Norair Chahinian was born in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2012 he took a trip to Urfa (present-day Turkey), his ancestors’ village, in search of his roots. The house that once belonged to the family of his great-grandfather Harutiun is now a boutique hotel called Cevahir. At reception, Norair asked to stay in the room "with the note written in Armenian." When he entered the room, he saw the following message carved on the wall: "In 1922, I arrived at Nshan Efendi's house. I stayed here for 25 days. I am now moving to Aleppo. Goodbye, my friends. Those who read this message from Bedros, remember me. Signed: Der... ian."
One hundred years ago, this building belonged to the Der Bedrossians – Kevork and Yeghisapet and their eight children: Nshan, Aghajan, Krikor, Vartuhí, Hagop, Kayané, Bedros and Harutiun, a family of tailors and merchants. They had several shops and distributed fabrics and silks wholesale in the region’s cities. The family also owned vineyards northwest of Urfa and in a nearby village called Golenje, where they employed villagers to raise sheep and grow crops. They lived in this large two-story house and frequently made donations to the local church.
Nineteen fourteen marked the beginning of World War I. Having allied with Germany, the Turkish state began “recruiting” men for the army. Young men were taken by force and men over 45 were transferred, without weapons, to Karakopuru, two hours away from Urfa. Those who paid 45 gold Ottoman coins would be released; Harutiun and Bedros Der Bedrossian were able to pay and remained in the city. Officers also captured 18 intellectuals to make sure the village had no leaders left; among them was Aghajan, the brother of Bedros and Harutiun. Without much delay, all 18 were brutally murdered. A genocidal policy was being implemented and the family made a pact: if forced to separate, whoever had the chance to return to the house would leave a message on the wall of the small room on the second floor. Thus in 1922 Harutiun wrote his words on that wall, and the message was found by his great-grandson almost 100 years later.