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Exhibition Event: Saving the Survivors: Danish relief workers and Armenian women genocide survivors in the 1920s

April 24 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

A photograph of Karen Jeppe's rescue home, Aleppo, mid-1920s

Karen Jeppe’s Rescue Home, Aleppo, mid-1920s. Photograph provided by the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Foundation, Yerevan, Armenia.

Zumroot Godjanian, from Urfa, c.1924. Photograph provided by the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Foundation, Yerevan, Armenia.

Zumroot Godjanian, from Urfa, c.1924. Photograph provided by the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Foundation, Yerevan, Armenia.

This event is organised as part of the Genocidal Captivity exhibition events series. Participants can register to attend in person.

*Change of speaker*

This talk will now be delivered by Dr Becky Jinks, curator of the Genocidal Captivity exhibition.

Between 1921 and 1930, 1,880 Armenian survivors who had escaped genocidal captivity were taken in by the Danish relief worker Karen Jeppe, who ran a Rescue Home on the outskirts of Aleppo. Most stayed a few months, some just days, some years, until they located their relatives or had learnt a trade and could earn a living.

For each survivor she took in, Karen Jeppe recorded their names, ages, place of birth, parents’ names, photography, and a short version of their story: ten of these stories of survival are featured in our exhibition Genocidal Captivity.

To commemorate the 109th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, historian Matthias Bjørnlund will join us from Copenhagen to discuss Karen Jeppe’s unique relief and rescue methods, in the broader context of Danish humanitarian relief efforts in the aftermath of the genocide.

Bjørnlund’s discussion will be followed by a very special event: the reading of a play, Sorrow is Turned into Joy, written and performed by a group of Armenian women survivors in 1924, in Thessaloniki, for visiting Danish humanitarians. The play addresses their recent experiences of genocide and loss. The reading is directed by the distinguished theatre and opera director Seta White.

About the Speaker:

Matthias Bjørnlund is a historian and genocide scholar specializing in the Armenian genocide and related issues. He has, written a comprehensive analysis and overview of the Armenian genocide, a monograph on women relief workers and missionaries before, during, and after 1915, and chapters on sexual violence during genocide. He was a university lecturer for a number of years, and is currently working as an academic consultant for Danish Institute for International Studies.

Seta White is a theatre and opera director, theatre maker and actor. Trained at Bretton Hall University College – B.A. (Hons) Theatre Arts – there is a strong emphasis in multidisciplinary work throughout Seta’s work, and she has devised work across dance, music and drama, most often in highly collaborative environments. Seta is particularly drawn to developing work with people who otherwise do not have a voice, to find their stories & discover how they want their stories told.

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