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News > Lebanese Armenians > In memory of AUB Medical Alumni who died during the First World War


The original tablet

On Nov,1,2012 the unveiling ceremony took place,and the tablet  was unveiled by American University of Beirut (AUB) President Peter Dorman and Lebanese Armenian Member of Parliament Hagop Pakradounian

By Hratch Kestenian

Azad-Hye

In the early evening of  June 26, 1923, a great congregation of doctors and pharmacists gathered in the upper foyer of West Hall at the American University of Beirut (until 1920 it was called the Syrian Protestant College) to witness the unveiling of a tablet inscribed with the names of fellow AUB medical alumni who perished in the course of World War I.

Dr. Yusuf Hitti presided over the ceremony calling upon Acting President Edward Nickoley and Dr. Harry Dorman, Dean of the Medical School, to unveil the tablet and read the list of names inscribed. Two addresses in Arabic followed; one by Dr. Yusuf Azuri and another by Mr. Anis Sidawi, instructor in Arabic and English at the college 1911-1912.

This tablet, a temporary construction of walnut wood, was replaced three years later with a permanent bronze memorial. During the second installation ceremony, held on February 9, 1926, Dr. Najib Ardati, Clinical Professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, and Dr. E. St. John Ward, Dean of the Medical School, gave an compelling speech on the spirit of devotion and self-sacrifice that the departed alumni had demonstrated through the course of their medical careers and in their military service.

During the Lebanese civil strife in 1976, the bronze memorial tablet was moved to the university’s College Hall to protect it from damage and the possibility of theft.. In 1991, when an explosion leveled College Hall, the tablet was lost. Today, 36 years after its removal from West Hall, on November 1  a reconstructed tablet was permanently installed and displayed in its original home, in commemoration of AUB medical doctors who gave their lives so that others can live in a more just and peaceful world.

Where it can be remembered that these doctors with their sacrifice also saved the college at that time from closure, as said by Dr. Bayard Dodge, president of AUB (1923-1948). Since Djemal pasha was willing to compromise on any issue raised by the college except actions that could lead to losing its medical team. And when he discovered that the only doctors whom he could trust to work on front line hospitals and typhus wards were Beirut graduates, he furnished the college with wheat and other supplies at military prices. And this turned to the advantage of the Syrian Protestant College to bargain with him on academic and personal matters.

I am writing this article with the intention of finding the descendants of these Medical Doctors who lost their lives during the First World War.

It should be noted that a total of 232 Armenians graduated from the medical schools of the American University of Beirut and the Universite Saint Joseph from their inception until 1918, out of which 134 graduated from AUB.

According to the booklet published by the Armenian Students Union for the Commemoration of their 25th anniversary, a total of 28 medical doctors and pharmacists were murdered during the First World War. Out of these 28 Alumni only 16 are mentioned, maybe because the remaining 12 didn’t serve in the Turkish army.

These 12 doctors and pharmacists are:
1.Sarkis K. Azoyan (grad. 1887)
2.Hovhannes K. Kasabian ( grad. 1903)
3.Kevork S. Krajian (grad. 1906)
4.Vahan H. Ghazarian ( grad. 1907)

Dikran V. Hallajian


5.Garabed K. Melikian (grad. 1907)
6.Armenag Seradarian (grad. 1907)
7.Bedros T. Benne-Torossian (grad.1910)
8.Baghdasar Barsamian ( Pharm. 1889)
9.Khosrov Keshishian ( Pharm. 1902)
10.Meguirdich G. Baloyan (pharm. 1902)
11.Aramayis A. Chikejian (pharm. 1902)
12.Hagop Sarigian (pharm. 1902)

The following is a brief biographical description of the medical alumni appearing on the tablet. 

1.Michel Tannus Rubayz: Born in Beirut to a Greek Orthodox family. He received his Medical Degree in 1890 from the Syrian Protestant College. He was married, and held the position of practitioner in Beirut, but during the First World War he was deceased in Asia Minor.

2.Najib Jamal: Born in Nazareth, Palestine to a Protestant family. He received his Medical Degree in 1891from the Syrian Protestant College. Served as a physician in Jerusalem, Palestine, but during the First World War he was deceased.

3.Ali Sulayman Alam-ud-din: Born in B’aklin, Lebanon in 1870 to a Druze family and had the title of Sheikh. He received his Medical Degree in 1892 from the Syrian Protestant College. In 1893 he got married, and had 3 sons and 6 daughters. His last position was captain in the Turkish army and contributed many articles to Al-Muktataf and other magazines. He was deceased in Homs in 1916.

4.Mikhail Hakim: Born in Tripoli to a Greek Orthodox family. He received his Medical Degree in 1892 from the Syrian Protestant College. He was married and worked as physician in Tripoli before becoming captain in the Turkish army.  During the First World War, he was deceased in Beirut in 1915.

5.Iskander Khalil Zayn: Born in Zahleh to a Greek Orthodox family. He received his Medical Degree in 1902 from the Syrian Protestant College. His last position was captain in the Turkish army. During the First World War, he was deceased in Islahiyyah, Asia Minor in 1916.  He was married and had a son.

6.Ovsea Kevork Hekimian: Born in Kessab in 1880. He received his BA from Central Turkey College (also Known as Aintab College) and his Medical Degree from the Syrian Protestant College in 1903. After graduating he served in Kessab as a physician, and his last position was captain in the Turkish army during the First World War. He was married to Miss G. Enjejikian, but in May, 1915 he was shot.

7.Joseph Kaisermann: Born in Safad to a Jewish family; and received his Medical Degree in 1904. His last position was physician at the Jewish Clinic, in Beirut. He was married and had a son and a daughter. During the First World War he was deceased in Hamah in 1915.

8.Minas Yarmayan: Born in Tokat, Asia Minor.  He received his Medical Degree in 1904 from the Syrian Protestant College. During the First World War, he served in the Aziziya Hospital as captain in the Turkish army, and was shot at the courtyard of the hospital in June, 1915.

9.Hagop Serovpe Eminian: Born in Rhodes in 1878. He received his BA in 1899 from Anatolia College and his Medical Degree in 1905 from the Syrian Protestant College.  His last position was teacher in hygiene and general practitioner in Merzifoun, Asia Minor, but during the First World War he was murdered in 1915.

10.Levon Karekin Sewny: Born in Sivas to an Armenian Protestant family. He received his Medical Degree in 1905, and his last position was surgeon at the Armenian National Hospital and visiting surgeon at the governmental hospital in Sivas, Asia Minor. During the First World War he was deceased from typhus.

11.Vosgan K. Topalian: Born in Marash in 1878 to an Armenian Apostolic Family. He received his BA from Central Turkey College and his MD in 1905 from the Syrian Protestant College. During the war, he served as captain in the Turkish army at the Aziziya Hospital, and was shot in Erzinga in June, 1915.

12.Sarkis K. Chilingirian: Born in Banderma, Asia Minor in 1884 to an Armenian Apostolic family. He received his Medical Degree in 1906 from the Syrian Protestant College, and was deceased in the Dayr el Zor desert during the First World War as part of the Armenian Genocide.

13.Gulbenk Kevork Gulbenkian: Born in Talas, Asia Minor in 1883 to an Armenian Apostolic family. He received his BA from Anatolia College in 1903 and his Medical Degree from the Syrian Protestant College in 1907.  He worked as practitioner in Talas from 1907 to 1913, and was deceased on the Russian front during the First World War.

14.Lutfi Harutyune Halebian: Born in Aintab in 1882 to a Protestant family.  He received his BA from Central Turkey College in 1902 and his Medical Degree from the Syrian Protestant College in 1907. He worked as practitioner in Aintab and Malatya from 1907 to 1914, and served as captain in the Turkish army during the war and was known as Sir Tabib Lutfi. He was shot on July, 1915 at the Erzinga road with his friend Dr. Hovhannes Terzian. From his family , only his sister and her fiancée L. Levonian survived  the Armenian Genocide , and they settled in Watertown, Massachusetts, USA. 

Ovsea Kevork Hekimian

15.Zeroun K. Hekimian: Born in Kessab in 1886 to a Protestant family. He received his BA in 1903 from Central Turkey College and his Medical Degree from the Syrian Protestant College in 1908. His last position was captain in the Turkish army, and was shot in Antioch during the First World War.

16.Abdallah Rizk Sawaya: Born in Btighrin, Lebanon. He received his Medical Degree in 1908 from the Syrian Protestant College. During the First World War while serving in the Turkish army as captain, he was deceased.

17. Hovhannes Giragos Terzian: Born in Dikranagerd in 1884 to an Armenian Apostolic family. He was one of the four members of the Central Committee of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Lebanon. He received his Medical Degree in 1910 and served as a physician in Diyarbakir, and also took part in the Balkan Wars as captain in the Turkish army.  During the First World War, he served in the Aziziya Hospital as captain in the Turkish army, and was shot on July, 1915 at the Erzinga road with his friend Dr. Lutfi Halebian. It should also be noted that he is one of the founders of the Armenian Students Union established in the Syrian Protestant College in 1908.

18.Jacob Berghert: Born in Kakowka, Russia in 1883 to a Jewish family. He received his Medical Degree in 1911 and worked as a physician in Tiberias, Palestine from 1911-1914. During the First World War he was deceased on the Gaza Front in 1916.

19.Haroutune Minas Kavafian: Born in Constantinople in 1885 to an Armenian Apostolic family. He received his Medical Degree in 1911 and worked in the Baghdad Railway service, Aleppo in 1913. During the First World War, he served in the Aziziya Hospital as captain in the Turkish army, and was shot at the courtyard of the hospital in July, 1915.

20.Sulayman Salih Salibi: Born in Beirut in 1881 to a Protestant family. He received his Medical Degree in 1911 and was married in 1913 and had 3 daughters. During the First World War while serving in the Turkish army, he was deceased in Aleppo in 1917.

21.Demetrios E. Theocharides: Born in Tarsus in 1872 to a Greek Orthodox family. He received his BA in 1904 from St. Paul’s Institute and his MD in 1911 from the Syrian Protestant College, and worked as a physician from 1912 to 1914 in Tarsus. During the First World War, he was deceased in Palestine.

22.Dikran V. Hallajian: Born in Gurin in 1882 to a Protestant family. He received his BA from Euphrates College and his Medical Degree in 1912 from the Syrian Protestant College. From 1913 to 1915, he worked as physician in Gurin, and his last position was captain in the Turkish army. During the First World War, he served in the Aziziya Hospital as captain in the Turkish army, and was shot at the courtyard of the hospital in June, 1915. He was also married and had a daughter by the name of Persape, who survived the Armenian Genocide and settled in the USA.

23.Dikran A. Kassabian: Born in Diyarbakir, Asia Minor to an Armenian Apostolic family. He received his Medical Degree in 1912, and worked as a physician at the German hospital in Urfa.  His last position was captain in the Turkish army, and was murdered in Erzurum in 1915.

24.Tanyus Mansur Bikhazi: Born in Beirut in 1892 to a Greek Orthodox family.  He received his pharmacy decree in 1913, and worked as a pharmacist in Beirut from 1913 to 1915 and as a captain in the Turkish army from 1915 to 1918. He was deceased on the Gaza front in 1918.

25.Maksud Hagop Apikian: Born in Tokat, Asia Minor in 1888 to an Armenian Apostolic family. He received his BA from Anatolia College and his Medical Degree in 1914 from the Syrian Protestant College. He worked as a physician in Anatolia College hospital in 1914, and while serving as captain in the Turkish army, he was murdered in 1915.

26.Nishan Hovsep Bakkalian: Born in Diyarbakir, Asia Minor to an Armenian Apostolic family He received his BA from Central Turkey College and his Medical Degree from the Syrian Protestant College in 1914. While serving as captain in the Turkish army, he was murdered in 1915.

27.Abraham Jacob Grun: 

Hovhannes Giragos Terzian

Born to a Jewish family, and received his MD in 1914. While serving as captain in the Turkish army, he was deceased in 1915.

28.Mesrob Sarkis Vartanian: Born in Zera, Asia Minor to an Armenian Apostolic family in 1888.  He received his MD in 1914 and while serving as captain in the Turkish army, he was murdered in 1915.

29.Jibran  Bassil Diyab: Received his MD in 1915.  While serving as captain in the Turkish army, during the First World War, he was deceased in 1915.

30.Shukri Jurjus Rizk: Born in Brummana, Lebanon in 1896 He received his M.D. in 1915, while serving as captain in the Turkish army, during the First World War, he was deceased on the Gaza front in 1917.

31.Salim Isbir Abbud: Born in Zahleh, Lebanon in 1892 to a Protestant family. He received his Medical Degree in 1916 and his last position was captain in the Turkish army. He received two war medals from the government, and was deceased in the Caucasus in 1918.

32.Vartan Hagop Piranian: Born in Gurin, Asia Minor in 1885 to a Protestant family. He received his BA from Central Turkey College and his Medical Degree from the Syrian Protestant College in 1917.  His last position was captain in the Turkish army, and was murdered in Tiberias, Palestine in 1918.

For sure the number of AUB medical alumni who died for various reasons, during the First World War, was much higher than Thirty-two. Armenian sources indicate that: sixty-seven physicians and surgeons, fifty-four pharmacists, ten dentists and five medical students, died during the Armenian Genocide. Having around one-third of these medical alumni who perished during the war, as AUB graduates, gives a great value to this Memorial Tablet. And it also acknowledges the forgotten role of AUB medical graduates, and asserts the important role which the American University of Beirut has played over the years since its inception.

Contact Info: Hratch.ke@gmail.com
Mobile Number : 00961 71 291754

Sources:

 - Sisag Varjabedian, "Armenians in Lebanon" (in Armenian).
- Bayard Dodge, "The American University of Beirut".
- Avedis Sanjian, "Armenian Communities in Syria Under Ottoman Dominion".
- A.U.B. Directory of Alumni 1870-1952.
- 25th anniversary of Armenian Students' Union at AUB (in Armenian).
- Vahakn Dadrian, "The Role of Turkish Physicians in the World War I Genocide of Ottoman Armenians".
- Gasbar Garo, "Armenian martyred physicians during the Genocide" (article in Armenian).
- Stephan Penrose, "That They May Have Life: The Story of the American University of Beirut 1866-1941"


Posted on Monday, November 05, 2012 (5250 reads), comments: 0
 
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