Memoirs of the Ottoman Empire’s Athlete Vahram Papazyan

Memoirs of the Ottoman Empire’s AthleteThe memoirs “Love, love, love” is the exclusive primary source about the life of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire before the genocide. The book presents unique information about the history of physical education, the Olympic Games, WWI, the Armenian Genocide, the deportation, etc.

For the first time in its history in 1912, the Ottoman Empire took part in the Fifth Olympic Games in Stockholm, where the country was represented by two Armenian athletes – Vahram Papazian and Mkrtich Mkrian.

“In 1912, the International Olympic Games were to be held in Stockholm, and Turkey received an invitation to take part in them. But the Turks did not have suitable athletes, while the Armenians did have them. Armenians decided to send their athletes to represent the huge empire at the competitions.

For the first time in history, Turkey took part in such international competition, as it later became clear, only thanks to two Armenians… Arriving in Stockholm in the morning, I saw that the streets and large institutions were decorated with flags of the countries participating in the Olympiad, but the Turkish flag was nowhere to be seen.

This fact upset me, because I am the official representative of my homeland – the Ottoman Empire, and was offended by such disrespectful attitude.

Without examining the room that was provided to me, I went to the Turkish embassy to express my displeasure.

Introducing myself to the Ambassador of Turkey and having heard his congratulations, I immediately got down to business: “Bay Effendi, the atmosphere in Stockholm is unbearable for me, I want to return home right now.

The entire Stockholm is decorated with flags of different countries, but among them, there is no Turkish flag. This is very insulting to me and my homeland. I will stay here only on the condition that you take action and the flag of my homeland appears next to the others.”

The Turkish Ambassador was dumbfounded. He, like many others, did not believe that an Armenian could love and respect his homeland Turkey so much. Perhaps at that moment, it did not occur to him that Armenians love the Ottoman Empire very much, but the Turks, on the contrary, do not like their exemplary Ottoman citizens such as the Armenians and oppress them everywhere and at every opportunity.

Less than two hours later, the Turkish flag was visible everywhere thanks to me, an Armenian youngster who several years later would mourn the millions of unburied bodies of people as patriotic as me who were killed by the Turks.”

Vahram Papazian, as an eyewitness and survivor of the genocide, gives the reader important information about the Armenian Genocide.

“It is unfair to slander that the Armenians were slaughtered because they helped Russia in intelligence. If this is true, then what was the guilt of the honest, peaceful, and devoted inhabitants of Kharberd who were all killed?”

Memoirs of Vahram Papazian, edited by Doctor of Historical Sciences Hayk Demoyan. The original book was published in 1962 in Beirut.

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