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 Haroutune Sarkis “Harry” Basmajian

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Haroutune Sarkis “Harry” Basmajian

  • Birth 28 Mar 1883 Arapkir, Malatya, Turkey
  • Death 10 Dec 1959 Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Burial Drexel Hill, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Plot Grove
  • Memorial ID 5054186

Born in Arapkir, Turkey to Sarkis and Vartouhi Ipakjian Basmajian. He was orphaned at a young age when his parents died a week apart of typhoid in 1892. A few years later he was also deeply affected by the murder of his beloved older brother Dikran at the hands of a Turkish friend during massacres against Armenians in 1895. At age 18 Haroutune was married to a girl of the village named Arousiag Der Arakelian. They had two children, Maritza and Vartouhi. In 1912 Haroutune moved to Bridgewater, Massachusetts where he had cousins to earn money. While he was away the Armenian Genocide began back at home which alarmed him. On July 4, 1915 he quit his job to return home to fight against the massacres of Armenians. He sailed to Russia and joined the Armenian army at Yerevan under the command of General Antranik Ozanian. He kept a diary of his experiences for the year he was at war. In August 1916 he was discharged and returned back to America. He learned that his wife and daughters had been deported like most of the Armenian population during the genocide and lost. After World War I ended he traveled back to the region to look for his family and followed leads all over the Middle East looking for them. Unsure if they had died, been kidnapped, or what fate they met, he never found them, though some people he spoke to believed that at least his wife had died in the genocide and the fate of his daughters uncertain. Having to give up the search, he settled in Constantinople in 1920 where he was introduced to a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, Armenouhi Der Avedisian. They were married in early 1921 and in 1923 had a daughter Maritza (changed to Madeline by their French nurse). At this time they lived in the city's Gedikpasha neighborhood. The young family fled Turkey because of fear of anti-Armenian tensions, getting his six-week old daughter aboard the ship who had no ticket by winning over the captain by dressing her nicely. The family moved to Bridgewater, Massachusetts, where his daughter Vartouhi Rose was born. Haroutune worked at the White's Shoe Factory there until it closed because of the Great Depression. He moved to Philadelphia, where Armenouhi had relatives, to find work and brought his family there. Armenouhi died a few years later due to an infection of the heart. He remained a widower and continued to run the tailor shop he had started there, working with the help of his daughters. In later years he became the grandfather of 5 and remained healthy and active until his death from a sudden heart attack while walking with his daughter in 1959.


Family Members


  • Created by: Paul S.
  • Added: 8 Sep 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5054186
  • r77ortiz
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Haroutune Sarkis “Harry” Basmajian (28 Mar 1883–10 Dec 1959), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5054186, citing Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Paul S. (contributor 18204635) .