Men, women, and Children Fought with Knives, Scythes, and Stones
Women Who Had Plunged Knives Into Turks Afterward Killed Themselves---Bryce Gets Report
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 1915
LONDON, Nov. 26.--Viscount Bryce tonight made public the details of further Armenian massacres, which, in a letter accompanying them, he says, "surpass in horror, if that were possible, what has been published already."
"I feel," his letter continues, "that such crimes ought to be exposed to the utmost, and that the charity of other nations will more than ever be drawn to the unhappy refugees when it is known what their friends and fellow-countrymen have suffered."
Describing a last stand of Armenian in the hill country of Samsun, a report received by Lord Bryce says:
"The surviving warriors found themselves surrounded at close quarters by 30,000 Turks and Kurds. Then followed one of those desperate, heroic struggles for life which have always been the pride of the mountaineers. Men, women, and Children fought with knives, scythes, and stones, and anything else they could handle. They rolled blocks of stone down the steep slopes, killing many of their enemies. In the frightful hand-to -hand combats women were seen thrusting their knives into the throats of Turks.
"When every warrior had fallen, several of the younger women who were in danger of falling into the hands of the Turks threw themselves from the rocks, some of them with infants in their arms."
Lord Bryce's Letter
Lord Bryce says the details confirm and amplify the ghastly history of deportations by which Armenians in Northern and Eastern Anatolia were driven to a death of fiendish cruelty. The first part of the evidence, he says, was received by the Committee of Inquiry in the United States, and the second part comes from an Armenian gentleman at Tiflis, who received it from refugees who escaped from regions where the events happened.
"The sufferings of the peasants and the mountaineers in the regions of Van, Mush, and Samsun," Lord Bryce says, "seem to have been even more terrible than were those of the peaceful town folk described in Part I of the report. Every successive piece of evidence increases the horror of the story and confirmes the dreadful certainly of its truth.
"These atrocities were not produced by imagination. Many of them are vouched for by several coincident testimonies. They all are in keeping, and the evidence is most complete, and some of it most terrible. At this present phase of events the civilized world is powerless to intervene, but we must bear these unspeakable crimes in constant memory against the day of reckoning."
THE NEW EVIDENCE
After giving the parts of the evidence received from the United States, Lord Bryce says that the following extracts were taken from his correspondent at Tiflis:
"Toward the end of May Djevdet Bey, the Military Governor, was expelled from Van. Djevdet fled southward and entered Sairt with some 8,000 soldiers, whom he called 'Butcher Battalions. He massacred most of the Christians of Sairt, as to the details of which nothing is known. On the best of authority, however it is reported that he ordered his soldiers to burn in the public squares the Armenian Bishop, Eglise Vartaved, and the Chaldean Bishop, Addai Sher.
"On June 25 the Turks surrounded the Town of Bitlis and cut its communications with neighboring Armenian villagers. Then most of the able-bodied men were taken away from their women by domiciliary visits. During the following few days all the men under arrest were shot outside the town and buried in deep trenches dug by the victims themselves. The young women and children were distributed among the rabble. The remainder, the useless lot were driven to the south and are believed to have been drowned in the Tigris.
"Any attempts at resistance, however brave, were quelled by the regular troops. Many Armenians, after firing their last cartridge, either took poison by whole families or killed themselves in their homes in order not to fall into the hands of the Turks.
Armenians Tortured to Death.
It is such a fashion that the Turks disposed of about fifteen thousand Armenians at Bitlis. At Mush early in July the authorities demanded arms from the Armenians and a large sum in ransom of notables of the town. The head men of the village were subjected to revolting tortures. Their finger nails and then their toe nails were forcibly extracted; teeth were knocked out, and in some cases noses were whittled down the victims thus being done to death under shocking, lingering agony.
"The female relatives of victims who came to the rescue were assaulted in public before the very eyes of their mutilated men. The shrieks and death cries of the victims filled the air, yet they did not move the Turkish beast.
"In the Town of Mush itself the Armenians, under the leadership Gotoyan and others, entrenched themselves in churches and stone-built houses and fought for four days in self-defense, but Turkish artillery, manned by German officers, made short work of all the Armenian positions, and all the Armenian leaders, as well as their men were killed in the fighting.
"When they were dead and silence reigned over the ruins of the churches and houses the rest of the Moslem rabble descended upon the women and children and drove them out of town and into large camps, which already had been prepared for the peasant women and children.
Women and Children Burned
"The ghastly scenes which followed may seem incredible, yet these reports have been confirmed beyond all doubt. The shortest means employed for disposing of the women and children in the various camps was by burning. Fire was set to the large wooden sheds in Alijan, Mograkom, Khasjogh, and other Armenian Villages, and these absolutely helpless women and children were roasted to death.
"Many women went mad and threw away their children. Some women knelt down and prayed amid the flames which were burning their bodies. Others shrieked for help, which came from nowhere, and the executioners, who seemed unmoved by this unparalleled savagery, grasped infants by one leg and hurried them into the fire, calling out to the burning mothers. Here are your lions.
"Turkish prisoners who apparently witnessed some of these scenes were horrified and maddened at remembering the sight. The odor of burning flesh, they say, permeated the air for many days."
New York Times