Unprecedented video materials of survivors of Armenian Genocide discovered in US Congress library
WASHINGTON, JULY 2, ARMENPRESS. Exclusive videos of survivors of Armenian Genocide have been discovered in the Congress Library of the USA. The videos feature how Armenian refugees and orphan children are moving away and then leaving Turkey by boats.
The videos are exclusive as it was previously considered that survivors of the Armenian Genocide were depicted only in photos during the years of the Genocide. Thus the videos discovered in the Library of Congress are the first known video materials featuring Armenians in the years of the Armenian Genocide.
As Armenpress reports citing “AFP”, the rare moving images of survivors of the 1915 Armenian Genocide will be shown in Italy on Thursday as part of the 29th edition of Bologna's Cinema Ritrovato" festival.
The significant historical source discovered completely by chance had been buried away and forgotten in the US Library of Congress. The silent film is going to be screened as part of a selection intended to honour Armenian cinema a century after the beginning of the slaughter of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turkish forces.
Also on show during the festival are "Namus" (Honour), a 1925 work by Hamo Beknazarian that is considered the first Armenian film, "Sayat Nova" (The Color of Pomegranates) a 1969 film by Sergei Paradjanov and "Nahapet", Henrik Malyan's 1980 film about a genocide survivor.
Other rare documentary images include a five-minute film shot by the French army of Armenian refugees in camps at Port-Said in Egypt.
But the jewel in the festival's crown is the four minutes of "Armenia, Cradle of Humanity" shot in Turkey soon after the end of the killing - a time thought previously to have only been recorded in still images such as those of German photographer Armin Wegner.
Mariann Lewinsky, one of the festival's curators came upon the film by "a miracle" as she clicked through the internet data base of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF).
The Swiss researcher said that it is a mystery who shot the film and how it got to the Oregon Historical Society before being deposited in the Congress library. The curator of the festival noted:
"I sent an email to my colleagues in the library and they told me, 'Yes we have something, but we don't know what. I insisted a bit and asked if I could come and see the condition of the film."
Normally such a demand would take a bit of time to get a response but Lewinsky was quickly sent some photos and a telephone contact number. Having obtained the reel, she quickly dated it to 1923. Colleagues confirmed that, after the end of World War I, British forces assembled Armenian orphans in the building for evacuation.