Dr. Freydun Bet-Oraham Atouraya (1891-1926)
Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2001 at 09:12 AM CT | Updated: December 20, 2015
Dr. Freydun Bet-Oraham Atouraya (Freydun the Assyrian) (1891 – 1926) was an Assyrian physician born in the town of Charbash in the district of Urmia in Iran. He was sent by his father to live with an uncle in Tbilisi, then in the Russian Empire, and studied medicine there. He worked as a medical doctor for the Russian Army as soon as he graduated in 1915. He was later transferred to the Russian Forces in Iran as a medical and political officer, and established an Assyrian National Committee in Urmia, sending 250 young Assyrian men to Russia for military training.
After the February 1917 Russian revolution, Dr. Freydun Atouraya, Rabbi Benjamin Bet Arsanis and Dr. Baba Bet Parhad founded the first Assyrian political party, the Assyrian Socialist Party. Dr. Atouraya completed in April 1917 an Urmia Manifesto of the United Free Assyria in Assyrian Neo-Aramaic during World War I, stating in it that "the goal of the free Assyrian unity is to establish in the future the national self-governing in the regions like Urmia, Mosul, Tur-Abdin, Nisibin, Jezira, Julamaerk along with the reunification with the great free Russia in terms of economic and military agreements".
After 1918, the Assyrian National Council which he ran moved to Tbilisi and he was ousted, then imprisoned, under suspicion of being a British spy. After a failed attempt in 1921 to convince the Soviet Foreign minister to repatriate Assyrians to Urmia and Salamis, he married in 1922, and subsequently had two children. He was imprisoned again in 1924 under the accusation of being "a fanatic Assyrian nationalist". He died in prison in 1926, probably poisoned or hanged.
Alongside his military and political career, he wrote poems and founded an Assyrian magazine and an Assyrian library.