At a picnic in Nevshehir/ Nevşehir. Among other people, the Atamian and Erkeletian family members can be seen in the photograph (Detail from the original photo).

Shukurian/Erkel collection - Paris, France

The Shukurian/Erkel collection was put at our disposal by Silvie Erkel (born Shukurian), who currently resides in Paris.

This collection includes archives from Nevshehir/Nevşehir and Bursa.

Silvie is married to Nazareth Erkeletian, who was born in 1926. Nazareth’s parents are: Mihran Erkeletian and Mariam Erkeletian (born Atamian); Nazareth was a merchant who used to live in Istanbul. Mihran and Mariam also had another son, Atamig, who was born in Nevshehir/Nevşehir in 1912. The latter was a doctor, who had studied in Belgium; Atamig had settled in Paris after WWII and lived there until his death.

Silvie’s parents hailed from Bursa; her mother’s name was Eliza Shukurian (born Mouradian) and her father’s name was Krikor Shukurian.

Nevshehir/Nevşehir, circa 1914.

Seated from left to right are: Mariam Erkeletian (born Atamian), the small boy sitting on the floor is Atamig Erketelian (Mariam’s son), and father Hovhannes Vartabed (priest) Atamian (Mariam’s paternal uncle). The two girls standing are the daughters of Senekerim, Mariam’s paternal uncle, whose names are unknown.

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1) The wife and daughters of Eliza Shukurian’s (born Mouradian, Silvie’s mother) maternal uncle. From left to right: Arpine (seated), the name of the girl holding a hula hoop is unknown, the boy behind is Sarkis, the seated woman is the children’s mother, name unknown.

2) Istanbul, beginning of the 1940’s. The Shukurian family – Eliza Shukurian (born Mouradian, 1904-1987) and her husband Krikor Shukurian (1884-1975). Their children Berdj (on the left) and Silvie (on the right) are in the front row.

Nevshehir/ Nevşehir, members of the Atamian family. From left to right are: Hovhanness Vartabed Atamian, Mariam Atamian (Father Hovhanness’ niece), and Mariam’s father, probably (name unknown). Photographer: the Stepanian brothers, Kayseri/Gesaria.

The Atamian and Erkeletian families, Nevshehir/ Nevşehir.

Seated from left to right are: Mihran Erkeletian and Father Hovhannes Vartabed Atamian. Standing from left to right are: Mgrditch Erkeletian (Mihran’s little brother), Mariam Erkeletian (born Atamian) (she is Mihran’s wife), the third person standing is the wife of Mariam’s paternal uncle, Senekerim, who immigrated to the United States (name unknown), the last person is Atamig Erkeletian (Mihran and Mariam’s son, who was born in 1912).

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1) The Atamian family members photographed in the 1920’s, probably in Istanbul. Seated from left to right are: Senekerim Atamian and his brother Father Hovhannes Atamian. Standing from left to right are: Senekerim’s daughter, his wife, and his other daughter (their names are unknown).

2) Father Hovhannes Atamian.

At a picnic in Nevshehir/Nevşehir, probably right after WWI. The Atamian and Erkeletian family members can be seen in the photograph; we have no information as to how these families survived the Genocide.

First row, to the left, sitting in front of the plate full of grapes is Atamig Erkeletian (Mihran and Mariam’s son), a little to the right is Mgrditch Erkeletian (Mihran’s little brother) who is holding a bunch of grapes in his hand and has his feet in the water.

Second row, to the left of the picture, right behind the bottle is Mihran Erkeletian. A little to the right, the person with the black beard wearing black is Father Hovhannes Atamian.

To the far back, in the women’s row, the first from the left is: Mariam’s paternal uncle, Senekerim’s wife (name unknown). In the same row, the woman second from last, wearing black and with a little smile on her face, is Mariam Atamian (Mihran’s wife).

This is an unparalleled photo. There seems to also be a theatrical staging probably upon the photographer’s request. We see that the children have removed their hats and hold them in their hands instead. The majority of the men hold cigarettes in their hands, most probably still unlit, they seem to be holding the cigarettes just for the photo. Father Hovhannes Atamian also has a cigarette in his hand; there is something else in his other hand, which he seems to be passing on to the person next to him. Is it a cigarette box or a small Bible? To the right of the photograph, there is a man who has a small baby on his lap; the baby is half naked, presumably to explicitly show that he is a male; this was a recurring phenomenon that we see in many photos from that period.

Some of those in the front row have their feet in the stream or brook, something that gives more radiance to this beautiful panorama. One of the watermelons is cut and displayed alongside the bottle (raki or wine?) as decoration in the front row of the photograph.  

All the women are sitting/standing in the same back row; this is also probably part of the photographer’s scheme and at the same time insinuates gender-related social conduct.

To the far back of the photograph we see three horses (or mules), they have feedbags, full of most probably straw, hanging from their chins. A boy guards the animals, he wears a villager’s attire that differs from the others’, as such we can assume that he accompanied the group as their helper.

A detail from the photo above.

First row, to the left, sitting in front of the plate full of grapes is Atamig Erkeletian (Mihran and Mariam’s son), also in the first row, to the right is Mgrditch Erkeletian (Mihran’s little brother) who is holding a bunch of grapes in his hand and has his feet in the water. Mihran Erkeletian is sitting right behind the bottle, with a cigarette in his hand. While, a little to the right, the person with the black beard wearing black is Father Hovhannes Atamian.

Three other details from the same photograph.

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1) Hovhannes Hintlian (1866-1950), one of the founding members of the Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts (H.M.E.M., Homenetmen), Istanbul, 1918. During the Kemalist regime, Hintlian continued to reside in Istanbul and lived there until his death. In Istanbul, he was also a founding member of the “Nor Tbrots” (New School) school (in 1909), which continued until the 1980’s. Hintlian’s photograph is part of the Shukurian family archive given that he was a close family friend.

2) Mgrditch Vartabed Erkeletian, Mary and Mihran’s son who was born in 1919. He was later ordained a catholic priest in Rome. He died in Istanbul in 1960. Here he is photographed in Rome.

3) Mgrditch Vartabed Erkeletian.

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1) & 2) Ohannes Erkeletian’s school diploma from the Order of the Armenian Catholic Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Samatya (Istanbul), academic year 1945-1946. Ohannes was born in 1933.

3) & 4) Mannig/Silva (Silvie) Shukurian’s (later Erkeletian) school diploma from the Order of the Armenian Catholic Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Samatya (Istanbul), academic year 1945-1946.

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Silvie Shukurkian’s (later Erkeletian) father, Krikor Shukurian’s Turkish passport. He was born in Bursa.

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Silvie Shukurkian’s (later Erkeletian) mother, Eliza Shukurian’s (born Mouradian) Turkish passport. She was born in Bursa.

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Hovhannes Vartabed Atamian’s Turkish passport. He was born in Nevshehir/ Nevşehir in 1878.

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Hovhannes Vartabed Atamian’s Turkish passport. He was born in Nevshehir/ Nevşehir in 1878.