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An unpublished Research about the Armenians in Indonesia

Author - Artsvi Bakhchinian This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in: “Haigazian Armenological Review,” Beirut, 2003, vol. 23.

Indonesia mapThe publishing material is an extract from a typewritten manuscript, called “Concise History of the Armenians in Indonesia” written by E. H. Ellis in 1961 in English.

The manuscript is kept at the MesropMashtots Institute of Old Manuscripts (Matenadaran), Yerevan (File of Various Authors, folder 240e, document 30). It consists of an introduction and four chapters. The author dedicated his study to the memory of “GevorgManuck (Zorab) Manucharian, Mrs. Mariam Hacub (Jacob) Arathoon, Miss ThaguhiManuck, Hacob (Jacob) Arathoon and other patriotic benefactors.”

We are not aware that this manuscript has been published partly or in full. Unfortunately no information is available about the Indonesian-Armenian author. We assume his Armenian surname was Yeghiazaryan[1].

In his “Introductory Note” the author informs about the reason for compiling his study: “In the course of the early part of 1960, B. J. Galstaun, then president of the General Board of Administration of the Armenian Community in Indonesia, while in Djakarta on a functional visit, was approached by Mr. S. M. A. Tabatabai, director of the Cultural Office of the Imperial Iranian Legation in Djakarta, with the request to be supplied with a concise history of the Armenians in Indonesia, apparently having knowledge that the Armenian community in Indonesia, from almost its earliest days had directly or indirectly migrated from Iran. Since the existence of such a book in English was unknown, I was requested by our late president to try and compile the said history. I was not keen to assume the responsibility, being fully aware that neither my inadequate command and poor fluency of that language nor my lack of experience in writing books, justified such a venture. After lengthily cogitation, the instructive usefulness and the historical importance of such a book dawned upon me and served as encouragement to dismiss the feeling of the above mentioned incompetence and to undertake the useful task even if it should entail onerous labor, in order to comply with the following motives and considerations.”

The first chapter, “Course of Historical Events” is a short survey on the Armenian community in India. The second chapter is called “Armenian Religious, Social, Educational, and Cultural Activities in Indonesia.” The third chapter is a set of short biographies called “Armenians in Indonesia, approximately between 1730s and 1900.” It includes 150 names (reference numbers are from 1 to 149a) of all male Armenian-Indonesians. The fourth chapter is another list of “Armenian Commercial Houses and other Enterprises in Indonesia” (reference numbers 150 to 230).

The author has not compiled his work as a scientific study: generally there are no reference sources, some books and materials are mentioned (like T. Gushakian, G. E. Gasper, J. S. Jordan) with no details.

Though several scholars have researched the history of the Armenian community in Indonesia (particularly the late historian Raphael Abrahamyan who used this source in his articles[2]), the publication of this manuscript may provide additional information about the Armenian community of Indonesia.

Below is the second chapter, which seems to have the most valuable information about this disappeared Armenian community. The text is unedited. There are some tautologies, though someone, presumably a native speaker has partly edited it. While preparing the text for publication, we made some unessential shortening, corrected orthographic mistakes, but left unchanged the archaic style and language of the text.

ARMENIAN RELIGIOUS, SOCIAL, EDUCATIONAL, AND CULTURAL ACTIVITIES IN INDONESIA

By E. H. ELLIS

The exact year of the Armenian immigration in Indonesia has not been quite clearly recorded. Apparently the pioneer Armenian settlers in Indonesia were so seriously and deeply absorbed in their commercial pursuits that as it is known they have neither left written records of their commercial activities nor of the important events of the Community’s religious, social or cultural life, which could prove of historical value. Gasper Paulus, a resident of Batavia, in his “Short history of the Armenian community in Netherlands India,” published in English,[3] states that according to “Realia” (collection of resolutions taken by the East India Company) an Armenian merchant by the name of Codja Solima, was established in Macassar in 1656. The inference may, there fore be drawn that at the time there were other Armenians as well. In view of the fact that Armenian immigration to the Netherlands started in the 16th century, it may be reasonably assumed that the Armenian immigrants in Indonesia, during the middle of the 17th century, came from Amsterdam, where, at that time, there was a large Armenian Community, mostly prosperous merchants.

Mr. Casper Paulus also states that during the time of the East India Company the Armenians were given permission on 31 March 1747 to establish themselves under her jurisdiction, just like other citizens.

It is not unlikely that at that time there were a respectable number of Armenians in Indonesia to have justified or necessitated the above stated permission by the authorities.

It is also known that during the first half of the 18th century some Armenians from Madras, where at that time there was a rich and flourishing Armenian community, went to Manila and thence to Java and established themselves at the present Djakarta. Three of the pioneer prominent Armenian settlers in Djakarta during that period were Vardon (sic) Gasparian, Manuck Hacobdjanian and Johannes M. Sherimanian. The first two after many years of success trade returned to Madras with substantial wealth. So far known the oldest grave of an Armenian in Djakarta is that of Arathoon Zakaria, born in Julfa, Ispahan in 1712 and died in Djakarta, on 28 November 1801 at the age of 89, and was interred in the public cemetery.

About the last quarter of the 18th century the most notable and distinguished Armenian merchant was Agha Gevorg Manuck (Zorab) Manucharian, born in Julfa in 1767, from poor and respectable parents. He came to Java from Madras, with a substantial capital. (Bishop Thorgom Gushakian in his book “Hendkahaig” [Indian Armenians] states that the amount was 4 million francs). He imported goods from Calcutta and Madras and exported Indonesian products. He must have had a very successful and prosperous business because, in 1808 the Dutch East Indian Company floated a loan to which he subscribed a substantial amount. He enjoyed the full confidence not only of the Governor-General, but also of those with whom he had dealings.

It is also said that after his death, his estate was estimated to be worth 5 million guilders. He was a very simple, modest and unpretentious person and admonished others for display of show. That he was magnanimous, munificent, religious and exceptionally patriotic there can be no doubt because, while alive, besides helping all those compatriots who were in need, he contributed very large amount to various social, religious, national and educational institutions in Persia, India and Armenia[4]. He also had the plan to establish a University in London, where Armenian language as compulsory subject, in order that they should learn their mother tongue and their history and follow their National Church. It is said that he even remitted a quarter of the necessary funds to London but, unfortunately his unexpected early death prevented him from realizing his praiseworthy plan. In his will he bequeathed two thirds of his estate to his two sisters and the children of his deceased brother, Malcolm Manuck in Calcutta. He brought out his above mentioned two orphaned sisters, Mariam and Thaguhi from Julfa in 1795. They first went to Madras and stayed with their relatives. Mariam married Agha Hacob Arathoon, a respectable Armenian who, with his wife Mariam and his sister-in-law Thaguhi, came to Djakarta (Batavia) and joined his brother-in-law Agha Gevorg Manuck. Agha Gevorg Manuck remained a bachelor all his life and passed away in Djakarta on 2 October 1827 at the age of 60 and was laid to rest in Tanah Abang cemetery in Djakarta.

The following facts prove that Agha Hacob Arathoon, his wife Mariam and her sister Thaguhi were also imbued with similar praiseworthy patriotic and admirable characteristics as their late brother-in-law and brother Agha Gevorg Manuck. Agha Hacob Arathoon was a religious, conscientious upright and honest man, friend to all and enemy to none. He erected a chapel in 1831, dedicated to St. Hripsimeh on the North-West corner of Koningsplein, at gang Scott, the present Medan Merdeka at Djalan Budi Kemuliaan No. 1, which later, his wife Mariam and her sister Thaguhi, with the support of Community erected the present St. John’s Church in 1855 on the same site as the former Chapel Saint Hripsimeh.[5] Agha Hacob Arathoon passed away on 19 June 1844 at age of 76 and was interred in the General public cemetery.

Numerous are the charitable and noble deeds of these venerable sisters - Mrs. Mariam Hacob Arathoon and her sister Miss Thaguhi Manuck, they never disappointed applicants for help, coming from far or near, and liberally gave them their support. G. G. Gasper in his concise biography of the two benevolent sisters, written in 1883,[6] states that their kindness and care so far as to make their own residence a refugee for the needy and stranded people. He further adds that news concerning the misery and unhappiness of any of their relatives or compatriots in Julfa, their birthplace, moved them so deeply that shed bitter tears. They attended church every Sunday and exhorted others to do the same, and sent money regularly for the upkeep of the churches in Julfa. It is well known that they, as well as their mentor, Manuck Hordanan attached general great importance to the education of Armenian children. Besides the Manuck and Arathoon School, which they funded in Djakarta, according to historian Hovanian[7] they also founded a school in Julfa in 1853. The necessary funds for the upkeep of the school were also provided by them. They also liberally subscribed to two new funds namely “Fund for the poor in Julfa,” [and] “Fund for Literary Works,” which were established in Djakarta about the middle of the 19th century. Although they were deprived of high education, yet they subscribed to many Armenian papers with the object of supporting their publication. They donated liberal amounts for the publication of many Armenian books in Calcutta.

Miss Thaguhi Manuck departed this life on 9 December 1856 at the age of 72 and her sister Mrs. Mariam Arathoon passed away on 4 May 1864, at the age of 87. They are interred at Tanah Abang cemetery in Djakarta.

ARMENIAN SOCIETY

On May 5, 1852, a general meeting was held in Djakarta to create a special fund, with the income of which, to support poor widows, orphans and stranded compatriots in Java. In that meeting “Haikian Miabanuthiun” or “The Armenian Society” was founded. It was decided to approach all Armenians in Java to contribute towards the said fund. The two sisters, strongly conscious of social problems, headed the list with very liberal contribution. It may be mentioned that since the birth of the Society until the present day, the income of the said fund has fully served its useful object, and no poor Armenian has ever been obliged to approach charitable institutions in Indonesia for subsistence. The members of the first elected Executive Body were Gregory Joseph, Hovan Arathoon and George Aviet Zakaria.

ST. JOHN CHURCH IN DJAKARTA

On November 22, 1852 a general meeting was convened in Djakarta with the object of raising funds to build a spacious church on the same site as the old chapel. Mrs. Mariam Arathoon, whose husband Agha Hacob Arathoon had built the said chapel in 1831, and her sister miss Thaguhi Manuck, not only headed the list with their customary liberal donations, but also paid for all the furniture, fittings, vestments, etc., necessary for the church.[8] The erection of the church was completed in December 1854 and was consecrated at St. John Church on January 14, 1855. Further they caused their spacious house of the present Medan Merdeka Barat No 9, Djakarta, to become the property of the church after their death. Their object was that its income should ensure the permanent upkeep of the church, the stipend of the priest and other expenditures. The first committee members were Johannes Seth Mackertich, Eliazar G. Gasper, Minas S. Joakim, Joseph Gregory or Gregory John. The said house at Merdeka Barat No 9 was bought by the Indonesian Government for 7,500,000 Rupees in 1957.

List of officiating priests in Djakarta for:

a)               St. Hripsimeh chapel erected in 1831;

b)              St. John Church to replace the above chapel, erected in 1854.

There are no records of the officiating priests during 1831 and 1836. From 1836-1840 – Rev. Stepannus Hovanessian; 1840-1845 – Rev. Gevorg Hacob Eliazarian; 1845-1848 – Rev. Marcar A. Tsatoorian; 1848-1852 – Rev. David A. Baghramian; 1853-1858 – Rev. Galstaun Nazarethian; 1859-1861 – Rev. Griegor N. Harouthiunian; 1861-1864 – Rev. Mackertich C. (or K.) Simèhonian; 1866-1868 – Rev. Nerses Hordananian; 1868-1871 – Rev. Mesrovb G. Davdian; 1876-1878 – Rev. Griegor N. Haruthunian; 1879-1883 – Rev. Seghbetrus[9] Hovanessian; 1883-1886 – Rev. Dinesius Eghiazarian; 1887-1890 – Rev. Mackertich Petrosian; 1890-1893 – Rev. Zahak T. Ambarchian; 1893-1895 – Rev. Minas B. Creet; 1896-1899 – Rev. Carapiet Thoumikian; 1899-1903 – Rev. Vardan S. Vardanian; 1903-1907 – Rev. Andreas Abgarian; 1913-1920 – Rev. H. S. Vardanian; 1923-1926 – Rev. David T. Margarian; 1927-1929 – Rev. Vardan S. Vardanian; 1929-1934 – Rev. David T. Margarian; 1934-1936 – Rev. Vahan Aghanian.[10]

The St. George Church in Surabaya was erected in 1927. From 1927 to 1929 there was no special priest for Surabaya. Officiating priests from Djakarta visited Surabaya a few times a year for special church services. From 1929 to 1936 Rev. Vardan S. Vardanian was the officiating priest of the St. George Church in Surabaya. After [the] departure of Rev. Vardanian, Rev. Vahan Aghanian, officiating priest from Djakarta visited Surabaya a few times for special church services. From October 1937 the following priests officiated both in Djakarta and Surabaya:

From October 1937 to 1940 – Rev. Vahan Gharakhanian; between July 1940 and October 1940 there were two priests namely Rev. Vahan Gharakhanian and Rev. Khoren Kirakosian; October 1940-July 1946 – Rev. Khoren Kirakosian (from January 1944 to the Japanese capitulation in 1945 Rev. Kirakosian was interned in the Japanese concentration camp in Tjimahi, Bandung); November 1946-September 1948 – no priest; November 1948-August 1950 – Rev. Hovakim Barseghian; September 1950-October 1951 – no priest; October 1951-July 1957 – Rev. Aristakes Mirzaian; July 1957-April 1958 – no priest; April 1958-April 1960 – Rev. Eghiazar Keshishian (Terterian); since April 1960 till now no priest. The above dates as of 1937 are approximate.

In 1928, during an Episcopal visit to Java, His Grace Archbishop Mesrovb Magistros, appointed E. M. Gregory and Mac. P. Hacobian as demi-deacons. E. M. Gregory, during the absence of Rev. Vardanian, and during the internment of Rev. Kirakosian, also when there was no priest in Surabaya, conducted morning and other church services within the scope assigned to him. Mac. P. Hacobian removed to Singapore on or about 1930, where he also carried out his duties until he was interned during the second world war. After the war he immigrated to Sydney, Australia. He is a staunch patriot and has always taken keen interest in National and Church affairs. He has written a booklet in English entitled “Armenian Church”[11] rendering a brief account of the history of the adoption of Christianity by the Armenians as well as their Church Rituals and Communion Service.

About the middle of 1957, His Grace Bishop Poladian, appointed J. C. Joseph of Djakarta, Johnnie D. Marcar of Bandung and C. C. David of Surabaya as Semi-demi-deacons. J. C. Joseph is at present in Holland, but while he was in Djakarta, together with Johnnie Marcar, on certain special occasions, he also held ordinary Church services in Djakarta. C. C. David after the departure of E. M. Gregory to Holland in 1960 has conducted ordinary Church Services, in accordance with his degrees, practically every Sunday morning and on special Church festive days.

Besides the above, A. N. Arathoon, when he lived in Rangoon, was appointed Semi-demi-deacon, quite a good many years ago, by His Grace Bishop Sahak Aivadian in Rangoon. He also conducted ordinary Church Service during the absence of a priest or E. M. Gregory until the last days of his life.

According to St. John Church, Djakarta, register of Baptism, Marriages and Deaths, recorded in consecutive numbers, are as follows: Baptisms, from 23 July 1836 to 14 July 1956: 355. Marriages, from 4 October 1854 to 3 August 1957: 50. Deaths, from 13 February 1837 to 14 April 1858: 126.

It must be stated that the foregoing numbers also represent Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths which took place in other cities in Indonesia during the occasional visits of the officiating priest from Djakarta or other Armenian clergy to such cities. Concerning the baptisms there have been more than 355, because it often happened that due to the absence of a priest, in places outside Djakarta some families had more than one child to be baptized at the same time, and such baptisms have been registered under one and the same consecutive number only. According to the said register, apparently Marcar Sukias of Japara had a sort of Chapel there, dedicated to St. Mary, because three baptisms were performed in the said Chapel namely Marcar Sukias’ son, Vahan, born in Japara, Arathoon Thadeus’ son, Alexander, born in Semarang and Manuck Gregory’s daughter, Mariam, born in Semarang. Besides the abovementioned Chapel, evidently some of the Armenians in other places had reserved special rooms in their houses, which were solely used to offer their prayers. This proves their profound feeling, respect, reverence and pious devotion to their religion and church.

THE LAST DAYS OF ST. JOHN CHURCH BUILDING IN DJAKARTA

The General Board of Administration of the Armenian Community in Indonesia was invited to meet Brig. Dr. Sosroatmodjo Soemarno, the Governor of Djakarta. At the meeting the Governor informed the representatives of the General Board that the Government had an already fixed and approved plan to transform and improve the appearance of Medan Merdeka in Djakarta and to make it an admirable part of the capital of Indonesia,[12] and in order to implement the said plan it was quite necessary to have the Community’s St. John Church building, which is situated in a prominent place in the said area, demolished to make room for the planned improvements. At the same time the Governor promised to give another piece of ground in a favorable locality, free of charge and to build a new church, personage, and other rooms, more or less similar to the old church at the expense of the Government.

Naturally, it meant a great sacrifice to part with the, over century old church building, which not only personified the very deep religious feelings and passionate devotion to the church of our venerable benefactresses and benefactors, but also it served as a sacred edifice or monument, where their continual presence was always felt. On the other hand, as loyal citizens of Indonesia, it was considered the moral duty of [the] Community to support the Government in carrying out his fixed plans. The Community feels very grateful and thankful that Government has already granted a piece of ground measuring 60x50 meters, with property rights, located somewhere near the new hotel “Indonesia.”

Since the above was a religious matter, Rev. Aramais Mirzaian, representative of His Grace Bishop Asoghik Ghazarian, came to Indonesia from Sydney to assist the General Board of representatives in their negotiations with the authorities concerned.[13] The Community is now anxiously waiting to see the construction of the church effected within a short time.[14]

OUR STATUTES AND THE GENERAL BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION OF THE ARMENIAN COMMUNITY IN INDONESIA

The Armenian Community was incorporated by the Ordinance on 6 January 1880.[15] On the basis of our Statute the above stated General Board represents the Community. The original Statute was meant for the Community residing in Java only, but Mr. Elias M. Zorab recommended and advised to extend the territory, to include the Community in the then Netherlands East Indies, present India, because at that time there were many Armenians in the islands outside Java, especially in Celebes and Bali.[16] The necessary amendment, after being adopted and passed at an extraordinary general meeting was introduced in to our Statute in 1930. At the same meeting another important amendment was introduced into the statute regarding the seat of the General Board. According to the original Statute of 1880, the seat of the General Board was to remain in Batavia, present Djakarta, but in consideration of the possibility that in the future it may be unexpectedly necessary to transfer the seat, as early as possible, to another place in Indonesia, the meeting adopted the following amendment: “Expecting what is stipulated in Article 17, to commence with the year 1930, and further every time when such may be deemed necessary, it will be decided at the Annual General Meeting to be held in April in this year, where (then Netherlands East Indies) at present in Indonesia, the Society and the Board shall subsequently be established and where consequently the following General Meeting for the change of the Board shall be held.” The above amendments were subsequently sanctioned by the Government. The seat of the Armenian Board was, however, not transferred to Surabaya until 1954. The present Statute contains 29 articles, which serve as a mandate to the General Board for administrating the Religious, Educational and Social funds, properties, incomes and other relative affairs, of the following main institutions: St. John Church, Djakarta; St. George Church, Surabaya, Manuck & Arathoon School; Armenian Society; Theological School, Julfa; All Saviour Cathedral, Julfa. Besides the above, it has also the administration of 11 or 12 various Religious, National, Social and Educational Julfa Institutions, whose assets used to consist mainly of Java Bank, their shares were sold and proceeds remitted to Julfa, via Amsterdam. At present only small credits balances remain.

The members of the General Board are elected by the Community once every three years at the Annual General Meeting by majority of votes. The elected board members elect their President, Secretary, Treasurer and two advisors. The statute is considered by such authorities as His Grace Bishop Thorgom Gushakian, later Patriarch of Jerusalem, as the best foresighted and practical Community Statute in these parts of the world.

MANUCK AND ARATHOON SCHOOL

The benevolent sisters, Mrs. Mariam Arathoon and Thagughi Manuck, being deeply concerned and keenly interested in the education of Armenian children in Java, felt the urgent necessity of a school in order that the Armenian children should be given the opportunity to learn also their mother tongue, which besides contributing to their knowledge of their own history, would also tend to incite them to follow their national church. On August 26, 1855, the two sisters founded the Manuck and Arathoon School. In establishing the school the sisters had the consolation and satisfaction that, to some extent, they were fulfilling the earnest wish of their late brother Agha Gevorg Manuck, who had planned to establish a University in London.

One of the rules of the Manuck and Arathoon School was that the principal should be an Armenian. The first principal was Cachick Thomas who served the school until 1866. The members of the first committee were Hovan Arathoon and Minas G. Joakim. After Chachick Thomas the following gentlemen acted as teachers: George A. Zakaria, Hovsep (Joseph) Hyrapiet and Gaspar Galstin. The latter was invited in 1868 to come from Calcutta and take the post. He served school until 1876.

According to His Grace Bishop Thorgom Gushakian, besides the Armenian teachers there were special ones for Dutch, English, French and German languages, who taught other subjects as well. The pupils, besides Armenians, also consisted of other nationalities.

When in 1860 [the] Dutch Government organized its own schools, the pupils of the Manuck and Arathoon school decreased gradually and consequently the school lost its importance and was closed in 1878. Although the school lost its original character, yet, with the income, which exists even to the present day, special teachers were engaged to teach Armenian children their mother tongue in their own home. The first teacher in Djakarta was G. E. Gasper, and in Surabaya from 1882 J. C. Jordan, the author of the “History of the Armenians in Indonesia.”

After the immigration of the Armenians to Surabaya during the first quarter of the 20th Century, when there were quite a good many Armenian children, the pressing need of a school to tend them their mother tongue was urgently felt and as a result the Manuck and Arathoon School was continued in Surabaya as from 1923. In the beginning lessons were given in the afternoons in a Dutch school building, but in 1927 special classrooms were built by L. M. Sarkies on premises of the St. George Church, No. 15, Djalan Patjar, Surabaya, where more than 50 children took lessons. Besides the school, on the same premises, there is a library named “The Durian Library” where there are Armenian, English and Dutch books and formerly also various Armenian papers for the benefit of the Community.

After closing the Manuck and Arathoon School in Djakarta in 1878, the General Board sponsored to pay for the schooling of Armenian boys, in the name of the benefactresses, in the Armenian College in Calcutta, founded in 1821, for the establishment of which, the benefactor Gevorg Manuck donated 30 thousand Indian Rupees. From that year until some years after the resumption of the Manuck and Arathoon School in Surabaya, in 1923, the surplus income of the fund was utilized to educate Armenian boys at the Armenian college in Calcutta. In the beginning the general Board sponsored for 12 pupils, but gradually the number increased to 24. J. C. Jordan at the recommendation of Cachick Thomas, was one of the pupils attended to that school in 1878, for which he felt deeply grateful to the benefactresses all his life. During those years hundreds of Armenian boys were educated from the Manuck and Arathoon School funds.

The late Gevorg (Zorab) Manucharian and his sisters Mrs. Mariam Arathooun and Miss Thaguhi Manuck as well as Agha Hacob Arathoon, until the present day, are held in the highest degree of veneration and reverence by the Community. To honor their sacred and immortal memory and in grateful appreciation for their admirable, praiseworthy and charitable service to social, religious and educational institutions in Indonesia, Iran and India, the Community annually holds a memorial church requiem service on a special fixed day, for the repose of their souls.

THE ARMENIAN IMMIGRANTS TO INDONESIA

The immigration of the Armenians to Indonesia may be classified roughly into four periods: I) app. between 1650 to about 1750, II) between 1750 to about 1800, III) between 1800 to about 1900. Fourth period, the latest immigrants, as from 1900, practically all of them immigrated from Iran. From the first period very little is known. From the third period there were many prominent Armenians residing in Java and surrounding islands. Some of those who came during the last quarter of the 19th century were alive until about the fourth decade of the present century. There are a few still alive but they do not reside in Indonesia. Fourth period: with few exceptions, the present day Armenians in Indonesia came to Java from Iran during the first 50 years of the 20th century. Gevorg (George) A. Zakaria in a book entitled “Java,” written in classical Armenian in 1849 and printed in Calcutta in 1852, states that at the time there were 110 Armenians in Java consisting of 42 men, 9 Armenian women, 10 Dutch women (married to Armenians) and 49 boys and girls.

J. C. Jordan in his “History of Armenians in Indonesia” states that according to Rev. Vahan Aghanian and Rev. Vardan S. Melkonian, there were about 500 Armenians in Indonesia as specified below:

According to Rev. Vahan Aghanian’s list

in west Java:               Male                Female            Children          Total

Djakarta (Batavia)       32                    25                    16                    73

Bogor (Buitenzorg)     2                      2                      2                      6

Cheribon                     3                      2                      -                      5

Accoring to Rev. Vardan S. Melkonian’s list in east Java and islands:

Surabaya                     148                  120                  -                      268

Sidohardjo                  1                      1                      -                      2

Ngadiluwe                   2                      2                      -                      4

Tulungagung               1                      -                      -                      1

Kediri                          4                      2                      -                      6

Lawang                                   3                      2                      -                      5

Malang                                    9                      5                      -                      14

Batu                            3                      2                      -                      5

Semarang                    5                      3                      -                      8

Solo                            2                      -                      -                      2

Madiun                                   1                      1                      -                      2

Bali                             5                      2                      -                      7

Samarinda                   4                      1                      -                      5

Macassar                     26                    21                    -                      47

Menado                                  6                      8                      -                      14

Medan                         2                      1                      2                      5

Ambon                                   2                      4                      -                      6

Sub total                      261                  204                  20                    485

The rest                                                                                                         15

TOTAL                                                                                   500

Rev. Vardanian has not, except in one case, specified separately the number of the children.

In a census submitted by the Armenian Local Community of Surabaya to the Japanese authorities during their occupation in 1942, there were about 550 Armenians in Indonesia divided as follows: Djakarta – about 78, Bandung – 32, Semarang – 12, Surabaya – 230, Malang – 38, Batu – 20, Macassar – 70.[17]

ST. GEORGE CHURCH SURABAYA

 During the early part of the 20th century the imperative necessity of a National church was seriously felt in Surabaya, especially in view [of] the continuous arrivals of Armenians from Iran. The first step for the construction of a church was taken at a General Meeting held in 1911, but unfortunately, due to various circumstances, also the First World War, the plan did not materialize until 1927. With the financial support of the General Board of the Armenian Community in Djakarta a piece of ground, measurity about 2500m2, was bought from funds provided by our National institutions and the church was built within two months under the supervision of L. M. Sarkies.

On the same property three other buildings were constructed by the following members of the Community who provided the necessary funds:

a)               a personage by Mrs. Goegoelie George Jordan in a way, on condition that the church should be named St. George in memory of her late husband George;

b)              three school rooms by L. M. Sarkies in memory of his deceased brother Thomas. The school was to continue in the name of Manuck and Arathoon School, for the upkeep of which financial support was given by the General Board in Djakarta from Manuck and Arathoon School Fund;

c)               the Edgar Hall, by brothers Edgar, members of Edgar Brothers Ltd., Singapore, with a branch office in Surabaya. Later a spacious and well-equipped stage was built and connected with the Hall. The stage was built with a donation from Manuck and Arathoon School fund and contributions by the Armenians residing in various cities in Indonesia.

The church was consecrated on 11 December 1927. At the time there were about 300 Armenians in Surabaya, but alas, their number at present is about a quarter of what it was then and is shrinking fast. The unfortunate part is that owing to various circumstances and in spite of all efforts made by the General Board, the church at present remains without a priest. It is feared that in the very future this church may also have to share the same fate as so many sister churches in India, Penang and elsewhere.

According to the St. George Church, Surabaya register, since its erection in 1927 there have been 138 baptisms, 46 marriages, 109 deaths.

ARMENIAN SPORT CLUBS

It is generally known that Armenians have always displayed keen interest in sport, and some of them have been outstanding Rugger, Soccer and Hockey players in India and Indonesia. It is [a] well known fact that it was in Surabaya that soccer was played for the first time in Indonesia, introduced by two brothers John and Freddy Edgar, who formed the first football club in Indonesia on September 1, 1895 called “Football Club Victoria.” They taught the game, which they had learned in England, to many of their friends. When there were sufficient players, another Armenian, Eugene Mesrope, formed the second club in 1896, called “Football Club Sparta.” The first match between the two clubs took place on July 1 1896. “Football Club Victoria” was victorious and won the match by 6 goals to 1, and since then soccer has gradually become the most popular game in Indonesia. During the first decade of the present century a sports club was formed in Surabaya called “The Armenian Merchants’ Football Club,” but as most of the players were rather advanced in age, the club did not last more than two or three years. During the second decade of the present century, quite a good many Armenian boys came to Surabaya after finishing their schooling in Calcutta, where they have learned various games. They first joined various sports clubs in Surabaya and in an open competition in athletics the Armenian boys won about 80% of the prizes. This success encouraged them to form their own club. Hence the “Armenian Sports Club” was founded in 1922 and the majority of the Armenians, even non-players, kindled by a National flame of enthusiasm, enlisted as members. In the beginning the club hired the necessary playing grounds from other sports clubs, but in 1924 a fairly large piece of uneven and morass ground, at Karangmendjangan, was hired from the Surabaya Municipality, which took almost two years and much expense to convert into a playable sports ground. The club had its own statute passed by the government, which gave the club an incorporated status. By virtue of one of the articles of the statute persons of all nationalities were eligible to become members of the club. There was opportunity to exercise: Soccer, Rugger, Hockey, Cricket, Athletics, Lawn tennis, Baseball and Golf. Gradually the club became one of the most popular clubs in Surabaya. When the new hospital at Karangmendjangan was to be built, the Municipality took part of the ground and instead, a much larger piece of ground, measuring about 380.000 m2 mostly behind the hospital, was rented to the club. The major part of this new piece of ground was morass and uneven and it cost the club a very large amount and took almost two years, by employing an average of 50 workmen a day, to reclaim and make the grounds fit for a new golf course.

The golf course was planned by the international well-known professional golfer James Braid[18] of England and when completed about the middle of 1939 it was considered one of the best and sporting nine hole golf links in Java. The popularity of the club was proved by the fact that before the Second World War the club enjoyed the patronage of about 200 non-Armenian members, consisting of Americans, Dutch, Germans, Indians and Japanese, most of them golfers.

As for team-games, with one or two exceptions, all the other sports clubs in Surabaya practised all the other team games. Rugger was played against the Britishers and sometimes combined against the British Navy on a visit to Surabaya. Soccer was played against all the sports clubs in Surabaya and sometimes in Malang, while hockey was played against a few Dutch teams in Surabaya and Malang in which Armenian Sports Club players proved successful by winning the East-Java Hockey Championship for 11 years. It is worthy to mention that although the so-called Dutch Hockey, with a soft ball, was played before once or twice in Surabaya, the hockey as it is played today with a hard ball, was introduced in Surabaya by the Armenians. One of the H. B. S. High school teachers was a keen hockey player and taught the game to the students. Armenian Sports Club played the first match against them and won the cup presented specially for that event. The glorious history of Armenian Sports Club met with dismal fate during the Japanese occupation in the Second World War. The lovely golf course was relentlessly dug or ploughed and used for planting tapioca roots and other eatables. Trenches, dugouts and what not were made on the soccer, hockey and tennis grounds. After the war the whole place was in an abominable condition. The Armenian Sports Club members were very keen to reestablish the club and after lengthy negotiations with the Municipality, it was agreed that the club would cancel the agreement with the Municipality, covering about 380 thousand m2 which has hired partly for 30, partly for 20 and partly for 10 years and in exchange the Municipality would sell, at a compensative price, to the General Board of the community the grounds formerly used for soccer, hockey, etc.

About 30 km2 of ground were bought by the General Board of Administration of the Armenian community in Indonesia. Large amounts were contributed by the Armenians in Surabaya, Macassar and Djakarta and also by Community funds in Djakarta to cover the expenses in reclaiming, levelling and planting good grass. It took rather a long time to complete the task and make the ground suitable for play. The clubhouse was also cleaned, repaired and repainted in order to make it as attractive and comfortable as possible. The Armenian Sports Club has hired the grounds from the General Board of Administration of the Armenian Community in Indonesia, and gives opportunity to all sports clubs who wish to make use of the grounds at a remunerative charge to cover the costs for the upkeep of the grounds.

Unfortunately all the records and the cups presented to the club for various golf and other sports competitions as well as those won by the club were lost during the Second World War. Fortunately some of the photos of the champion hockey teams have survived and it would not be out of place to mention the names of the players, taken from those photos, who formed the champion teams.

1931 Champion Team: H. C. David, Ara Sarkies, B. G. Bagram, W. J. Sarkies, Mack Alaverdy, J. L. Hacobiantz, Albert Sarkies, C. C. David, Haik Galstaun, Jack Abcar, M. Pasiac.

1933 Champion Team: H. C. David, Charlie Apcar, Lazar Martin, Z. M. Michael, Mack Alaverdy, J. L. Hacobian, Albert Sarkies, C. C. David, Haik Jordan, S. M. Ingram, R. Nash.

1934 Champion Team: Haik Jordan, Albert Sarkies, Ara Sarkies, Mack Alaverdy, Jack Abcar, Lazar Martin, H. C. David, C. C. David, C. C. David, Sammy Balakian, J. L. Hacobiantz, Minas C. Michael.

Champion Team (exact year unknown): Freddy Kamarzarian, Artash Kamarzarian, H. C. David, Andranik Edgar, Ashot Mathews, Albert Sarkies, Jack Apcar, J. S. Michael, Minas C. Michael, Leon Jordan, Lazar Martin.[19]

ARMENIAN MUSICAL AND DRAMATIC SOCIETY OF SURABAYA

As there were many keen amateur musicians and theatricals in the Community, it was decided in 1926 to form this Society, there were about 15 musicians and more than 25 theatricals. The society did not have its own stage, so for the first few years the performances were staged at the then Concordia theater, Tagalsari. Later a fairly well equipped and large stage was built, annexed to the Edgar Hall on the St. George property, Djalan Patjar 15. A few plays were staged annually consisting of well-known Armenian dramas and comedies. During the intervals the audience was entertained by the musicians and sometimes with choir participation. The stage was also used for variety, entertainments and also by the pupils of the Manuck and Arathoon School for singing, recitation and staging small plays, all in our own language during the annual prize distribution day which took place in the early days of each year.

The followings are some of the pieces staged by the Armenian Musical and Dramatic Society: “Kortsanwats,”[20] “Ashgari Datastan,”[21] “Patvi Hamar,” “Char Hogi” (sic)[22] “Pepo,”[23] “Oosh Lini Noosh Lini,”[24] “Mitzapativ Muratzkan,”[25] etc. In spite of all endeavors unfortunately only a few of the programs were obtained in Surabaya. Below are some of the programs for the benefit of those interested in acting and music.

February 7, 1929, Concordia Theatre: “Char Hogi” (“The Evil Spirit,” drama in 4 acts), presented by Mr. and Mrs. Haik Ardziv[26] (professionals). The Cast: Sona– Mrs. H. Ardziv, Shushan– Mrs. T. Johannes (at present in Sidney), Zarik– Miss Maro Vardanian (at present in Bangkok), Manan– Gladys Galstaun (at present in America), Catchick– Master Kamarzarian (at present in Iran), Gizh Danel– H. Ardziv, Voskan– G. A. Jordan (died in Surabaya), Murad– C. C. David (at present in Surabaya), Zarnishan– Mrs. J. Kamarzarian (died in Holland), Carapiet– R. Johannes (at present in Holland), Javahir– Mrs. M. Ellis (at present in Sidney), Miansar– B. J. Galstaun (died in Surabaya). Souffleure:[27] Miss I. Zorab (at present in Julfa).

October 15, 1929, Concordia Theater: “Pepo” (drama in 3 acts). The Cast: Pepo– G. A. Jordan, Shushan– Mrs. N. Apcar (at present in Sidney), Kekel– Mrs. J. S. Joseph (at present in Holland), Gigoh– B. J. Galstaun, Aroothyn Zimzimoff– M. G. Jordan (died in Surabaya), Kakooly– C. C. David, Ephemiah– Jack Apcar (at present in Holland), Samson– Sammy Balakian (at present in Holland). Souffleure: Miss I. Zorab (at present in Julfa). Stage-maker: J. C. Joseph.

August 4, 1934, Edgar Hall: “Oosh Lini Noosh Lini” (a musical comedy in 3 acts). The Cast: Nahapiet– S. H. Hacobian (died in Surabaya), Martha– Ms. V. Hacobiantz (at present in Sidney), Naziek– Mrs. T. P. Hacobian (at present in Sidney), Shoghy– Jack Apcar, Sahgo– C. C. David, Ohan– Martyn Jordan (died in Surabaya), Arshak– S. Balakian, Nahapiet’s servant– S. Vardanian (at present in Iran). Villagers: misses S. Kamarzarian, M. Vardanian, V. Jordan (at present in Holland), mistresses A. Hacobiantz, L. Stephens, J. Kamarzarian. Piano accompaniment: Ms. Nelly Jordan (at present in Sidney), thar[28] by Haik Johannes (at present in Sidney). Souffleure: Miss I. Zorab (at present in Julfa). Stage and property man: B. J. Galstaun (died in Djakarta).

July 17, 1929, Edgar Hall. Concert by A. Chah-Mouradian[29] (Prix de Conservatoire et ténore de l’opera de Paris). 1. Premiere valse, by Aug. Durand: Mrs. J. C. Joseph. 2. a) Hair mir by M. Ekmalian, b) Hazar Erani by J. Baronian: A. Chah-Mouradian. 3. Fantasie-Impronton by F. Chopin: Miss Reg. Edgar (at present in Surabaya). 4. Kanche Keroong by Komitas Vardapiet, Haireni Garoon[30] – A. Chah-Mouradian. 5. Balladi by F. Chopin: Miss Nellie Galstaun. 6. Mignon (Fantaisie) by A. Thomas, violin solo Mr. E. Weskin (died in Melbourne), accompanied by Miss Reg. Edgar. 7. a-b) Yes Saren Kougayi; Zinch u zinch by Komitas Vardapiet, c) Christos Pataragial by M. Ekmalian – A. Chah-Mouradian. 8. Polonaise by F. Chopin: misses Reg. Edgar, Nellie Galstaun. 9. Haiastan by Komitas Vardapiet: A. Chah-Mouradian, piano accompaniment by Mrs. J. C. Joseph.

September 17, 1932, Edgar Hall. Soire Varie de Jeunesse. 1. Bamb Vorotan[31] (National march): Chorus. 2. Sailor Dance: Araxi Edgar (at present in Sidney), Sophie Galstaun (at present in England), Sathenik Mackertich (at present in Holland), Martha Paulus (Sidney resident), Yvonne Johannes (at present in England), Miss Maro Vardanian. 3. Recitation (Armenian): Miss G. Galstaun. 4. Piano solo: Cyril Jordan (at present in America). 5. Song (English): Miss L. Vardan (at present in Perth). Maro Vardanian. 10. Piano Duet: Araxi and Andranik Edgar. 11. Song Duet (English): Maro Vardanian, Siranoosh Kamarzarian. 12. Piano solo: Rosie Johannes (at present in Holland). 13. Dance (Minuet): Miss D. Paulus (at present in Sidney), H. Vardon (at present in Holland). Part II. 14. Swedish Drill: Manuck and Arathoon School pupils. 15. Tableaux: Manuck and Arathoon School pupils. 16. Piano solo “Minuet à l’Antique” (Ignace J. Paderewski): Miss G. Galstaun. 17. Recitation (Armenian): Miss Siranoosh Kamarzarian. 18. Piano solo “Folk Tune” (Edward Grieg): Miss K. Minassian (at present in Germany). 19. Dance: Maro Vardanian. 20. Song (Duet in English): Araxi and Andranik Edgar. 21. Song (Armenian): H. Vardon. 22. Dance: L. Vardon. 23. Piano Duet: “Fraulenherzen” (Herman Wenzel): Misses G. Galstaun, K. Minassain. 24. Song (Armenian): Miss G. Galstaun. 25. Dances: Miss R.John (died in Surabaya), L.Vardon, D.Paulus, H.Vardon, Sophie Galstaun, Araxi Edgar, Lena Kamarzarian, Kathleen Johannes, master Harold John (died in Japanes camp in Surabaya). 26. Mir Hairenick: Alpie Apcar (at present in Holland), piano accompaniment by Miss Reg. Edgar. It may be mentioned that participations of Soirée Varié de Jeunesse were practically all pupils and ex-pupils of Manuck and Arathoon School in Surabaya.

The orchestra: The following members of the Society participated in the orchestra and in various times: Mr. Emir Eskin (first violin), Joakim Sarkies (first violin, at present in Iran), Jimmy Hacobian (second violin, died in Surabaya), Eghia Johannes, cello (died as a result of shrapnel wound during Indonesian revolution), L. Z. Martin, drum (at present in Sidney). Pianists: Miss Lucy Galstaun (at present in Holland), Rose Edgar, Reg. Edgar, Nellie Galstaun[32].

After the Second World War, with great difficulties it was managed to stage few Armenian dramas. It is more than sad to have to record that due to the continual departure of the members of the Community from Surabaya, there are no prospects that the stage will serve its national useful purpose in the near future.

ARMENIAN LADIES BENEVOLENT SOCIETY OF JAVA

The charitable and praiseworthy society, as the result of a General Meeting, was founded on April 16, 1925. During that meeting 43 ladies were enlisted as members. The meeting was presided over by Archimandrite Reuben, delegate of His Holiness, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians, during his short visit to Surabaya. The Society has its own statute approved by the Government and is a consequently incorporated body. The object of the Society is not only to help those in need in Indonesia, but also to extend its aid to other deserving institutions and objects, both in Indonesia and elsewhere. The sources of income for the Society consist of Life membership and ordinary membership fees, donations, sale of handicrafts, prepared by members, net proceeds from entertainments and occasional collections.

It must be recorded that all these years the Society has conscientiously and faithfully its objects and has not only given additional help to the needy in Indonesia, but also helped other charitable and religious institutions in Iran, India and elsewhere. Unfortunately due to the unavoidable circumstances its activities have been curtailed considerably.

It is significantly noteworthy and praiseworthy that members of our Community in spite of all these years associating with other nationalities as members of their social and cultural clubs, they have not neglected their own institutions and have stead respectably maintained their national identity.

The Armenian Community in Indonesia, particularly in Java, during its history in Indonesia has always been found ready to contribute liberally towards various national, religious, social, cultural and educational funds outside Indonesia, especially during and after the First World War for the relief of Armenian refugees scattered in various places.[33]

It is heartbreaking and more than mournful to have to record that during the Japanese occupation and at the beginning of the revolution, 65 members of the Community (about 13%) lost their lives, most of them in the Japanese concentration camps and five during the Indonesian revolution.[34]

ENDNOTES


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[1] The late historian Rafayel Abrahamyan in one of his articles has mentioned Ellis’ name as Edward (see “Indoneziayi Hay Gaghtojakhi Patmutyunic (From the history of Armenian community in Indonesia),” Patmabanasirakan Handes, 1992, n. 1, p. 37). From the same family was James Ellis, a science master in Chester Hill high school (Australia), who was born in 1912 in Surabaya (Java) and lived in Australia since 1951.

[2] Rafayel Abrahamyan, pp. 33-41.

[3] Gasper Paulus, Short History of Armenian Communities in Netherlands India, 1935, Batavia.

[4] Manuck Arathoon has sent well-equipped printing facilities to the All Savior Cathedral in Julfa (H. G., “Indonezio Hay Gaghute” (Armenian community of Indinesia), Ararat, Beirut, 9.II.1968, p. 3).

[5] St. Hripsimeh church (later recalled St. Hovhannes) was made from wood. It was burned in 1855. A new church was been built in its place in the same year. It was located in very center of Djakarta, in the city park (see “Armenians in Indonesia,” National Archive of Armenia, file 875, list 14, act 186, p. 5).

[6] Seems to be unpublished stuff, I did not find it in bibliographies.

[7] Perhaps E. H. Ellis means H. Hordananian, author of Patmut’iwn Niderlandakan Hndkastani Hay Gaght’ojakhneri Patmut’yan Hnaguyn Shrjanic Minchev Mer Orere” (History of Armenian communities of Netherlandish India from the ancient times till our days), 1937, Jerusalem.

[8] Mariam Arathoon and Thaguhi Manuck have bequeathed also their home located on Merdeka Square to St. John Church (Yeritasard Hayastan, New York, 26.X.1960).

[9] The correct form should be Seghbetius.

[10] Rev. Vahan Aghanian has published a number of calendars, containing information about the Indonesian Armenians.

[11] Unfortunately no details have been found about the book which seems to be a very small booklet.

[12] This happened in the beginning of 1960s.

[13] According to the Djakarta Daily Mail, Rev. Aramais Mirzaian also gave the last mass in St. John Church (“News from Diaspora,” Sharjum, Buenos Aires, 3.03.1962, p. 2).

[14] There is not further information about the construction of the church, in all probability it did not happen.

[15] The Ordinance was called in Armenian §ê³Ñٳݳ¹ñáõÃÇõÝ ºõ γñ·³õáñáõÃÇõÝ ÄáÕáíñ¹»³Ý гÛáó Æ Ö³õ³¦, consisting of 97 points (see H. G., Ibid). Later, in 1891 the “Armenian Encouraging Union” (§Ð³Û Êñ³Ëáõë³Ï³Ý ØÇáõÃÇõݦ) was formed, which has published its statute (Marseille, 1892). It made contribution during the riot of Sasoun in 1894 (H. G., Ibid).

[16] Among outstanding Bali-Armenians were the merchant Gevorg Abgar, originally from Nor Jugha, who established factories of tapiocas, rice and sugar in Branghana and Ngadiluweh. He was a member of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (Miutyun, Paris, 1917, August, N 58, p. 51). Another outstanding Bali-Armenian, the coffee merchant Hakob Minas was founder of “Minas” tourist agency on Bali in the 1920s. He advertised Bali through literature and cinema. He was called the Bali’s Crownless King” (Araz, Bucharest, 17.08.1933).

[17] As Rafayel Abrahamyan has noted, “The list does not include the number of Armenian children from 17 cities (only the mumber of 20 children from 3 cities are included). As the number of adult Armenians is more than 400, 200-250 Armenian children should be left out of the list» (see his unpublished article «Haykakan Gaghtojakhnere Indoneziayum» p. 98. The text is provided by the historian’s widow, Araksya Simonyan).

[18] James Braid (1870–1950), golf champion, one of golf’s original and great champions, course designers and modernizers.

[19] In 1907 a big competition of rapid traverse was organized in Java. The first two winners were Armenians: Arakel Vardanyan and Karapet Hovakimyan (Andradardz, Yerevan, 8-14.05.1992).

[20] “Kortsanvatse” (The Destroyed One), play by Alexander Shirvanzade (1858-1935). The Armenian Musical and Dramatic Society of Surabaya has played this drama in 1926. The cast was: Artashes– Garnik Hordananyan (also known as G. A. Jordan), Senekerim Saharouni– Mkrtich Ter-Psak Hakobyan, Anahit– Gladys Galstaun, Artashes’ mother– Balasan Melkonyan, Flora– Mary Hovsepyan, Noyemzar– Lucy Abderhalden, Nazani– Mrs. Khazhikyan, Sophie– Ms. Nichols, Haik Apcar (also known as Jack Apcar), Martiros Hordananyan, Vahan Hordananyan, Rouben Hovhannisyan, S. S. Davityan (also known as C. C. David, the real name– Khachatour Catchick Davtyan). (See Hrach Yervand, “Inch Tesa Hndkastani Yev Javayi Mej” (What I have seen in India and Java), Boston, 1927, pp. 82-86. The author has also mentioned a Dutch lady, Mrs. Awnie Lucas, who sung Armenian songs). According to a second source there was another cast for this performance: Mrs. J. C. Joseph, Bagrat Galstaun, Hovsep Catchick Hovsepyan (Joseph), Grigor Arakelyan (National Archive of Armenia, file 456, list 14, act 7).

[21] Drama by Ye. Muradyan.

[22] “Patvi Hamar” (For the Sake of honour), “Char Hogi” (should be “Char Vogi”, “Evil Spirit”) – plays by Alexander Shirvanzade.

[23] Popular play by Gabriel Sundukyan (1825–1912).

[24] Musical comedy by Garnik Yeritsyan and Artemi Ayvazyan.

[25] Story by Hakob Paronyan (1843–1891).

[26] Ardziv Haik (1897–) and Emma (1908–) – Armenian singers and actors. In 1924-1940 they gave performances in many Armenian communities (Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, India, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Iran, Burma, Indonesia, Singapore, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay). In 1940-1959 they lived in Buenos Aires, in 1959 – repatriated to Armenia. They told about their activity in Indonesia in the book Askharhov Mek (All over the World, Yerevan, 1964, pp. 95-102). In Surabaya, the  Ardziv couple performed also “Corrado” by Giacometti, “Trilbi” by Ge, “Anoush” by Toumanyan, “Successful Marriage.”

[27] Souffleure (in French)– prompter.

[28] Thar– Armenian musical instrument.

[29] Armenak Shahmuradyan (1878–1939), Armenian singer.

[30] A song by Vagharshak Srvandztyan (1891–1958).

[31] Lyrics by Leon Alishan, music by Pietro Bianchini.

[32] It is important to note that the Indonesian Armenians have celebrated the 1500th anniversary of the invention of the Armenian alphabet, performing a drama at Edgar Hall, Surabaya, in 1935. Cast: Mesrop Mashtots– Artashes Hovhannes Kamarzarian; Sahak Partev– Bagrat Galstaun; Mashtots’ pupils– Andranik Constantinos Edgar, Serovb Avetik Vartanian, Mikayel Aghavel Mikayelian, Garnik Nikolyan; angels– girls from Armenian School; other participants– Hasmik Grigor Arakelian, Araxie Constantinos Edgar, Martha Sarkies Poghosian (Paulus), Siranoosh Hovhannes Kamarzarian. Maro Avetik Vartanian, Rozik Ghazar Arzouian, Yvonne Arathoon Johannes, Satenik Mackertich, Sophie Galstaun (see file 456, Ibid).

[33] In 1922 the Indonesian-Armenians had collected 4620,50 guilders for the needy people in Armenia (see the list of donors in Ardzagank Parizi, Paris, vol. 7, 1922, N 6, July 15, p. 6-7).

[34] During the Second World War the Armenians gave more victims than the other ethnic minorities in Indonesia (Lraber, New York, 18.VII.1961). Thereafter the Armenian communities disintegrated through assimilation with either the Dutch or rarely with the native population. According to information from 1968 there were 300 Armenians in Macassar, Surabaya and Djakarta (Ararat, 9.II.1968). The St. John and St. John Armenian Apostolic Churches in Surabaya and Djakarta, as well as the Armenian Club in Surabaya still functioned in the late 1970s (see Ovena: A Directory of the Armenian Diaspora, Personalities and Organizations, ed. R. Jebedjian, etc., Beirut, 1980, p. 109). The latest evidence about Indonesian Armenians we found in Vahram Ter-Matevosyan’s article “From the Indonesian Notebook,” where he noted about his meeting with a one-quarter Armenian girl in Djakarta, who was proud of her Armenian origin (Vahram Ter-Matevosyan, “Indonezakan Notatetrits”, Orer, Prague, no. 1-2, 2002, p. 42).

 

source: www.armenian-history.com