Nicolas Aznavour

TEL AVIV – On October 23, the most famous Israeli newspaper Haaretz הארץ published the letter of Nicolas Aznavour (co-founder and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Aznavour Foundation) addressed to the president of Israel. You can see the letter below.

Dear Mr. President,

In 2017, together with my father Charles Aznavour, I had the pleasure to travel to Israel where the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) bestowed the “Raoul Wallenberg Medal” upon Charles and Aida Aznavour in your presence.

This prestigious award is a token of recognition to the Aznavour family, mother Knar, father Misha and their aforementioned daughter and son, who during the dark days of the Nazi occupation in France, reached-out to those who were persecuted. I remember my father recalling how he grew up in the “Le Marais” district in Paris where many immigrants mingled together, including Jewish and Armenian refugees. They were neighbors and close friends. When the Gestapo was arresting Jews to deport them, my grandparent’s apartment became a shelter for them to hide and find safe passage. My grandparents knew the danger was there every day, but my father and his sister only grasped it later.

My grandparents had fled to France to escape the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire in the 1920s. Their life was not always easy because of their poverty, lack of knowledge of French and the pain they carried with them. When the Second World War erupted, they realized with dismay that history was repeating itself and they took great risks to save as many lives as they could.

The medal that my father received on behalf of our family is among those objects that we plan to exhibit in Charles Aznavour’s museum in Yerevan soon and inform our visitors about the horrors of the Holocaust.

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Mr. Reuven Rivlin, from September 27th the military aggression from Azerbaijan has already turned into a war and a tragedy resulting in deaths of hundreds if not thousands of young men, journalists, civilians and children. The Azerbaijani army is using many weapons, which are made in Israel, including cluster bombs which are prohibited by international law and military drones.

In response to the photos published by Armenian authorities the Amnesty International published their report particularly noting: “Amnesty International’s Crisis Response experts were able to trace the location of the footage to residential areas of Stepanakert, and identified Israeli-made M095 DPICM cluster munitions fired by Azerbaijani forces towards Stepanakert, Shushi, Martakert and other cities.

“The use of cluster bombs in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law, so their use to attack civilian areas is particularly dangerous and will only lead to further deaths and injuries,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s acting Head of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “Cluster bombs are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their deployment in residential areas is absolutely appalling and unacceptable. As fighting continues to escalate, civilians must be protected, not deliberately targeted or recklessly endangered.”

As the descendant of my grandparents and father I am inviting you, Mr. President, to intervene to insure a moratorium on the sale of these weapons to Azerbaijan. Israel, established by the survivors and descendants of the Holocaust, cannot turn a blind eye nor participate in the genocide that Azerbaijan with the aid of the Turkish government is preparing to commit in Armenia. This would be an affront to the memory of my ancestors who saved many Jewish lives during the Second World War but even more, so it would a terrible affront to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. I am asking you to help us for the sake of humanity and the long lasting friendship between Jews and Armenians to stand with us against the horrors of war and destruction.

In the appendix of this letter, please find some documented proofs of the use of the internationally forbidden munitions by the Azerbaijani armed forces.

I wish to assure you, Mr. President, of my highest consideration.

Nicolas Aznavour
Co-founder and Chairman of Board of Trustees, Aznavour Foundation

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