Assyrians on the road to Tabriz

The Assyrian refugees in this picture had recently survived a raid by local Kurds. The raiders took all of the refugees’ possessions — even their clothing. Near East Relief provided the refugees with food and clothing as they tried to return home to Tabriz. This photograph appeared in the May 1922 issue of the New Near East magazine.

Boys’ Orphanage in Tabriz, Persia

The Near East Relief orphanage for boys in Tabriz, Persia. Tabriz was the site of Near East Relief’s administration for all of Persia. The orphanage housed an estimated 1,000 boys at its height. This was the last Near East Relief orphanage in Persia; it closed in 1927 when the final children were outplaced.

New Year’s Celebration at the Tabriz orphanage

Children at the Near East Relief orphanage in Tabriz, Persia. The children appear to be celebrating the New Year.

Arshaloys Haroutounian is in the fourth row, third from the back. Arshaloys received her surname at the orphanage; she never knew her original family name. Hagob Hagobian is in the back row with his two brothers. When Hagob left the orphanage he became a truck driver — a lucrative job. He returned to Tabriz with the intention of finding and marrying a girl who was an orphan there. He found Arshaloys, who was working as a servant in a private home. The two were married.

Story and photograph courtesy of Ani Bagdasarian Semerjian.