Armen Grigoryan


The trip to Zurich was postponed several times due to the outbreak of World War II. When on June 15, 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Franz Ferdinand, was killed in the city of Sarajevo, Vardan said to Lyudmila in his hearts: “I really didn’t expect that my premonitions would come true so soon.” Not understanding what it was about, she looked at him in surprise. He exclaimed, “This is war!”

At the end of July, the Boyajians finally went to Zurich. Lyudmila Vladimirovna, who accompanied them, for the first time after her father’s death, ordered a memorial service at his grave. She was served by the rector of the Resurrection parish, Father Evlampy, a good-natured-looking, ruddy old man. He also suggested to Vardan to look for work in one of the Provisional Committees for Assistance to Needy Russians; such committees hastily arose in different parts of Switzerland — in Bern, Davos, Geneva, Mongier, Zurich. Their main goal was to support Russian citizens who were taken by surprise in a foreign land by the world war. It was supposed to provide them with benefits for returning to Russia, issue loans, provide free housing, lunches and dinners on credit, at a discount and free of charge.

Leaving Murad with Byuzand in Zurich, Vardan, Ludmila and Olga returned to Geneva and started looking for a committee. Thanks to Lyudmila’s connections in the emigrant environment, Vardan was soon accepted into the committee as a legal inspector. Already in November, as part of the Geneva delegation, he went to Bern, where a congress of representatives of Russian committees took place. At the congress, a central cash desk was formed — it was intended to provide emergency assistance to individuals and institutions. To manage the affairs of the cash desk, they elected the Central Committee for Assistance to Russian Citizens in Switzerland.