February 10, 2014

Armenian physician honored by Israel for saving Jews during the Holocaust


Haroutyoun Khachatryan, a military physician during World War II, has been posthumously awarded the “Righteous among the Nations Award” by the Jewish “Yad Vashem” institute-museum.

During the event on 4th February Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Israel to Armenia Mr. Shmuel Mayrom and Honorary Consul of Israel in Armenia Ashot Shakhmuradyan handed the medal to Haroutyoun Khachatryan’s granddaughter, Armenian singer Anna Khachatryan.

According to the Ambassador Shmuel Mayrom, the story of Haroutyoun Khachatryan was revealed due to The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, which awarded the Khachatryan family last year in the presence of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

The event was also attended by Director of Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Hayk Demoyan, who mentioned in his speech, that this event is not only dedicated to the salvation of one person by another, but it is Armenian and Jewish genocide victims’ commemoration ceremony as well:

“Ladies and Gentlemen,

The organizers of the Armenian Genocide remained unpunished as a result of indifferent approach of the powerful countries. This was followed by the Munich deal, toleration of fascism, then unleash of World War II and Holocaust – the black stain and shame of human History.

Quote: “Why are you so interested in Armenians? You are Jewish and they are Christian. Muslims and Jews have always had a good relationship with each other. We treat the Jews well. What you are complaining about? Why are you preventing us to do what we want with those Christians?”

During the last month while editing, I have had opportunity to reread this dialogue many times. This dialogue was between U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau and Interior Minister of the Empire, one of the ringleaders of Young Turks – organizers of the Armenian Genocide – Talaat Pasha. Ambassador Morgenthau was not obliged to protect the rights of Western Armenians, but he did it, seriously spoiling his relationship with Young Turk criminals. In the years of Armenian Genocide, Henry Morgenthau was not the only Jew who raised his voice in the favor of the Armenians.

Today’s event has really important meaning. Here we are for a unique commemoration ceremony, which has deeper meaning and content than rescuing one person’s life by another. Today we pay tribute to all the Armenians and the Jews, who became victims of the Genocide. We also remember those, who gave their lives to eradicate the evil of fascism. Next year, on 2015, various events will be organized all over the world in commemoration and remind of the Armenian Genocide and its consequences. At the same year, by celebrating the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, we are obliged to remember and commemorate all those who gave their lives fighting against evil.

The example of Dr. Haroutyoun Khachatryan is human, but how much better the world would be, if the humanity and moral transferred to the sphere of bilateral relations between nations. Unfortunately, we are all well aware, that the world is still very far from such a perspective.

It is impossible to forget the calamities of Holocaust. These stories are part of my family history too. My grandfather, whose name I proudly bear, escaped from captivity during World War II, three years in the forests of Belarus, struggled against fascism although he was seriously wounded, witnessing the horrors of the Holocaust.
Today’s event has an important message. Venerating Dr. Khachatryan and his family members, we affirm our collective struggle against Genocide evil, from which, unfortunately, humanity, even in the 21st century is not secured.

It is a great honor to be present at this ceremony today. Let us remember and commemorate Haroutyoun Khachatryan and Josef Mezes Kogan, those who fought against evil of fascism, and by their example, they left the feelings of humanity and moral as a precept.”

During the event, the head of the Jewish community Mrs. Rima Varzhapetyan delivered a speech. The film “The Heavens Will Open for You – The story of Malka Rozental” about the people who survived the Holocaust, was also screened.

After 18 years of World War II, in 1963, Jewish organization “Yad Vashem” established a global program, named “Righteous Among the Nations Award” to honor all the non-Jews, who saved Jews by risking their lives during Holocaust. This project is the only one of its kind in the entire world. By May 2013, 24 811 individuals are recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations”, from whom the 22 are from Armenia.