The book “Dreissig Jahre Dienst im Orient” was donated by its author Jakob Künzler to the Danish missionary Karen Jeppe with his handwriting on the first page: “Der lieben Mitarbeiterin Caren Jeppe überreicht vom Verfasser” (to the dear co-worker Karen Jeppe, handed over by the author). Now the book is part of the AGMI Collection, handed over to us by Mr. Felix Ziegler, successor of Jakob Künzler.
Künzler and Jeppe were working in Urfa during World War I and witnessed the Armenian Genocide, trying to help as much as possible and saving the life of thousands. However Karen Jeppe was so depressed from observing daily the cruelties on helpless wives and children that in 1917 she temporarily departed to Denmark. Jakob Künzler accompanied her half of the way to ensure that she would arrive safely. This travel reinforced their friendship.
The fate of the book
According to Magda Sörensen, the last Danish director of the Bird's Nest orphanage, Jakob Künzler sent this book from Lebanon to Karen Jeppe in Aleppo. However it did not reach her because she had already passed away. One of the Danish missionaries took the book with her to Byblos to the Armenian “Bird's Nest” orphanage.
In 1967 the orphanage was handed over to the Catholicosate of Cilicia. After a transition period of four years in 1971 Magda Sörensen brought the book to Felix Ziegler, who was sent to Lebanon in 1968 by the Federation of Swiss Friends of the Armenians with the mission to hand over the last two institutions founded by Jakob Künzler to the Armenian Community, mentioning that it had been in the hands of successors of Karen Jeppe for nearly 40 years, and now it should come into the hands of a successor of Jakob Künzler.
“I kept the book with me for 50 years, but I feel that the best place for it is the Genocide Museum in Yerevan. I am happy that it is now in good hands,”
says Mr. Ziegler.