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Repatriation Art and Ethnographic Project Journal

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More Stories Unsurfacing

Posted by Hazel Antaramian Hofman on July 17, 2014 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (604)

17 July 2014

Today I received a wonderful email from a man whose mother and father were repatriates.  The added twist to their story was that they met in Siberia.  How?  Thanks to Stalin's deportations of Armenian repatriates.  I hope to meet the son of these repatriates whose lives were torturous at the very least.  More on this story later.

I have several stories via videowork that I will be adding before the summer is over.  By September 2014, most if not all (videos to date) will be posted.  I have also added a special page for the American-Armenians and I hope to expand their story with more articles found in period newspapers.  Earlier this summer I had a researcher find some papers located in the Eisenhower Library regarding their repatriation--these too will be documented on the website.

Earlier in the month, I opened a show at Fig Tree Gallery as one of its newest members (March 2014).  It was quite exciting and the reaction to my artwork was fulfilling.  My next show, which is a solo show, will be in January 2015, the year that many Armenian organizations begin their 100 year commemoration of the Armenian genocide.

Intriguing Research Find

Posted by Hazel Antaramian Hofman on June 8, 2014 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (1)

7 June 2014

I am investigating an intriguing find made during my research. When the name 'Charles Aznakian Vertanes' keeps coming up in the oddest of places, it warrants additional research time. A major proponent of the post-WWII repatriation, he was instrumental in helping many American-Armenians leave the United States for Soviet Armenia. He is the author of "Armenia Reborn" and high ranking officer of the 1940s Armenian National Council of America. Earlier this year, I found out that Crosby Phillian, a 14-year old New Yorker on the second 'caravan' to leave the US had an autograph from Charles Vertanes (see photo), then later I find his name popping up in Crosby's father's soviet secret police papers in the Armenian national archives. I am now conducting a FOIA request on the man in our national archives. Because of the backlog it may be over a year or two before I learn anything.


The autograph says:


To Khachig Crosby,

A worthy son of a worthy father who has worked as enthusiastically, sincerely for the Armenian cause through the Armenian National Council of America. With best wishes for a successful and useful career in the land of our fathers.


Charles A. Vertanes


(his name also signed in Armenian)




Gallery Member

Posted by Hazel Antaramian Hofman on March 17, 2014 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (147)

17 March 2014

One week ago, I attended my first meeting at Fig Tree Gallery as their newest member.  I am grateful to the artists for welcoming me and allowing me to show work at the gallery.  Much thanks to Heather Anderson for sponsoring me and petitioning for my membership to the oldest art collective in the United States.  One of its founding members was Varaz Samuelian, an artist with whom I have had many connections.  My first encounter was when he taught art classes to young Armenian children in Fresno.  My grandfather, Asadour Antaramian, took me to Varaz's studio in Downtown Fresno during the early 1970s; this was when my family had moved to Fresno after spending a few years in Wisconsin during our post-Soviet years.  I will always remember the still-life that Varz set up and the encouragement he gave to his young art students.  He, like Saroyan, who was a good friend of his, lived in Paris where he worked briefly as an artist.  In July 2010, I followed the footsteps of Varaz during his time in Paris. Four months prior to my trip to Paris, I curated an exhibition of his circus-themed watercolors at Fresno City Hall, which was co-sponsored by the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State.  As my research on the repatriation project comes to a close, I plan to put my notes of my journey with Varaz to print.  I am excited about the opportunities to show my art at Fig Tree and the full circle that my life has come in the shadow of Varaz.

End of the Year 2013 Research in Armenia

Posted by Hazel Antaramian Hofman on March 17, 2014 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (143)


29 December 2013


It has been seven days since I returned from Armenia. The best things of a wonderful trip were my time with Satenik Faramazyan and Tigran Paskevichyan of Versus Studios. The filmmakers are working on a three-part documentary of the post-WWII repatriation. The first one has been shown internationally and the second one is in the production phase. In fact, it was the second part to their series that brought us together, which was our mutual interest in those repatriates who were sent into exile. While their interest is broader in scope, mine is concerned with a few individuals who are known to me by my family or those who I have interviewed. Together with Satenik, I was warmly greeted at the National Archives of Armenia first by Sonya Mirzoyan, Vice Director, and later Marine Martirosyan, her associate. Once the files we needed were found, I sat with Tigran's daughter, Nane, who read the Armenian and Russian text to me. From this I was able to determine what files I wanted to have copied. This was a rare day indeed, since many of these files were recently opened to the public. However, there are many more that are still being kept sealed. Even the files that I requested for copying require scrutiny on multiple levels prior to its release. Much of what I learned will be shared in future presentations. Other exciting news include my meeting with Gagik Ghazare, Director of NPAK, the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art; the discovery of rare repatriate letters in the Archives; and getting a private tour from the current resident of my grandfather's home, "the American's House," on Vertanes Papazian Street, near Monument. I also enjoyed my tea with Satenik and Tigran at Natura Gold Tea House at 11 Abovyan Street, a superb place!


As I now prepare for the goals I have set for 2014, I wish all a Happy New Year and I hope to share much more by the way of travel photographs, journal entries, and more importantly photographs and captions of those whom I have interviewed.

Wrap-Up of 2013 Prior to Trip to Armenia

Posted by Hazel Antaramian Hofman on January 16, 2014 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (148)


16 November 2013


I am preparing to travel to Armenia in December with hopes of making new connections as well as meeting fellow Armenians who I met on-line concerning this project. While my research brings me much satisfaction, the most gratifying experience is the connection I have made with the repatriates and others, who like me, are interested in this part of our national history.

Also in the works is the preparation of a new presentation on the repatriation for the Eastern Diocese in New York, sometime next Spring. This will be posted within the next 30 days or so.


14 November 2013


Returned from New York with promises to be back in March for a presentation on the post-WWII repatriation at the Diocese. Thank you to Father Daniel for his vision and commitment. Making plans to take the presentation overseas. I will keep you posted here on the home page.

While in New York, I had a dinner meeting with Broadway actress Jacqueline Antaramian and award-winning playwright Richard Kalinoski at Zagara on 7th Ave. We talked about their business trip to Rhode Island and their meeting with several repatriates. It was so wonderful to see how motivated Richard was about a play on the repatriate story! I am so honored to be a part of his creative process.



5 October 2013


I am pleased that I will be in New York this November to give two presentations. On November 8th, I will be presenting "Repatriation and Deception" for Hamazkayin New York at St. Illuminator's Cathedral at 7:30pm, then on November 12, 2013, at 7PM, at the Zohrab Information Center at Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), I will be presenting my research study of the 11th-century miniature family portrait painting of King Gagik-Abas of Kars. Father Daniel was gracious to provide the PR for the presentation about the miniature painting, which can be found on the Zohrab IC website.


7 September 2013

On several occasions I have found unique photographs in the family photo albums of the repatriates whom I have interviewed. One included a photograph of the painter Martiros Saryan, which was in the collection of June Spooner Maynazarian Narzakian. Another included a photograph in the collection of repatriate Rosa Darakjian Arzoumanian of the famous soprano opera singer Gohar Gasparyan in the days that she was living in Egypt. The photograph was located in Rosa's husband's album, Aram, who was an Egyptian-Armenian repatriate.

Naples Experience

Posted by Hazel Antaramian Hofman on December 30, 2013 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (238)

A rare photograph of several '47 American Armenian repatriates during their brief stop in Naples, Italy, as they traveled on the passenger liner, the Rossiya, to Soviet Armenia. I found the photograph in my father's album. I am not sure who took it, but a few of the people are recognizable. Paul and Massey Antaramian are standing in the background of the group of repatriates, and I believe that Tom Mooradian is at the far right. The second caravan of American-Armenians who also had to go through Naples experienced a different scenario while en route to Soviet Armenia. Read more about their story in my on-line article, see Written Works page.

6 September 2013 Entry

Posted by Hazel Antaramian Hofman on November 16, 2013 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)


On Friday, I visited with repatriate Sosi Altounian, whose family left Lebanon when she was a young girl.  The visit was quite emotional both for Sosi and me.  She had written about her life in Soviet Armenia after she was approached by documentary filmmaker Tigran Paskevichyan.  While she was reluctant to be on camera, she indicated  that she would write her story for his documentary work.  This is the story that she read to me.  I directed my camera on a lovely butter dish that sat on the elaborate table of delicious Armenian food that she had prepared for my arrival.  My camera was set to capture her voice while it focused on the butter dish.  On several occasions her  words caused such emotional pain that she had to pause to regain her composure.  I felt her emotion, and at one time, we both had to reach for the tissue box.  After I have her work translated from Eastern Armenian into English, I will use her story to supplement my presentation material and post the scanned papers on a separate website page.  In the meantime, I'll prepare the audio interview for the website.



Added New Installment of French-Armenian Repatriate Story and Yevneegay, Genocide survivor

Posted by Hazel Antaramian Hofman on October 17, 2013 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (384)

I added a new installment and transfered the previous one to another page on the site where the entire story will eventually be housed.  Here is the photograph that was connected to Installment No. 4:  The Orphanage in Paris for Armenian boys, from the Private Collection of the Kabadayans, relatives of Yevneegay and the Hekimians.

21 August 2013 Entry

Posted by Hazel Antaramian Hofman on October 5, 2013 at 2:30 AM Comments comments (175)

It has been roughly two weeks since I returned from my research travels on the East Coast New York and in France.  I will be posting some exciting information based on my interviews with repatriates in Lyon, Paris, and Rhode Island, including additional photographs from their albums.   I took new video footage of places in France to use for future presentations on the post-WWII repatriation. While in New York, I had the pleasure of meeting V. Rev. Fr. M. Daniel Findikyan at the Zohrab Information Center where I briefly studied newspaper articles from the late 1940s. 

Finally, I finished a painting that I had started earlier in the summer.  It is inspired by several images from repatriate photographs along with imagery of the Virgin Mary found among medieval Armenian sculptural reliefs and manuscript miniatures. Before the end of the year, I expect to post all the interviews that I have videotaped to date and much of the repatriate photographs that I have scanned.


Past Calendar Events

Posted by Hazel Antaramian Hofman on September 29, 2013 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (290)

Just to unclutter the Calendar section of the website a bit, I have transferred some of the past 2013 events here for purposes of documentation:

March 21, 2013: PRESENTATIONEVENT--PART I:  Repatriation and Deception: Post World War II Soviet Armenia. Art Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings at theArmenian Museum of Fresno, 550 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno, CA.  Presentation begins at 6 PM.

April 18, 2013: PRESENTATION EVENT--PARTII:  Repatriation as Ramification of theArmenian Genocide. Art Exhibitionof Paintings and Drawings at the Armenian Museum of Fresno, 550 E. ShawAve., Fresno, CA.  Presentation begins at6 PM.

 May 22, 2013:  SPECIAL PRESENTATION6:30PM to 9PM in Burbank California:  Repatriation and Deception:  Post WWIISoviet Armenia.  ArtistAudio-Visual Presentation and one-night only exhibition beginning at 7:30PM at the Zorayan Museum Hall of the Western Diocese of the Armenian ApostolicChurch of North America, 3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, CA  91504    

For current events see the Calendar.