Aleppo, 1930s. This photograph, originally in black and white, was digitally colorized using Scroll down for the original photograph.

Deyirmendjian-Djebedjian Family – Ayntab, Aleppo, Beirut

30/12/23 (Last modified 30/12/23) - Translator: Simon Beugekian

Over the years, Houshamadyan has published numerous family collections of various types, from many corners of the world. We have noticed that in some cases, the families who contacted us had very few artifacts or memory items in their possession. Whatever had been rescued from their ancestral homelands was lost or ruined during the years of the genocide, to various disasters (wars, exile, etc.) in the countries that these families reached after being deported, or to neglect. In contrast, some families have provided us with orderly collections of photographs and items that they have inherited, chronicling their ancestors’ experiences from their years living in the Ottoman Empire to the post-Genocide era when they created new lives in new lands.

The collection we present today falls in neither category. We have not been able to establish contact with the descendants of the individuals who appear in these photographs. It is a collection of more than 100 photographs. The last steward of this collection passed away in Lebanon, after which it was saved from obscurity by Ani Boujikanian, who also kindly provided it to Houshamadyan.

This is the story of how this collection made its way from Beirut to Berlin, to the Houshamadyan office. We have no oral testimonies regarding these families. We have used the inscriptions that appear on the back of some photographs to reconstruct fragments of their history. We were also able to find some information on the family in primary sources related to Ayntab Armenians, which allowed us to reconstruct certain missing episodes of the families’ past.

The Deyirmendjian and Djebedjian Families

The photographs in the collection most frequently feature Armenouhi Deyirmendjian, which leads us to conclude that at least a significant portion of the collection belonged to her. Other frequently featured individuals include Hagop, Levon, and Nerses Deyirmendjian, who were respectively Armenouhi’s brothers and father. The Deyirmendjian family hailed from Ayntab, and Armenouhi, too, was most probably born in Ayntab. The Deyirmendjians were related to the Djebedjian family, and for that reason, many of the individuals appearing in the photographs are identified by the surname Djebedjian.

Armenouhi Deyirmendjian, too, was undoubtedly born in Ayntab. The photographs in the collection indicate that later, she attended school in Aleppo – the city that became the permanent home of her family after the Armenian Genocide and the events of the 1920s in Ayntab. She graduated from the American Aleppo College. The photographs attest to Armenouhi’s active involvement in Armenian social and cultural life in Aleppo in the 1930s and 1940s. The collection leaves the impression that Armenouhi was unmarried. A package that she received from the United States in 1947 was addressed to “Miss Armenouhi.” We do not know when or how Armenouhi died.

A few of the photographs in the collection were taken in Ayntab by the Halladjian Studio, one of the most prominent photographic studios in the city. We know that several of the members of the Djebedjian family that appear in the photographs left Ayntab before 1915 and moved to Cairo (Egypt). Among these was Haroutyun Djebedjian, who appears in more than one of the photographs.

Haroutyun Djebedjian: He graduated in 1890 from the Vartanian School of Ayntab. He was a merchant, and he settled down in Egypt in the late 19th century. There, he and his brother Armenag continued expanding their business, headquartered in the city of Mansoura. Haroutyun Djebedjian returned to Ayntab in 1910, where, alongside Kalousd Ghazarian, he founded the local chapter of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). When the Cilician Lyceum (secondary school) was founded in Ayntab in 1912, the brothers Haroutyun and Armenag promised to donate a printing press to the new institution, which would allow it to have its own publishing house. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the First World War and the start of the Armenian Genocide made it impossible to keep this promise. Haroutyun Djebedjian was also one of the founders of Cairo’s Lousaper Armenian newspaper (1904-1908), which was edited by another Ayntab native living in Egypt, Vahan Kurkdjian.

As for the nature of the relation between the Deyirmendjian and Djebedjian families, we know that Dikran Djebedjian (1888-1962) was married to Anitsa Deyirmendjian. Presumably, Anitsa was Nerses Agha Deyirmendjian’s daughter, as well as the sister of Armenouhi Deyirmendjian, who appears frequently in these photographs. Dikran Djebedjian was one of a family of nine, who were deported to Der Zor in 1915. These included Dikran’s father, Kevork Agha; his sister, Araksi Djebedjian; and his brother, Yervant Djebedjian, who was a young and promising violinist. Dikran was the sole survivor from his family. Later, when he married Anitsa in Aleppo, his first daughter and son were named Araksi and Yervant, respectively, in memory of Dikran’s siblings who had had died in Der Zor.

Araksi Djebedjian (1880-1916): She was born in Ayntab. In 1894, she graduated from the Hayganoushian School of Ayntab. In 1907, she graduated from the American seminar of Ayntab. She then left for Marash, where she attended classes at the American Girls’ College. In 1909, she returned to Ayntab where she served as the principal of the Grtasirats Girls’ School. By 1910, she was serving as a teacher at the Girls’ School of Marash. In 1912, she left for Great Britain, where she attended theology classes at Woodbrook College. She then returned to Marash, then Ayntab. In 1915, she and her family were deported to Der Zor. Zeki Bey was the mayor of the city, and the main organizer of the massacres of local Armenians. When the massacres began, Zeki Bey suggested to Araksi that she convert to Islam and marry him. Araksi refused, upon which, Zeki Bey shot her dead with his own gun.

Nerses (Nerso) Deyirmendjian: He was born in Ayntab. He was one of the founders of the Haygazian School in Ayntab (1884). For many years, he served as a member of the school’s board of trustees. He was a merchant who exported Ayntab manisa, and he was also a master manisa weaver.


  • Kevork Sarafian, Badmoutyun Ayntabi Hayots [History of Ayntab Armenians], volume B, Los Angeles, 1953.
  • Vosgemadyan Haygagan Parekordzagan Unthanour Miyoutian, 1906-1931 [Golden Book of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, 1906-1931], volume A, Paris.
  • Krikor Bogharian, Ayntabagank, volume B, Mahartsan (obituaries, eulogies, and biographical notes), Atlas Press, Beirut, 1974.

Aleppo – School Life

Celebrations and Nature Excursions in Aleppo

The oldest photographs in the collection are those taken in Ayntab. In later years, we find members of the Deyirmendjian and Djebedjian families in Aleppo, where they settled down, like most Armenian survivors from Ayntab. Most of the photographs in the collection were taken in this city or in its environs, and they most frequently feature Armenouhi Deyirmendjian. She usually appears in group photographs, taken during trips and nature excursions into the area around Aleppo. Armenouhi usually appears happy and joyful, the landscape is beautiful, and she is surrounded by friends and family. Food, drink, musical instruments, and phonographs commonly feature in these photographs.

August 4, 1938.
August 4, 1938.

These photographs, originally in black and white, were digitally colorized using Scroll up and down for the original photographs.

1937, Aleppo. Photo Adonis, Alep
The inscription on the back of this photograph provides the names of some of the individuals appearing in it: Armenouhi Deyirmendjian, Gulenia, Jemile, Lydia, Lousin Balian, and Arpine.
Aleppo. Saatlu Khan, May 1931. Armenouhi Deyirmendjian is in the front row, second from the left. In the center is a phonograph.
May 19, 1932. Aleppo. One of the girls is holding a mandolin.
May 19, 1932.
Armenouhi Deyirmendjian is seated, second from the right. 1931.
Photo Gulbenk, Alep.
September 1933. Bostan [garden or park] Anvara (?), Aleppo.
Angel Demirdjian, Hripsime Gudoyan, Efronia Basmadjian, Hripsime Barsamian, Anayis Melikian, Alice Mihranian, and Makrouhi Kasamanian. Seated: Armenouhi Deyirmendjian.
First from the left is probably Armenouhi Deyirmendjian. Photo Arax, Aleppo.
1934, Sebil, Aleppo.
May 1936. Aleppo.
May 1935. Djengie Park, Aleppo. A nature excursion organized by the Grtasirats School.
Aleppo, May 15, 1937. Photo Diana.
Armenouhi Deyirmendjian is probably on the very left. Photo Arrax, Aleppo.
Armenouhi Deyirmendjian is probably on the very left. Photo Arrax, Aleppo.
Photographed around a noria.
June 1931, Aleppo. Armenouhi Deyirmendjian is probably standing in the first row, second from the right.
1937, Aleppo. Photo Adonis.
May 13, 1931, Aleppo.
1928, Aleppo.
1927, Aleppo.
May 28, 1930. Aleppo.
Summer of 1931, Aleppo.
1929, Aleppo.
August 4, 1938. Aleppo.
1931. Bostan Khalase (?), Aleppo.
August 4, 1938. Aleppo.

Family Photographs

Probably Armenouhi Deyirmendjian.
Rahel Deyirmendjian (left) and Nerses Deyirmendjian (right).
Garabed Djebedjian, Haroutyun Djebedjian, and Armenag Djebedjian. Most probably photographed in Egypt.
February 16, 1938. Aleppo.
Viken and Asbed Momdjian, Aleppo, Easter 1953. Photo Sidva – Alep.
Armenouhi Deyirmendjian is probably on the left.
Probably Araksi Djebedjian (Dikran and Anitsa’s daughter), Aleppo, 1922.
Seated, on the left, is Nerses Deyirmendjian. Standing, on the right, is Dikran Djebedjian. In the center is Yervant Djebedjian.
Nerses Deyirmendjian (seated).
The inscription on the back of the photograph reads: “Dear uncle B. Levon Deyirmendjian. I have learned to play the violin quite well. I kiss your cheeks. 1936, 10 Oct. Yervant Djeredjian.” Yervant was Dikran Djeredjian’s son. He was named after Dikran’s brother, Yervant, a master violinist, who was killed in Der Zor during the Genocide.
Wedding photograph, Aleppo. The groom is probably Yervant Djebedjian.

Photographs Taken outside of Aleppo

The children are unidentified. In the background is the steeple of the Saint Nishan Church of Beirut.

The Deukmejian Family, California

George Deukmejian (1928-2018) was the son of Courken and Alice Deukmejian. George’s father was born in Ayntab, and later emigrated to the United States. George’s mother was also Armenian and hailed from Erzurum. George was born in the state of New York. He was also called Courken Deukmejian, Jr. He was a prominent figure in American politics and served as the governor of California from 1983 to 1991.

George Deukmejian appears in this family collection because his wife, Gloria Deukmejian (nee Saatjian), was related to the Deyirmendjian family. We believe that Gloria’s mother was Nerses and Rahel Deyirmendjian’s daughter.