discipline.

Orbeli was born in Darachichak (nowadays Tzaghkadzor), in Armenia, on June 25, 1882. He was the brother of archaeologist Ruben Orbeli (1880-1943) and orientalist Hovsep (Iosif) Orbeli (1887-1961). The family descended from the princely Orbelian family, which ruled over the region of Siunik between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries.

The future scientist graduated from the Russian gymnasium in Tiflis in 1899 and continued his studies at the Imperial Military-Medical Academy of St. Petersburg. He was still a second-course student, when he started working in the laboratory of famous physiologist Ivan Pavlov in 1901, the same year when Pavlov developed the concept of conditioned reflex. Orbeli’s life and scientific career would be closely connected with Pavlov’s work for the next thirty-five years.

He graduated from the Military Medical Academy in 1904 and became an intern at the Naval Hospital in the Russian capital. He joined Pavlov as his assistant in the Department of Physiology at the Institute for Experimental Medicine from 1907 to 1920. He was sent abroad to do research from 1909-11, working in Germany, England, and Italy.

Afterwards, Orbeli occupied many top positions in the Russian scientific world. He was head of the laboratory of physiology at the P. F. Lesgaft Scientific Institute in Leningrad (the new name for St. Petersburg during the Soviet times) from 1918 to 1957. Meantime, he was professor of physiology at the First Leningrad Medical Institute (1920-1931) and at the Military-Medical Academy (1925-1950), which he also directed from 1943 to 1950.

In 1932 he entered the USSR Academy of Sciences as corresponding member and was elected academician in 1935. After Pavlov’s death, Orbeli became Russia’s most prominent scientist. He developed a new scientific discipline, evolutionary physiology, consistently applying the principles of Darwinism. He devoted particular attention to the application of the principles of evolution to the study of all the nervous subsystems in animals and man. He promoted the study of human physiology, especially vital activity under unusual and extreme conditions. His more than 200 works on experimental and theoretical science included 130 journal articles.

Levon Orbeli was director of the Institute of Physiology of the Academy (1936-1950) and of the Institute of Evolutionary Physiology of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (1939-1950), where he was elected academician in 1944. He served as vice-president of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1942-1946), where he founded and headed the Institute of Evolutionary Physiology in 1956. He was an academician of the Armenian Academy of Sciences in 1943 (his brother Hovsep was the founder) and had an important legacy in the development of physiology in Armenia. The Institute of Physiology of the Academy of Sciences carries his name.

He received many honors for his extraordinary scientific work. He was member of many foreign societies and earned the State Prize of the USSR (1941) and two important prizes of the Soviet Academy of Sciences In 1937 and 1946. He was bestowed with many decorations, including the title of Hero of Socialist Labor in 1945.

In the last years of Stalin’s life, sciences became the target of state repression. At a joint session of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1950, the official doctrine of “Pavlovism” was promulgated and many prominent physiologists, including Orbeli, were denigrated and blamed for being non-Marxists, reactionaries, and having Western sympathies. Like many others who were victim of these political games, Orbeli would be rehabilitated after the death of Stalin in 1953.

He passed away on December 9, 1958, in Leningrad, where he was buried. A museum in the town of Tzaghkadzor, in Armenia, inaugurated in 1982, on the centennial of Levon Orbeli’s birth, is dedicated to the three Orbeli brothers.

 Museum of the Orbeli brothers


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