France

Field study in France was conducted between June and July, in Paris and Marseilles. For preparations, the project coordinator and a project assistant has traveled to France in early May, which is also the date that a dissemination activity has taken place. After the determination of interviewees, a number of interviews were conducted in Marseilles between 15th and 20th of June, and in Paris between 25th of June and 7th of July. As a result of the field study, several connections were established with local Armenian NGOs, at the same time encounters developed with the Armenian community.

Considering the field study in Marseilles, taken place between 15th and 20th of June, the project coordinator and two project assistants have accomplished 14 interviews of which 7 was women. Also, between 25th of June and 7th of July, another field study has been completed with 10 Armenians with the contribution of the project coordinator and three project assistants.

On 26th of May, at Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales (EHESS) Paris, the project coordinator Derya Fırat has given a lecture concerning the first three stages of research project that includes Turkey, Armenia and Lebanon. This lecture was open to public and mostly attended by EHESS graduate students along with scholars, and Armenian community in France. Further information about the lecture can be found on the website: https://www.ehess.fr/fr/professeur-invit%C3%A9/firat

At the same time, the research team has participated in the Water Festival of the Nazarpek group that took place on 3rd of July. In this respect, the research team obtained the opportunity to make observations and develop further connections with the Armenian community.

The importance of France in relation to Armenian Genocide lies within the fact that the country was a point of leverage for the deported Armenians. As a result, many who has escaped and survived the massacres have seek refuge in the shores of Southern France in their attempt to reach Europe and US. One of the significant representations of this attempt in cinema is the movie of Henri Verneuil called “Mayrig” (1991). Most of the interviewees and the Armenians we have encountered mentioned well about this movie, which in depth surveys the sorrowful journey of Armenians, their adaptation processes and reactions received, thus in other words, the constitution of Armenian diaspora.

As long years past since this constitution, Armenians living in France can be considered as a community well-integrated within society as a result of the assimilation policies in the country. An important memory milestone, particularly for the Hınchakian Party members, can be determined as the participation of Armenians in the resistance against the occupation of France by Nazi forces during 2nd World War. Even though this event does not constitute such a milestone for the 4th generation of Armenians in France, it still seems to be an important motivation for the integration of the Armenian community. On the other hand, it is possible to say that the Armenian youth in France seems to have more weakened connection with their past or genocide memory in regard to their familial connections. In this case, contrary to the situation in Lebanon, the demands of memory appears within a more humanitarian context rather than a duty of memory.