ISTANBUL — A documentary about the Armenians who survived the Genocide and then went through another cycle of violence during the 1937-1938 bloody military campaign initiated by the Turkish state in Dersim region (currently Tunceli) has been produced in Turkey.
Ermenihaber.am reports, that the film “Children of the Monastery” (Vank’in Çocuklari) is directed by Kazim Gündogan who originates from Dersim and attempts to raise the untold stories of the massacre survivors. The premiere is scheduled on February 9 in Istanbul.
The documentary is a story about an Armenian family that survived the Dersim Massacre in 1938. All members of the family were driven away and lived in different cultures and beliefs.
Zeynep is a schoolteacher who lives in Izmir. In 2000s, she accidentally learns that her mother is an Armenian woman born in Dersim (Tunceli). Following the 1938 Massacre, she was given out for adoption and her name was changed to Fatma Kiremitci from Aslihan Kiremitciyan, her ethnic identity and belief changed to Turkish and Sunni.
She organizes a reunion with some of her mother’s relatives in the village that her mother lived. She traces the stories of her mother and tries to feel and appreciate what she lived in her childhood. Zeynep learns more about the village named Vank and its monastery.
The film crew had numerous meetings in Dersim, Konya, Istanbul, and Izmir with people who were forcefully converted to Islam. Dozens of accounts and facts collected during the interviews spread a light on the fate of hundreds of Christian children who survived the Dersim massacre, were subjected to Turkification and grew up in Turkish or Kurdish families without their families knowing anything about it.
The film reflects on the story of the only Armenian St. Karapet monastery that operated in the area and whose clergy was arrested and killed along with Alevi and Armenian population of the village in the course of the massacres. The church was completely destroyed by the state in 1938.