After many years of attending AYF Camp as a camper and then a counselor, I joined the camp’s committee and management and came to a realization that it was time to join the AYF. I have been a part of the La Crescenta “Zartonk” Chapter for almost 3 years now and dedicate a lot of my time and effort into the Armenian community. I have come to learn a lot about my heritage and myself ever since doing so. Taking this step has also taught me a lot about other cultures with similar struggles and has opened a lot of doors for me to gain knowledge about my family and ancestor’s past.
I’ve always learned from my mother, grandmother and great-uncle about our family history but it wasn’t until recently that I found out about who my great-grandfather was and what he did that really made me realize what an impact my role makes in the AYF. It gives me a great sense of pride to learn that my great-grandfather fought with some of the greatest figures of the ARF.
Today, we work and fight in a far different way than that of my great-grandfather and our other ancestors. We fight for what we believe in more with our words and our actions, yes, but I can only imagine how it must have felt for someone to once leave home with only a weapon, on horse or on foot, with only a small chance of return.
Name: Yeghishe Pahlavuni Relation: Great Grandfather Hometown: Igdir
My family traces its roots to the Pahlavunis, an Armenian noble family during the last years of the Bagratuni royal dynasty. The famous Amberd “fortress in the clouds” and Bjni were built and controlled by my family, the Pahlavunis.
My great-grandfather, Yeghishe Pahlavuni, carried on this noble tradition by serving as a heroic and well respected figure in the Armenian national liberation movement.
Born in Igdir in 1884, my great-grandfather finished his schooling in his hometown and went on to study in military academies in Russia and Poland. In his youth he befriended General Dro and was a pupil of Avedis Aharonian. His house was frequently visited by generals, freedom fighters, and revolutionary activists.
He became a fedayi and participated in numerous battles as a commander alongside the legendary General Antranik, Kerri and Ishkhan during WWI. He helped defend and liberate many towns and villages from the Tatars in the oil fields of Baku in Azerbaijan, which was home to a large number of Armenians at the time. As one of the leaders, he organized the evacuation of those Armenians towards Enzeli in northern Iran when the Turks occupied Baku in 1918. We was then summoned to help in Armenia where, during the Armeno-Turkish war, he was captured as a POW for over a year. He later returned to Armenia, only to be captured again, this time by the CHEKA, the Soviet secret police. He was exiled to Tashkent-Siberia but managed to escape and eventually make his way to Tabriz, Iran in 1925.
He dedicated his whole life to the ARF and the Armenian Cause, especially in the Iranian Armenian community where he lived the last 35 years of his life. He died on February 3, 1961, in Tehran, at the age of 76.