1915 Martyred Professors of Euphrates College, Harpoot
In 1915 several of the leading Armenian members of the faculty at Euphrates College in the city of Harpoot were arrested, tortured, and executed. The college buildings were then occupied by the Ottoman Military and initially used as training camp, and later as a military hospital. Euphrates College was officially closed shortly after the founding of the Republic of Turkey and nothing now remains of its buildings.
The following description of the above photograph is from `WHERE EDUCATION WAS A CRIME' [By Ruth A. Parmelee, M.D.] < http://groong.usc.edu/orig/ak-20110627.html >
`When the Turkish Government began to carry out its plan of exterminating the Armenian race, the educated and influential men of the community received first attention. In May, 1915, a number of Armenians were imprisoned in the city of Harpoot, among whom were priests and merchants and five of the professors of Euphrates College. Their houses were searched for papers that might incriminate them in some revolutionary plot, and they themselves were cruelly tortured, to extract confessions of hidden fire-arms or the preparation of bombs.'
She continues and describes the men in the photograph.
`The upper right hand professor in the group [Nigohos Tenekejian, Professor of History and Ottoman Literature, [Osmaniyan badmoutiun in Armenian] had served the college for thirty five years and had shown some special talent and tact in representing the interests of the Americans and his own people to the Government. He never had shown the least disloyalty toward the rulers. Nothing could be proved against him at this time, but after most severe tortures (pulling out of hairs of head and beard, hanging by arms, beating) he was sent out with his companions, bound together and under strong guard, and killed on the road. Of this man's family only one daughter escaped. The two older sons were among twelve hundred Armenian soldiers (serving in the Turkish army) who were starved for some days and sent out to be murdered in cold blood. The wife and the younger children were exiled and never heard from again.
`The left hand man in the lowest row [Donabed Garabed Loulejian, (Biology; Botany and Zoology)] was beaten until unconscious and then thrown into a foul-smelling closet. The Turkish mayor himself took a hand at the beating. After some weeks of imprisonment, some favorable influence resulted in his being taken to a Turkish military hospital. After recovery from the results of his tortures, he remained in hiding until opportunity was offered of escaping on foot through the mountains into Russia. He was a great help in relief work for the destitute Armenians in the Caucasus [specifically Erzerum] until his death from typhus fever.
`The one in the center of the group [Garabed Soghigian, (Armenian Language)] also died of disease, after obtaining release from prison by paying large bribes.
`The right hand professor in the middle row [Mugurdich Vorperian, (Professor of the Preparatory Department, Religion)] did not suffer imprisonment but was exiled with his family in a company of rich people who were promised very safe conduct. They were robbed of all their possessions and after a few days' travel, the men were separated from the women, to be taken to their slaughter. When asked for his thirteen year old daughter by a Turkish officer the Professor replied that he should prefer death for himself and her, to a marriage to a Mohammedan Turk. The beautiful girl was kidnapped by the officer, but the father died for his principles, being taken out and killed with all the men of their company. The son of this professor [Mooshek Vorperian] had his life saved through the influence of the above-mentioned Turkish officer and later escaped into Russia and thence to the United States. His story has been recently printed in a well-known magazine.
Of these seven professors, then, four were murdered [Khachadour Nahigian, Hovhannes Boujicanian, Nigoghos Tenekejian, Mugurdich Vorperian ] and two died of disease after having suffered the tortures and discomforts of the Turkish prison [Garabed M.Soghigian and Donabed Garabed Loulejian]. Four of these men had taken post-graduate work in Yale [Donabed Garabed Loulejian, M.S. degree, 1911], Cornell [courses taken as a special student fall of 1909 and spring 1910 by Garabed Donabed Lulejian sic!], Michigan [Khachadour Nahigian], Princeton [Mugurdich Vorperian] and Edinburgh Universities [Hovhannes Boujicanian]. The only charge against them was their education. `The seventh man [Samuel Khachadourian, Professor of Music (left hand lower corner) was the sole survivor of the group. He had studied music in Germany and seemed to find favor with the Turkish authorities.'
Read the history of the establishment of Euphrates College (Armenia College)
Rev. Crosby H. Wheeler