I am the daughter of Ruben Khachik Pekyan, born in 1897 in Benka in Western Armenia — a small village that also happens to be the birthplace of the great poet Misak Metsarents. I’ve been hearing stories about the Turkish people’s brutality toward Armenians since I was a little girl. I still have my father's memoirs that he wrote by hand. This is his story.
One ordinary morning a Kurd warned several young men, among them my father, that at night the Turks were going to kill the Armenians. Old people did not believe it, but my father and some other young men hid in the mountains.
While in hiding, my father saw the whole village go up in flames.
The Benka village, located 200 meters from the river Euphrates, was surrounded by mountains. On the river there was a small bridge that connected Benka with the cities of Akn (now Agin, in Elazig province, Turkey) and Tivrig (now Divrigi, in Sivas province, Turkey) and the village of Zmara. The young fugitives went that way.
A few days later they reached the Armenian Church in Goom Gapu (Kumkapi), a district in Constantinople with large Armenian population, where my father met his mother, who also managed to escape the fire. After spending some time in Constantinople, he traveled to Greece and later to Romania, Bucharest, where he settled.
In 1946 he arrived in Leninakan (present-day Gyumri) and in 1951 he finally moved to Yerevan.
I want to express my gratitude to all those who helped not only my friends and family, but also many other Armenians during the Genocide.