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Bodil Katharine Biørn (1871 - 1960)

the nurse who documented the Armenian Genocide

Bodil Katharine Biørn was born in 1871 in the Norwegian town of Kragerø. 

In 1905 she was sent to the Ottoman Empire by the “Women Missionary Workers” association, for which she worked as a nurse. She first went to Mezereh and then to Mush, where she mainly encountered widows and orphans. 

In 1915-16 she witnessed the Armenian Genocide and documented the massacres by taking photographs and collecting first-hand accounts. 

In 1917 she returned to Norway for a brief stay before leaving for the newly-founded Armenian Republic, where she set up an orphanage and took care of Armenians who had escaped the genocide. She also travelled to Syria to form another orphanage for the survivors of the city of Aleppo. Right up until 1934, she continued her work on behalf of the Armenian people and the orphans of the massacres in Lebanon and Syria. Bodil Biørn died in Oslo in 1960, leaving an indelible memory in the hearts of the Armenian people. 

On 22 July 2008, in Yerevan, at the Genocide Museum on the Dzidzernagapert, a memorial stone to Bodil Biørn was laid in the Wall of Remembrance dedicated to the “Righteous for the Armenians”.

Gardens that honour Bodil Katharine Biørn

Bodil Katharine Biørn is honoured in the Garden of Yerevan.

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Righteous Encyclopedia - Armenian Genocide

Before, during, and after the genocide, the Righteous helped victims, tried to stop the massacres, or bore witness to what happened. They also denounced, at their own personal risk, the planning and implementation of the genocide.

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