Last Italy-based survivor of Armenian Genocide dies at 98

Last Italy-based survivor of Armenian Genocide dies at 98

PanARMENIAN.Net - The last survivor of the Armenian Genocide in Cerchiara (Calabria), Italy, Sergio (Sarkis) Musceghian died aged 98.

As Paris-based journalist Jean Eckian told PanARMENIAN.Net born on November 4, 1916, Sergio, a homeless boy of 4, was roaming the streets of Constantinople when taken in and raised by Italian missionaries. He lived most of his life between Puglia and Calabria where he ended his days.

In his eulogy to Sarkis, Cerchiara Mayor Antonio Carlomagno paid tribute to the man "of great dignity and moral rectitude".

"Community of Cerchiara di Calabria had the pleasure and honor of meeting Sarkis during commemoration of the victims of the greatest tragedy of Armenian people, still waiting for the historic justice," Mr Carlomagno said.

In the last years of his life, Musceghian devoted much of his time to participating in the Armenian Genocide commemorative events. "I can not miss an opportunity to speak of the fate of my people," he used to say.

The home village of Musceghian in Italy, Nor Arax (Bari) inaugurated a monument (Khatckar) in tribute to the victims of the Genocide in January 2013.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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