Survivors of the 1915 Armenian genocide reflect on their lost homeland through pictures retracing their flight from Turkey

Diana Markosian

Diana Markosian Holding a cane in his right hand, Movses Haneshyan, 105, slowly approaches a life-size landscape. It's the first time Movses is seeing his home since he fled during the genocide of 1915. © Diana Markosian | Magnum Photos

Holding a cane in his right hand, Movses Haneshyan, 105, slowly approaches a life-size landscape. He pauses, looks at the image, and begins to sing: “My home… My Armenia.” It’s the first time Movses is seeing his home in 98 years.

Diana Markosian The Ottomans turned much of modern-day Turkey into a killing field. An archival image of massacred Armenians taken by US Ambassador Henry Morgenthau. Turkey. 2015. © Diana Markosian | Magnum Photos
Diana Markosian In the shadows, Haydarpasa train station. On April 24, 1915, Ottoman authorities arrested several hundred Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul. From Haydarpasa train station, they were sent to Ayas a (...)
Diana Markosian A portrait of the Sargysyan family in Kutahya, Turkey, before they were deported in 1915. Armenia. 2015. © Diana Markosian | Magnum Photos
Diana Markosian The waters of the Akhurian River trace the border between present-day Turkey and Armenia. The river is a tributary to the Araks, which Armenians crossed over to escape the massacres of 1915. Turkey (...)

A century ago, the Ottomans initiated a policy of deportations, mass murder and rape to destroy the Armenian presence in the Ottoman Empire. By the war’s end, more than a million people, from what is now modern-day Turkey, were eliminated. It was one of first genocides of the 20th century, one that Turkish authorities deny to this day.

Diana Markosian A hand-drawn map of Kebusie, a tiny village on Musa Dagh Mountain, a site of resistance during the 1915 deportations. Movses and his father fled from the village to Syria in 1915. A century later, (...)
Diana Markosian Yepraksia Gevorgyan, now 108, escaped by crossing the river to what is now present-day Armenia. She watched the Ottomans kill the Armenians, throwing their bodies into the water, which she describe (...)

Movses and his father survived. I traveled to Armenia to meet Movses and other survivors to ask them about their last memories of their early home. I then retraced their steps in Turkey to retrieve a piece of their lost homeland.

Diana Markosian Upon seeing an image of his home, Movses caresses the billboard, as if by holding it close, he will be taken back to a place he called home. Armenia. 2015. © Diana Markosian | Magnum Photos

One hundred years after having fled his birthplace, Movses caresses its image, as if by holding it close he will be taken back to the place he called home many years ago. This is his story, and those of other survivors. A story of home — everything they had, everything they lost. And what they have found again.

Diana Markosian Once the capital of an ancient Armenian Kingdom, Ani, was known as the "city of 1,001 churches." After the genocide, Turkey cut Armenia from its history, with no mention of who built or inhabited i (...)
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