The Armenian Displaced Persons
A First Hand Report on Conditions in Europe
By JOHN ROY CARLSON
Journal on Armenian Studies
Vol. 1, No. 1
Three cheers for John Roy Carlson — the
rare Armenian patriot (he believed in the "genocide," used terms like
"Turkish yoke," and Christian code such as "Smyrna" and
"Constantinople") who attempted to send a "red alert" to his fellow
Armenians as to the mass infiltration of the fanatical, slimy Dashnaks, threatening to act
as the one voice for the Armenian people. He tried to give the warning, but it was to no
avail. The Dashnak mentality prevails today among the diaspora, at least among those who
Isn't that always the way? Where fanaticism
and money lead, the masses follow. For example, American Muslims at this point don't want
much to do with the fanatical Wahhabis... but it's their big, Saudi-oil money that is
serving as great influence, behind the scenes. Similarly, the concept of Abraham Lincoln's
Republican "conservatism" hasn't much to do with the fanatical, obscenely
wealthy religious right that has taken over the Republican Party in recent years... doing
a great job of brainwashing the American populace through their huge network of media
Carlson says it flat out: "the ARF
assumed the leadership by its more fanatic appeal, and its policy of liquidating by terror
all opposition." Today, it's these immoral, "the end justifies the
means" fanatics with no concern for truth or honor, that rule. Even Armenian
professors have adopted this mentality; the instant someone steps out of line from the
standard propaganda-speak — even a little, as Vincent Lima or Ara Sarafian mildly blurted — the fanatics are quick to
jump down their throats, making reputation-harming allegations (to the implied extent of
being Turkish tools, in the aforementioned examples).
Carlson used the correct word in his
article: INSIDIOUS. He describes the above technique, as used for financial extortion: "Another
effected practice was the intimidation of prominent men in order to obtain financial
support. Those who refused were 'put on the spot.' In fact, it was very similar to the
underground methods of modern racketeering, except that its goal was noble."
These terror tactics, including the time-honored fanatical Armenian smear campaign, are
straight out of the gangster's rulebook.
is a highly informative article that should open the eyes of many. Carlson —
famed for going undercover to expose fascist organizations in the United States (such was
the title of one of his books, Under Cover) — spells it all out. The Dashnak
collaboration with the Nazis, and the "racial superiority" theories that caused
so many Armenians (along with the reason of pure hatred, what too many have been
systematically taught since childhood) to blindly engage themselves in mass murder during
WWI, following bloody leaders such as "General Dro." Note Carlson's "Footnote 1" regarding the inspiration for the Armenian Youth
Federation, or the AYF. We also learn of the establishing forces behind what is today
known as ANCA, the truth-challenged and financially powerful Armenian-American
This conditioning of Dashnak hatred that is
prevalent on the minds of too many brainwashed Armenians is the reality today, among the
Armenian Diaspora. The "reasonable" Armenians dare not speak as loudly as
Carlson did; silence is compliance, and that is why Armenians are among the most
monolithically-acting people in the world today.
The Armenian Displaced Persons
A First Hand Report on Conditions in Europe
By JOHN ROY CARLSON
DISEMBARKING MONTHLY at New York and other
piers are hundreds of “Armenian DPs,” mainly from Germany. They are arriving
under the sponsorship of ANCHA (Armenian National Committee to Aid Homeless
Armenians) which is representing itself as a purely humanitarian, non-political
organization. But is this entirely true? Is ANCHA non-political? Is ANCHA a “national
committee” made up of representative
Armenians --or is it politically sectarian? I charge that ANCHA is now supported by
members, as well as the leadership of a political group of international ill-repute
which has had a political axe to grind from 1890 to the present day. I visited the
major Armenian DP camp in Germany during a trip in 1949. Although an investigation
was far from my intention, what I saw so startled me that I spent several days
making inquiries, and photographing the evidence.
As a citizen it is my purpose to urge officials of the International Relief
Organization (IRO), and our immigration and DP officials to make sure that these DPs
come in the best interests of America, as worthy of citizenship. It is my purpose to
insure our country against the entry of propaganda agents, or recruits to a
political group whose misdeeds are a matter of record.
Through the expert publicity gained for it by a restaurateur, the work of ANCHA has
been so well daubed with the paint of un-adulterated humanitarianism that in order
to evaluate its work, it is imperative to go into the background of the sponsors.
With this in view I’m compelled to present the reader first with a documented
history of events which led to the founding of ANCHA in 1947. He is then in a
position to determine for himself the merits of the enterprise as a whole.
By way of preface it might be stated that there are Americans and Americans. The
good and the questionable. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt is an American; so are Cardinal
Spellman, Bishop Oxnam and Father Coughlin. Carl Sandburg, William Foster, Westbrook
Pegler are Americans. Al Capone, Henry Wallace, Harry Truman, Gerald L. K. Smith,
Lepke Buchalter of Murder, Inc.- all these are (or were, in the case of Al and Lepke)
By the same token, there are Armenians and Armenians. There are Rouben Mamoulian and
Hovsep Pushman. But there are also two Armenians of murderous persuasion who are
condemned to life in prison.
Unfortunately, some timid souls are horrified at the exposure of Armenian prototypes
of the Smiths, Capones, Buchalters. This attitude is based on the premise that our
faults should remain unpublicized to “outsiders.” Why? Are we not at least as
human as our native-born American brethren who themselves claim no monopoly on
virtues? Are we Armenians “superior’ to all other ethnic groups? Are we a race”
apart, free of weakness? Denying that self-analysis is a virtue, the timid souls
would even deny that our frailties are common to humanity everywhere.
By censuring unrepresentative Smiths, Capones and Buchalters, do we mean to besmirch
the good name of all Smiths, all Italians, all Jews? Obviously not. And by censuring
the political acts of unrepresentative Armenians abroad and unrepresentative
Armenians here, no aspersion whatever is cast on the overwhelming majority of
respectable Armenians everywhere. Nonetheless, we expect to be roundly denounced as
anti-Armenian: first, by the milquetoasts, then by the guilty-minded partisans.
Samuel P. Orth, the sociologist, observed: “The Armenians especially are eager to
become American citizens!” The record shows that we have an astonishingly small
crime record. Our native-born generation is making phenomenal progress in the arts,
medicine, science, business. Of these accomplishments we are justly proud.
Nonetheless, the questionable Armenians are hard at work. We believe their political
chicaneries should be exposed. The cause of justice is best served by truth, and the
cause of truth by the merciless exposure of those who, under the guise of
patriotism, seek to pervert both truth and patriotism
Photo, taken in March, 1949 [by
John Roy Carlson], shows two Armenian DPs hoisting the red-blue-orange flag of the
defunct Dashnag government, over Funkerkaserne, Stuttgart, Germany, where the bulk
of the Armenian DPs were located.
There was once a man named Hitler who made lavish promises to labor and capital. After he
had assumed power he betrayed both. Then he made lavish promises of independence to
minorities of the Ukraine, Carpatho-Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, as well as the
anti-British, Hitler subsidized Arabs like the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who either had a
grievance against Britain, or had been kicked out of Soviet Union territory and wanted to
get back at any price. Former director of the Office of War Information in Europe, Wallace
Carroll, observes in an article in Life (Dec. 19, 1949): "Hitler had authorized the
creation of units from the lesser Soviet minorities — an Armenian legion, a Georgian
legion. . . ."
And so, as the Wehrmacht marched eastward, it was followed by fifth-column
Ukrainians, White Russians, Arabs and other elements bent on regaining will-o’-the-wisp
independence under Hitler. As Nazi legions conquered Odessa and the Crimea, and edged
their way along the shores of the Black Sea toward the Caucasus —
where nestled the Republic of Soviet Armenia — "pro-Independence
Armenians" appeared in Europe. Formally they were known as the Armenian Revolutionary
popularly called Dashnag.
These European Dashnags, with headquarters in Berlin, appealed to, and bargained with
Hitler’s emissaries for an "independent" Armenian state. That they had to
boot-lick Nazi masters goes without saying. That, as potential officials of a puppet Nazi
state, they would have assumed the infamous roles of the Paveliches, Antonescus, Lavals,
Tisos or Vidkun Quislings was also a foregone conclusion Once committed to it, there was
no alternative to the price for "independence" except subservience to Hitler.
By 1940 Dr. Alfred Rosenberg had been appointed Minister of Eastern Occupied Areas He was
in constant touch with the Dashnag hierarchy in Germany, which by that time had formed the
Armenian National Council. It was "Armenian" only in the sense that Dashnag
Armenians belonged to it. Far from being "national," it spoke only for certain
Quisling minded Dashnags of Europe, not for the overwhelming majority of Armenians the
world over who were pro Ally, and fought valiantly for the Allied cause.
Master of international intrigue;
Dro "The Butcher" Kanayan
The Naziesque Dashnag Council (not to be confused with the Armenian
National Council of America) was comprised of Prof. Ardashes Abeghian, president;
Abraham Gulhandanian, vice president; Harootiun Baghdasarian, secretary;
members-at-large (meaning Dashnags outside Germany) were: Der Tovmassian, Vahan Papazian,
David Davidkhanian, Garegin Nejdeh, and a master of international intrigue known as General
Dro Ganayan. The
following are significant excerpts from the document — comprising 12 points —
signed between Nazi Germany and the European Dashnag Council, with the above mentioned
Dashnags serving as its officers. it was made public on February 15 1943:
1. The Armenian National Council was organized in Berlin, December 15,
1942, under the patronage of the Ministry of the Eastern Occupied Areas. Thus the Armenian
National Council undertakes to be an agent between Germany and the Armenians....
3. In order to carry out these purposes and programs freely, to achieve and to establish
them firmly, the Armenian National Council considers the political protection of the
German Reich over Armenia the most secure guaranty. . . .
7. The Armenian National Council is convinced that the efforts of its people should be
crowned with success because Armenia, through the powerful help of the German Reich, will
become a self-governing country and as such, will be built up. . . .
8. The Armenian National Council will do everything to facilitate the work of its patron
government, including the national wealth of the land, taking into consideration the
economic reconstruction of Armenia and the interest of the two peoples. . . .
9. Under the protection of the German Reich, Armenia, so far as she is able, will strive
to strengthen the German influence in the Near East. In this connection, the Armenian
National Council finds it imperative to evaluate the bitter disappointments and terrible
misery which Russia, as well as England have caused on the Armenians in the course of
history. . . .
11. Realizing the historic, political, economic and cultural intimate ties between Great
Germany and her protectorate, Armenia, the Armenian National Council will consider it its
high duty to strengthen these mentioned ties and to render them unbreakable. For this
purpose are already called, and hereafter will be called, those auxiliary Armenian forces
which are now active and fighting with the Germans for final victory and liberation.
12. The Armenian National Council is an agent in the present period of transition. Its
jurisdiction and activity cease the moment when, under the leadership of Germany and the
help of the Armenian National Council, a new government is created in Armenia.
An avowed task of the Council was to select — with Nazi approval, of course —
Russian-Armenian soldiers from the prisoners-of-war camps. Many of these later
joined special units of the Wehrmacht composed of similar anti-Soviet minority troops.
Whether there is any connection between their release and their joining Nazi units is a
matter of speculation. Some were identifiable by an armband composed of the Dashnag
colors: red-blue-orange. For example, Dashnag recruits from France bore the mark Légion
In the meanwhile, efforts of European Dashnags for the "independent" state
played deeper into Nazi hands. Dashnag henchmen appeared in every occupied country to
collaborate with the Nazis. Here are a few specific instances. Nejdeh — who was
once sponsored by Boston Dashnags to organize a racist youth group in the United States
called Tzeghagron  — had organized an espionage network based in Nazi-occupied
 Literally Tzeghagron means "to make a religion of one’s
race." Patterned after the Nazi Youth It was also called Racial Patriots. Nejdeh
wrote: "The Racial Religious believes in his racial blood as a deity. Race above
everything and before everything. Race comes first. Everything is for the race." In
the April 10, 1936, issue of Hairenik Weekly, Nejdeh stated: "Today Germany and Italy
are strong because as a nation they live and breathe in terms of race." From Racial
Patriots and Tzeghagrons, the name of the Dashnag youth group was later changed to
Armenian Youth Federation, or the AYF, as it is currently known.
Dashnags have consistently followed a course of opportunism and double-dealing.
He and his adjutant were later caught and executed. According to the January 14, 1945 issue of Bahag, published
in Bucharest, the arrest of Antonescu's iron Guard members netted many Dashnags.
Greece was honeycombed with Dashnags serving as Nazi spies. One of them even
recruited parachutists for fifth column work behind Allied lines.
to articles printed in the Sept 1, 1945 Mirror-Spectator English Armenian
democratic weekly published in New York, and reprinted in the Congressional Record
(Nov. 1, 1945), General Dro Ganayan is charged with organizing a band of his own and
following close on the heels of Nazi armies, marching with them, into the Crimea and
upper Caucasus. As a former officer under the Independent Armenian government (which
survived from 1918-20, to be followed by the Soviet regime), he was familiar with
the territory. The Very Rev. Sooren Vartabed, writing in the January, 1944 issue of Etchmiadzin,
organ of the Holy See of the Armenian Church, and widely reprinted in this country,
made the following charges against Dro Ganayan:
bandit with his volunteer “heroes” has done everything not to lag behind his
German masters whom he was serving as a hired mercenary. While at Pyatigorsk and
Armavir, he has tried to induce the church councils to organize charitable societies
to collect funds for the benefit of “Armenian prisoners, sick and wounded
soldiers." But soon his mask was ripped. . .
the approach of the Red Army the plunderers carried away... precious church “utensils
and vestments. . . all the silverware collected for the church cross by Avadian
Soorep and Thomasian Iskoohi, rnenibers of the Church councils of Krasnodar as well
as silken and velvet vestments donated by the faithful flock.
I met Ganayan in Beirut, Lebanon, while posing as a Dashnag sympathizer, he admitted
to me that he “went as far forward with the Germans as they did in the Caucasus.”
His role was "humanitarian" and "patriotic," he said, his object
being "to save the Russian Armenians from
vengeful German hands.” Point II of the Dashnag Nazi agreement in
mentioning “auxiliary Armenian forces which are now active and fighting with the
Germans," probably had reference to Dro Ganayan and his cohorts. At any rate,
he can hardly disclaim his associations with the Nazis. I have a photograph of him
surrounded by three uniformed Nazi officers and five Dashnag collaborators. After
the Nazi debacle at Stalingrad, Ganayan returned with his men to Romania, then found
refuge in Germany, after which he made his way to Beirut, via Cairo.
this record, Ganayan managed to get into our country early in 1949. American
Dashnags feted him at meetings everywhere, and glorified him in their Journals as a
patriot and hero.
Vienna I spoke with Archbishop Habozian, head of the Armenian Roman Catholics known
as the Mechitarist Fathers, and director of the publishing house. "Ahh, we sold
many books to the Dashnags during the war," he confided. When I asked why so
many had been bought, he replied: "Abeghian, Dro and the others were expecting to go to Armenia with the Germans. The books
were bought to replenish the libraries of Soviet Armenia."
significant item appeared in News Week on Nov. 12, 1941, entitled Armenian
Puppet State, which further corroborates our preceding statements regarding
Abeghian, Dro Ganayan and their former links with the Nazis.
As the Near East crisis develops, look for
evidence of Nazi fifth column activity by Armenians [read Armenian Dashnags] in
Turkey and Syria. The Nazis have picked out the Armenian Revolutionary Federation or
“Dashnag” party to do the fifth column work. This intensely nationalist
organization has recently moved its headquarters from Switzerland to Paris to
Berlin. . . . The Nazis have promised
the Dashnags an autonomous state similar to Croatia in return for their cooperation.
this country the Armenian Revolutionary Federation maintains headquarters in Boston.
The charges made herein pertain specifically to Dashnags overseas, and whenever in
this article I use the term “Dashnag,” or Armenian Revolutionary Federation,
without qualification, I allude to the European group. The American group, however,
has been guilty of pro-Nazi utterances. As an example, the Sept. 17, 1936 issue of Hairenik,
its official organ, stated editorially:
And came Adolf Hitler, after herculean struggles. He spoke to the racial
heart strings of the German, opened the fountain of his national genius, struck down
the spirit of defeatism. . . . . At no period since the World War had Berlin
conducted so realistic, well organized, and planned policy as now, since Hitler’s
assumption to power. . . . And whatever others may think concerning Hitlerism and
Fascism as a system of Government, it is proved that they have revitalized and
regenerated the two states, Germany and Italy.
August 19, 20, 21, 1936, Hairenik published a series of articles in praise of
the Nazi regime and the myth of "Aryan" culture. In these articles the
author furthered the Nazi concept of identifying Jews with Communism: “As the
British use battleships to occupy lands and to protect their fatherland, in this
same way the Jews use internationalism or Communism as a weapon.” In the same
issues of Hairenik the American Dashnags "explained" the Nazi
persecution of the Jews with these horrendous remarks:
Sometimes it is difficult to eradicate these poisonous elements when they
have already struck deep root like a chronic disease. And when it becomes necessary
for a people to ‘eradicate them in an uncommon method, these attempts and methods
are regarded revolutionary. During a surgical operation the flow of blood is a
natural thing. . . .
such conditions dictatorship seems to have the role of savior.
less outspoken were the columns of Hairenik Weekly, the English language
organ. The May 10, 1935 issue quoted the vice-mayor of Bucharest as saying: “The
Armenians [meaning only Dashnags] have helped the Romanians not to become slaves of
the Jewish elements.” On Sept. 25, 1936, the Weekly denounced Zionist aims
with these scurrilous remarks:
And the type of Jew who is imported to Palestine is not
anything to be proud about. Their loose
morals, and other vices which were unknown to the Arabs prior to the Belfour
Declaration, on top of all communistic activities, were the cause of most of the
Dashnags have consistently followed a course of opportunism and double-dealing.
Completely reversing its former acid commentary on Nazi-persecuted Jews, Hairenik
published a tearful article in its Sept. 22, 1943, issue entitled The Jewish
Tragedy. It shed copious crocodile tears and bemoaned the “terrible fate of
Jewry.” Instead of “the most fanatical nationalists and race worshippers,”
Jews became the noble “allies of civilization.” Not to be outdone, Hairenik
Weekly went all out for Jewry and Zionism in the March 24, 1944, issue. In
contrast to its former condemnation of Zionism, it devoted an entire editorial to
the jubilee birthday of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, a leading American Zionist. Here are
The Armenians have special cause for hailing warmly the renowned Rabbi’s
Jubilee because the ernancipatory struggle which Jewry is now waging is a just
cause, very close to the heart of the Armenians, and, in its touching episodes, it
is so similar to the ~ Armenian Cause; secondly, because the person of Rabbi Wise is
so cherished by all Armenians.
The Jewish people have been one of the most wronged,
crucified, and afflicted peoples of the
world, and this misfortune is directly traceable to the loss of the Jewish homeland.
Since the fall of Palestine’s independence nearly two thousand years ago, Jewry
became a homeless element, hunted by fortune, until it understood that its only
salvation lay in its return to the mother soil. This consciousness was embodied in
the Zionist movement whose founders rightly perceived that a people cannot be happy
until it has acquired a homeland of its own. Only a people having taken roots in the
native homeland can live securely, can grow and flourish as a nation.
November 10 and 24, 1949, issues of Hairenik Weekly again reversed
themselves. The party line changed with a flip-flop characteristic of
Dashnagtzoutune. Former paeans to Zionism were forgotten in zealous efforts to curry
favor with Arab delegates at the UN. Columns of praise were showered on the Arabs.
The delegates of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq were invited to speak on
"Armenian Revolutionary Federation Day" in New York on November 13. Their
photographs were plastered on the front page. According to the printed accounts all
four are understood to have accepted. That they failed to show up is incidental to
the main issue. All sent their deep regrets and professions of sympathy. The
assemblage telegraphed a uniform message to the would-be guests. "We greet you
as a friend of the Armenians, and their just cause," it read in part. This time
it was not Zionist Jewry, but anti-Zionist Arabs who became friends of the Dashnag
Armenians’ “just cause” -- whatever it was for the moment.
interest of American Dashnags in the Arab cause is as sudden as it is mysterious.
Dashnag “intellectuals” from Arab countries have been visiting the United
States, lecturing and raising funds for the Dashnag cause abroad. The latest arrival
is Aram Sahakian from the Lebanon. Another is a bustling journalist named Levon
Keshishian. He claims to be representing 17 Arab newspapers, but at the United
Nations at Lake Success, N. Y., he was accredited only to LeSoir, a
French-language Lebanese newspaper. On the many occasions I visited the UN, I saw
Keshishian with Arabs, and members of the Arab delegations. I had many conversations
with him. It was my, impression that Keshishian acted as liaison between Boston
Dashnags and the Arab delegates.
is an Arab-born Armenian, short, nervous, hustling, in his thirties. I had met
Keshishian first in April, 1948, in Jerusalem. Sometime after the Mandate expired in
May, 1948, he was arrested by Jordan police, and kept for months in a filthy prison
in Amman; he was also beaten, Keshishian told me. A man who speaks of his personal
affairs with considerable frankness, Keshishian described in great detail how he had
been arrested, the nature of the various charges (which, in the main, were regarded
as being anti-Arab). He told me how certain incriminating letters, given to him by a
Jerusalem Jew for mailing, had been found on his person; other letters had been
intercepted by Jordan censors. He told me Jordan police had traced letters addressed
to him, to a Dashnag-owned drugstore in Amman, which he used as a mail drop.
was in Amman in the summer of 1948. Keshishian’s imprisonment was an open secret.
Armenians were particularly shocked, and ashamed, that a compatriot should be jailed on such charges. At my meetings with him
at the UN, Keshishian protested his innocence. He also denied that he was a Dashnag,
although he has contributed a regular column to Hairenik Weekly, addressed
Dashnag meetings, and associated closely with American Dashnag elements.
Keshishian is at times quiet-spoken, the violence of his language is predictable. In
Jerusalem, for example, he had said to me: "I can have you hanged for bringing
a book like this to Palestine” (a copy of Under Cover). At the UN, in
October, 1949, after he had heard of a speech I had made commending Zionism,
Keshishian first warned, then pleaded with me to say or write nothing detrimental to
the Arab cause. Then he said, matter.of-factly: “You’ll never be able to return
to any of the Arab countries. If you and I were there now I’d have you killed.
Life is cheap in the Middle East. We do things manfully there. It’s not like here
where you Americans live only for material comforts. I’d have you killed, I swear
to it as God is my witness."
sound like an Arab terrorist agent," I said to him, laughingly. "Remember,
this is America."
rest their chief claims to "patriotism" on their anti-Soviet attitude.
That many of these claims are a sham is proved by the evidence of their own
writings. They help support our thesis that their "anti-Soviet" attitude
is largely opportunism. Here are specific instances of our contention.
Dashnag policy, theretofore anti-Communist, underwent a change when the tide turned
after the Soviets’ firm stand at Stalingrad. Both the English and Armenian editors
of the Haireniks began to reprint articles from Lraper, an Armenian
journal of distinctly leftist tendencies, which both had previously denounced as “Communist.”
They reprinted from Sovetakan Hayastan, official organ of Soviet Armenia.
When the Soviet Embassy Information Bulletin in Washington published Soviet
Armenia and the Patriotic War, the panegyric appeared promptly in the lead position
on the front page of the March 29, 1944 issue of Hairenik Weekly. "These
are happy days for the Soviet people,” it chortled. “The families of Red Army
men also share in the warm solicitude of the Armenian people."
on the one hand American Dashnag denounce Soviet Armenia, when the opportunistic
spirit moves them, their readers in both languages, get a diet extolling certain
aspects of Soviet Armenia. A case in point is an article on Yerevan, capital of
Soviet Armenia. It’s reprinted from Sovetakan Hayastan in the Winter, 1948,
issue of a Dashnag quarterly published in Boston. The logic of denouncing a
political system, and praising it at the same time, escapes us.
in 1944 Nazis began to face disaster, American Dashnags zealously began to court the
Armenian Left. Boston Dashnags made open, unashamed overtures of peace to Lraper
and others. Hairenik ran an editorial which completely repudiated its former
attitude of anti-Sovietism, and urged all anti-Dashnag factions in the United States
to please forget the past and effect a merger in a common cause. Surrendering its
policy of an “independent Armenia” the American Dashnags’ new party line
sought to identify itself with the ambitions of Soviet Russia — namely the
wresting of the provinces of Kars and Ardahan from Turkish hands and their
incorporation within Soviet Armenia. The appeal appeared first in a Hairenik
editorial. It received added circulation in translated form in the Hairenik
Weekly of May 19, 1944:
The attitude of the Federation toward the Soviet government in relation to
the practical Armenian national policy is no different from theirs. Like them the
Federation too looks to the Soviet government . . . and is willing to make all
possible sacrifices the realization of that national aim. The Federation, too, like
them, admits that Soviet Armenia is the rightful political trustee of the Armenian
line, kept up for many months. An American Dashnag Armenian National Committee set
up shop, published elaborate memoranda, sent delegations to the San Francisco
Conference and agitated energetically for the merger of the strategic Turkish
provinces with the Soviet Union.
was a time when Dashnags — who now denounce the repatriation of poverty stricken
Armenians to Soviet Armenia — actually urged financial support of the scheme. They
told their readers that it meant the "reunion of the Armenians." Those who
went were "devoted to the reconstruction of the Fatherland." On Oct. 15,
1941, Hairenik urged its befuddled readers to "do [their] utmost . . .
to crown with brilliant success this undertaking" — namely help in collecting
$1,000,000 to support repatriation. Thus the presumably "anti-Soviet" Hairenik
pleaded with the zeal of a convert:
Numbers make for strength. As the number of our people increases in our
Fatherland, so will increase our political influence. A sparsely populated weak
Armenia will never be taken into account. On the contrary, a densely populated,
prosperous Armenia represents a great potential which merits the respect of both
friend and foe. Repatriation or the reunion of Armenians means the strengthening of
Armenia. . . .
Every Armenian who participates in repatriation should know that he is
sending a soldier for the defense of Armenia, or sends there an intellectual, or the
deft hands of an artisan. Enthuse by this knowledge. We must give at least this year
as much as we gave last year. We should not indulge in various small considerations
in the matter of serving the Fatherland.
those who have followed the devious history of the Armenian Revolutionary
Federation, opportunistic changes in policy are no surprise. The ARF started in 1890
as “Socialist-Revolutionist” with the worthy aim of liberating Armenia from the
Turkish yoke and establishing its independence. Other Armenian groups — Ramgavar
and Hunchag — were devoted to the same ideal. Of the three factions, the ARF
assumed the leadership by its more fanatic appeal, and its policy of liquidating by
terror all opposition. But with its failure to govern the independent state of
Armenia (1918-20)  toward which all three groups had sacrificed their manpower,
and its eventual ouster by
the ushering in of the Bolshevik regime, the Dashnag cause has degenerated into
 A. Khatisian,
former Dashnag prime minister of Armenia, states in his book, The Origin
Development of the Armenian Republic (Athens, 1930, p. 155) that “land in
Armenia was nationalized and given to the workers” by agrarian laws. “Being true
to its fundamental ideal, socialism," declares Khatisian, the people were
invited by the Dashnag press to rise and take possession by force individually owned
land, and the property and lands belonging to the churches.
character of the Dashnag Republic was undeniable.
proclamation of May 29, 1919, the Dashnag Bureau in Yerevan declared: "Dashnagtzoutune, after realizing its political ideal, the
establishment of a Democratic republic, and being true to its fundamental doctrine,
socialism, will steer our ship consistently and with determination, through the
channel of social reforms, to that haven of social justice, towards which the
workers of all the nations are bound."
I have the
eyewitness testimony of an Armenian American in a highly responsible position in New
York who said to me: “In the public halls during that period, [1918-20), many
banners wea inscribed in Armenian: 'Proletariats of the world, unite!'"
another former prime minister (they changed often), in his book Dashnagtzoutune Has Nothing More to
Do (Vienna, 1923, pp. 31-2), denounces the "Bolshevistic system"
of the Dashnag government in the following lucid terms:
In Armenia there
was no Parliament; it was an empty form without content. The problems of state were
being discussed and solved behind closed doors, in the rooms of the Dashnag
then declared from the rostrum of the parliament. In reality, there was not even a
parliamentary faction, because this latter was under the very strict supervision of
the Dashnag Bureau, and was obliged to carry out its orders.
There was not a
government either. This also was ruled by the Bureau; it was a kind of executive
body for the Bureau in the state. This was the Bolshevistic system. But what the
Bolshevists are doing openly and consistently, we were attempting to veil under
democratic forms. The United States sent Gen. Harbord to investigate the “policies
of the Armenian Government.”
reported: "The policy is unfortunately affected by Dashnagtzoutune
methods, which are always liable to precipitate trouble."
|When Dashnags anywhere parade themselves as spokesmen for
all "Armenians" they resort to nothing short of willful, deliberate
quarrel is not with the idea of an “independent Armenia.” All Armenians, except
those on the Left, would welcome a truly independent and sovereign state — if
it were feasible, if full protection were guaranteed from the bloody Turks, if
it could be managed properly, which it wasn’t under Dashnag auspices. Our
quarrel is with manifestations of Dashnag leadership then and now, the gamut of
collaboration with Nazis, the duplicity, terror, treachery and opportunism it has
manifested in its period of frustration, since 1920. Historically, the Dashnag
ouster was the result of a combination of popular will and the promise of the
Bolsheviks for "bread and peace." To a refugee population already
massacred and decimated by the Turkish policy of genocide, and further persecuted by
Kemal Ataturk’s fiendish army, Bolshevik promises were like manna from heaven.
Ultimately the bedraggled Armenians revolted against Dashnag mismanagement and
centralized bureaucracy. Dashnags then became anything and everything to anyone —
not excluding Nazi Rosenberg — who would restore their power.
in America are now shunned by the overwhelming majority of respectable Armenian
Americans. As a result Dashnags have to set up their own fraternal, social, sport,
literary, religious and other bodies. While some sympathy exists toward innocent
Dashnag followers, contempt is the order for its leadership both here and abroad. On
the other hand, persons like Mrs. Elizabeth Dilling, the Jew-baiting, raucous
propagandist, has praised them as "patriotic."
by Armenians who know them, many American Dashnags have now resorted to promoting
themselves before any non-Armenian who will take them at their word. They parade as
"leaders" of Armenian communities everywhere, magnifying their importance
completely out of proportion to truth. With highly commendable zeal, which might be
used to benefit the whole Armenian-American community instead of serving a narrow,
partisan cause, they represent themselves as the custodians of the "Armenian
question," "Armenian interests," etc. American, English and Arab
officials are warned that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation speaks for, and
represents only itself. Its politics are its own. They do not reflect those of the
overwhelming majority of the Armenian community in this country or elsewhere. When
Dashnags anywhere parade themselves as spokesmen for all "Armenians" they
resort to nothing short of willful, deliberate misrepresentation. Noteworthy is a
letter written on March 26, 1935, by Thomas E. Dewey, now Governor of New York but
then a special assistant to the U. S. Attorney General’s office, to Herbert Lehman
who was governor of New York:
For many years a very small group of fanatic zealots among the Armenian
people have perpetrated murders and assaults upon the duly constituted authorities,
in a campaign of terrorism . . . for the purpose of imposing the will of the few,
upon the many. I believe it is correct to say that this group, the Dashnags, does
not constitute more than 5% of the Armenian population.
It may be that certain
American, English and Arab governmental agencies are exploiting Dashnags to further
their own particular cause. In view of the fact that such dictatorships as Turkey
and Spain, many Nazis in Germany and Fascists in Italy are now in the “friendly
camp,” in addition to Communist (but not Stalinist) Yugoslavia, to say nothing of
numerous ex.-fascists, ex-communists, spies and international gangsters now being
used for the same cause, it’s possible that certain individuals within the ARF
abroad have been recruited by certain American, English and Arab departments toward
the same end. If so, prostitution of their talents should be no new experience for
such ARF leaders as Dro Ganayan and Prof. Abeghian. Both have already run the gamut
of political collaboration.
Photo (taken in March 1949 [by John
Roy Carlson]) shows headquarters of the Homenetmen at Funkerkaserne. The
unmistakable Dashnag character is indicated by three Dashnag flags, in addition to
a photo (top left) of General Nazarbekoff, a Dashnag favorite. On the right is the
photo of an unidentified military figure. The photograph in the middle is also
unidentified. On the mantelpiece is a bust of Avedis Aharonian, first
president of the now defunct Dashnag government (1918-20), and a writer on Dashnag
revolutionary themes. Just above (MISSING TEXT).... the Armenian Revolutionary
Prof. Ardashes Abeghian, president of the Naziesque Council alluded to by Archbishop
Hahozian is now living comfortably in Stuttgart, and is hopefully waiting to emigrate from
Germany. I visited him at his home, Zuffenhausen, Salzweg, 33. He teaches mathematics at
the Armenian DP camp established under IRO auspices at Funkerkaserne in Stuttgart. I saw
his daughter working in the Funkerkaserne office and spoke to her.
About 1,400 Armenian DPs were stationed there as of May, 1949. About 40 were in Frankfurt,
25 in Heidelberg, 20 in Berlin. Settlements totalling about 500 were strewn about in
Milan, Naples, Rome, Bari, Vienna and France. Harootiun Baghdasarian, former secretary of
the Council, was living and working in Munich, awaiting emigration with 400 other DPs
under IRO care. Other Dashnag leaders are scattered over Europe. It must be emphasized
that all these Dashnags are posing as "stateless." All
— with but a few exceptions — have DP status, and are eligible for immigration to the
I visied Funkerkaserne in March of last year. The political-military character which this
IRO camp had assumed is unforgettable. I found its atmosphere pervaded with an aura of
conspiracy and stealth, such as I used to encounter in my investigations of undercover
activity in the United States. In contrast to other DP camps, a gang of tough-Iooking,
unshaven, Dashnags challenged me upon entrance. Accompanied by several guards, I was
escorted to the office of Levon Beg Dilijan, commander of the camp. I introduced myself as
an Armenian journalist, giving my correct name, and asked to be shown around. Dilijan and
others who had surrounded me, first asked if I knew Darbinian, Vratzian or any other
Dashnag chief in Boston. When I professed to know them all personally, no further
questions were asked. I was taken into the fold.
“We are in close touch with Boston,” Levon Beg said. “We
receive Hairenik and read it daily.”
“Do you know George Mardikian?” someone asked. “He has helped a great deal.”
“I know him,” I said truthfully. “I’ve also eaten at his restaurant in San
Levon Beg and the other took me on a tour around the camp. A large, cold room with rough
desks served as a Dashnag school. In the middle of the acre-square yard, I saw two young
men hoisting the familiar Dashnag red-blue-orange flag of the defunct Armenian Republic of
1918 (see photographs). Other youths whom we met were members of Homenetmen, as
Dashnag “Boy Scouts” are called. They were more like young soldiers. Indoctrinated in
Dashnag ideology, they saluted Levon Beg stiffly. I was told they held drills regularly.
We visited their headquarters. The room was lined with photographs and busts of Dashnag
heroes. Dashnag flags, Dashnag inscriptions, Dashnag insignia were plastered all over (see
photograph). It was obvious that no one could survive in that atmosphere without being a
Dashnag or thoroughly subservient to them.
"You speak with different accents," I observed to Levon Beg and his companions.
"Are you all from Russia?"
"Of course not," he confided. "Some of us are from Persia and Turkey. But
we have all said we were from Russia so we could be classified as DPs and come to
"But how did you manage that?" I asked incredulously.
"That's our secret," Levon Beg said laughing.
I browsed around Funkerkaserne. One DP I met said he had left his family in Yerevan,
Soviet Armenia. “I wish there would be a war so I could go back to my wife and child,”
"How did you get to this camp?" I asked another Armenian.
"I am from Rostov," he answered. "Men from Zoravar (General) Dro’s army
told us to come to Germany before the Russians recaptured Rostov. They told us it would be
better, so we came."
"Are you happier here than in Rostov?" I asked.
"I can’t say that I am. I am not a political man. I worked in a shoe factory. I
worked harder than was good for me. Here I don’t work at all. I like this idleness less.
But I can’t say I was unhappy in Rostov. . . . Oh well, it is now too late. They have
promised to send us to America. We shall see. . . ."
Speaking to a DP who said he was from Romania, I asked if he were Dashnag.
"Anshousht (of course) ," he answered stiffly. "We were very strong
in Romania. We are now waiting to come to America. What is the status of Dashnagtzoutiune
in America? Are they the leaders?"
"Why are the stores shut?" I asked, pointing to a dozen boarded shops. "The
American Military Police came the other day and closed them down," Mugurdich Mosigian,
chief of the Homenetmen, answered.
"Why?" I asked. "Americans don’t usually interfere. . . ."
"Oh, the police said we were doing black marketing," Mosigian explained,
Whether or not the police were right in this case, the fact is that many DPs are engaged
in black market activity as a means of livelihood. The authorities overlook this except in
cases of flagrant violations. In Stuttgart, some Dashnags enjoyed a non-enviable
reputation as proficient black-marketeers.
Photo (taken in
March 1949 [by John Roy Carlson]) shows DP shops inside Funkerkaserne closed and
boarded by American Military Police for alleged black market activity. In front of
the shops, at the extreme left, is Mugurdich Mosigian, chief of the Homenetmen,
the name given to Dashnag "Boy Scouts," who is now in the United
States. At the extreme right is Levon Beg Dilijian, "mayor" of
my visit to the Funkerkaserne, I visited Brig.-Cen. Haig Shekerjian at his home in
Stuttgart. Shekerjian was an active American Army general. Now on the retired list,
he was placed in charge of ANCHA activity in Europe by George Mardikian. ANCHA is an
abbreviation for Armenian National Committee to Aid Homeless Armenians. George
Mardikjan, the restaurateur, is founder and main promoter of ANCHA, which functions
under IRO supervision.
for Brig.-Gen. Shekerjian, he is an elderly man, of handsome blonde appearance, and
with his wife lives in a well-furnished home, with a servant, private car and
chauffeur. He travels around freely. Shekerjian gave me the impression that he had
taken the job in order to keep busy in his retirement. He seemed completely naive politically and quite ignorant of the
implications of having around such men as Baghdasarian, former secretary of the
Armenian National Council of Nazi Berlin. A3 to its former president, Prof. Abeghian,
I found him teaching mathematics in the same room where Mrs. Shekerjian taught
English to the DPs. I did not get the impression that he had a deep feeling for his
work. In one instance Shekerjian confided:
has been difficult to interest other nations in these DPs. They are good workers,
but most of them unfortunately make a bad appearance. Those who are eligible to be
sent to Australia are first interviewed by a liaison officer of the mission. Some of
these Armenians look so rough that they don’t leave a favorable impression.”
Shekerjian admitted that affidavits.for-support had been slow in coming from America
in the past two years, but since Dro Ganayan’s visit to the States last winter
(1949), affidavits had been arriving regularly, He had hopes for the eventual
emigration of nearly 2,000 DPs from Germany alone. They were no longer referred to
as “Armenians,” Sbekerjian pointed out, but as “Russians.”
is very helpful for a number of reasons,” he explained. It seems that the
designation of these Armenians as Russians overcomes the prejudice which their
reputation has given them. It identifies them all as political refugees from the
USSR. The psychological effect was better all around, the General pointed out.
was founded in 1947 as the result of a trip Mardikian made to Germany on behalf of
the U. S. Army, in the course of which he visited the Armenian DPs. Mardikian
contributed heavily to ANCHA. Otherwise it has been financed almost exclusively by
American Dashnag capital. Correspondents in Eastern United States are urged to
communicate with ANCHA at Dashnag headquarters in Boston. In Boston the Armenian
Relief Corps, a Dashnag affiliate (when speaking in Armenian Dashnags refer to it as
the Armenian Red Cross), has common offices and personnel with ANCHA’s.
journals published in Boston began singing Mardikian’s praises long before ANCHA.
He has supported the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in the United States by
speaking at many of its meetings, by contributing financially, and by fronting for
it on many occasions.
met Mardikian a number of times. His personal charm, his enthusiasm, his fine sense
of hospitality are remarkable traits geared to making friends and disarming enemies.
But everyone of us was born with a “blind spot.” As is so common among
successful businessmen, engineers, and in this instance, a restaurateur, the blind
spot is the lack of a discerning eye for politics. How else can one, for example,
explain the attitude of loyal American Charles Lindbergh’s association with the
America First Committee? Who but one obsessed with a political blind spot would
brand a program of social welfare as the diabolical invention of the Kremlin?
Dro Ganayan visited the United States early in 1949, he was sponsored by American Dashnags in a series of meetings
from coast to coast on behalf of ANCHA.
these meetings this former follower of the Nazi armies, and a co-signer of the infamous agreement of the Armenian
National Council of Berlin, helped raise funds for ANCHA. He urged Dashnag audiences
to sign affidavits-for-support for the DPs at Funkerkaserne, and elsewhere in
Europe. Hairenik reported that on January 23, 1949, Ganayan spoke in Detroit,
Mich. It boasted that $1,000 was collected in 20 minutes.
It’s a fair inference that Ganayan was
coming to the rescue of some of those with whom be collaborated while following the
Nazi armies. Is ANCHA, an American organization financed by American capital,
ignorant of Ganayan’s former role? Is Brig..Gen. Shekerjian also ignorant?
George Mardikian equally ignorant?
use of "direct action" as punishment was advocated in a copy of the American
Dashnag by-laws... Dashnags abroad regularly used terror to silence opposition. To
intimidate others, they boasted openly of their deeds.
Here are additional facts about the Armenian Revolutionary Federation which Mr. Mardikian
should know. We consider it our duty to remind him that on Christmas Sunday, 1933, nine
members of the Dashnags in this country pounced upon Archbishop Leon Tourian as he was
celebrating mass in the Armenian Holy Cross Church in New York. While seven cutthroat
American Dashnag gangsters distracted the attention of the parishioners, two assassins
murdered the Archbishop with a butcher knife at the foot of the holy altar. These two
Dashnags were convicted of first degree murder. The seven Dashnag accessories to the
conspiracy were convicted of first degree manslaughter.
Archbishop Tourian was descendant of a distinguished family of clerics, scholars and
statesmen. Linguist and author, be had translated the beautiful Armenian liturgy into
English. He had served as Bishop of Bulgaria, Primate of Smyrna, vice-Patriarch of
Constantinople and Archbishop in England. He was a close friend of the late Right Rev.
William T. Manning, Episcopal Bishop of New York, who recited special prayers for the
martyred Prelate at services held in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Revered by the
Armenian community, he obeyed the dictum of the Holy See to keep "partisan and
political strife" out of the Church. He foiled American Dashnag efforts to control
the historic Armenian Church. For this he was branded a "Soviet agent." Then, by
a weird twist of Dashnag logic, his murder trial was termed a "Bolshevik plot."
The ARF press slurred the American judiciary by writing of "ignorant jurymen."
It wrote contemptuously of "false witnesses," while it adulated the nine Dashnag
assassins as "our blameless comrades."
The brutal murder, without parallel in church history, followed a
series of violent attacks upon the Archbishop in the official organ, Hairenik.
Previously, at an outing in August, 1933, the Archbishop had been attacked by a truckload
of Dashnag hoodlums while he was blessing parishioners of the Worcester (Mass.) Church of
Our Savior. After these episodes, Hairenik began to print letters threatening the
Archbishop’s life. Three samples follow. "Archbishop Tourian will be punished
sooner or later. The day of reckoning will come.". . . . "He is going to be
sorry for it, and very sorry.”. . . One letter offered a reward: "I will gladly
give $100 if something is done to teach Pouriari a lesson." When the Archbishop asked
for police protection Hairenik denounced him for seeking the protection of
"alien [American] police."
The use of "direct action" as punishment was advocated in a copy of the American
Dashnag by-laws I’ve examined. Noteworthy is the fact that the original emblem of the
Armenian Revolutionary Federation is currently used by Dashnags here. It may be seen daily
in the pages of Hairenik, and shows a quill, spade, flag, and dagger.
Dashnags abroad regularly used terror to silence opposition. To
intimidate others, they boasted openly of their deeds. I. Jamharian was a wealthy Armenian
who refused to contribute. He “fell under the blows of a dagger . . . in broad daylight
in the courtyard of the Armenian Church, in the presence of a great throng,” wrote M.
Varandyan, highly-respected Dashnag historian. “Should we continue terror or not?”
party leaders asked in an official booklet, and answered the query with: “After a few
successful operations, thanks to the terroristic disposition of the leading elements, the
party eventually adopted Terrorism” Speaking of former revolutionary activity of
Dashnags abroad, Hairenik, on Sept. 16, 1933 — thirteen weeks before the
Archbishop’s murder — wrote:
Another effected practice was the intimidation of prominent men in order
to obtain financial support. Those who refused were "put on the spot." In fact,
it was very similiar to the underground methods of modern racketeering, except that its
goal was noble.
Disrespect by European Dashnags toward the Church and clergy was common.  It was not
unusual for armed ARF chiefs to burst into a church by flinging open the doors, and using
the altar and chancel as a platform for political meetings. Those Armenians who tried to
stop the sacrilege were shot on the spot, and both clergy and community terrorized.
Two of the most virulent anti-Christian letters we have ever read appeared under the
headline Better off Without Christianity in the March 29, 1935 issue of the
American Dashnag publication, Hairenik Weekly. Significant excerpts follow:
I. By accepting Christianity as our national religion we lost more than
we gained as a people. The new religion instantly violated us geographically. Surrounded
by non-Christian neighbors, the Arab, the Turk, the Kurd, the Tartar, and their hosts,
from then on we had to reckon with the unremitting inroads of unsympathetic elements which
gradually sapped our vitality and brought about our downfall....
There is nothing we as a people should thank Christianity for, as far as I am able to see,
and plenty we should regret on account of it. The destiny of the Armenian race would have
been entirely different, and who knows perhaps much better, had we retained our pagan
creed, or accepted any other religion but Christianity. (Signed, Vartoohi Aslanian,
II. I am of the opinion that the Armenian Cause suffered by the adoption of Christianity
as our national religion for the following reasons. Before Christ, Armenia was a powerful
state capable of more than holding her own against its neighbors, the Assyrians, the
Persians, and the Romans. We possessed national unity, solidarity, and virility.
With the introduction of Christianity, all of our pagan, although heroic, literature was
destroyed, and our historical moorings completely cut off. .. . Briefly, by being
Christians we lost our choicest national literature, much of our virility as a militant
race, and good deal more of the good will of our neighbors-all liabilities, and not an
asset in the whole lot. (Signed, Antranig Khanbegian, Brooklyn.)
 The list of high clergymen persecuted by the Dashnags is long. We give only a
few illustrations. The Rt. Rev. Bishop Roupen Minasian, Prelate in Iraq, was denounced as
"the agent of the Cheka," and physically attacked in Baghdad. He brought a libel
suit against Housaper, Dashnag organ in Cairo. Housaper was found guilty. It
was fined, and made to pay trial expenses. The late King Feisal of Iraq then received
Bishop Minasian in royal audience.
His Eminence, the Most Rev. Archbishop Torcom, Patriarch of Jerusalem, while Prelate of
Egypt, was denounced with unimaginable violence of language because he refused to let
Dashnag chieftains plunder the ecclesiastical income of Cairo and Alexandria.
The Right Rev. Bishop Garabed Mazloumian, Prelate of Armenians in Greece, refused to
tolerate Dashnag interference in church affairs. He was accused as “an agent of the
Cheka.” When the Greek government gave the charge no credence, the aged Prelate was
attacked one night and beaten. His beard was shorn off, as an added insult to his office.
We are omitting the beatings and murders of anti-Dashnag laymen. Their list is endless.
Why did Hairenik Weekly
publish these astonishing letters? The answer may be found with Rouben Darbinian,
who is still editor-in-chief of all American Dashnag publications, and with James
Mandalian, in 1935 editor of the Weekly, and currently still associated with Dashnag
The Dashnag record abroad is replete with
intrigues, political and religious murders committed all over Turkey, Egypt,
Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Syria, Iran. Added to these is a new refinement,
that of character assassination, developed mainly since the end of the war. Critics
are denounced as "Communist." Rarely are accusations made openly, in
print. In keeping with the psychology of conspirators, they are in the form of
"secret" reports, circulated surreptitiously The victim is thus prevented
from resorting to honest, legal, counter-action or given the opportunity for a
Through the use of half-truths and exaggerated
accounts of their power and follow. ing, American Dashnags have converted to their
point of view certain gullible and uninformed Americans. They are experts at the art
of smearing by innuendo. Numerous instances have been reported to me of the use of
smear tactics against non-Dashnag Armenians seeking to immigrate independently of
ANCHA. As I write this, one such tragic case is pending at Ellis Island. Another
current case is that of a wealthy Armenian of Egypt who so far has been prevented
from making a business trip because of his membership in the Ramgavar
(Armenian Democratic-Liberal) Party. He has been smeared by Egyptian Dashnags as a
Now the question is: Why does Mr. Mardikian,
wittingly or otherwise identify himself with such a political group as the American
Dashnags? What does he expect to gain from their association? Is he genuinely
Is he being used as a tool in the hands of the
American Dashnag leadership? If so, why does he permit it? Now that Mr. Mardikian is
reminded of these facts will he continue to act as sponsor of ANCHA, and also as a
front for Dashnagism in this country?
Through his public relations counsel, an
ill-advised but well-meaning New York lady, I made strenuous attempts to reach
Mardikian, to inform him personally with these facts, and ask him the above
questions. Mardikian refused to see me, his counsel stating that he was “very busy
running around between Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston.”
Nonetheless, he took time to see the Rev. L. M. Birkhead, chairman of the Friends of
Democracy of New York (in whose excellent bulletins the Dashnag record had been
exposed). According to the Rev. Birkhead, Mardikian tried to minimize the role of
the American Dashnags.
As for ANCHA, whose purpose is said to be aiding the immigration of "homeless
Armenians," we make the query as to how effectively it is fulfilling its task.
In the interests of our country it should aid only those Armenians worthy of future
American citizenship. The impression I gathered in my investigations at
Funkerkaserne was that young DPs were being trained as Dashnag recruits, and, also,
that one must either bow to its political whip or be ostracized.
Hairenik declared in its October 5,
1949, issue that 617 Armenians had already left Stuttgart for the USA; 446 were
being examined; 181 affidavits-for-support were on their way, so that by the end of
1949 a total of about 1250 will have gained entry into our country.
Mardikian’s high-geared publicity machinery
relies heavily on the tear.jerking technique. One story tells of a “white-haired,
shabby woman of 70” who “tottered off the Army transport and knelt on the wooden
deck before a plump and moist-eyed man from San Francisco. Then she kissed his
[Mardikian’s) hand and touched his clothing. She wept and George Mardikian wept.”
Whether the incident was real, or the figment of a journalist’s imagination, is a
matter of speculation. At any rate, after he stopped weeping, Mr. Mardikian is
quoted as saying: "They cry and they call me their savior. I am not that. I am
only a very stubborn man."
On November 27, 1949, I attended an ANCHA meeting in New York, sponsored by American
Dashnags, at which Mardikian was the featured speaker. The audience was
conspicuously Dashnag. I recognized many of those whom I knew either to be members
of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation here, or closely allied to the American
Dashnag cause. There was the Armenian lawyer who had defended American Dashnags, and
served as counsel for Fritz Kuhn. Later on, he addressed the meeting. Sitting in the
front row was Levon Keshishian. As Mardikian took the rostrum, the audience rose to
its feet in loud applause.
in front of his restaurant,
George Mardikian's Omar Khayyam.
According to Vartkes Yeghiayan,
assassin Soghoman Tehlirian
worked for "George Mardikian
Enterprises" in later years.
"I promised my wife not to cry in public,
but I can’t help it," he said, and, to everyone’s astonishment he began to
cry, instantly and without effort. There was no apparent reason. Nothing to
stimulate anyone’s tear ducts had occurred so far in the meeting. A short while
later, he wept again when recalling, he said, his first visit to the DPs in 1947. My
notes show that George wept some more as he told how he had tried to elicit support
on their behalf. Looking around carefully every few minutes, I saw no one else
To me, at least, these constant emotional reactions in front of 600 sober and
unresponsive listeners seemed out of place. Was it a case of hysteria, emotional
exhaustion, emotional instability? Was it lack of self-control, or showmanship! I
could not resolve the question at one sitting.
At 6:15 P.M., according to my notes, Mardikian’s eyes became wet again — when he
called DPs from Germany to line up before the stage. This time he was joined by
several females, no others. As the former DPs lined up, I recognized those I had
seen at Stuttgart and Frankfurt. Mugurdich Mosigian, chief of Homenetmen, Dashnag
“Boy Scouts,” was among the arrivals.
I jotted down Mardikian’s more significant remarks. "This is a purely
humanitarian project," he said. "There’s nothing political about it. Our
critics say that these people are General Dro’s soldiers, or that they are
Dashnags. Don’t let them fool you. . .
But don’t be suprised when, after they have been settled in the United States,
they turn Dashnag of their own accord."
This seemed to be a self-damning admission from one who claimed that only
humanitarianism — and no politics — were involved in bringing over the DPs. It
bears out our thesis that these DPs are being recruited to the American Dashnag
Before taking his seat, Mardikian explained, even as the publicity stories had
pointed out, that he was a sick man, a very sick man, who really needed an urgent
operation. He was going to let it wait. Mardikian then told his listeners that he
carried medicine with him, including sedatives. During the three hours I saw him on
the platform Mardikian moved around vigorously.
When I saw him, Mardikian was finishing a killing six-week grind which had required
his attendance at mass rallies and committee sessions lasting till midnight, in
addition to numerous cocktail parties, dinners, radio appearances, interviews, and
almost daily trips away from his New York headquarters. it was hardly the diet for a
man in need of an urgent operation, as the publicity stories would have us believe.
Souren Saroyan, Mardikian’s personal attorney, spoke in English.
Describing himself and his client as “the moving spirits” behind ANCHA, he said that
it had been incorporated in Fresno. It had been launched with a “gift of $25,000 from
the Armenian Relief Society.” Mr. Saroyan significantly neglected to add that the
Society is an American Dashnag group. “I’ll let you in on a secret,” he went on. “The
law allows only 205,000 DPs. There are 250,000 affidavits already in Europe. But if we
work fast enough and get our own affidavits in now, we can bring the 1,100 Armenian DPs. I
won’t tell you how we’re going to do it, but I promise you that we can do it if we
work fast enough. We have friends in important places.”
Was this lawyer boasting, or telling the truth? I have no way of ascertaining. I’m
merely reporting his statements. What mysterious "pull," if any, as hinted by
him, is wielded by ANCHA among officials in New York, Washington, and Stuttgart. Is such
alleged "pull" being used to the detriment of other deserving DPs for whom
affidavits-for-support have already been filed? Saroyan also spoke of "banquets in
Washington." To whom were these banquets tendered? For what purpose? Are the rights
of destitute DPs in Europe — whose representatives here cannot afford "banquets in
Washington" — being fully protected under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948. If
anything undercover is going on we have a right to know. These are reasonable questions.
"I’ll let you in on another secret," Mardikian’s lawyer confided.
"After we bring the 1,100 DPs, we’re going to try to establish a separate Armenian
quota, a special quota for the Armenians who must now depend on the meager quotas of
This seemed to be a change which would permit the unlimited importation of Dashnags not
covered under the DP status — such, for example, as the pro-Nazi Armenian Dashnags who
lived in Germany during the Nazi regime, or other Dashnag collaborators in Greece, France
and elsewhere who, while not homeless, would serve Dashnagtzoutune better through American
citizenship. General Dro Ganayan could be included in this scheme. Vahan Papazian, his
colleague in Beirut, former member-at-large of the Naziesque Council, could be another
My suspicions were confirmed in the December 8, 1949, issue of Hairenik Weekly
which tells of a Mardikian and Saroyan visit to the United Nations. In an interview
Mardikian is quoted as stating that after the completion of ANCHA’s work "they will
tackle the problem of Homeless and Stateless Armenians in Eastern Europe and Near East
countries." Speaking of Mardikian as "a good friend of the Arabs" the
Arab-born columnist, Levon Keshishian notes in the same issue:
The UN is setting up a High Commissioner for Refugees and Stateless
persons. I am glad to say that the ANCHA boys are taking a keen interest in this... It is
no hidden fact that there are thousands of Armenians who are still stateless... They are
now living in different parts of the world and are still categorized as
"Stateless" not to mention the thousands of Armenian refugees now in Syria,
Lebanon and Egypt from Palestine.
After Saroyan and Mardikian had finished speaking at the New York ANCHA meeting, a drive
for affidavits-for-support and finances began. I record a few of the contributors in
further support of my thesis that ANCHA is subsidized considerably by American Dashnag
capital, and best serves the Dashnag cause in this country. The following contributions
|AYF (Dashnag youth group, originally the
|Armenian Red Cross (American Dashnag
|Armenian Red Cross, Washington Heights
Branch, New York
|St. Illuminator’s Church Trustees
(Dashnag church on East 27th Street, New York)
While the collections were going on, the chairman boasted of new arrivals. "Up to now
we have settled more than 1,200 DPs in the United States. Last week 146 Armenians arrived
in one boat, think of it! There remain only 1,100 more."
No charge is made that all ANCHA-sponsored DPs are Dashnags, or their novitiates. It
seems to us that only a thorough investigation can determine that. It should be
started immediately. In the interests of America, the investigation should disclose
how many of these are European Dashnag Party members, or Dashnag-trained recruits.
It should ascertain whether officers of the Naziesque Armenian National Council are
among them. If not, are they scheduled to arrive? It should establish whether
non-Dashnags among the DPs were compelled, under duress, to pledge themselves to the
Dashnagist cause on their arrival here. It should determine beyond a doubt whether
ANCHA-sponsored DPs are arriving as the victims of political persecution, or are
recruits to a political cause whose members are still languishing in jail for
terrorism, and whose journals, in the past, printed avowed pro-Nazi statements and,
past year, have sponsored General Dro Ganayan.
It should be noted at this point that while these DPs are screened by our
intelligence officers abroad, no safeguard is provided against the indoctrination of
Dashnag ideology. It’s insidious, and difficult to detect by untrained American
officers. Expert non-Dashnag Armenian counsel should be called to aid in the task of
An investigation should reveal whether ANCHA immigrants are "desirable" or
"undesirable" from an American point of view. Such an investigation should
be undertaken irrespective of Brig.-Gen. Shekerjian’s reputation as an honest,
though politically naive, Army officer retired from active service. Investigators
should differentiate between George Mardikian’s charming manner, generosity as
host, and ability as restaurateur, and his imprudent political judgments. Recall,
for example, how a politicaI blind spot once tainted the judgment of an even
better-known American, Charles A. Lindbergh. Lindbergh’s membership in, and
sponsorship of meetings of the American First Committee, exalted the Committee much
as Mardikian’s name exalts the American Dashnags and Dashnag-supported ANCHA.
The fame of a restaurateur should not be used as a blind for a political cause,
nor should it be permitted to serve questionable ends.
At a time when our country is threatened by enemies from without, the quality of
immigration should be a matter of the gravest national concern. This is no time for
the indiscriminate importation either of proven Communists or, in this instance, of
rabid agitators of the ilk of Abeghian, Baghdasarian and similar Dashnags. Humane
intentions, though conceived by men of good repute, should serve as no excuse for
the importation of potential trouble makers, and former Nazi or Communist
collaborators. Our country was founded upon the integrity of honest immigrants who
came dedicated to a new idea. Political charlatans with a lifetime of revolutionary
dogma and political chicanery behind them corrupt the national fabric. They are
incapable, organically and intellectually, of contributing to the upbuilding of our
nation. They should be rejected as unfit for citizenship. The primary object of an
investigation should be to determine whether ANCHA-sponsored immigrants in the long
run will help our country — or hurt it.
The above article was made possible through Sevgi.