The author – son of an Armenian father and a German mother – tries to find out where exactly he belongs: Who am I? Am I an Armenian who can’t speak Armenian? Am I a German who is (all too) often treated as a foreigner? These doubts sent the author on a journey into the past – to retrace the life of his father who had survived both the genocide of 1915 in Turkey and the Second World War, and who had lived through the conflict between East and West Germany and its many consequences.
Based on his father’s anecdotes and family documents, the author describes the everyday life of the Dolabdjian family in Turkey until 1915 and his father’s experiences leading to his arrival in Germany in 1922. Here was a stateless man who could not speak a word of German when he arrived in Germany in 1922. How was he able to go to school for the first time, pass his higher leaving certificate exams, study medicine in Berlin, qualify as a consultant, all against the backdrop of a worldwide economic crisis and the rise of National Socialism?
Today we can smile about his later experiences during the tension-ridden relationship between the Federal Republic and the GDR which even led to the temporary loss of his hard-won German citizenship. But in those days it was a deadly serious situation.
Haig Dolabdjian was born in Germany in 1951 and grew up as the son of an Armenian father and a German mother. From an early age he showed an interest in his Armenian roots and from his father’s stories learned that a catastrophe had struck the family during his father’s childhood. In 1990 Haig Dolabdjian travelled to Turkey with his family – the next generation – in the hope of finding his father’s birthplace. In 2011 he then flew with his family to Armenia and on a study trip there got to know the country and its people.
This book describes the circumstances of the Dolabdjian family in Turkey up to 1915, the experiences of the author’s father leading up to his arrival in Germany in 1922 and his father’s later experiences in Germany, all reconstructed from stories and preserved family documents. Haig Dolabdjian’s travel journals from Turkey and Armenia close the circle.
This book is intended first and foremost for the author’s immediate family, to ensure that their origins will never be forgotten. At the same time, however, it strives to inform a broader public about what happened in Turkey in 1915 and about what migration to another country involves.
Haig Dolabdjian holds a doctorate in engineering and works free-lance in the field of electrical engineering. He lives with his family south of Munich.
My Armenian Father: Journeys from the past to myself
Publisher Hay Media Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., Germany 1 edition (Februar 11, 2013)
sold by Amazon.com (KINDLE) or at LIBREKA.de (EPUB) ISBN 978-3-86320-024-4