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
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.