Benyamin Mar-Shimun, the Assyrian Patriarch


מיכה דמירל, 11.04.2009

In March, 1918, Friday after-noon on the Passover week, Binyamin Mar-Shimun has arrived to a meeting called by the Kurd leader Simko.
The tension between the two parties - the Kurds and the Assyrians, was the subject of discussion in this historical meeting in a villa, at the suburbs of Kohne-Shahir (the old city of Salmas, in Salmas district, northern Persia, Persian Azerbaijan).

The meeting between the two did not go as planned, not for Mar-Shimun. The armed Kurds hidden on the surrounding rooftops opened fire as the meeting ended, and the Christian delegation was on its way, a few steps away from the carriage. Mar Shimun, with over 100 of his men, was shot dead. One of the only two Assyrians who fled the place was Daud Mar-Shimun, Binyamin\'s brother, who patrolled around at the time of the shooting.

The murder of Mar-Shimun was the spark which ignited a killing spree, war and bloodshed. Between the two enemies was, unfortunately, the small Jewish community of the Nash Didan. The Assyrians swore that they will erase any living in the village where their leader died, and the Jews of Kohne-Shahir who survived, spread into refugee camps all over the district. Many months later, after the ottomans arrived and the Assyrians retreated, the Jews started to return to their homes and villages, including Salmas (Kohne-Shahir), Bashkale and Gavar (Today\'s Yuksekova).

The killing of the Jewish community of Salmas was avoided, among other reasons, by a meeting between Shimon, a local Jew, and Daud Mar-Shimun, the murdered patriarch\'s brother. Shimon (like any Nash Didan) and the Assyrians spoke a very close dialect of new eastern Aramaic; we call Lishan-Didan (our language).

Today, more than 90 years after those events occur, an email connection was created between me (the grandson of the nephew of that Shimon) and the Mar-Shimun family in the United States. After a few months of email exchange, and the good will of Arabella Mar-Shimun, I have received through the main two books sent from the US, who tell the story of Binyamin Mar-Shimun and the Mar Shimun family history.

I know that the research of the Nash Didan\'s history is not the main concern of many here, in Israel, and it is hard to find people interested, or researching the community\'s history. For me, this connection with the Mar-Shimuns gets me a little bit closer to my family\'s roots and the community\'s history. I hope I will manage to bring here some of the above email exchange later.

Micha Demirel



Bookmark and Share
תגובות למאמר

מיכה דמירל, 11.04.2009

This is a translation from hebrew of the article that was posted here on October 11, 2008.


מיכה דמירל, 22.04.2009

In 21th of April a User by the name "Persi" wrote on the AssyriaTimes message board the following passage. I disagree with him but anyway, here it is -  

Quote -------------------------------------

Michael

“The murder of Mar-Shimun was the spark which ignited a killing spree, war and bloodshed. Between the two enemies was, unfortunately, the small Jewish community of the Nash Didan. The Assyrians swore that they will erase any living in the village where their leader died, and the Jews of Kohne-Shahir who survived, spread into refugee camps all over the district. Many months later, after the ottomans arrived and the Assyrians retreated, the Jews started to return to their homes and villages, including Salmas (Kohne-Shahir), Bashkale and Gavar (Today\'s Yuksekova).”

***This part of the article incorrectly portrays the Assyrians engaged in an indiscriminate killing of all inhabitants of those villages. This is far from truth. The Assyrian warriors under the leadership of Agha Petros and David Mar Shimun intended to punish Simko and those who supported him in the murder of our Patriarch. They attacked Kurdish villages belonging to Simko’s tribe. The Persians, Turks, Armenians (there were many of them in Salamas and had a Cathedral in Khosrava), or Nash Didan were not the target of this reprisal. There is no evidence showing the Assyrian warriors intended to harm or harmed any of the above-referred people, except the Kurds who supported Simko.

Simko eventually received what he deserved, but it was in the hands of the Persians, not the Assyrians.

Persi

End Quote ------------------------


מיכה דמירל, 23.04.2009

22/4/2009 I Wrote
Persi,

Thank you for your response. I will have to disagree, but my intensions were not to argue, so lets agree not to agree.

However we both do write that Simko was the one to blame, And he got what he deserved. I have a detailed eye witness testimony of the event that lead to Simko's capture and execution, I will post an Article about it someday. Interesting fact is that the way he was caught was similar to the way he murdered Benyamin Mar-Shimun so there is some puetic justice...

Elha galchun
and pardon my bad English (my spellcheker does'nt work)

Michael
-------------------------------------
22/4/2009 Persi Wrote

Michael

“I will have to disagree,…”

***Please clarify what is your disagreement.

“…but my intensions were not to argue…”

***Neither was mine. My intention was to point out to the errors in the article.

Persi

-------------------------------------
My answer  23/4/09
Persi,

The Assyrians in Kohne-Shahr were given orders too kill all living (literally all)in that village. They were joined by some of the local Armenian population and I have evidence of Russian officers there.

I know of my community members shot down. I know of my family members who died, and I know who killed them. I know the exact number of bullets in my great grandmother's,  I know the Assyrians who gathered my family in an Armenian house to shoot, I have the written order given by Daud Mar-Shimun to stop the killing. I know the Azeris who fled the village. and My Great Great Uncle, who dressed up as an Assyrian to save my Great Grandfather from a refugee camp and took him to Gul'uzan where the Assyrians protected him.

And so on.

I don't think there were any errors in my article.


מיכה דמירל, 26.04.2009

The article was posted by a reader, in Assyrian Media world news:
http://my.assyrianmedia.com/modules/news2/article.php?storyid=311


Chris Turner, 29.04.2009

Micha, I am a Chicagoan interested in finding more information on the Nish/Nash Didan, specifically to track down my grandmother's family history.  She was a jew born in what she referred to as Salmas (near Lake Urmia), her mother & her family from Salmas and her father had come up from Isfahan.  Not surprisingly, my grandmother and her family fled in 1918 and, eventually, arrived in Chicago.

I do not know whether she was Nish Didan, and have some conflicting information.  But given that her family came from Salmas (or a nearby village), it seems to be a possibility.  Do you know where I can track down more information on the community?

Sorry, my hebrew is minimal.

Thanks for any help, Chris  


מיכה דמירל, 29.04.2009

Hi Chris.

Thank you for posting, I'm sure I can clear those questions for you, I know the answers are in the main website, but I didn't have the time to translate things to English. Your mother's history can be most important to us, and I have to say that it is important for me personaly, because my family originated in Salmas, and I don't meet many people who remember their Salmas origins (contrary to urumiah community).

To the point - if your grandmother was a Jew and from Salmas - than she was a Nash Didan (one of our people). the term "Nash Didan" is rather new (1920 and on, in Israel) and includes all the jewish members of Urumiah, Salmas, Bashkhalan and the surroundings.
Most of the chances are that my family elders know your grandmother's. The community was very small, and as you can read in the article above, I researched the Salmas history and I hold documents and stories about the faith of the jewish community of Salmas.

I Looked over the Web and did not find any information about the Jews of Salmas, so all I know is from my own personal research, and I do happily share info (that is this website purpose). I hope you visit back, read this post and keep in touch.

It is interesting that your grandmother used the name "Salmas" because it was a district. the city of nowdays Salmas is a few miles away from the old city (ruined in an earthquake in the 1930's) and the jewsh families called it Kohne-Shahr (the old city). my grandfather used to call the city Salmas, but I did not find any article who mentions that name before 1930, besides the districts name.

What kind of conflicting info you have, and what can you tell me about your grandmother? maybe I can identify her in some diaries I have.


Lale Parfitt, 28.08.2012

Dear friend!! My grandfather's grandfather was moved from Syria to azrbaijan.In 1917 my grandfathers  dad was sent to Siberia and they never saw him again. After that my grandfather changed his name and he never spoke about his background. After asking some relatives for information, I thought may be he was one of nash didan. Do you think you could help me to find information or history of my family ? Thank you very much for all information that you sheared!!!  


מיכה דמירל, 02.09.2012

Hi and welcome Lale.
I don't have enought information to know if I can be of help. Our community have no ties to Syria, maybe you know the families name in 1917 of the place they moved to in Azerbaijan?

Michael


Shoshana homami, 09.06.2015

This is so exciting!
I am from Nash Didan in Los Angeles
And would love to look I to family history!
My grandfather is Nissan Bani Esraeli son of Mashiach
And Zari. My grandmother is of the harooni family, daughter
Of bayaz and efraim. Her grandparents were Hila
And Yitzchak. She has many family photos thank Gd!
They would be so happy if I told them of any correspondence
Or discovery! There is a large urmia comunity
Here as I'm sure you all know!
Looking forward to connecting!
Also, does anyone know the origin of the name Nissan?
It seems as though it was quite popular!


Shoshana homami, 09.06.2015

Ps, my grandfather also told me something about an earthquake
Or a flood, and miandob? Any information on any of this?


מיכה דמירל, 07.09.2015

Hi Shoshana
Sorry, personaly I dont recognize the names. I would recommend posting on the sites guestbook or our facebook page, wheres there is more traffic.

I heard of an earthquake at those parts but I dont have any info...

Michael

עבריתעב EnglishEN TürkçeTR   עברית  
 שם   סיסמא  
ברוך הבא אורח !