A woman dressed in an Armenian national costume
is placing the soil from Nansen's grave into
the wall of Tsitsernakaberd memorial.
"Charity is real policy," said benefactor
Fridtjof Nansen, who in his heart created a blissful
country where everyone could find a shelter irrespective
of religion and nationality.
Wednesday, on the eve of the 88th anniversary
of the Armenian Genocide, soil taken from Nansen's
grave in Oslo, Norway, was inserted into the wall
of Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan. A memorial
stone bearing his name was placed next to nine
previously honored foreigners who offered help
to Armenians during the Genocide. Others include
American diplomat Henry Morgenthau, Austrian writer
Franz Werfel, French writer Anatole France and
Pope Benedict XV.
A mass for the dead was offered in memory of
Nansen. Archbishop Shahe Atchemyan delivered words
of greeting and good wishes on behalf of Catholicos
of All Armenians and quoted Nansen: "For
me it's hard to believe that someone can get acquainted
with the history of this remarkable people without
being deeply shocked of their tragedy."
Defender of small nations, Nobel Peace Prize
Laureate, North Pole explorer and scientist, Nansen
compared the planet to a big human heart, with
a heartbeat conditioned by the right of each particle
to live humanly. His several books and scientific
works written about the Armenian plight and Armenian
people, are true evidence of the crime.
people came to witness this ceremony significant
for Armenia and the Armenians.
In his book "Armenia and the Near East"
he wrote: "The Armenian issue is the most
howling shame of the civilized world."
Nansen was a member of the Norwegian delegation
of the League of Nations. When the Armenian Question
was being discussed there he gave a speech in
which he said: "While you are drawing borders
here the whole nation is being slaughtered there;
while you are dividing country here, will there
be any people left to reside there?"
Nansen may best be remembered for what became
known as "Nansen Passports", documents
that allowed refugees into countries that previously
had not accepted Armenians fleeing Turkey.
photo of Fridtjof Nansen was brought from
Norway to the museum.
"Since 1924 up to now my father has sacredly
been keeping that passport, which became an instrument
of feeling like a human man in a foreign country.
That passport gifted him with a soul," recalls
president of Armenian-Italian "Truth For
Armenia" international committee Pietro Kuchukyan,
who participated at the ceremony of taking soil
from Nansen's grave on March 14.
Head of the National Assembly of Armenia Armen
Khachatryan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Vartan
Oskanian, numerous academicians, political and
public figures participated at the ceremony. They
delivered words of homage and paid tribute to
the Great Benefactor.
"This day shows that Armenians will never
forget those people who assisted and were kindhearted
towards us," Oskanian said. "The process
of international recognition shows that the day
will come when the Armenian Genocide will enter
the world history."
Nansen's day of memory started and ended with
the same words of praise: "Nansen was great
as a scientist, greater as a North Pole explorer
and the greatest as a man."