Armenian Genocide Contemporary Articles
Posted 07 May 2008 - 06:30 AM
June 29, 1921
"How does it feel to be an Armenian in America?" asks a thoughtful friend. I stare at him. Does he wish to change places with me just once? "Write it, if you can't tell me," he urges. Yet even while I write these lines I wonder if he will really read promises to be so painful.
Being an Armenian - an Armenian anywhere - gives one strange feelings. My mind is torn by the conflict of opposing-emotions growing out of my racial inheritance and my living experience. Fear struggles with courage; pain with the will to endure; worry with optimism; depression with buoyancy; sorrow with faith; despair with hope; overshadowing death with promising life.
The injection of my friend's question into such a consciousness makes me gather my life into a shifting scene in which we Armenians, bleeding, wounded, murdered, outraged, drowning in the sea of barbarism, beaten by the waves of civilized cruelty, call out to the multitudes dwelling on the shore of security.
We cry the story of our life-long suffering, of our murdered manhood, our outraged womanhood, our drying babies, our tortured mothers, our crucified leaders. We cry in anguish and pain. We show our wounds. We cal for help. The crowd on the shore throw out some handfuls of pennies which fall leaden into the waters. Our cry has not been understood.
Perhaps that band of strangers will be stirred by the story of our marvelous history of heroism. We tell of our struggle for liberty through the ages, of our martyrs who are countless, of the ever-undaunted courage of our men and women, of our undying faith in the triumph of right, and our unfailing hope of human goodness. Again we have failed to thrill the crowd upon the shore. What has happened to the people who look out at the Armenian sea of suffering. They are incomprehensibly unresponsive. They seem almost motionless. We detect, however, a slight movement. It seems to spring from an emotion like that described in a cartoon published in a well-known American magazine, showing the gaunt figure of Armenia disturbing the peace of a fat congressman, who, handkerchief to his eyes, exclaims, "Get out. You are breaking my heart." Yet, there almost seems to be a slight movement, a turning of the back to avoid a harrowing picture. The scene gives way in my mind to a question that stands out in letters of living fire: Has the world a heart? Alas! This is Armenia's eternal and unanswered question. People who appear great and noble talk about the heart of the world. Do they really believe in it? Are they sincere? Have virtue and love of human valor died? Is there only the false and pretentious?
The suffering that comes from feeling that we live in a shallow and isolated world is more tragic than the danger of impending death. For death we have always met fearlessly, but is life, -- good, brave, real, serious life, -- which Armenia craves; and the time when she feels her wings most broken is not when the Turk is out killing and plundering, but the time when England is deceiving her and France is betraying her, and when America is to be bitterly disappointed. To this country, this America so beloved, so rich, free, happy, it seems impossible to impart the sadness of an Armenian's life.
But why do I suffer? Haven't I the privilege of living in America, a privilege envied by others of my countrymen? Haven't I all the opportunities of an American? All this I have, freedom, position, opportunities, friends, but the happy smile of an American I can neither achieve nor buy. I walk about like one in a dream, my head heavy, my throat choked, my spirit crushed. I go to church and the minister reads from the old prophet of Israel, "How do the City sit solitary that was full of people! She is become like a widow, that was great among the nations! Is it nothing to you, all that pass by? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow." I do not comprehend the application of the words. I keep asking myself, "Isn't it of me that the minister speaks? Is there anyone else in the congregation who has lost his country, even as did the prophet?" I review the desolate cities of Armenia, its burned homes and ruined churches, its solitary hills and deserted streets. The rest of the minister's words are lost to me. As I walk out I cry silently to the passing crowds, "Is it nothing to you, O Americans, that I suffer, that my people are murdered, that my country is destroyed, that the virgins of Armenia die in shame in Turkish harems, that our children are starving, that our youth are still falling in the field so sacred to you, the battlefield of liberty? Is it nothing to you?"
I go to the mountains and the memory of the green hills of Armenia takes me back to its present valleys of tears. I leave the mountains and run away to the beach in despair. The gay crowds marching up and down bring to me the dark picture of columns of women and children marching up and down the plains of Armenia in search of herbs for food. I attend a dinner party and note the luxurious gowns and wasted food, and I am forced to think of the rags in which the once wealthy and beautiful women of my land are now clad. I pass through the streets where American children play, pretty, happy, careless, and in my vision rise the rows of our orphanages with their pale, solemn-faced babies. The bright side of every situation points out to me with unmistakable clearness the other, the darker side, the Armenian side, and so, confined in my Armenian being, I cannot step out into the freedom of America. I wait, still I wait for America to break my chains.
This is how it feels to be an Armenian in America.
New York Times
Posted 07 May 2008 - 06:33 AM
Official Turkish documents produced in Berlin at the trial of the young Armenian, Teilirian, proved beyond question that Talaat ***** and other officials had ordered the wholesale extermination of the Armenians, including even little orphans children -- Facsimiles of the order
AN Armenian named Teilirian was tried at Berlin of June 2-3 for the murder of Talaat *****, who was chief of the Young Turk Party, and who was, during the latter part of the war, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. The murder of Talaat of March 15, 1921, drew general attention to the fact that the German Government was allowing Talaat to use Berlin as a center of Turkish Nationalist intrigue. It was expected that the known sympathy of the German Government for the Young Turks would result in the prompt conviction and execution of the Armenian. To the surprise of the world, he was acquitted.
Teilirian and the Armenian Nation, it appeared, had found a champion in the person of Professor Lepsius, who was not only bold in bringing out unpleasant truths irrefutable. The trial of the Armenian developed into the trial of the murdered Talaat ***** as the greatest of the war criminals. It developed into a case against the German military authorities, who had at least allowed the massacres to continue without protect. Even General Liman von Sanders, who had had charge of the German military forces in Turkey, was called as a witness. His testimony opened the eyes of the German people, as nothing else had yet done, to the fact of the terrible massacres and to the callousness of the German military authorities to the horrors that were going on under their eyes. Professor Lepsius produced German official reports to show that the total number of Armenians who perished as a result of the so-called deportations was over a million.
Although the technical defense of Teilirian was temporary insanity brought on by a vision of his murdered mother, the real defense was the terrible record of Talaat *****; so that in the eyes of Germany the acquittal of the Armenia of the charge of murder became the condemnation to death of the Turk. That such a trial and such a result occurred in Germany with Germans as jurors is particularly significant.
With respect to the present situation in the Near East, the most important phase of this dramatic trial was the ability of Professor Lepsius to produce Turkish official documents which proved the heads of the Turkish Government at Constantinople -- and particularly Talaat himself -- to be directly responsible for converting the deportation into shambles. Heretofore there have been defenders of the Ottomans who held that the massacres were not a plan of the Government, but were due to the brutality of those who carried out the deportation instructions. At the trial of Teilirian there were placed in evidence facsimiles and translations of signed orders from Talaat -- letters and cipher telegrams which proved that the instructions to massacre originated in Constantinople. As Aleppo was the headquarters of the "Deportations Committee," the capture of Aleppo by the British made possible the securing of these official documents from the archives. This evidence directly linking the murdered Talaat with the inhuman deeds that were covered by the general term "deportation" was irrefutable and overwhelming. The documents established once and for all the fact that the purpose of the Turkish authorities was not deportation by annihilation.
The object of the present article is to present translations -- with facsimiles -- of some of the Turkish official documents that created such a sensation when read into the evidence during the trial at Berlin. The first document, although not singed by Talaat, is from the committee of Young Turks of which he was the head, and, inasmuch as its contents are referred to in dispatches signed by him, was valid as evidence. It was written in the Spring of 1915, before the massacres had begun, and shows the extermination of the Armenians to have been the determined policy of the Government. Jemal, to whom the document is addressed, was the third in the triumvirate of Young Turks -- Tallat, Enver and Jemal. At that time he was Governor of Adana and soon afterward became Governor of Aleppo:
March 25 1915. To Jemal Bey, Delegate at Adana:
It is the duty of all of us to effect on the broadest lines the realization of the noble project of wiping out of existence the well-known elements who have for centuries been constituting a barrier to the empire's progress in civilization. For this reason we must take upon ourselves the whole responsibility, saying, "come what may," and appreciating how great is the sacrifice which has enabled the Government to enter the World War, we must work so that the means adopted may lead to the desired end.
As announced in our dispatch dates Feb. 18, the Jemiet [Young Turk Committee] has decided to uproot and annihilate the various forces which have for centuries been an obstacle in its way, and to this end it is obliged to resort to very bloody methods. Be assured that we ourselves were horrified at the contemplation of these methods, but the Jemiet sees no other way of insuring the stability of its work.
Ali Riza [the committee delegate at Aleppo] criticized us and called upon us to be merciful; such simplicity is nothing short of stupidity. For those who will not co-operate with us we will find a place that will wring their delicate heartstrings.
I again recall to your memory the question of the property left. It is very important. Do not let its distribution escape your vigilance; always examine the accounts and the use made of the proceeds.
Reference to this document is contained in the following order, signed by Talaat and sent to the same Jamal. This order shows that women and children were to be included in the holocaust:
Sept. 3, 1915 To the Prefecture of Aleppo:
We recommend that you submit the women and children also to the orders which have been previously prescribed as to be allied to the males of the intended persons, and to designate for these functions employs of confidence.
The Minister of the Interior,
Apparently the instructions regarding the women and children called for some reiteration, for on Sept. 16 the following cipher telegram, which showed the instructions as going back to the decision of the Jeimet, or Young Turk Committee, was sent: [TRANSLATION] Sept. 16 To the Prefecture of Aleppo:
It has been previously communicated to you that the Government, by order of the Jehmed [the Young Turk Committee] has decided to destroy completely all the indicated persons living in Turkey. Those who oppose this order and decision cannot remain on the official staff of the empire. An end must be put to their existence, however tragic the measures taken may be, and no regard must be paid to either age or sex, or to conscientious scruples.
The Minister of the Interior,
Mr. Morgenthau, the American Ambassador at Constantinople, began to exert himself in behalf of the Armenians, and the result was an official order suggesting caution: Nov. 18, 1915. To the Prefecture of Aleppo:
From interventions which have recently been made by the American Ambassador at Constantinople on behalf of his Government, it appears that the American Consul are obtaining information by secret means. In spite of our assurance that the [Armenian] deportations will be accomplished in safety and comfort, they remain unconvinced. Be careful that events attracting attention shall not take place in connection with those [Armenians] who are near the cities and other canters. From the point of view of the present policy. It is most important that foreigners who are in those parts shall be persuaded that the expulsion of the Armenians is in truth only deportation. For this reason it is important that, to save appearances, a show of gentle dealing shall be made for a time, and the usual measures be taken in suitable places. It is recommended as very important that the people who have given such information shall be arrested and handed over to the military authorities for trial by court-martial.
The Minister of the Interior,
Reference to the effort of the American Consul at Aleppo, Mr. Jackson, to send information to Mr. Morgenthau is contained in the following cipher dispatch: Dec. 11, 1915. To the Prefecture of Aleppo:
We learn that some correspondents of Armenian journals are obtaining photographs and letters which represent tragic events, and are giving them to the American Consul at Aleppo. Have dangerous persons of this kind arrested and suppressed.
The Minister of the Interior,
The need for caution is further indicated in the following telegram: Dec. 29, 1915. To the Prefecture of Aleppo:
We learn that foreign officers are encountering along the roads the corpses of the intended persons and are photographing them. I recommend you the importance of having these corpses buried at once and of not allowing them to be left near the roads.
The Minister of the Interior,
The heartlessness of the Turks in regard to the doomed children made a deep impression on the Berlin jury. The following are some of the documents presented on this point: Nov. 5, 1915 To the Government of Aleppo:
We are informed that the little ones belonging to the indicated persons [Armenians] from Sivas Mamuret-ul-Aziz, Diarbekir and Erzeroum are adopted by certain Moslem families and received as servants when they are left alone through the death of their parents. We inform you that you are to collect all such children in your province and send them to the places of deportation, and also to give the necessary orders regarding this to the people.
The Minister of the Interior,
Jan. 15, 1916. To the Government of Aleppo:
We hear that certain orphanages which have been opened received also the children of the Armenians. Whether this is done through ignorance of our real purpose, or through contempt of it, the Government will regard the feeding of such children or any attempt to prolong their lives as an act entirely opposed to its purpose, since it considers the survival of these children as detrimental. I recommend that such children shall not be received into the orphanages, and no attempts are to be made to establish special orphanages for them.
The Minister of the Interior,
The production of the following cipher telegram (No. 830) was particularly telling in its effect on the jury:
From the Ministry of the Interior to the Government of Aleppo:
Collect and keep only those orphans who cannot remember the terrors to which their parents have been subjected. Send the rest away with the caravans.
The Minister of the Interior,
That the Moslem population was not to be held accountable for its share in the massacres was ordered in a telegram dated Oct. 8, 1915:
The reason why the Sanjak of Zor Was chosen as a place of deportation is explained in a secret order dated Sept. 2, 1915, No. 1,843. As all the crimes to be committed by the population along the way against the Armenians will serve to effect the ultimate purpose of the Government, there is no need for legal proceedings with regard to these. The necessary instructions have also been sent to the Governments of Zor and Ourfa.
The Minister of the Interior,
All the evidence tends to show, with cumulative effect, that it was the pity awakened in the hearts of some of the local Turkish officials by the miseries of the Armenians which produced a certain mitigation of the heartless orders that emanated from Constantinople. A small remnant of the race survived. Talaat and his group in the Government were obliged continually to spur some of their tools on to greater severity.
New York Times - Current History
Posted 07 May 2008 - 06:34 AM
PUBLIC OPINION (New York) combined with THE LITERARY DIGEST
The Literary Digest for February 25, 1922
TURKISH BUTCHERIES OF ARMENIANS have reached the point where a remnant of 120,000 has besought the Council of the League of Nations to send ships to transport them beyond the reach of their hereditary enemies. Persecuted for centuries, and deserted, we are told by those on whom they had most relied, the Armenians have no recourse other than evacuation of their country and many of servers agree that the spectacle of these being hounded from their native soil is a reflection of civilization. Ancient history records many moving tragedies of which whole nations were the victims, but, says the Kansas City Journal, "modern times have written no such chapter as that which puts the finish to the national history of the Armenians, who . . . are to leave their immemorial homeland and abandon Armenia for an indefinite period, if not forever." Whether the "pitiful remnant" of 120,000 is all that is left of the 1,500,000 who were in Armenia when the war ended is not stated, but it is regarded as probable that the number refers only to those who were in Cilicia at the time of the French occupation. It is certain, however, "that hundreds of thousands have been ruthlessly slaughtered and starved by their infamous Moslem and Russian persecutors." Turkey has been permitted to wreak her barbarous will upon the Christian Armenians while "the world stood supinely by," continues the Journal, and -- "Christian civilization can not evade the condemnation that is involved in such a situation. What is every nation's business is proverbially no nation's business, but it is one of the most frightful ironies of history that the Turk, hurled out of Palestine and reduced to a mere shadow of his former national power, should still be able to slay and torture and starve Armenians until, despairing of rescue by men and even of the mercy of God, a whole nation emigrates to an unknown destination.
"The Russian Bolsheviks have proved more ruthless oppressors than the unspeakable Turk, yet millions in treasure are poured into Russia, while the Bolsheviks and the Kurds unite in crushing Armenia into the bloody mire of multiplied massacres, her daughters dragged into Turkish harems, her men butchered, her land made a bloody waste, without a hand being raised in her defense. That is the tragedy of modern history, the shame of Christendom."
The Armenia's various appeals for help against her oppressors have, so far, been without avail, the American Near East Relief is attempting to feed the refugees population and is maintaining what is said to be the largest orphan asylum in the world at Alexandropol, in Caucasian Armenia. Defeat of Turkey in the World War have new hope to the country, but the treaty of Angora between the French and the Turks, mentioned in these pages on January 28, resulted in the withdrawal of the French from Cilicia, and, says the Des Moines Register, "turned forlorn hope into despair."
France has taken measures, through an understanding with the Turks, to protect the Armenians and other Christians in Cilicia, a French delegate stated to the League of Nations, and the French Government has voted 50,000,000 francs for the care of the Armenian refugees. But the past experiences of the Armenians confirm them in their fears that the persecutions will not be halted, and, according to the Christian Science Monitor, secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, insists that the French withdrawal from Cilicia "would undoubtedly open up the way for further attacks by the Turks upon unprotected Armenians and other Christians in the Cilician districts." Systematic annihilation of the Greek populations in Asia Minor is also a part of the Turkish program, according to news dispatches. Just before he sailed from New York recently, the Patriarch of Constantinople received a statement, says The Living Church (Episcopalian), giving details of various massacres of the Greeks. Among several other barbarities reported to the Patriarch, according to The Living Church, are these in the city of Merzifoun (or Marsovan) and in Samsoun:
"Osman Agha, after seizing the property of all the Christians, set fire to the Greek and Armenian quarters. The sight was most horrible. All the streets and alleys were blocked by the culprits to that those attempting to escape were either shot or pushed back into the fire irrespective of age or sex. In less than five hours 1,800 houses were burned down with their residents. Crimes, unheard of in the history of vandalism, were committed against maidens and children. And while they did this, they cried, 'Let your Englishmen and Americans, your Christ Himself, come now and save you!'
"All the Greek villages of the region of Samsoun were burned, the property of the inhabitants seized, young men and women violated and carried off to the mountains. Many a young woman, choosing to die rather than be disgraced, committed suicide. Parents, unable to bear the sight of their children thus disgraced in the hands of the Turks, killed them.
"The above is a rough online of the horrible picture reflecting on the martyrdom of the Hellenism of Pontus."
According to a cablegram received by the near East Relief at its New York officers on January 16, more than 200,000 Cilician refugees evacuated the country after the Franco-Kemalist treaty, and are now scattered through the Beirut and Constantinople areas.
Posted 07 May 2008 - 06:35 AM
By Albert Mackenzie
Recently connected with relief work in Turkey
Freshly gleaned facts and personal observations offered in refutation of Rear Admiral Chester's statements - A massacre of 2,000 Armenians and Greeks that took place only a year ago
The article, "Turkey Reinterpreted," by Rear Admiral Colby M. Chester, in the September Current History, calls for a refutation. Nothing could be more pernicious.
The author's contention that "Turkey joined the Germans with reluctance" is, if true, the most singular truth in captivity. Turkey's armies were trained, officered and equipped by Germany before the war started. The Goeben and the Breslau, German cruisers, were bought by Turkey. It was the only move Turkey had on the board to prevent her complete disintegration. Her lot was already cast wit Germany's. To fight on the side of Russia, her traditional enemy, would have been suicide in view of the indications of that moment. Even to win the war with Russian as an ally would have meant the swamping of Turkey by the big Slav neighbor. Turkey's political dissolution is classic, and is only because of her flagrant misrule. Since her very advent into history she never ruled over a country that was content with her domination. The Turks are parasites; they have never built a city, their language is a hybrid of other tongues, the paucity of their literature is beyond discussion. Turks never make mechanical or scientific inventions. The Great Mosque of St. Sofia in Constantinople is a rebuilt Byzantine Church, and the greatest monument of her construction, aside from mosques, anywhere in the empire is Roumeli Hissar on the Bosporus. The Turks fight with foreign guns and ammunition; an Austrian firm used to make their fezzes, an Austrian today runs the establishment which supplies uniforms to the army. They make no automobiles, battleships, and airplanes - not even telephone and telegraph sets where there are such. Before 1915 the Christians were, generally speaking, the economic and intellectual developers of Turkey. It is that very thing which let loose the massacres. The Turk was in despair; brains he had not, but might he had.
In the last century Turkey's control at any time over Northern Africa was only nominal. In 1912 the Balkans exploded against her abominable lordship. She lost Tripoli. The Arabs - brother church members - revolted against Turkey, and now have a free State, the Hedjas. The Near East question is not religious, but racial and cultural; religion, however, aggravates it. The Arabs - more devout Mohammedans than the Turks - broke from Turkish misrule. The Kurds were never propitiated. The Syrians and Palestinians importunes the members of the Paris conference to grant them independence. Subjects of Turkey in those two regions inundated the Crane commission with petitions for independence, or, as an alternative mandate control by America (1.152 petitions to the latter effect).
In regard to the Turk as a husband, I will simply relate an incident in the American Hospital in Harput, where I was stationed seven months as a relief worker in 1921-22. A Turk brought his shrouded wife one day to the American Hospital and asked if there was any way of curing her of sterility. He was informed that, if he consented to let her undergo an operation, the woman would in all likelihood be able to bear him children. Fine! When could it be done? He was then told that the operation would cost him four golds, or about $16. Up went his arms in despair and indignation. "What, pay four golds to operate on her, when I can get another wife for a medjidie!" (40 cents). And off he stalked, out f the hospital. But Admiral Chester writes: "In Turkey every man by law and by religion must adequately support and treat with kindness and faithful respect whomsoever he may marry, and, moreover, this he does."
The retired Admiral says that the Adana massacre of 1909 was an "affair" in which "the Armenians, fully armed, arose in their might and drove the Moslems from Adana, killing more of them than they lost by their own causalities." Herbert Adams Gibbons, the author of several admirable books on international affairs, was in the courtyard of the Adana Government building when the massacre of 1909 broke out, and he attests with feeling to the crimes by the Turks. No more trustworthy witness could be found that Mr. Gibbons.
I have but recently come from the interior of Turkey, where I lived eight months. With my own eyes I have seen thousands upon thousand of Greek families tramping over the snow-covered mountains of that country .I have seen groups of 3.000 to 4.000 refugees moaning, freezing, dying, with typhus, gangrene, pneumonia, starvation, insanity - mothers so weak they could not lift their dead babies from their backs where they had been strapped. I have watched dogs and vultures eat so many bodies that I can tell now just where a dog will start on a fresh carcass for the choicest pieces, and his whole modus operandi until the bones are clean. We have pleaded with officials for mercy to the specters that still survives to allow them to be taken to the American Hospital for treatment. Oft-times permission was refused. In any case, every refugee we did not treat had to be O.K.'d by a callous Turkish Sanitary Inspector, who had less sympathy for the patients than he would have had for a dog. He begrudged them their lives.
As to the virtue of honesty in business, another of Admiral Chester's arguments, when the Turk is honest it is not a matter of principle, but only because he can't get away with anything else. Through my hands passed between $ 30.000 and $ 60.000 each month. It was my duty to pay all bills, and I had to exchange our Turkish paper banknote appropriations into gold and silver, because paper was not the currency in the vilayet of Mamuret-ul-Aziz. From this contact, day in day out, I grew to know, not only Turkish and Armenian merchants as classes, but the reputation of scores of individuals. The Treasurer of the Province tricked us out of $3.360. One day, nearly half a year afterward, we arranged a trap, to sell him a draft which was later dishonored and in that way got back the money. The son-in-law of the Governor of the province sold us wagonloads of wheat that he stole from military warehouses.
Even when the owners are alive, the Turks rarely - and rarely means once in twenty-five or thirty cases - pay rent on the shops and homes which they took from the Armenians in the massacre of 1915. On the other hand, the Government collects taxes, where it finds any one to tax, on the Armenian shops which they burned in 1915. Last spring they collected taxes for six years on Armenian shops from any persons who were supposed to have once owned them; and they collected taxes on shops whose sites are now ash-heaps that they themselves made. All this is paltry, however, when compared to the heinousness of the massacres.
When I left Constantinople, where I had lived all Summer, to go to the interior, I was pro-Turkish. I felt the majesty of the Turk's religion, I admired his inscrutable face., his reserved mien. I condoned his evil, because I didn't know and couldn't understand. Since then I have seen sights that have made me know and understand.
I find another glaring point in the Admiral's description of the Armenian deportations. "So the Armenians," he says, "were moved from the inhospitable regions where they were not welcome, and could not actually prosper, to the most delightful and fertile part of Syria. Those from the mountains were taken into Mesopotamia, where the climate is as benign as in Florida and California, whither New York millionaires journey every year for health and recreation, All this was done at great expense of money and effort." How beautiful to contemplate! Does Colby M. Chester know that the world knows - and knows that he knows - that some 800.000 Armenians perished in those deportations? Even the Turkish newspapers themselves estimated that they had cleared the land of 800,000 "giaours."
I personally know Turks -- have been on parties with them -- who boast of the number of Armenians they killed. One Kurd in Harput, a member of the old Committee of Union and Progress, glories in the fact that he used seventy-two Armenian girls in the deportations. Today the Turkish peasants, riding on their oxcarts, sing songs about the Paradise of the "sufkiet" (deportations), when they had the prettiest women all to themselves for nothing, and how they chased the ugly ones down the road. If the deportees returned "fat and prosperous" from their voyage, as Mr. Chester writes, why has the Near East Relief spent over "70,000,000 and why is it feeding over 100,000 orphans every day, whose only prayer is "Give us daily bread"?
In regard to the "benign" climate of the country in the Summer of 1915, I shall quote from Viscount Bryce's "The Treatment of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire." This extract is a memorandum by a foreign resident in Turkey at the time of the "sufkiet." Obviously the source of this lostimony coming as it does from a neutral resident, is above reproach. To satisfy myself of its correctness I elicited the story from an Armenian lad in Turkey, who had been in this deportation. His story, of course, was more elaborate, but there was not a single discrepancy to be found, though the boy knew nothing of Voscount Bryce's book:
On the fortieth day the convoy came in sight of the River Mourad, a branch of the Euphrates. Here they saw the bodies of more than 200 men floating in the river, with traces of blood and blood-stained fezzes, clothes and stockings of the bank. The chief of the neighboring village took one lira in toll from each man as a ransom for not being into the river.
On the fifty-second day they arrived at another village, and here the Kurds took from them everything they had, even their shirts and drawer, so that for five days the whole convoy marched completely naked under the scorching sun. For another five days they did not have a morsel of bread nor even a drop of water. They were scorched to death by thirst. Hundreds upon hundreds fell dead on the way, their tongues were turned to charcoal, and when. at the end of the five days, they reached a fountain, the whole convoy naturally rushed toward it. But here the policemen barred the way and forbade them to take a single drop of water. Their purpose was to sell it at from one to three liras the cup, and sometimes they actually withheld the water after getting the money. At another place, where there were wells, some women threw themselves into them, as there was no rope or pail to draw up the water. These women were drowned, and in spite of that the rest of the people drank from that well, the dead bodies still remaining there and stinking in the water. Sometimes, when the wells were shallow and the women could go down into them and come out again, the other people would rush to lick or suck their wet, dirty clothes, in the effort to quench their thirst
When they passed an Arab village in their naked condition the Arabs pitied them and gave them old pieces of clothes to cover themselves with. Some of the exiles who still had money bought some clothes: but still some remained who traveled thus naked all the way to the City of Aleppo. The poor women could hardly walk for shame: they walked all day and night. Even in their nakedness they had found some means of preserving the little money they had. Some kept it in their hair, some in their months.* * *
On the sixtieth day, when they reached Viran Shehr, only 300 exiles remained out of all the 18,000. On the sixty-fourth day they gathered together all the man and sick women and children and burned and killed them all. On the seventieth day, when they reached Aleppo, thirty-five women and children were left out of the 3,000 exiles from H., and 150 women and children altogether out of the whole convoy of 18,000
Regarding the sufferings of Greeks in Asia Monor, we have the facts presented By Mr. Venizelos before the Council of Ten of Dec. 30,1918. in addition to which I have my own figures on the number of Greeks know to be alive now in Eastern Anatolia; these figures, collected in towns which I passed through, were supplemented with data from non-native sources with which I got into communication. Basin an estimate on my own investigations, I am positive that 225,000 Greeks -- men, women and children -- have met death in Eastern Asia Minor since May, 1921.
In September 1921. I stayed three days in Marsovan and gathered the story of a new massacre there from foreign residents who had been compelled to turn Christians out of their premises to be killed, and who had watched the actual murdering and burials in pits from their windows and even saw some of them being buries alive. So recently had the massacre of these 2,460 taken place that the air was still polluted with decomposed bodies upon my arrival. I smell it yet! The whole Christian quarter of the town was looted and burned and the only moot question is -- which official is most responsible? That was just one year ago.
No one gets rich laying the Turkish crimes before the world. Rather, one gets into a certain type of disrepute with those whose commercial aims would be best served by smothering such news. The greatest obstacle to imprinting the story of the Turkish massacres on our minds is its inconceivableness. It is almost beyond contemplation. After each outrage on the Armenians and Greeks, the American public is electrified with horror, and being a homage public it will -- if dollars and cents do not stuff its ears and blindfold it -- ultimately mete out justice where the vanishing peoples cry in supplication.
109 South Twenty-second Street, Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 6, 1922.
New York Times - Current History
Posted 07 May 2008 - 06:37 AM
By George R. Montgomery
Director of the Armenia-America Society
A refutation, from authentic sources, of the allegation that the Turks were not guilty of wholesale slaughter of the Armenians - Testimony of German and Turkish eyewitnesses of the crime
In the September issue of Current History Rear Admiral Colby M. Chester (retired) had an article entitled "Turkey Reinterpreted," in the course of which, along with other misstatements, he made the following assertion:
So, the Armenians were moved from the inhospitable regions where they were not welcome and could not actually prosper to the most delightful and fertile part of Syria. Those from the mountains were taken into Mesopotamia , where the climate is as benign as in Florida and California, whither New York Millionaires journey every year for health and recreation. All this was done at great expense of money and effort, and the general outside report was that all, or at least many, had been murdered.
It seems almost a pity to upset the good old myth of Turkish viciousness and terribleness, but in the interest of accuracy I find myself constrained to do so, although it makes ma feel a bit like one who is compelled to tell a child that Jack the Giant Killer really found no monstrous men to slay.
In due of time the deportees, entirely unmassacred, and fat and prosperous, returned (if they wished so to do), and an English prisoner of war who was in one of the vacated owns after it had been repopulated told me that he found it filled with these astonishing living ghosts. A against these untrue words I quote extracts from a letter addressed in January, 1919, from Berlin, to President Wilson by Ramin T. Wegner, a German eyewitness of the Armenian deportations: A one of the few Europeans who have been eyewitnesses of the dreadful destruction of the Armenian people from its beginning in the fruitful fields of Anatolia up to the wiping out of the mournful remnants of the race on the banks of the Euphrates, I venture to claim the right of setting before you these pictures of misery and terror which passed before my eyes during nearly two years, and which will never be obliterated from my mind. * * *
* * * But what is Siberia compared with the Mesopotamian steppes? There we find a long tract of land without grass, without trees, without cattle, covered with stunted weeds, a country where the only inhabitants are Arab Bedouins, destitute of all pity; a stretch of gray limestone plains miles in extent, bare wastes of rock and stone, ruined river banks, exposed to the rays of a merciless sun, ceaseless Autumn rains and frosty Winter nights. Leaving sheets of ice behind them. Except its two large rivers there is no water. The few small villages scarcely suffice to feed a handful of Bedouins, who in their wretched poverty regard any traveler as a welcome prey. * * *
The Armenians were driven into this desolate waste with the alleged purpose of forcibly transplanting them from their homes to a strange land - a purpose which, even had it been the real one, is repugnant to every human feeling. * * *
Parties which on their departure from the homeland of High Armenia consisted of thousands, numbered on their arrival in the outskirts of Aleppo only a few hundreds, while the fields were strewn with their odors, lying about desecrated, naked, having been robbed of their clothes, or driven, bound back to back, to the Euphrates to provide food for the fishes. When in the desert I went through the deportees' camp. When I sat in their tents with the starving and dying I felt their supplicating hands in mine, and the voices of their priests, who had blessed many of the dead on their last journey to the grave, adjured me to plead for them, if I were ever in Europe again. * * *
I am making no accusation against Islam. The spirit of every great religion is noble, and the conduct of many a Mohammedan has made us blush for the deeds of Europe. I do not accuse the simple people of Turkey, whose souls are full of goodness; but I do not think that the members of the ruling class will ever, in the course of history, be capable of making their country happy, for they have destroyed our belief in their capacity for civilization. * * *
With the ardor of one who has experienced unspeakable, humiliating sorrows in his own tortured soul, I utter the voice of those unhappy ones whose despairing cries I had to hear without being able to still them, whose cruel deaths I could only helplessly mourn, whose bones bestrew the deserts of the Euphrates, and whose limbs once more become alive in my heart and admonish me to speak.
Once already have I knocked at the door of the American people when I bought the petition of the deportees from their camps at Meskene and Aleppo to your embassy at Constantinople, and I know that this has not been in vain.
If you, Mr. president, have, indeed, made the sublime idea of championing oppressed nations the guiding principle of your policy, you will not fail to perceive that even in these words a mighty voice speaks, the only that has the right to be heard at all times - the voice of humanity.
As against Admiral Chester's words, I quote also from the pen of Ali Kemal Bey, then Minister of the Interior at Constantinople:
What are the facts of the case? Four or five years ago a crime universal and unique in history was being perpetrated in our country. Taking into consideration the gigantic magnitude and extent of the crime, it could not have been committed by four or five people, but proportionately by hundreds of thousands. If the victims had been 300.000 instead of 600.000 - if they had been even 200.000 or 100.000, 100.500 or even 1.000 criminals could not have wiped out so many people. It is already a proved fact this crime was mapped out and decreed by the General Centre of the Ittihad.
The following letter was written by a Swiss who had an opportunity to visit some of the deportees while they were passing through Cilicia and before they had reached the desert. It is dated Nov.16, 1915, and is printed in the late Lord Bryce's notable book, "The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire":
I have just returned from a ride on horseback through the Baghtche-Osmania Plain, where thousands of exiles are lying out in the fields and on the roads, without any shelter, and completely at the mercy of all manner of brigands. Last night, about 12 o'clock, a little camp was suddenly attacked. There were about fifty to sixty persons in it. I found men and women badly wounded - bodies slashed open, broken skulls and terrible knife wounds. Fortunately I was provided with clothes, so I could change their blood-soaked things, and then bring then to the next inn, where they were nursed. Many of them were so much exhausted from the enormous loss of blood that they died, I fear, in the meantime. In another camp we found thirty or forty thousand Armenians. I was able to distribute bread among them. Desperate and half-starved, they fell upon it: several times I was almost pulled down off my horse. A number of corpses were lying about unburied, and it was only by bringing the gendarmes that we could induce them to allow their burial. Mostly, the Armenians are not allowed to perform the last offices of love their relatives. Dreaded epidemics of typhoid fever broke out everywhere; there was a victim of it practically in every third tent. Nearly everything had to be transported on foot; men, women and children carried their few belongings on their backs. I often saw them break down under their burden, but the soldiers kept on driving them forward with the butt-ends of their rifles, even sometimes with their bayonets.
I quote the words written by Deschanel, when President of the French Chamber of Deputies and later President of France, in the introduction to "Au Pays de l'Epouvante," which was written by Henry Barby, the war correspondent of Le Journal:
At the beginning of 1915 there were in Turkey 2.000.000 Armenians, of whom less than 900.000 survive today, and the murdering of these more than a million people has been carried out with the most shameful cruelty. They were not all sent in platoons to execution. Those who were shot were the least unfortunate, because their suffering was short. Many hundred thousands of them were deported , constituting those sinister death caravans. * * * The Armenians furnished no provocation; they were mere victims. Their killing was consummated through a carefully prearranged plan. The infamous work was carried out systematically, so that not a city, not a village, not a family was spared.
I quote the words written by Herr Stuermer, Constantinople correspondent of the Kölnische Zeitung, in his book, "Zwei Kriegsjahre in Constantinople," published in 1917:
Here I can only give my final judgment on all these pros and cons, and say to the best of my knowledge and opinion that after the first act in this drama of massacre and death - the brutal "evacuation of the war zone" in Armenia proper - the meanest, the lowest, the most cynical, most criminal act of race fanaticism that the history of mankind has to show was the extension of the system of deportation, with its willful neglect and starvation of the victims, to further hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the capital and interior. And these were people who, through their place of residence, their preoccupation in work and wage-earning, were quite incapable of taking any active part in politics. * * *
With the most cold-blooded calculation and method, the numbers of Armenians to be deported were divided out over a period of many months; indeed, one may say over nearly a year and a half. * * * For the most part it was the sad fate of those deported to be sent off on an endless journey by foot to the far-off Arabian frontier, where they were treated with the most terrible brutality. There, in the midst of a population wholly foreign and but little sympathetic to their race, left to their fate on a barren mountainside, without money, without shelter, without medical assistance, without the means of earning a livelihood, they perished in want and misery.
The women and children were always separated from the men. That was characteristic of all the deportations. It was an attempt to strike at the very core of their national being and annihilate them by the tearing asunder of all family ties. That was how a very large part of the Armenian people disappeared.***
That stream of unhappy beings trickled on ever more slowly to its distant goal, leaving the dead bodies of women and children , old men and boys, as milestones to mark the way. The few that did reach the "settlement" alive - that is, the fever-ridden, hunger-stricken concentration camps - continually molested by raiding Bedouins and Kurds, gradually sickened and died a slower and even more horrible death.
Herr Stuermer's courageous setting forth of the facts in his correspondence to the Kölnische Zeitung and in letters to the German Foreign Office during the war resulted in his losing his position and necessitated his becoming an exile.
Had Admiral Chester looked the subject up in Current History he would have read in the July number for 1921 an article where facsimiles were given of some of the official Turkish documents bearing on the horrors of the deportations. The incriminating character of these documents was sufficient to win the acquittal of Talaat *****'s assassin before a German jury. The official Turkish documents proved to be the express intent of the Turkish authorities and proved that they were not due to the savagery of unrestrained soldiers. A report dated Feb.26, 1916, from Committee for Settling the Deportees, was found among the official papers, and along with many similar documents has been included by Aram Andonian in "The memoirs of Naim Bey," published by Hodder & Stoughtin. It reads as follows:
I report for your information that hardly a quarter of the Armenians sent to the desert have arrived at their destination, with the exception of those sent to Syria as artisans. The rest have died from natural causes on the way. We have taken in hand measures to send also those that were for various reasons left in Aleppo.
The horrors and massacres of the deportation are not something with regard to which there are two sides. No Turkish writer has ever ventured to deny them, because they are established and attested beyond the shadow of a question. Yet in the face of facts never before denied, Admiral Chester does deny them, and says that doing s makes him feel "a bit like one who is compelled to tell a child that Jack the Giant Killer really found no monstrous men to slay." The Admiral quotes "an English prisoner of war who was in one of the vacated towns after it was repopulated" as saying that "he found it filled with these astonishing living ghosts." The Admiral adds: "In due course of time the deportees, entirely unmassacred and fat and prosperous, returned if they wished to do so." The vacated town to which he refers is doubtless Adana. Does the Admiral not know that after the armistice the French gathered up the 150.000 of the deportees that had survived them into Cilicia, whose capital city Adana is, with the promise and expectation of making Cilicia into an autonomous Armenia?
Dr. Johannes Lepsius, who has had access to German and Turkish official reports, in his book, "Deutschland und Armenien," published in 1919, makes the following estimate of losses:
According to the Patriarch's lists, the total number of Armenians in Turkey [at the beginning of the war] was 1.845.450. If those who fled into the Transcaucasus and into Egypt are estimated at 244.400, and those who were not deported at 204.700, the total number of deportees would be 1.396.350. According to the latest accounts, those who are still living in the districts around the desert [Mosul, Mesopotamia and Syria] are some 200.000 to 250.000. If, furthermore, we assume that 200.000have either become Moslems or represent the women and children in Turkish homes, that would mean that a round million of the Armenians met their death.
To show the utter untruth of Admiral Chester's assertions. I have brought forward testimony of Germans and Turks because such testimony is rather unfamiliar to the American public and also because the Germans were allies of the Turks in the war. I could adduce any amount more of testimony if more were required. Perhaps I have attached too much importance to Admiral Chester's misstatements. It is important, however, that there remain clear-cut on the pages of history, as one phase of the World War, the terrible tragedy of the Armenian deportations. As Herr Stuermet says in his book already quoted from:
This terrible catalogue of crime on the part of the Government of Talaat is, however, in spite of all censorship and obstruction, being dealt with officially in all quarters of the globe - by the American Embassy at Constantinople and in neutral and Entente countries - and at the conclusion of peace it will be brought as an accusation against the criminal brotherhood of Young Turks by a merciless court of all the civilized nations of the world. * * * The mixture of cowardice, lack of conscience and lack of foresight of which our [Imperial German] Government has been guilty in Armenian affairs is quite enough to undermine completely the political loyalty of any thinking man who has any regard for humanity and civilization. Every German cannot be expected to bear as lightheartedly as the diplomats of Pera the shame of having history point to the fact that the annihilation, with every refinement of cruelty, of a people of high social development, numbering over one and a half million, was contemporaneous with Germany's greatest power in Turkey.
These great facts must be perfectly clear, and the ill-informed or careless words of a retired American Rear Admiral, falsifying the facts, should not be allowed to stand without complete refutation.
New York Times - Current History
Posted 13 January 2015 - 10:14 AM
MILLION ARMENIANS KILLED OR IN EXILE - THE NEW YORK TIMES, DECEMBER 15, 1915
January 11, 2015
American Committee on Relief Says Victims of Turks Are Steadily
POLICY OF EXTERMINATION
________________________________ More Atrocities Detailed in Support
of Charge That Turkey Is Acting Deliberately.
December 15, 1915
In a statement issued yesterday from the offices of the American
Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief at 70 Fifth Avenue, further
atrocities committed by Turks upon Armenian Christians were detailed
and additional evidence was given to support Lord Bryce's assertion
that the massacres are the results of a deliberate plan of the Turkish
government to "get rid of the Armenian question," as Abdul Hamid once
said, by getting "rid of the Armenians."
Professor Samuel T. Dutton, Secretary of the committee said:
"According to all the best evidence which the American Committee
has received, it is probably well within the truth to say that of
the 2 million Armenians in Turkey a year ago, at least 1 million
have been killed or forced into Islam, or compelled to flee the
country, or have died upon the way to exile, or are now up on the
road to the deserts of Northern Arabia, or are already there. The
number of victims is constantly increasing. Surely there can be no
greater need of immediate help, even in these troublous times, then
the desperate need of the Armenian refugees. The American Committee
has already done much in collecting and sending funds, as has also
the English Committee, but there is still the direst need of generous
contributions. All contributions should be sent to Charles R. Crane,
Treasurer, 70 Fifth Avenue."
Walter H. Mallory, Executive Secretary of the American Committee, said
that the committee was in close touch with the Lord Mayor's committee
of London and that "daily authentic reports of almost unbelievable
atrocities" were received. In the statement made public there was
an excerpt from a letter received by the American Committee from the
English committee, which read:
"The committee knows that there are 180,000 refugees still in the
Caucasus besides 30,000 who have died there, and 70,000 who have
returned to parts of Turkey and Persia.
A large part of the statement is taken up with a letter received by
the American Committee from a missionary stationed in Konia. In part,
the letter read:
"Soon after the great deportation that preceded the arrival of the new
Vali, Miss C. and I drove out to Kachin Han, the first station of the
railroad toward Eregli. Just to follow the crowd, as a large number had
been driven off on foot with the expectation of taking the railroad
later on. Kachin Han is about three hours from here by carriage,
and even so near to Konia as this we found about one hundred people,
sitting and lying about the station in utter desolation. They had
been there three days: most of them had eaten up all the provisions
they had and looked haggard and emaciated, veritable famine victims
such as one sees in pictures of a scene in India.
"The train from Konia arrived while we were there, and the greater
number of the of the people dragged themselves to the cars in an
effort to get on board, but were pushed back by the gendarmes, partly
because they had no tickets and partly because there was no room:
so the poor people were forced to turn back.
Posted 01 October 2015 - 10:15 AM
On This Day, Sept 30, 1915: Wiping Out The Armenians
On this day: Sept 30, 1915
The Times, UK
September 29, 2015 Tuesday 6:35 PM GMT
Wiping out the Armenians
We publish today from our Cairo correspondent further details of the
wholesale massacres of Armenians in Asia Minor, now being conducted
under the direction of the Young Turkish leaders who have seized
authority at Constantinople. The Young Turks apparently propose to
settle "the Armenian question" for ever by exterminating the entire
Armenian population in Turkish dominions. The massacres of 1894, 1896,
and 1909 were small by comparison with the destruction of Armenians
now being pursued.
The heads of the Committee of Union and Progress succeeded for a
time in persuading Western Europe that they were not responsible
for the brutal murder of thousands of Armenians at Adana, Tarsus,
and elsewhere in 1909. It is now being realized that the allegations
then made by prominent Armenians were true, and that the members of
the Committee, who were then posing before the Powers as the apostles
of a new era in which Turkish subjects of all creeds should enjoy
equality, had in fact both countenanced and incited the 1909 massacres.
The two men directly responsible for the present methodical
extermination of the Armenians are Enver Pasha and Talaat Bey. Enver is
reputed to be furious with the Armenians because they are alleged to
have helped the Russians in the Caucasus campaign. Talaat, the most
powerful member of the Committee, has apparently followed Enver's
lead with alacrity; and has ordered the Armenians to be ruthlessly
wiped out. It is strange to reflect that, less than six years ago,
the principal author of this monstrous regime was being feted in London
as one of the introducers of "Parliamentary government" into Turkey.
Enver's murderous career has been promoted solely at the point of
the revolver. He has marked every step by brutal assassinations; but
Talaat is a far more capable man, has always remained a civilian, and
was not until recently thought capable of atrocities which make the
worst deeds of the ex-Sultan Abdul Hamid seem almost mild and humane
by comparison. All the Allies can do at the moment is to warn Talaat
and his evil associates that the war is undergoing marked changes,
and that the time will come when they will be hunted down as common
murderers by the avenging Powers.
Posted 19 November 2016 - 12:23 PM
November 18, 2016Swiss teacher Beatrice Rohner managed to save 720 Armenian orphans in Aleppo
Beatrice Rohner was born in Basle on 24 April 1876 and grew up in Switzerland. After working as a teacher in both Paris and Istanbul, in 1900 she moved to Marash (today Kahramanmaras) where she joined the Hülfsbund für christliches Liebeswerk im Orient, a humanitarian organization set up in Frankfurt in 1896.
Entitled to the protection granted to German diplomats between 1915 and 1917, she became a leading member of the Aleppo resistance movement that tried to counteract the extermination of the Armenians. The temporary permit that allowed Beatrice Rohner to run an orphanage effectively enabled her to rescue a large number of Armenian children whose parents had perished during the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman authorities.
Despite knowing all too well that her actions were absolutely unacceptable for the Ottoman government, and that her position as a woman made things even more difficult, Beatrice Rohner took full responsibility for them. She also accepted the risk of managing the very considerable funds donated mainly by Swiss aid organizations and by the German and American consulates. Though sizeable, these were never enough for the enormous task in hand or for the corrupt and avid Turkish government officials. Despite all this, Beatrice Rohner continued her dual existence with one official job and another clandestine activity under the threat of martial court, going far beyond any formal observance of legality. In her humanitarian aid work she was fortunate enough to count on an extensive network of volunteers from the local Armenian communities. They shared her strong moral convictions and carried on working despite incessant threats and persecution. In the end, many of her collaborators lost their lives. In spite of all this, the orphanage held out until 1917 when the children were abducted by force and sorted into different government-run orphanages. Only then Beatrice Rohner was forced, against her will, to give up her brave and tireless efforts and return to Europe, where she died at home in Wüstenroth on 9 February 1947.
Thanks to her efforts, a large number of children escaped the genocide (it is calculated that in 1916 Beatrice Rohner managed to save 720 Armenian orphans, the only ones to survive out of approximately 3336 child deportees). Her courage also provides us with fundamental historic testimony of what happened in Aleppo between 1915 and 1917, thanks to her reports, regularly filed in the archives of the German Foreign Ministry and by the American Committee for Foreign Missions.
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