Papa Kuenzler and the Armenians
The simple plaque at his birthplace reads: ‘Jacob Kuenzler, Father of the Armenian Orphans’. This unusual, moving biography by his daughter makes clear why the memory of the humble Swiss – ‘Papa Kuenzler’ to many thousands – is revered amongst the Armenian people. With his wife, Elizabeth, he devoted a lifetime to the care of the pathetic victims of brutality, pestilence, and war.
In the early 1920s Papa and Mama Kuenzler began work for the Near East Relief Organization when thier abiding achievement was in evacuating thousands of Armenian orphans from Turkey to the security of Lebanon, where they were in charge of an orphanage in the beautiful village of Ghazir.
In a further great phase of their careers Papa and Mama Kuenzler in the 1930s transformed the lives of refugees in Beirut by setting up pioneer houses and homes for widows – an inspiring life of an extraordinary man and his devoted wife.