Soghomon Tehlirian

1896-1960

An Armenian student who became symbol of Armenian revenge. His whole family was butchered in the Genocide. The only survivor, he traced and assassinated, in 1921, Talaat-Pasha, author of the Genocide. Tehlirian was then found not guilty by the Courts of Berlin, Germany.


TEHLIRIAN, SOGHOMON (Kemakh 1896 - San Francisco 1960) Attended the Armenian Protestant school of Erzindjan, then the Yeznikian and Kedronakan schools. Moved to Serbia in 1913 where his father had emigrated to escape the Turks. Joined the Dashnak party. Fought in the volunteer army of Sepouh, 1914-17, enlisting without his parents' knowledge. Lost his mother and all relatives in the genocide. Traveled to Constantinople in 1919, seeking out Turks who had executed the Armenian genocide; also looked for Armenian collaborators.

Traveled to the USA in 1920, on orders from the party; thence to Geneva and Berlin, where he assassinated Talaat Pasha on 15 March 1921. Talaat, Minister of the Interior and mastermind of the Genocide, had fled Turkey to seek refuge in Germany where he continued to labor for Pan-Turkism. He had been tried in abstentia by the Turkish authorities and sentenced to death for the atrocities he planned and carried out, but no official effort had been made to apprehend him and bring him to justice.

After Talaat's assassination in Berlin, Soghomon Tehlirian, who admitted committing the murder, was given a jury trial. During the two-day trial, expert witnesses and eye-witnesses testified not only about the murder itself, but about the details of the Armenian Genocide and Tehlirian's physical and mental condition as the only survivor in his family. On 3 June the jury acquitted Tehlirian of the crime.

Settled in Belgium, where he remained until 1945; he eventually moved to the United States and lived out his years in San Francisco.


The monument commemorating the great Armenian hero Soghomon Tehlirian in Fresno

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