As part of the 100 Seconds project launched by Mediamax, Serj Tankian reads the testimony of Sanam Hovhannisian. The project is devoted to the Armenian Genocide centennial and is based on testimonies of Genocide survivors published by the National Archive of Armenia.
National Archives of Armenia
Collection of Documents
Testimony of survivor Sanam Hovhannisian on the massacre of the village of Yershter in Mush district of Mush province
In the autumn Musa bek with his troops again gathered the Armenians who had found shelter in the houses of the Kurds and the Turks. This time we were turned over to the executioners by our guardians.
They shot my son Avetis and other escapees in front of my eyes. Then they beat me with the butt of a rifle and drove me forward. On the road, one of our neighbouring women had birth pangs and could not go on walking with us.
One of the soldiers named Mamad slashed her head with a dagger, then cut her womb open, stuck the baby on his dagger and threatening us with it drove us out.
Our neighbour Harut’s wife Yeva was pregnant too and she was carrying on her back her 3-year-old daughter. The child was crying of hunger, after eight days of hunger the mother had no milk in her breasts to feed her and was barely able to drag herself after us. The policeman ordered her to sit and breastfeed her daughter.
The woman sat down, the policeman himself took out the woman’s breast and put it into the girl’s mouth, and then he walked away a little distance, took aim at them and with one sudden bullet put an end to the lives of unfortunate mother and daughter…
Producer: Ara Tadevosyan
Filming: George Tonikian
Post Production: Tumo LLC
The source of Sanam Hovhannisian’s testimony: National Archives of Armenia, Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey, 1915, Testimony of survivors, Collection of documents, Yerevan-2013