Local Armenian-American reacts to vote on recognizing genocide

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Jerry DerBoghosian was among those celebrating Thursday’s declaration on Armenia genocide.

The Lisbon man’s parents and grandparents were victims of the slaughter. His grandfather was butchered for refusing to foresake God, he said. His father and mother were chased away.

DerBoghosian, 87, said his grandfather was a priest in a small village when the Turks inflicted their wrath.

“The Turks came down because everyone was becoming Christianized and they didn’t like it,” DerBoghosian said Thursday. “They lay him over a stone. They cut his ears off. They chopped him up and threw him in a river.”

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DerBoghosian’s father, Negoghos DerBoghosian, had fled to America. But before he raised enough money to bring his wife and three children over, they were killed, too.

Meanwhile, DerBoghosian’s family had been cast out into the desert by the Turks.

“The Turks killed all the males in the village and forced all the women out into the desert,” DerBoghosian said.

His mother, Baizar, was among the women left to perish in the desert.

But she was picked up by an American missionary and eventually made her way to the United States. She met up with Negoghos and they married.

Jerry DerBoghosian was their oldest son.

Though his parents finally escaped to freedom, DerBoghosian said the declaration condemning the deaths as genocide was overdue.

“How can we forget it?” he said.

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