ARLINGTON, Mass. — Vergin (Virginia) Mazmanian, 103, a Genocide survivor who never shied away from telling her tale even when well past her century mark, died on June 14, at the Lexington Health Care Center after a lengthy illness.
Her daughter, Grace K. David, suggested that the very inner strength that allowed her mother to survive her horrific childhood during the Armenian Genocide was the one that allowed her to live to such a ripe age.
“Survivors are very strong, determined people,” David said. “What keeps these people alive? The love of the preservation of our culture, heritage and Christianity.”
Her mother, she said, died without the realization of her greatest hope: acknowledgement or an apology from Turkey.
David took care of her mother in their two-family house, until she became too ill to be at home. She said she has not been able to go to her mother’s apartment since her death, as the memories are simply too painful and overwhelming.
Vergin Simsarian was born in Amasia, historical Armenia, in 1908. She had taken refuge during the Genocide and hidden in a large pit in Deir Zor. However, Turkish soldiers had started a fire in the pit, killing some of the children and forcing the others to run out. She was rescued and brought to the Khrimian Hairig Orphanage. She found her only sister, Gladys Yerchanging Simsarian, by chance at the orphange. The two were eventually sponsored by the extended Simsarian family and brought over to the US.