Armenians in France

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Armenians in France
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1983-077-09A, Französischer Widerstandskämpfer.jpg
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Youri Djorkaeff 2011.jpg
Total population
250,000 — 750,000 (estimates)
Regions with significant populations
Paris, Lyon, Marseille
Languages
French, Armenian
Religion
Predominantly Armenian Apostolic
Catholic and Protestant minorities

Armenians in France (Armenian: ֆրանսահայեր fransahayer; French: Arméniens de France) are French citizens of Armenian ancestry. The French Armenian community is, by far, the largest in the European Union[1][2] and the third largest in the world.[3][4]

Although the first Armenians settled in France in the Middle Ages, like most of the Armenian diaspora, the Armenian community in France was established by survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Others came through the second half of the 20th century, fleeing political and economic instability in the Middle Eastern countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iran) and, more recently, from the Republic of Armenia.

History[edit]

The tomb of Leon V, the last Armenian king, at the Basilica of St Denis.

Early history[edit]

Armenians have a long history of settlement in France.[5] The first Armenians appeared in Francia in the Early Middle Ages. In 591, an Armenian bishop named Simon is recorded to have met Gregory of Tours in the city of Tours.[6][7] Among other churches, the 9th century church of Germigny-des-Prés—built by Odo of Metz (possibly an Armenian)—is said by architecture historians to have an Armenian influence.[8][9] The thirty-six letters of the Armenian alphabet found in a Latin inscription at the St. Martha Church (fr) in Tarascon show that Armenians lived there before the 13th century, when the last three characters of the Armenian alphabet were added.[10][11]

The statue of Jean Althen in Avignon.

The contacts between Armenians and the French became frequent during the Crusades.[10] The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, located on the north-eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, became of strategic importance to the crusaders en route to Palestine. Armenian kings Oshin and Leo IV are known to have given special trading privileges for the French.[12] In the 14th century, the Hethumids were unable to retain power in Cilician Armenia and following the assassination of Leo IV in 1341, his Lusignan cousin became King of Armenia as Constantine II. The Lusignan kings were of French origin and ruled the country until 1375 when the last king, Leo V, was captured by the Mamluks and taken to Egypt. He was later released and transferred to France where he died in 1393 and was buried at the Basilica of St Denis, the burial place of the French monarchs.[5]

Since the 15th century, Armenians began migrating to France in small numbers.[12] An Armenian inscription from this period survives on the Bourges Cathedral.[13] In 1672, an Armenian named Pascal (Harut'iwn) opened the first coffee house in Paris.[14][15][16][17][18] From 1672 to 1686, Voskan Yerevantsi operated a publishing house in Marseille.[12] With the liberalization of the economy, the number of Armenians in France increased and reach 300–400 by 1680.[12] Jean Althen (Hovhannès Althounian), a Persian-Armenian agronomist from Nakhchivan, is known to have introduced madder to southern France in the 1750s.[19][20][21][22] A statue of him was erected in Avignon expressing the city's gratefulness to him.[23] During his campaign in Egypt, Napoleon was presented an Armenian Mamluk named Roustam Raza. He became Napoleon's bodyguard and served him until 1814.[24][25]

Booklet of Papier d'Armenie

In the 19th century, many young Armenian males (among them poet and political activist Nahapet Rusinian and architect Nigoğayos Balyan) moved to France for education.[12] Papier d'Arménie ("Armenian Paper"), a popular deodorizing paper,[26] was created in the late 1880s by Auguste Ponsot. He visited Turkish Armenia and found out that the Armenians use benzoin resin and plant sap to disinfect their homes and churches.[27]

During the late 19th century and early 20th century, thousands of Armenians escaped persecution in their ancestral homeland that was part of the Ottoman Empire at the time. Events like the Hamidian massacres and the Adana massacre gave rise to greater Armenian emigration. By the eve of the First World War, around 4,000 Armenians lived in France.[12]

World War I and the Armenian Genocide[edit]

By the 1916 French–Armenian Agreement, the French Armenian Legion was formed out of Armenians from around the world, including many French Armenians. It took part in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and the Franco-Turkish War.

As a result of the Allied victory in the First World War, tens of thousands of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, including orphans, found themselves living in the French-occupied part of the Ottoman Empire: Cilicia and the French Mandate territories of Syria and Lebanon. In 1920, the French army under General Henri Gouraud ordered the French Armenian Legion should lay down their weapons and the Armenian refugees should leave at once. He had formed a "peaceful, reconstructive policy" with the Turkish nationalists to pull French troops out of Cilicia, and attacks against Armenian civilians resumed.[28] Most Cilician Armenian fled alongside the French and were resettled in refugee camps in Alexandretta, Aleppo, the Beqaa Valley (e.g. Anjar) and Beirut. From there, entire families took the opportunity to flee to France. The influx of the Armenian Genocide survivors brought tens of thousands of Armenians to France. By the early 1920s, approximately 50,000 to 60,000 Armenians lived in France.[29] According to another source 90,000 genocide survivors settled in France, more than half of whom were villagers.[30]

Most Armenians initially arrived in Marseille, thereafter many of them spread across France and settled in large cities, especially in Paris and the urban areas across the Paris–Marseille railway, notably Lyon. In the Interwar period, the majority of Armenians in France were unskilled villagers that mostly worked in factories for low wages.[29] Between 1922 and 1929 80% of Armenians in France were laborers. They earned 10-15% less than Frenchmen.[30]

In this period, a number of Turkish Armenian intellectuals moved to France, including Arshag Chobanian (1895),[31] Komitas (1919, transferred to a hospital in Paris where he remained until his death),[32] Levon Pashalian (1920),[33] Shahan Shahnour (1923).[34]

World War II and the Fourth Republic[edit]

Mural of Manouchian in a street in Paris

The Armenian community of France played an active role in the French Resistance. Poet and communist militant Missak Manouchian, the commander of the multiethnic Groupe Manouchian, became an important leader of la Résistance. Besides Arpen Lavitian, the executed other Armenian member, his group also included many Jews from across Europe. Poets Kégham Atmadjian and Rouben Melik were other prominent participants in the Resistance. The Anti-Fascist Underground Patriotic Organization was commanded by Armenian officers.

Resisters Alexander Kazarian and Bardukh Petrosian were awarded by the highest military orders of France by General Charles de Gaulle.[35]

Henri Karayan (1921–2011), a member of the Manouchian Group, participated in illegal distribution of Humanité in Paris and was engaged in armed struggle until the Libération.[36]

In 2012, 95-year-old Arsène Tchakarian (fr), the last survivor of the Manouchian resistance group who fought against occupying Nazi German forces during World War II, was decorated as Officer of the Legion of Honor by President Nicolas Sarkozy.[37]

Immediately after the Second World War, about 7,000 Armenians repatriated to Soviet Armenia.[38]

Migration of Armenians from the Middle East[edit]

Thousands of new immigrants arrived in France from the Middle Eastern countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Iran since the 1950s. These new immigrants mobilized the French Armenian community. By the 1980s around 300,000 Armenians lived in France.[38]

In 1983, the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia launched the an attack at the Paris Orly airport, as part of its campaign for the recognition of and reparations for the Armenian Genocide. The explosion killed eight people and injured fifty-five.[39] The campaign to pass the resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide at the European Council unleashed on June 19, 1987 at a Strasbourg demonstration.

Contemporary period[edit]

The devastating earthquake in Armenia on 7 December 1988 led to huge mobilization of the French Armenian community. Among others, Charles Aznavour established a charitable foundation in to help the victims of the earthquake.[40]

As the Institut national d'études démographiques, France's national statistics agency, does not collect data on ethnicity there is no reliable information about the number of French people of Armenian ancestry. Various experts, media and organizations have estimated the number of French Armenians to be 250,000,[41] 300,000,[3][42] 400,000,[43] 450,000,[38] 500,000,[44][45] 500,000-700,000,[46] 750,000.[47] As of 2005, there were 12,355 Armenian-born people residing in France.[48]

Culture[edit]

Language and education[edit]

Ethnologue estimates that Armenian is spoken by around 70,000 people in France.[49] Most French Armenians speak Western Armenian, while a minority (recent Armenian immigrants from Armenia and Armenians from Iran) speak Eastern Armenian.[50]

Today, Armenian classes are organized in many localities with full bilingual kindergartens and primary schools near Paris and Marseilles attended by several thousand children and youths. Armenian is currently a valid option counting toward the Baccalaureate, the French High School certificate.[citation needed]

Religion[edit]

St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Paris

The majority of the Armenian French population is of the Armenian Apostolic (Orthodox) faith and belong to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin of the Armenian Apostolic Church. A minority of Armenians belongs to the Catholic faith and are adherents of the Armenian Catholic Church. Fewer numbers are Armenian Evangelicals.

Each of the three Armenian Churches has its own organization in France, three bishoprics (Lyon, Marseille, Paris) depending from the Catholicos of All Armenians, the Eparchy of Sainte-Croix-de-Paris depending from the Armenian Catholic Church, and the Armenian Evangelical Churches Union of France, part of the Armenian Evangelical Church.

Institutions[edit]

The Armenian General Benevolent Union, one of the largest Armenian organizations in the world, headquartered in Paris between 1922 and 1940.[51]

The Armenian Social Aid Association, operating Armenian retirement homes, was founded before this period and is unique to France. National institutions, and first and foremost the Armenian Church of Paris founded in 1905, were very soon to co-exist in Paris, playing a fundamental role in defending and protecting the refugees.[citation needed]

In the municipalities with a high concentration of Armenians, there are a lot of associations in a vast array of fields ranging from the cultural (e.g. Maison de la culture arménienne de Décines in Décines, near Lyon or Radio AYP FM, in Paris), social (e.g. Maison des étudiants arméniens in Paris), sports (e.g. Union de la jeunesse arménienne d'Alfortville and Union Sportive de la Jeunesse d'Origine Arménienne de Valence (football clubs), or more specific like the Association nationale des anciens combattants et résistants arméniens or the Association des gays et lesbiennes arméniens de France.[52]

There are also umbrella organizations, the Forum des associations arméniennes de France, created in 1991,[53] and the Conseil de coordination des organisations arméniennes de France, new name since 2001 of the « Comité du 24 avril ».[54]

Media[edit]

Press
Broadcasting

France and the Armenian Genocide[edit]

France is one of the countries that has recognized the Armenian Genocide. There are monuments dedicated to the genocide victims in several cities in France, including Paris, Lyon, and Marseille.

The French Senate passed a bill in 2011 that criminalizes denial of acknowledged genocides, which includes both the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. The bill was submitted by the parliament in 2012.[55] However, the bill was considered unconstitutional on 28 February 2012 by the French Constitutional Court: "The council rules that by punishing anyone contesting the existence of ... crimes that lawmakers themselves recognised or qualified as such, lawmakers committed an unconstitutional attack on freedom of expression,".[56]

According to a 1996 survey in France 69% of respondents were aware of the Armenian Genocide, of which 75% agreed that the French government should officially recognize it.[57]

On 24 April 1965, 10,000 Armenians marched on Champs-Elysées to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the genocide.[58]

Notable French Armenians[edit]

Persons are arranged in chronological order

Music[edit]

Entertainment[edit]

Painters[edit]

Politics[edit]

Sports[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Science
Other fields

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Morris, Chris (20 January 2001). "Armenians' long battle for recognition". BBC News. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Zenian, David (1 March 1995). "The Armenians of France". AGBU News Magazine. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Gibney, Matthew J.; Hansen, Randall (2005). Immigration and asylum: from 1900 to the present. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-57607-796-2. 
  4. ^ Ararat (Armenian General Benevolent Union) 34: 2. 1993. The Armenian Diaspora of France, with almost 300,000 people, is the third largest community of Armenians in the world outside of Armenia itself (the first is in the United States, the second in Russia). 
  5. ^ a b Cohen, Robin (2008). Global Diasporas: An Introduction (2nd ed. ed.). Oxon: Routledge. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-203-92894-3. 
  6. ^ Greenwood, Tim (2012). "Armenia". In Johnson, Scott Fitzgerald. The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-999633-9. 
  7. ^ Heinzelmann, Martin (2001). Gregory of Tours: History and Society in the Sixth Century (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-521-63174-7. 
  8. ^ Buxton, David Roden (1975). Russian Mediaeval Architecture with an Account of the Transcaucasian Styles and Their Influence in the West. New York: Hacker Art Books. p. 100 Reprint of the 1934 ed. published by the Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-87817-005-0. 
  9. ^ Bournoutian, George A. (2005). A concise history of the Armenian people: (from ancient times to the present). p. 254. 
  10. ^ a b Mouradian & Ter Minassian 2003, p. 622.
  11. ^ Dédéyan 2007, p. 907: "C'est du même siècle que remonte l'alphabet mesrobien de trente-six lettres, gravé sur une niche de l'église Sainte-Marthe de Tarascon, sans doute par un pèlerin arménien qui se dirigeait vers Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle."
  12. ^ a b c d e f Mouradian & Ter Minassian 2003, p. 623.
  13. ^ Le Muséon (in French) (Louvain, Belgium: Société des lettres et des sciences) 9: 420. 
  14. ^ Wallis, Wilson D. (2003). Culture and progress. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. p. 102. ISBN 1136479406. 
  15. ^ Aslanian, Sebouh David (2010). From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-520-94757-3. 
  16. ^ Spary, E.C. (2013). Eating the Enlightenment: Food and the Sciences in Paris, 1670–1760. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-226-76888-5. 
  17. ^ McCabe, Ina Baghdiantz (2008). Orientalism in Early Modern France: Eurasian Trade, Exoticism and the Ancient Regime. Oxford: Berg. p. 188. ISBN 978-1-84520-374-0. 
  18. ^ Wild, Antony (2005). Coffee: a dark history (1st American ed. ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. p. 59. ISBN 0393060713. 
  19. ^ Dédéyan 2007, p. 919.
  20. ^ Henri, Michel (2000). "Հայազգի ժան Ալթենը՝ Ֆրանսիայում բամբակի և տորոնի մշակության առաջնեկ [Armenian J. Althen - a Pioneer of Adoption of the Cultivation of Cotton and Rubia tinctorum in France]". Patma-Banasirakan Handes (in Armenian) (Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences) (2): 188–195. ISSN 0135-0536. 
  21. ^ United States Department of Agriculture (1848). Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture ... : Report of the Secretary of Agriculture. Reports of Chiefs. United States Government Printing Office. p. 192. 
  22. ^ Bradshaw, George (1807). Bradshaw's Illustrated Hand Book to France. London. p. 110. 
  23. ^ Sayyāḥ, Muḥammad ʻAlī (1999). An Iranian in Nineteenth Century Europe: The Travel Diaries of Haj Sayyah, 1859–1877. Bethesda, Maryland: Ibex Publishers. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-936347-93-6. 
  24. ^ Strathern, Paul (2009). Napoleon in Egypt. New York: Bantam Books. p. 381. ISBN 978-0-553-38524-3. 
  25. ^ McGregor, Andrew James (2006). A Military History of Modern Egypt: From the Ottoman Conquest to the Ramadan War. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-275-98601-8. 
  26. ^ Barnes, David S. (2006). The Great Stink of Paris and the Nineteenth-Century Struggle Against Filth and Germs. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-8018-8349-1. 
  27. ^ Jean-Paul Labourdette, Dominique Auzias, Dominique Auzias (2010). Petit Futé Paris, Ile de France (in French). Paris: Le Petit Futé. p. 311. ISBN 978-2-7469-2778-0. En 1888, Auguste Ponsot, en voyage dans l'Empire ottoman, se rend en Armenie. Il decouvre que les habitants parfument et desinfectent leurs maisons en faisant bruler du benjoin, la resine d'un arbre. De retour en France, il met au point le papier d'Armenie dans son petit labrotoire de Montrouge. 
  28. ^ Seventh Year of the War - 1920
  29. ^ a b Mouradian & Ter Minassian 2003, p. 624.
  30. ^ a b Ghasabian 2001, p. 168.
  31. ^ Hacikyan 2005, p. 681.
  32. ^ Walker, Christopher J. (1990). Armenia: The Survival of a Nation (revised second ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 430. ISBN 978-0-312-04230-1. 
  33. ^ Hacikyan 2005, p. 612.
  34. ^ Norashkharian, Shant. "Shahan Shahnour". University of Michigan-Dearborn. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  35. ^ Seven songs about Armenia, Gevorg Emin, Progress, 1981 - p. 37
  36. ^ Henri Karayan, un engagement pour la liberté et l'universalisme, 2011
  37. ^ "Tchakarian officier de la légion d'honneur". Le Figaro (in French). 3 February 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  38. ^ a b c Mouradian & Ter Minassian 2003, p. 625.
  39. ^ "AROUND THE WORLD; French Hold Armenians In Orly Airport Bombing". The New York Times. 9 October 1983. 
  40. ^ a b Adalian 2010, p. 201.
  41. ^ Thon, Caroline (2012). Armenians in Hamburg: an ethnographic exploration into the relationship between diaspora and success. Berlin: LIT Verlag Münster. p. 25. ISBN 978-3-643-90226-9. 
  42. ^ "French Parliament Adopts Genocide Bill". Asbarez. 18 January 2001. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  43. ^ Auron, Yair (2005). The banality of denial: Israel and the Armenian genocide. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7658-0834-9. 
  44. ^ "France passes Armenia genocide law". Al Jazeera. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  45. ^ "French Senate Eyes Genocide Bill; Turkey Bristles". Dawn. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  46. ^ Totoricaguena, Gloria (2005). Basque diaspora : migration and transnational identity. Reno: University of Nevada Press. p. 403. ISBN 978-1-877802-45-4. France has the largest Armenian community in Europe, estimated at between five hundred thousand and seven hundred thousand ... 
  47. ^ Taylor, Tony (2008). Denial: history betrayed. Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Publishing. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-522-85482-4. 
  48. ^ "Population by sex, age group and country of birth". Eurostat. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  49. ^ "France". Ethnologue. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  50. ^ Bardakjian, Kevork B., ed. (2000). A Reference Guide to Modern Armenian Literature, 1500–1920: With an Introductory History. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-8143-2747-0. 
  51. ^ "General Assembly & Centennial Gala in Paris, France". Armenian General Benevolent Union. 9 December 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2013. ... in Paris, the home of the organizations' central office from 1922 to 1940. 
  52. ^ Liste des associations arméniennes de France, Netarménie
  53. ^ Diaspora en France - Les Associations, site de l'Association Culturelle Arménienne de Marne-la-Vallée
  54. ^ Statuts du Conseil de coordination des organisations arméniennes de France, liste des organisations membres du Conseil de coordination des organisations arméniennes de France
  55. ^ French Senate passes bill outlawing genocide denial, France 24, 23 January 2012.
  56. ^ French genocide law 'unconstitutional' rules court, France 24, 28 February 2012
  57. ^ Videlier, Philippe (2011). "French Society and the Armenian Genocide". In Hovannisian, Richard G.. The Armenian Genocide: Cultural and Ethical Legacies. Transaction Publishers. p. 332. 
  58. ^ a b Marc, Epstein; Alain, Louyot (25 February 1993). "Arméniens de France: la mémoire intacte". L'Express (in French). Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  59. ^ "Jacques Hélian". OVGuide. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
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  61. ^ "Michel Legrand is in Yerevan". Public Radio of Armenia. 20 October 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  62. ^ "Danyel Gerard". Olympia. Retrieved 30 January 2014. Gérard Daniel Kherlakian, dit Danyel Gérard, est né à Paris le 7 mars 1939, d'un père arménien et d'une mère corse d'origine antillaise. 
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  68. ^ "Alice Sapritch Resume" (in French). L'Express. Retrieved 2 February 2014. Alice Sapritch, de son vrai nom Alice Sapric, née le 29 juillet 1916 à Ortaköy à Turquie et morte le 24 mars 1990 à Paris, est une actrice et chanteuse d'origine arménienne naturalisée française. 
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  71. ^ "Francis Veber : " Je ne me prends pas au sérieux "". presse.fr (in French). 3 October 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2014. De père juif et de mère arménienne, Francis Veber ... 
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  80. ^ Marsh, David (2011). The Euro. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 1956. ISBN 978-0-300-17390-1. Chirac's appointee as finance minister - effectively No. 2 to the prime minister - was the prime, precisely-worded Edouard Balladur, born in Turkey of an Armenian family who emigrated to Marseille in the 1930s. 
  81. ^ Dogan, Mattei, ed. (2003). Elite Configurations at the Apex of Power. Leiden: Brill Publishers. p. 41. ISBN 978-90-04-12808-8. Edouard Balladur, former prime minister, is the grandson of an Armenian immigrant 
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Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]