The 20 Hunchakian gallows

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The 20 Hunchakian gallows (or Ksan Gakhaghan, also "The 20 Martyrs", "The 20s"[1]) is the common name for the group of Hunchakian activists who were hanged in the Sultan Bayazid square of Constantinople in June 15, 1915.

History[change | change source]

The 7th General Convention of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party which was held in Constanţa, Romania, in 1913, had a unique and great importance not only for the Hunchaks, but in the history of the Armenian people as a whole. During the Convention, members stressed their concern of the Ittihad (Young Turk) government's blatant disregard of the Armenian lives who resided in Historic Armenia. The Hunchaks feared that this disregard would only escalate as time past. The Hunchaks also stressed the importance of a United Independent Armenia which would be impossible under the racist and dictatorial Young Turk government's rule of the Ottoman Empire.

Thus the convention adjourned with two main objectives:

I - As stated in its original program, the party was to move from licit to illicit activities, thus becoming once again a covert organization. II - To plan and assassinate the leaders of the Ittihad (Young Turk) party, the same leaders that carried out the Adana massacres of 1909, and thus the same leaders who at that moment were planning the annihilation of the Armenian people. [2]

Unfortunately, these secret objectives were passed on to the Turks by an Armenian agent for the government; consequently as soon as the delegates arrived in Constantinople, they were arrested. By the end of the year a total of one hundred and forty Hunchak leaders were arrested.

After spending two years in terrible conditions in Turkish prisons, and undergoing lengthy mock trials, twenty prominent figures - Paramaz, Dr. Benne, Aram Ach'ekbashian, Vanig and others were sentenced to death by hanging. A few weeks after the beginning of the Armenian Genocide on June 15, 1915, all twenty men were hanged in the central square of Constantinople, known as Sultan Bayazid Square. Paramaz's last words before his hanging were, "You can only hang our bodies, but not our ideology. ...You will see tomorrow on the Eastern horizon a Socialist Armenia." [3]

Since their execution, the Twenty Martyrs have been a source of inspiration for thousands of young Armenians throughout the world.

In 2001 the monument of Paramaz and his 19 Hunchakian comrades was opened in Meghri town, Armenia.

The list of hanged Hunchakians[change | change source]

  • Paramaz,
  • Dr. Benne (Bedros Torosian, Kharpert),
  • Aram Achekbashian (Krikor Garabedian, Arabkir),
  • Kegham Vanig (Van), one of the editors of "Gaidz" youth journal,
  • Mourad Zakarian (Mush),
  • worker Yervant Topuzian,
  • Hagop Basmajian,
  • Smpat Keljian,
  • Roupen Garabedian,
  • Armenag Hampartsoumian,
  • Apraham Mouradian,
  • Hrand Yegavian,
  • Karnig Boyajian,
  • Hovhannes Yeghiazarian,
  • Mgrdich Yeretsian,
  • Yerevia Manoukian,
  • Tovmas Tovmasian,
  • Karekin Boghosian,
  • Minas Keshishian,
  • Boghos Boghosian.

Two other prominent Hunchakian activists, Stepan Sabah-Goulian and Varaztahd, were condemned to death in absentia.

Other websites[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Tchahakir" Armenian weekly, # 1523, June 17, 2004, Cairo, p.1
  2. The Twenty Hunchakian Gallows.
  3. "Tchahakir" Armenian weekly, # 1594, June 21, 2007, Cairo, p.3