Arshavir Shiragian's passport photo in 1919
|Died||April 12, 1973 (aged 72–73)|
|Resting place||Hackensack Cemetery|
|Known for||Assassinating Cemal Azmi, Said Halim Pasha, Behaeddin Shakir, and Vahe Ihsan|
|Political party||Armenian Revolutionary Federation|
Arshavir Shirakian (also Shiragian, Armenian: Արշաւիր Շիրակեան; January 1, 1902 or1900 – April 12, 1973) was an Armenian writer who was noted for his assassination of Said Halim Pasha and Cemal Azmi as an act of vengeance for their roles in the Armenian Genocide. He is also noted for writing his memoirs The Will of the Martyrs (Կտակն էր Նահատակներուն) which provide an accurate description of his life during the Armenian Genocide and the Operation Nemesis.
Arshavir Shirakian was born in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire in 1900. Shirakian grew up around many members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. During the Armenian Genocide, Shirakian was entrusted the job of smuggling weapons and delivering secret messages amongst party members. Shirakian would describe in his memoirs that during those days, there were many hate rallies against Armenians and that many Armenian establishments were vandalized such as the Tokatlian Hotel.
Arshavir Shirakian's first target was assassinating Armenian traitor Vahe Ihsan (Yesayan). According to his memoirs, Vahe Ihsan was "a traitor who was despised by his countrymen, his relatives, and eventually by his own children" and "helped to draw up the list of prominent Armenians who were arrested and deported in 1915." Shirakian assassinated Ihsan on March 27, 1920 in Constantinople.
Shirakian was given the task to assassinate Sait Halim Pasha while he was in exile in Rome, Italy. Shirakian took up residence in a house on 28 Via Cola di Rienzo in Rome. On December 5, 1921, Shirakian assassinated Sait Halim Pasha while he was in a taxi on the home on Via Eustachio.
Shirakian, along with Aram Yerganian, was later given the task to assassinate both Cemal Azmi and Behaeddin Shakir, who were in Berlin. On April 17, 1922, Shirakian and Yerganian encountered Azmi and Shakir walking with their families at the Uhlandstrasse street. Shirakian managed to kill only Azmi and wound Shakir. Yerganian later ran after Shakir and managed to kill him with a shot to his head.
Arshavir Shirakian eventually married his wife Kayane and moved to New York in 1923, where they had a daughter, Sonia. He also was active in public life in the New York/New Jersey area and its Armenian community. He published his memoirs in 1965 entitled "Կտակն էր նահատակներուն" (English: It Was the Legacy of the Martyrs). The memoirs were eventually translated into French (La dette du sang, 1982 and 1984), English (The Legacy, 1976, by Sonia Shiragian) and Italian (Condannato A Uccidere: Memorie di un Patriota Armeno, 2005, by Vasken Pambakian). Shirakian died in 1973 at the age of 73 and is buried in the Hackensack Cemetery in New Jersey. His daughter, Sonia, currently lives in South Carolina with her daughter Elizabeth Poston.
He is recognized and honored as a national hero by Armenians.
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