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Portraits of Hope: Armenians in the Contemporary World

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Portraits of Hope

Armenians in the Contemporary World

Edited by Huberta von Voss
With a Preface by Yehuda Bauer, Jerusalem

25th Anniversary Sale, 25% off all books! Add coupon code BB25

400 pages, 50 photographs

ISBN  978-1-84545-257-5 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (June 2007)

eISBN 978-1-78238-941-5 eBook

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“…certainly a well-put together and edited compendium of Armenian socio-political and cultural essays ...And it has a great deal to offer both the educated and altruistic reader alike about the passionate and fatalistic woven threads that compose Armenian life and identity today.”  ·  Armenian Weekly

“…highly informative and important for the understanding not only of an ignored past…One reads with astonishment how much creative potential the oldest Christian people still has.”  ·  Die Welt

“In this book Armenia…is not so much a nation rather than a landscape of remembrance, broken up and held together by violence and expulsion and through an eternal ‘traveling’ culture. Huberta von Voss allows us to experience this culture through the portraits of members of this culture who are dispersed throughout the world.”  ·  :die tageszeitung


Elie Wiesel called the genocide of the Armenians during the First World War ‘the Holocaust before the Holocaust’. Around one and a half million Armenians - men, women and children – were slaughtered at the time of the First World War. This book outlines some of the historical facts and consequences of the massacres but sees it as its main objective to present the Armenians to the foreign reader, their history but also their lives and achievements in the present that finds most Armenians dispersed throughout the world. 3000 years after their appearance in history, 1700 years after adopting Christianity and almost 90 years after the greatest catastrophe in their history, these 50 ‘biographical sketches of intellectuals, artists, journalists, and others…produce a complicated kaleidoscope of a divided but lively people that is trying once again, to rediscover its ethnic coherence. Armenian civilization does not consist solely of stories about a far-off past, but also of traditions and a national conscience suggestive of a future that will transcend the present.’ [from the Preface]

Huberta v. Voss worked for many years as a political correspondent for various German dailies, before becoming spokesperson of the Speaker of the Bundestag. During the diplomatic assignment of her husband to Beirut and Nicosia, she edited and translated amongst others the Lebanese poet Nadia Tuéni from French into German. She has earned a M.A. in Political Science, Modern History and French Philology. She has three children and now lives as a freelance journalist and author in Berlin.

Subject: 20th Century History General Cultural Studies
Area: Middle East & Israel



Yehuda Bauer

Huberta von Voss



Chapter 1. Between Ararat and the Caucasus: Portrait of a Tiny Country in Five Lessons
Tessa Hofmann

Chapter 2. The Armenian Genocide: An Interpretation
Vahakn N. Dadrian

Chapter 3. The Turkish Denial of the Armenian Genocide in its European Context
Taner Akçam

Chapter 4. The Silent Partner: Imperial Germany and the Young Turks’ Policy of Annihilation
Wolfgang Gust


History Chapter 5. The Investigator: Vahakn N. Dadrian, Genocide Scholar (Cambridge, MA)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 6. A Foundation of Facts and Fiction: The Poet and Writer Peter Balakian (Hamilton, NY)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 7. The Memory of Cilicia: Claude Mutafian, Historian and Mathematician (Paris)
Dorothea Hahn

Chapter 8. Lord of the Books: Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation (New York City)
Huberta von Voss

Words Chapter 9. Shadows and Phantoms: Michael J. Arlen, Writer and Media Critic (New York City)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 10. The Ashes of Smyrna: Marjorie Housepian Dobkin, Writer (New York City)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 11. The Tracker: Nouritza Matossian, Writer and Actress (London and Nicosia)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 12. Difficult Truths: Nancy Krikorian, Writer (New York City)
Hrag Vartanian

Chapter 13. A Seedbed of Words: Hrant Dink, Editor-in-chief of the Armenian Newspaper Agos (Istanbul)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 14. La Femme révoltée: Human Rights Activist and President of the Armenian PEN-Club, Anna Hakobyan (Yerevan)
Rainer Hermann

Chapter 15. Vocation: Azgayin gortsich. Zori Balayan: An Intellectual (Karabakh-Yerevan)
Tessa Hofmann

Faith Chapter 16. The Catholicos of All Armenians: His Holiness Karekin II (Echmiadzin)
Rainer Hermann

Chapter 17. The Modernizer with the Miter: His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia (Antelias, Beirut)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 18. Referee on a Slippery Pitch: His Beatitude Mesrop II, Patriarch of the Armenians in Turkey (Istanbul)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 19. With Cellphone and Habit on Lord Byron’s Island: Father Grigoris and the Novice Artour (San Lazzaro, Venice)
Huberta von Voss

Arts and Architecture

Chapter 20. Son of an Amazon: Ashot Bayandur, Painter (Nicosia and Yerevan)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 21. Seismograph of Different Worlds: Painter Sarkis Hamalbashian (Gyumri and Yerevan)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 22. Fitzcarraldo in the Olive Grove: Garo Keheyan, Philanthropist and Impresario (Nicosia)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 23. Ibis Eyes: Artist and Poetess Anna Boghiguian (Alexandria and Cairo)
Huberta von Voss

Film and Photography

Chapter 24. Screening His stories: The Film-maker Atom Egoyan (Toronto)
Ian Balfour

Chapter 25. Hollywood in Downtown Cairo: Van Leo, Photographer (Cairo)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 26. Beyond All Limits: On the Art of Film-maker Artavazd Peleschjan (Moscow)
Gerald Matt


Chapter 27. The Voice of France: Charles Aznavour, alias Varenagh Aznavourian (Paris)
Pascale Hugues

Chapter 28. Under the Stars: Accordion-player Madame Anahit on the Alleys of Beyoglu (Istanbul)
Christiane Schlötzer-Scotland


Chapter 29. Ways to Identity: Berge Setrakian, President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (New York City)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 30. Daily Bread of Resolutions: Hilda Tchoboian, President of the Euro-Armenian Federation (Brussels)
Daniela Weingärtner

Politics and Diplomacy

Chapter 31. From Diamonds to Diplomacy: Vartan Oskanian, Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (Yerevan)
Rainer Hermann

Chapter 32. Armenia’s Attorney on the Banks of the Seine: Minister Patrick Devedjian, Legal Adviser to French President Chirac (Paris)
Michaela Wiegel

Chapter 33. In the Mission Quicksands: Benon Sevan, Ex-Undersecretary General of the United Nations (New York City)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 34. The Man with the Mirror: The Armenian Ambassador to the OSCE and to International Organizations in Vienna, Jivan Tabibian (Vienna)
Huberta von Voss

Life of Images

Chapter 35. Courier of the Czar: The Petrossian Caviar Empire and Its Owner, Armen Petrossian (Paris)
Gil Eilin Jung

Chapter 36. End of a Long Journey: The Sexton Michael Stephen and the Armenians in India (Madras)
Jochen Buchsteiner

Chapter 37. The Skeptic of the Jaffa Gate: Kevork Hintlian (Jerusalem)
Paul Badde

Chapter 38. “Excuse me, how do I get to the front?” The Brothers Monte and Markar Melkonian (Los Angeles)
Michael Krikorian

Chapter 39. The Everyday Life of a Hero: Levon Arutunyan, Veteran of the Karabakh War (Yerevan)
Rainer Hermann

Chapter 40. The Magic of the Opal: The Jeweler Varoojan (John) Iskenderian (Sydney)
Ron Knight

Chapter 41. ¿Vos hablás armenio? Rosita Youssefian, Teacher of Armenian (Buenos Aires)
Josef Oehrlein

Chapter 42. Portrait of Survival: Reflections on the Life of Vahram S. Touryan (Pasadena)
Lorna Touryan Miller

Chapter 43. Grande Dame of the Myths: The Archeologist Nina Jidejian (Beirut)
Huberta von Voss

Chapter 44. A Perfectly Normal Story: Alfred and Ophelia Mouradian (Berlin)
Jochen Mangelsen


Chapter 45. Swan Song in the Holy Land: The Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem
Jörg Bremer

Chapter 46. Last Stop: The desert of Deir-es-Zor
Nouritza Matossian

Chapter 47. Gangway to Life: The Armenian Quarter of Bourj Hammoud in Beirut
Victor Kocher

Chapter 48. Struggle for Survival: Franz Werfel and the Armenians of Musa Dagh
Hannes Stein

Chapter 49. An Eye for an Eye: The Assasination of Talaat Pasa on the Hardenbergstrasse in Berlin
Tessa Hofmann

Chapter 50. Inch Piti Asem? The Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial in Armenia
Mark Grigorian

Epilogue: The Dichtomy of Truth and Denial and the Remembrance of a Courageous Turk (Toronto)
K.M. Greg Sarkissian

Key Dates in Armenian History
Notes on Contributors

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