A hundred years after the Armenian Genocide, Florence Giroir Cotonat-tells in a book she signed on Saturday at the Press House, about Meguerditch Karaguezian who many from Gers have met particularly during the years when he was a waiter at “Daroles” in Auch. In 1923, the man who would become “Jeannot”, for all his family, was one of 150 armenian orphans welcomed in Gers.
Auch is a commune in southwestern France. Located in the region of Midi-Pyrénées, it is the capital of the Gers County. Auch is the historical capital of Gascony. The Gers is a county in the Midi-Pyrénées region in the southwest of France named after the Gers River. Inhabitants are called les Gersois.
To Florence Giroir, Armenia was “Aznavour and the earthquake.” But that was before. Before the author auscitaine encounters “by chance”, Arnaud, the grand-son and Germaine, the widow of Meguerditch Karaguezian. They told her she had enough to want to know more. Four years of research, investigations, crossed testimonials to tell “closer to reality”, life, destiny of the one who in November 1923 was one of 150 (“193 or maybe”) Armenian orphans welcomed to Auch. With his family, this little boy was walking to death under the boots of Turkish soldiers when his mother was able to the escape by abandoning the convoy. Six years later, the teenager who will never have news of his family, who are probably exterminated, leaves Auch for a nearby farm. A trip on an ox cart and in the freezing cold to become “handyman” for a couple who can not pronounce his name. “Toinette, he shall be called John …”.
A stylish server who dreamed of owning
Soon John would become Jeannot and would leave for Eauze to work in vineyards. Employers are friendly with him, others much less! “But respect to Mr. Mengelle,” underlines Florence Giroir. The young Armenian, Gersois to be, who later obtains the French nationality… In Auch, Eauze, Arcachon, Bordeaux … under the reign against the Nazis, then Paris to work at the Colonial Exhibition. Then returns to Auch where he should have become the owner of “Daroles”. He was long and stylish server that André Daguin prefaces about in his book and about some other kids as boisterous as him, lived some miseries! But nothing like the one that deprived him of becoming the owner of the iconic coffee shop …
“Jeannot” was also a fan of the Football Club of Auch Gers, a French rugby union club, whose economies were bequeathed because of war. For nearly 50 years, “John” Meguerditch who lived until 1988, grew desperate to start a family with Germaine, They had two children. Beautiful story, beautiful trajectory, well told by Florence-Giroir COTONAT over the 200 pages of her book “Meguerditch, the banks of Armenia to the banks of Gers’.
Credits La Depeche