Sympathy and Exclusion: The Migration of Child and Women Survivors of the Armenian Genocide from the Eastern Mediterranean to Canada, 1923–1930
Author: Daniel Ohanian
This academic journal article by Daniel Ohanian concerns the migration of the Georgetown Boys and Girls—children and women who had survived the Armenian Genocide—to Canada.
In 1918, some 500,000 Ottoman Armenians found themselves displaced from their homes or living in Muslim households in the Eastern Mediterranean and the South Caucasus. For most, life did not return to normal after WWI. Rather, new wars, war scares, political maneuverings, economic policies, famines, and epidemics during 1918–1930 resulted in a long-term refugee crisis that was responded to by a large number of Armenian and non-Armenian organizations. This article looks at one such response: the humanitarian relocation to Canada of 110 boys and 39 girls and women all genocide refugees and most of them orphans. It traces how this relocation campaign was realized despite Canadian immigration authorities’ long-standing efforts to keep Asians, the impoverished, and the stateless from entering the country. Breaking with the often simplistic and celebratory tone of the literature on humanitarian aid to Ottoman Armenians, this article discusses how the Canadian fundraising campaigns of 1880–1922 were a liability for this subsequent relocation project, and it pays special attention to the people and ideas that opposed it.