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Madeleine Kachakjian Redjebian

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Armenian Oral History Project
Interview with: Madeleine Kachakjian Redjebian
Interviewed by: Jacqueline Kachadourian
Transcriber: Cordelia Jannetty
Date of interview: 22 October 2016
Interview Setting: Montreal, Canada
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Start of Interview)

0:04
Unknown: Would you like me to leave or ̶

0:06
JK: Um, you can stay if you want to ̶

0:08
Unknown: Okay, fine.

0:08
JK: Okay, my name is Jackie Kachadourian and I am interviewing with the Special Collection’s for Binghamton University Armenian Oral History Project. Today is October 22, 2016. Can you please start with some basic biographical information– your name and birth place?

0:28
MK: Yes, my name is Madeleine Kachakjian. And my birth place is Lebanon. My parents came from Turkey, from genocide, massacre. There was–

0:49
JK: What were your roles and responsibilities in the home when you were growing up? Or when you were raising your children what were those of your spouse?

1:01
MK: I preferred to grown up Armenian with heart with mind, everything–language. They grow up Armenian.

1:20
Unknown: [Speaking Armenian]

1:30
MK: [Speaking Armenian]

1:40
JK: What were your parent’s roles in the house and their occupations when they were growing up? For your parents? Your mom and dad.

1:56
MK: They ̶ my father was military from army Turkey. That is why they allow him to leave house and they did not massacre this family. They keep it because he is military from Turkey Army. They keep it my grandmother and all family, and they came to the Syria. From Syria they came Lebanon.

2:37
JK: Okay, did your parents go to school, high school or college?

2:40
MK: No, no.

2:43
JK: Did your parents both speak Armenian?

2:45
MK: Yes.

2:48
JK: Did you have any siblings if so what were their ages relative to yours?

2:55
MK: Yeah, in Bulgaria. My mother’s aunt, my mother’s sister family– They speak very well Armenian. They educated well and Armenian they speak at home.

3:15
Unknown: [Speaks Armenian]

3:19
MK: It is one family in France, my uncle. He has the four kids. Two boys, three girls.

3:35
Unknown: [Speaks Armenian]

3:40
MK: Yes. We were six sisters only. Grown up the same place, the same school, Armenian education.

3:54
JK: And can you name all your sisters?

4:00
MK: Sisters?

4:01
JK: And their ages?

4:02
MK: This one was Meline, the second Sirvart, the third Jacqueline, fourth is Madlen and Levontin, Alis, Anahit. Six sisters. Both of them go to high school, Alice and Anahit. And they learned very well English, French. We had the French School, French lesson. Oh my God. [laughs]

4:48
JK: Did you attend Armenian language school or bible school growing up?

4:56
MK: Bible, we take from school– Armenian school yes.

5:03
JK: And where was this?

5:05
MK: Religious?

5:07
JK: No, where was this? Location?

5:09
Unknown: [Speaks Armenian]

5:11
MK: Near our house. Lebanon.

5:20
JK: And this is in Lebanon, and did you attend language school specifically or just Sunday school?

5:27
Unknown: [Speaks Armenian]

5:31
MK: No, daily school. We learn French and English the same school– Armenian school. Yes.

5:40
JK: Did your parents speak Armenian in the house?

5:43
MK: Yes.

5:44
JK: Yes, and did you speak it with all your sisters and everyone?

5:48
MK: Yes, we speak all the time in Armenian with each other.

5:53
JK: Is that the first language you learned. Armenian?

5:58
Unknown: [Speaks Armenian]

5:59
MK: Oh, yes, mother language is Armenian but when we go to school we learn Arabic, French and English. Three, four languages we learn from school.

6:16
JK: How would you describe the Armenian community in Lebanon while you were growing up?

6:23
Unknown: [Translates to Armenian]

6:25
MK: Yeah, very active, very active. We had everything in those times. Very active.

6:47
JK: Did you guys have Armenian restaurants or churches–?

6:51
MK: Yes, there was very– because Armenians, the Arab people they like us, they say you are a smart people. We do not know nothing when you come here, we learn from you. Everything.

7:17
Unknown: [Speaks Armenian]

7:19
MK: Yea, they learn from us everything.

7:26
JK: Okay, so going back to your parents where was your mother born?

7:34
MK: In Turkey, Bursa.

7:36
JK: And your father?

7:38
MK: The same place, Bursa.

7:41
JK: And how did they meet? Where did they meet?

7:49
MK: In Turkey near Istanbul. One hour far from the Istanbul.

7:50
Unknown: [Translates to Armenian]

7:59
MK: Oh, they met each other in Syria because after massacre, people– kids they sent to the boarding school. Boarding school they met there. They choose each other and get married.

8:21
JK: Now, how did you end up in Montreal, rather than Lebanon?

8:27
MK: Oh, of course Montreal is much, much, much better. We like here.

8:36
Unknown: [Translates to Armenian]

8:45
MK: The reason– the first reason was it is war. We escaped from the war in Lebanon. Seventeen years civil war. We could not tolerate and we leave the country, come here to Canada.

9:05
JK: Okay, and did you attend church regularly?

9:08
MK: Before now, I cannot because I am sick. I cannot walk.

9:12
JK: When you were young, like–

9:16
MK: Yes.

9:17
JK: With your family?

9:18
MK: Yes.

9:19
Unknown: [Translates to Armenian]

9:20
MK: No, we were [speaks Armenian] Me and Jaqueline together we singing the church choir.

9:29
JK: And have you ever travelled to Turkey or Armenia?

9:43
MK: Yes, two times to Armenia and Turkey five times. But transit from Turkey to Holland because my husband works with Philip with Holland–always we go there. From Turkey we pass from Turkey.

10:08
JK: Now, do you have any children?

10:10
MK: Yes I have three sons and seven grandsons.

10:15
JK: Can you tell me their names and their ages?

10:19
Unknown: [Translates to Armenian]

10:22
MK: Oh, I know but Kegham of fifty-four, Agop is fifty-two and Evelyne is fifty. That is it. They grown up.

10:39
JK: Yeah, yes. Was it important for you to teach Armenian to them and pass it on the traditions?

10:45
MK: Oh, yes of course. Yes.

10:49
JK: In what ways did you share the Armenian culture with them?

10:54
MK: They like, they like to prefer. And they choose girls Armenian from Armenia they get married.

11:11
JK: Now, do all of them speak Armenian?

11:15
MK: Yes.

11:16
JK: And did they attend Armenian school?

11:20
MK: My sons, three of them, they attend first elementary was Armenian after they go to high school

11:30
Unknown: [Translates to Armenian]

11:31
MK: In Montreal. After, they study engineering.

11:40
JK: What was most of the community in your neighborhood– Was your community here, did they speak Armenian, in Montreal?

11:54
Unknown: [Translates into Armenian]

11:58
MK: Oh, yes, yes, of course. I was in Red Cross member. All Armenian, yeah. Every month, we had reunion, we go, give our memberships, we pay. Very good community, very good. They had for Armenia, what they have money they sent often to Armenia.

12:34
JK: Oh, very good. And what kind of Armenian traditions did you hold in the house that kept the culture, like food, or holiday events, what kinds of the things did you guys do?

12:47
Unknown: [Translates to Armenian]

13:00
MK: Holidays we get together all the time. We have some traditional table, many kinds, pastry or food, everything.

13:20
JK: And, do you have any memories from your parents about the Armenian Genocide?

13:28
MK: Oh, I have lots. I have lots my grandmother always told me. She always– she says what happened then, what happened to their country. When my father built a house for to get marry. He prepared himself to get married. Everything is new everything is good, the same day the Gendarme came to put them out ̶ [speaks Armenian with unknown]

14:14
Unknown: in Exile, deportation exile.

14:18
JK: Deportation, okay.

14:19
MK: Deportation. They put them out, everything they left there. Money, everything and they put in the railway. They reach to the Syria.

14:44
JK: And they left everything, nothing–

14:46
MK: Everything, nothing with them, nothing.

14:52
JK: And how did they get to Syria from where they lived? How did they travel? Your family?

15:08
MK: They came to Lebanon, they get marry and we are born there. But those times Syria is very good country. They liked Armenian people. They give them shelters, foods, dress everything the Syrian people. They are very, very good people, Syrian people. I know them. They are Muslim but they like Christian people, Armenian people especially.

15:49
JK: And when you were growing up in your house, did you have things decorated with Armenian culture, if so like what, like paintings or crosses or anything like that that represented the Armenian culture?

16:06
Unknown: [Translates to Armenian]

16:07
MK: No, after we went to school, nothing–

16:14
Unknown: [Translates to Armenian]

16:27
JK: In your house?

16:30
MK: I started here painting. There is and this, pillows, that is it. All mine. It is Mount Ararat. It is my job, this, yeah.

16:55
JK: Very nice. Okay, I think we are– Is there anything else you like to add?

16:59
Unknown: [Translates to Armenian]

17:00
MK: I have lots but I cannot–

17:04
JK: Yeah.

17:04
MK: I think that is enough. Because my language is very lentement, slow.

17:21
JK: [laughs] Yeah lentement– Français– thank you so much– Okay, thank you.

17:23
MK: You are welcome.

(End of Interview)


Date of Interview

10/22/2016

Interviewer

Jacqueline Kachadourian

Interviewee

Madeleine Kachakjian Redjebian

Biographical Text

Madeleine Kachakjian Redjebian (1931-2020) was born in Lebanon to Armenian parents who were escaping the genocide. From an early age, she attended language classes, allowing her to become fluent in Armenian, Arabic, French and English. Duiring the civil war in Lebanon, Madeleine and her family escaped to Montreal, Canada. She is survived by her three sons and seven grandchildren.

Duration

17:28

Language

English

Digital Publisher

Binghamton University

Interview Format

Audio

Rights Statement

This audio file and digital image may only be used for educational purposes. Please cite as Armenian Oral History Project, Binghamton University Libraries, Binghamton University, State University of New York. For usage beyond fair use please contact the Binghamton University Libraries for more information.

Keywords

Lebanon; genocide; Armenian language school; church; Turkey; traditions; paintings

Files

Citation

“Madeleine Kachakjian Redjebian,” Digital Collections, accessed August 15, 2022, https://omeka.binghamton.edu/omeka/items/show/615.