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Scandinavian Missionaries, Gender and Armenian Refugees during World War I. Crisis and Reshaping of Vocation

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For more content, please see Le Fait Missionnaire.

Single Scandinavian women, professionally trained as nurses or teachers, left for Turkish Armenia with a religious calling to proselytize and work with relief. In practical terms, however, they became part of the Armenian population's fight for survival during war and genocide. Encountering the Ottoman government's war against its Armenian population, Scandinavian mission work was transformed to performing illegal rescue operations. But the missionaries' careers, relief workers and war witnesses in the Ottoman Empire did not only have an effect on their professional lives, the closeness to Armenian society also shaped their private lives. Des femmes scandinaves célibataires, formées comme infirmières ou enseignantes, partirent pour l'Arménie turque en réponse à une vocation religieuse pour aller évangéliser et travailler dans l'aide humanitaire. Pratiquement, toutefois, ces femmes devinrent partie intégrante de la lutte pour la survie de la population arménienne face à la guerre et au génocide. Avec la guerre de l'Empire ottoman contre sa population arménienne, la mission scandinave se mua en une opération illégale de sauvetage. Non seulement la carrière de missionnaires et travailleuses humanitaires de ces femmes ainsi que leur expérience comme témoins de la guerre dans l'Empire ottoman eurent un impact sur leur vie professionnelle, mais leur proximité avec la société arménienne transforma également leur vie privée.


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