The Knock at the Door: A Mother's Survival of the Armenian Genocide (Paperback)

The Knock at the Door: A Mother's Survival of the Armenian Genocide By Margaret Ahnert Cover Image
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Description


“Together, their stories realize in intimate but accessible terms the vagaries of historical memory and Ester's determination to tell the truth, despite the understandable urge among some victims to forget, in the face of an official policy of denial from Turkey that continues today.” — Publisher’s Weekly

In 1915, Armenian Christians in Turkey were forced to convert to Islam, barred from speaking their language, and often driven out of their homes as the Turkish army embarked on a widespread campaign of intimidation and murder. In this riveting book, Margaret Ajemian Ahnert relates her mother Ester's terrifying experiences as a young woman during this period of hatred and brutality.

At age 15, Ester was separated from her family during a forced march away from her birth town of Amasia. Though she faced unspeakable horrors and was forced into an abusive marriage against her will, she never lost her faith, quick wit, or ability to see the good in people. Eventually she escaped and emigrated to America.

Ahnert's compelling account of her mother's suffering is framed by an intimate portrait of her relationship with her 98-year-old mother. Ester's inspiring stories, told lovingly by her daughter, will give you a window into the harrowing struggle of Armenians during a terrible period in human history.

About the Author


Margaret Ahnert was born in New York City in 1938. Growing up, she loved to hear her mother's stories about her own childhood during the Armenian genocide in Turkey. She has a BA from Goddard College, and an MA from Goucher College. She has pursued a variety of careers: producing television documentaries, co-owning a hotel in Pennsylvania, acting as a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and teaching art appreciation in high schools and elementary schools.

Praise For…


"This personal, homespun account by an American of Armenian descent interweaves two narratives in alternating chapters: Ahnert's mother Ester's firsthand description of coming-of-age during, and miraculously surviving, the Turkish-sponsored Armenian genocide of 1915, and the middle-aged author's own tender yet urgent reflections on her connection to the distant world of her 98-year-old mother. Ester's formidable personality, humor and abiding religious faith pervade Ahnert's debut, while the latter's fluid transcription of Ester's story provides a frank and searing testimony, as well as a vivid depiction of Armenian village life. While Ahnert's oral history doesn't offer a rigorous historical account or analysis of the systematic slaughter, but rather supplements works like Peter Balakian's The Burning Tigris and Taner Akcam's A Shameful Act, its force lies in the interplay between the narratives of mother and daughter. Together, their stories realize in intimate but accessible terms the vagaries of historical memory and Ester's determination to tell the truth despite the understandable urge among some victims to forget in the face of an official policy of denial from Turkey that continues today.. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly

"Amid the chaos and violence of World War I, attacks began against the supposedly disloyal minority Armenian population within the Ottoman Empire. By the end of the war, high-end estimates place the death toll of Armenians at more than one million due to executions and deportations. Ahnert, a producer of television documentaries, interviewed her 98-year-old mother, Ester, a survivor of the massacres, and intertwined her mother's amazingly lucid and vivid recollections of the period with her own memories. The result is a moving yet deeply disturbing account. Ester paints a rather idyllic picture of village life in Turkey. Despite occasional tensions, relations between Armenians and Turkish communities are described as generally friendly before the war. But the screws then slowly tightened against Armenian rights. Still, when the horrific violence exploded, most Armenians were stunned, and many did not react quickly enough to save themselves. Ahnert has provided an invaluable service by putting human faces on the victims." Jay Freeman, Booklist


Product Details
ISBN: 9780825306839
ISBN-10: 0825306833
Publisher: Beaufort Books
Publication Date: June 19th, 2012
Pages: 209
Language: English