YEREVAN — “Map of Salvation,” which Man Pictures Studio produced in 2015, told the story of European missionaries who helped Armenians during the Armenian Genocide. The studio’s new film will expand the story of aid to Armenians beyond the Atlantic: “American Samaritans” is about the enormous assistance that United States government, missionary organizations and people rendered to Armenia during and after 1915.
“This film, as the previous one, will pursue educational purposes. Our goal is to tell the story of the unprecedented humanitarian operation conducted by America 100 years ago. We also want to show that Armenians tried to pay back in their way. Thousand and thousands of our compatriots, who found refuge in the United States, later became doctors, scholars, teachers, businessmеn, politicians, soldiers, and honorable citizens of their new homeland,” the Yerevan-based film producer Manvel Saribekyan said.
American historian Paul Levine, who currently lives in Berlin and specializes on Holocaust studies and the Armenian Genocide, is the narrator of the film. The motion pictures depicts him traveling in the US, visiting archives and meeting historians, and learning more about the Armenian Genocide, the humanitarian intervention of America and the parallels that exist between Armenian Genocide and Holocaust.
“The comparisons between the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust are much larger than I thought they would be,” Levine said before his departure back to Europe when we met in Washington. “As a historian, its important for me to tell the details of what happened, the individual stories and not just the big numbers.”
While working on this project, the crew filmed at Harvard University’s archives, at the Near East Relief foundation, Princeton University, the US National Archives and the Library of Congress, and visited Clara Barton’s birthplace museum in Oxford, MA. A special trip was arranged to the Ellis Island museum. However, more work is ahead: recordings are planned in Western Armenia, and also in the town of Gyumri, where American orphanages historically functioned. “We may go to Iran and Greece,” Saribekyan added.
As a member of the working crew, this author would like to express his gratitude to all the people and organizations who contributed to making of this film: Clara Barton’s Birthplace Museum’s manager Emily Thomas, the Armenian student club of Princeton, the Armenian Missionary Association of America, historian Rouben Adalian, scholar and archive specialist Levon Avdoyan, the administration of Harvard University and Dr. Professor Sargon Donabed personally, the US National Archives and all our counterparts and friends.