In an effort to provide a glimpse of Fresno Armenians during the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee Fresno presents the following historical pieces.
SEPARATED BY 99 YEARS, TWO EVENTS LINK GENERATIONS OF FRESNO ARMENIANS
On November 2, 2014, several hundred people gathered on this chilly autumn day at Fresno State’s Maple Mall to watch the Fresno Armenian community—with singular purpose—embark on the construction of a stone monument dedicated to the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide
Nearly 99 years before, almost to the very day, Fresno Armenians had also assembled for a community event. This occasion, however, was marked by much more somber and pressing purpose. At the time, the Genocide was in full swing. Western Armenia was being emptied of its native inhabitants as ordered and carried-out by the Young Turk regime of the Ottoman Empire. Many Armenians from Van, Bitlis, Kharpert, Erzerum, Dickranagert, and Sepastia were led to the infamous Der Zor where they died from starvation or exhaustion. Others were murdered outright, often in ways that defied all sense of humanity.
And so, on November 4, 1915, Fresno Armenians crowded into the long-forgotten Fresno Auditorium—with that same singleness of mind—to raise money and save what little was left of their brethren back in the Old County. READ MORE
IMAGES FROM FRESNO’S OLD ARMENIAN TOWN
VIEW OF FRESNO ARMENIANS FROM THE PAST: EXCERPTS FROM SAROYAN’S
“SHOUT ARMENIA WHEREVER YOU GO
In 1964 author and Fresno native William Saroyan wrote one in a long line of short stories about his ethnic hertitage for the Novermber 21st issue of the Saturday Evening Post. Titled “Shout Armenia Wherever You Go”, the fictionalized essay takes place just after World War I and during the Armenian Genocide, at a time when the young Saroyan beat the streets of downtown Fresno as a newspaper boy. The setting—a very familiar one to Armenians even to this day—is the agoump or coffee house where men gathered to talk, argue, and otherwise express…READ MORE