The Memory of the Armenian Genocide
Grigori & Pran Tashchiyan, Asmik Mkhikyan-Tashchiyan, Tigran Tashchiyan
Grigori and Pran Tashchiyan lived in Turkey, where they survived the Armenian genocide during World War I. Pran’s first husband, her two children and most of her relatives were murdered. This tragedy left a deep mark on them. In the wake of World War I they wandered to Simferopol, in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea of the Russian Federation (today in Ukraine) where they married and settled down. The area was very mixed with families of different ethnic backgrounds: Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Bulgraians, and others. Among them was also a Russian family by the name of Kucherenko. Evgenia, one of their daughters had married a Jew by the name of David Goldberg. The couple had two children: Anatoliy (born 1935) and Rita (born 1938).
When Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, David Goldberg was conscripted to the Red Army. Simferopol was occupied on 1 November 1941, and six weeks later the murder of the Jews began. Most of the town’s Jews were killed, among them David’s parents. Evgenia returned to her father’s home, but the danger to her half Jewish children was great. During four months the children were taken from one family to another, until Pran, Evgenia’s neighbor offered to hide the children in her home. Her garden was surrounded by a wall; the gate that was always locked; and the compound was guarded by dogs. For over two years, from February 1942 until liberation in April 1944, the children were hidden in the home of Prand and Grigori Tashchiyan. The couple’s two children Tigran (born 1929) and Asmik (born 1925) were on the outlook, and would warn Anatoliy and Rita when Germans were coming near. Then the children would hide in the cellar or the storeroom, or the attic, even in the dog’s kennel.
Shortly after liberation the Soviet authorities deported the Tashchiyan family to a distant kolkhoz in the Kemerovo ara. In 1947 Tigram, Asmik and Grigori escaped and went to Armenia. However two years later they were arrested and deported to the Kemerovo region. Only in 1956 were they exonerated and rehabilitated, but they were not allowed to return to their home in Crimea, and were forced to move to Armenia. Through the entire time the survivors kept in touch with the rescuers.
On 21 November 2002 Yad Vashem recognized Grigori and Pran Tashchiyan as Righteous Among the Nations.