Edita Gzoyan


Reclamation of Armenian Women and Girls after the Armenian Genocide: Neutral House in Constantinople


Forcible child transfer is one of the five genocidal acts listed in Genocide Convention Article II and prohibits “transferring children of the group to another group.”

In spring of 1915 under the guise of WWI the Ottoman Government massacred Armenian men population, followed by systematic deportation of remaining general population – mainly women, children, elderly. On the routes deportees were massacred, raped and abducted; vast number of Armenian women and children were forcibly transferred and turkified. This policy of transfer and further assimilation was preplanned and implemented on the government level.

Transferred Armenian children were distributed to government-run orphanages or Muslim families; some older girls were forcibly married to Muslims. They were raised according to Muslim religion, customs and traditions, educated in governmental schools.

After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI, Armenian and international relief organizations got involved in the rescue operations to liberate Armenian women and children from the Muslim households. This paper aims to present the reclamation of Armenian women after the war and history of the unique organization, Neutral House, established in Constantinople to decide ethnic identity of women and children.