Beginning in 1915, in the middle of World War I, the Ottoman Government enacted the systematic deportation of its Armenian population. Resulting in the murder of up to 1.5 million Armenians, this historical event came be known as the Armenian Genocide. While the Genocide is the second most studied case or ethnic execution, after the Jewish Holocaust, the present-day Turkish government denies accountability.
The 1960's and 1970's saw a new awareness of the usefulness of oral history interviews and the value of contemporary first-person narration. Historians saw its value as a tool of social history and of history "from the bottom up." The value of oral history entered public awareness also in part due to the success of the book and mini-series Roots. The first organized effort towards recording the survivors of the Armenian Genocide dates to 1967 when the Armenian Educational Council began interviewing Armenian-Americans. Other organizations followed with their own efforts.
In 1978, the Armenian Assembly organized the Oral History Project with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Armenians across the country. Hundreds of Genocide survivors were interviewed and their stories were preserved into a collection. Part of this collection has been digitized to make this resource available to scholars, researchers and writers.
For more information on the early years of Armenian-American oral history efforts, see Levon Marashlian, "The Status of Armenian Oral History, " Society for Armenian Studies Newsletter V, no. 2 (12) (Spring 1980), pp. 3, 7.

eyewitness accounts

Armenian Research Center

136 -
Fairlane Center North (FCN)
Phone: 
313-593-5181
Fax: 
313-593-5219
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