The Twenty Hunchakian Gallows
General Convention of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party which
was held in Costanta, Romania, in 1913, had a unique and great
importance not only for the Hunchaks, but in the history of the
Armenian people as a whole. During the Convention, members stressed
their concern of the Ittihad (Young Turk) government's blatant
disregard of the Armenian lives who resided in Historic Armenia.
The Hunchaks feared that this disregard would only escalate as
time past. The Hunchaks also stressed the importance of a United
Independent Armenia which would be impossible under the racist
and dictatorial Young Turk government's rule of the Ottoman Empire.
Thus the convention adjourned with two main objectives:
I - As stated in its original program, the party was to move from
licit to illicit activities, thus becoming once again a covert
II - To plan and assassinate the leaders of the Ittihad (Young
Turk) party, the same leaders that carried out the Adana massacres
of 1909, and thus the same leaders who at that moment were
planning the annihilation of the Armenian people.
Unfortunately, these secret objectives were passed on to the Turks
by an Armenian agent for the government; consequently as soon as
the delegates arrived in Constantinople, they were arrested. By
the end of the year a total of one hundred and forty Hunchak
leaders were arrested.
After spending two years in the horror
known as Turkish jails, and lengthy mock trials, twenty prominent
figures - Paramaz, Dr. Benne, Aram Ach'ekbashian,
Vanig and others
were sentenced to death by hanging. Few weeks after the beginning
of the Armenian Genocide on June 15, 1915, all twenty men were
hung in the central square of Constantinople, know as Sultan
destiny of the Twenty Martyrs was intertwined with the destiny of
their nation. They knew what was coming, sounded the alarm but
were betrayed by a fellow Armenian. They believed that an
independent Armenia will be born from the ashes of the old one,
they were right.
Over the past decades, the Twenty Martyrs were a source of
inspiration for thousands of young Armenians through out the
world, but most especially to those who joined the Social Democrat
Hunchakian Party, fought under its banner, and in its ranks worked
for the welfare of all Armenians.
Today the Armenian Republic is a living example of what the Twenty
Martyrs and thousands of other Hunchakian heroes fought and died
for. But the struggle must and will continue, until the immediate
and future objectives of the Social Democrat Hunchak Party and the
Armenian people are accomplished.