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Remembering to never forget

Molly Shore

A piece of history was at City Hall this week.

Sam Kadorian, 93, one of the oldest living survivors of the

Armenian Genocide, stood on the building’s steps for a candlelight


ceremony commemorating the deaths of more than 1.5 million Armenians.

Among those killed during the eight-year genocide, which began

April 24, 1915, at the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, were

Kadorian’s father, two sisters and a brother.


“My mother and I escaped from jail and were given refuge in a

Swiss missionary doctor’s home,” Kadorian said. “He was a real good

Christian person. He helped everybody.”

Eventually, Kadorian and his mother immigrated to the United

States, where they were held at Ellis Island for a month.

“We didn’t care, as long as we were in America,” Kadorian said.

“That’s all that mattered to us.”

At the ceremony Tuesday following the City Council meeting,


Burbank Armenian National Committee Chairman Stepan Boyajian accepted

a certificate of appreciation from the office of Rep. Adam Schiff

(D-Burbank). Barbara Paul, a representative of state Sen. Jack

Scott’s (D-Burbank) office, presented the committee with a resolution

designating April 24 Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day.

Shunt Jarchasjian, 18, of Glendale, received a proclamation from

the City Council for being one of a dozen protesters who participated

in a six-day hunger strike in front of Simon Wiesenthal’s Museum of


Tolerance in West Los Angeles.

The group protested the museum’s lack of a permanent exhibit

depicting the genocide, although museum officials dispute the claim.

Museum Director Liebe Geft said that since the museum’s opening in

1993, a film describing the Armenian Genocide has been part of its

permanent exhibit.

Although Burbank has an Armenian-American population of about

15,000, it does not sponsor an annual Armenian Genocide commemoration

ceremony. However, Boyajian said the group does not feel slighted

because other areas throughout Los Angeles and the San Fernando

Valley, notably Glendale and Montebello, have ceremonies April 24 to

honor the many Armenians who perished.

Some Burbank schools had Armenian history lessons as part of the

day’s curriculum, school district spokeswoman Sue Boegh said.