Yanni Sevak was a German from an aristocratic family of a Prussian colonel. After the arrest and deportation of the Armenian intelligentsia on April 24, 1915, she appealed to the German Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Wagenheim to save her husband, to which the ambassador responded:
“You are an unworthy German woman, you betrayed your nation, married an Armenian, and now ask me to rescue him! He should not return. They left to die.”
Shuddering at such an answer, Yanni threw her German passport at the ambassador with the words: “I have a son, I’ll bring him up so that he avenges his father on the Germans.” (“Ruben Sevak”, O. Chilinkiryan, 1985).
Yanni Sevak refused German citizenship, stopped speaking German, and gave her children an Armenian education. In the 1920s and 1930s, she played on the stages of Parisian theaters and released several of her poetry collections in French. Yanni passed away in Nice on December 28, 1967. According to her testament, she was buried according to Armenian traditions.