The Turks called her grandparents outside, but they refused to leave the house and were murdered immediately. The Turks took Hripsime, her mother and aunt and forced them to line up. She recalled some man on a horse helping them escape. They were put on a train and eventually taken to Bulgaria. According to Hripsime, they moved to Greece the next month, after finding out that her father was also living there having successfully escaped from the Ottoman Empire. In 1946 the family moved to Armenia, leaving everything behind. Hripsime Haji Sargsyan had two children, six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren, and spent her last years living with her grandchild Grigor’s family. She passed away on January 31, 2015 at the age of 105.
Hripsime Haji Sargsyan with her daughter in her bedroom. Hripsime passed away on January 31, 2015 at the age of 105.
Hripsime Haji, Genocide survivor, started every morning by lighting up a cigarette before breakfast.
Hripsime Haji at the breakfast table with her daughter and great-granddaughter.
Over the last few years of Hripsime’s life it was mostly her daughter who cared for her and prepared all her meals in their home in Yerevan.
Only a few members of Hripsime Haji’s family managed to survive the Genocide and escape. She was four years old at the time.
An archival image of the Haji family. The image dates back to the early 1900s and precedes the Genocide.
Hripsime spent the last years of her life with her daughter and her grandchildren in Yerevan.
Her daughter helping Hripsime to her bedroom.
Hripsime Haji Sargsyan in her bed.
Hripsime used to pray before a relic from the Church of St. Stephan, the only thing from Western Anatolia she had managed to preserve.
Photography by Diana Markosian and Karen Mirzoyan.