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Zouvart Seloian Alexanian (1909-2006)

An Armenian-American survivor of the Armenian Genocide, Zauvart Seloian was born in 1909 in Diyarbakir, a city now in the southeastern part of Turkey but then part of the Ottoman Empire. Diyarbakir had already seen a massacre of some 25,000 Armenians in 1895 and as a young child Zauvart was caught up in the much deadlier genocide of 1915. The genocide grew to include hundreds of thousands of Armenian men murdered or forced into labor camps, widespread rape and murder of women, and mass deportations carried out under brutal and inhuman conditions. Fortunately, Mrs. Alexanian survived the “Great Crime” that claimed the lives of more than a million Armenians and displaced many more.

At some point afterward, she moved to Aleppo, in the Syrian Arab Republic, and married Misak Alexanian (1896-1985). Misak had immigrated to the United States in 1921 and resided in Providence, Rhode Island. The couple boarded the S.S. Sinaia in Beirut in 1931, bound for Providence.

The Alexanians owned and operated the Gaspee Lunch restaurant in Providence, at Cranston and Dodge Streets, for many years. Mrs. Alexanian was an active member of Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Aremenian Apostolic Church in Providence, a former member of its Ladies Guild, and a member of the Armenian General Benevolent Union.

Mrs. Alexanian died on August 23, 2006, at the age of 97, and was buried at the North Burial Ground, which also contains the Armenian Martyr’s Memorial dedicated to the memory of those who did not survive. Read More...

Erik Christiansen, PhD, Rhode Island College