University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


A Familiar Armenian Immigrant Story

The story of Garabed Tellalian and Haiganoush Yemenedjian is but one of countless numbers of untold stories about Armenians who survived the massacres by the Turks in 1914. Garabed was from Kayseri and Haiganoush from nearby Nigde. He escaped to Argentina and she survived the death march through the deserts of Turkey and Syria.

Garabed arrived in New York City in 1916, registered for U.S. military service in 1917, worked hard and finally in 1921 was able to send for his family. His mother Gohar, his brother Abraham with his wife Guli and son Hagop brought with them aboard the ship King Alexander, a young bride for Garabed. Haiganoush met Garabed for the first time at the pier in New York City in February of 1921. They were married on April 3, 1921.

Learning to be American

Haiganoush Yemenedjian Tellalian, educated in Nigde Turkey, was proficient in Armenian, Turkish, Arabic and English. After a nine¥month struggle through the deserts of Der el Zor, she and the surviving members of her family sought refuge in Damascus, Syria.

To support the family, she secured a job translating at the Syrian Immigration Bureau. After her arrival to the United States, realizing the importance of knowing English, in 1924, she organized q group of Armenian immigrants to study English in a program sponsored by the "Emergency Committee on Education of NonSpeaking Women" in New York City.

Below Left: A partial section from the "Learning to be American" display at Ellis Island.

Below Right: "Everyone Is Not Here." In 1928 the Tellalian family moved from Manhattan to the suburbs in Astoria, Long Island, New York. Left to Right: Gohar, Garabed, Haiganoush and her mother Mariam Kouyoumjian Yemenedjiana and Garabed Lachinian (front), Haiganoush's nephew.

Learning Display Learning Display

Literacy Before Citizenship

Naturalization certificate issued to Haiganoush Tellalian on May 24,1929.
New York State Regents Literacy Test questions answered by Haiganoush.
An American Express money order for the sum of $75 was sent on February 28, 1938 by Garabed to his niece Mari Shamirian in Bucharest, Roumania as a gift. In 1921. Garabed had made arrangements to bring his mother Gohar, his brother Abraham, his sister-in-law Guli, his nephew Hagop and his niece Mari to the United States. Mari who had escaped to Bucharest, declined the offer because she had fallen in love with a young Armenian refugee in Bucharest. Instead Haiganoush, her mother and nephew came, per his request to bring him back a suitable wife.

A Call to Serve in the U.S. Military

NoticeA notice dated August 7, 1917 for Garabed to appear before the Local Draft Board for a physical examination.  He was consequently called for induction to serve in the military on November 11, 1918. He was told to go home because the Great War had ended.

Registration CertificateGarabed