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Title: The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire: Documents Presented to Viscount Grey of Fallodon
Author: - To be updated
Language: English
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                          Transcriber’s Note:

This version of the text cannot represent certain typographical effects.
Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_.

Footnotes have been moved to follow the paragraphs in which they are
referenced.

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Please
see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding
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                            THE TREATMENT OF
                            ARMENIANS IN THE
                             OTTOMAN EMPIRE

                         DOCUMENTS PRESENTED TO
                       VISCOUNT GREY OF FALLODON
                 SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

                           WITH A PREFACE BY
                             VISCOUNT BRYCE


                  LAID BEFORE THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
                      AS AN OFFICIAL PAPER AND NOW
                        PUBLISHED BY PERMISSION

                          HODDER AND STOUGHTON
               ST. PAUL’ S HOUSE, WARWICK SQUARE, LONDON
                      AND AT NEW YORK AND TORONTO
                                 MCMXVI



                           TABLE OF CONTENTS.

                                -------

_The titles are italicised in the case of documents which relate merely
    to the condition of refugees in Egypt and Caucasia, and not to the
    events in Turkey and N.W. Persia of which these refugees had been
    the victims._

                                                                   PAGE

 Map of Districts affected                                 Frontispiece

 Correspondence between Viscount Grey of Fallodon and Viscount
   Bryce                                                            xv.

 Preface by Viscount Bryce                                         xxi.

 Letter from Mr. H.A.L. Fisher, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield
   University, to Viscount Bryce                                  xxix.

 Letter from Prof. Gilbert Murray, Regius Professor of Greek in
   the University of Oxford, to Viscount Bryce                    xxxi.

 Letter from Mr. Moorfield Storey, ex-President of the American
   Bar Association, to Viscount Bryce                             xxxii.

 Letter from Four German Missionaries to the Ministry of Foreign
   Affairs at Berlin                                              xxxiii.

 Memorandum by the Editor of the Documents                        xxxv.


 I.—GENERAL DESCRIPTIONS.                                             1


        1. Despatch from Mr. Henry Wood, Correspondent of the
           American “United Press” at Constantinople; published
           in the American Press, 14th August, 1915                   2

        2. Despatch, dated 11th June, 1915, from an especially
           well-informed neutral source at Constantinople;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                          4

        3. Extract from a letter, dated Arabkir, 25th June/8th
           July, 1915, communicated by the American Committee for
           Armenian and Syrian Relief                                 5

        4. Letter from an authoritative source, dated
           Constantinople, 15/28th June, 1915; published in the
           New York journal “Gotchnag,” 28th August, 1915             6

        5. Letter from the same source, dated Constantinople,
           12/25th July, 1915; published in the New York journal
           “Gotchnag,” 28th August, 1915                              8

        6. Letter from the same source, dated Constantinople,
           13/26th July, 1915, and addressed to a distinguished
           Armenian resident beyond the Ottoman frontier              9

        7. Letter from the same source, dated Constantinople,
           2nd/15th August, 1915, and addressed to the same
           Armenian resident beyond the Ottoman frontier             12

        8. Extracts from a letter, dated Athens, 8th/21st July,
           1915, from an Armenian formerly resident in Turkey to
           a prominent Armenian in Western Europe                    17

        9. Letter, dated 3rd/16th August, 1915, conveyed beyond
           the Ottoman frontier by an Armenian refugee from
           Cilicia in the sole of her shoe                           20

       10. Letter from Mr. N., a foreign resident at
           Constantinople, dated 27th August, 1915; communicated
           by the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian
           Relief                                                    22

       11. Memorandum dated 15/28th October, 1915, from a
           well-informed source at Bukarest, relating to the
           extermination of the Armenians in Turkey                  23

       12. Information regarding events in Armenia, published in
           the “Sonnenaufgang” (organ of the “German League for
           the Promotion of Christian Charitable Work in the
           East”), October, 1915; and in the “Allgemeine
           Missions-Zeitschrift,” November, 1915                     25

       13. Statement made by a foreign resident at Constantinople
           to a Swiss gentleman at Geneva; communicated by the
           latter                                                    28

       14. Cablegram, dated 4th May, 1916, transmitted through
           the State Department at Washington to the American
           Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, from the
           Committee’s representatives in Turkey                     29


 II.—VILAYET OF VAN                                                  31


       15. The American Mission at Van: Narrative printed
           privately in the United States by Miss Grace Higley
           Knapp (1915)                                              32

       16. Van: Letter dated Van, 7th June, 1915, from Mr. Y.K.
           Rushdouni; published in the “Manchester Guardian,” 2nd
           August, 1915                                              48

       17. Van: Narrative by Mr. Y.K. Rushdouni, published
           serially in the Armenian journal “Gotchnag,” of New
           York                                                      52

       18. Van after the Turkish retreat: Letter from Herr
           Spörri, of the German Mission at Van, published in the
           German journal “Sonnenaufgang,” October, 1915             71

       19. Van after the massacres: Narrative of Mr. A.S.
           Safrastian, dated Van, 2nd December, 1915, and
           published in the Armenian journal “Ararat,” of London,
           January, 1916                                             72

       20. Van: Interview with a refugee, Mrs. Gazarian,
           published in the “Pioneer Press,” of St. Paul,
           Minnesota, U.S.A.                                         76


 III.—VILAYET OF BITLIS                                              79


       21. The North-Eastern Vilayets: Statement communicated by
           the Refugee Roupen, of Sassoun, to the Armenian
           Community at Moscow; published in the Russian Press,
           and subsequently reprinted in the “Gazette de
           Lausanne,” 13th February, 1916                             0

       22. Bitlis, Moush and Sassoun: Record of an interview with
           Roupen, of Sassoun, by Mr. A.S. Safrastian, dated
           Tiflis, 6th November, 1915                                83

       23. Moush: Statement by a German eye-witness of
           occurrences at Moush; communicated by the American
           Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief                  88

       24. Moush District: Narrative of a deported woman, related
           by her to Mr. Vartkes, of Moush, recorded by him on
           the 25th July, 1915, and published subsequently in the
           Armenian journal “Van-Tosp”                               92

       25. Moush: Résumé of information furnished by refugees in
           the Caucasus and published in the Caucasian Press,
           especially in the Armenian journal “Mschak”; compiled
           by Mr. G.H. Paelian, and communicated by him to the
           Armenian journal “Ararat,” of London, March, 1916         94

       26. Bitlis: Letter dated 14th October, 1915, from a
           foreign resident at Bitlis to a German official;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                         96

 IV.—AZERBAIJAN AND HAKKIARI                                         99

       27. Urmia: Statement by the Rev. William A. Shedd, D.D.,
           of the American (Presbyterian) Mission Station at
           Urmia; communicated by the Board of Foreign Missions
           of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.                 100

       28. First Exodus from Urmia, January, 1915: Report, dated
           1st March, 1915, from the Rev. Robert M. Labaree, of
           the American Mission Station at Urmia, to the Hon. F.
           Willoughby Smith, U.S. Consul at Tiflis; communicated
           by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian
           Church in the U.S.A.                                     105

       29. Azerbaijan, behind the Russian front: Extracts from a
           series of letters by the Rev. Robert M. Labaree;
           communicated by the Board of Foreign Missions of the
           Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.                        110

       30. Tabriz: Letter dated Tabriz, 17th March, 1915, from
           the Rev. F.N. Jessup; communicated by the Board of
           Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the
           U.S.A.                                                   113

       31. Urmia during the Turco-Kurdish occupation: Diary of a
           Missionary, edited by Miss Mary Schauffler Platt, and
           published by the Board of Foreign Missions of the
           Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.                        119

       32. Urmia after its evacuation by the Turks and Kurds:
           Letter dated Urmia, 20th May, 1915, from Mrs. J.P.
           Cochran to friends in the United States; communicated
           by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian
           Church in the U.S.A.                                     151

       33. Urmia: Letter, dated Urmia, 25th May, 1915, from the
           Rev. Y.M. Nisan to the Rev. F.N. Heazell, Organising
           Secretary of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Assyrian
           Mission                                                  156

       34. Urmia: Narrative of Dr. Jacob Sargis, recorded in a
           despatch, dated Petrograd, 12th February, 1916, from
           the correspondent at Petrograd of the American
           “Associated Press”                                       158

       35. Urmia: Extracts from the Annual Report (for the year
           1915) presented by the Medical Department at Urmia to
           the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian
           Church in the U.S.A.                                     161

       36. Urmia, Salmas and Hakkiari: Statement by Mr. Paul
           Shimmon, published in the Armenian journal “Ararat,”
           of London, November, 1915                                164

       37. Hakkiari: Statement by Mr. Paul Shimmon, published in
           the “Churchman” newspaper, and subsequently issued as
           a pamphlet; communicated by Mrs. D.S. Margoliouth, of
           Oxford                                                   169

       38. Refugees from the Hakkiari District: Series of
           extracts from letters by members of the American
           Mission Station at Urmia; communicated by the Board of
           Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the
           U.S.A.                                                   172

       39. Refugees from Hakkiari: Letter dated 26th September/
           9th October, 1915, from a relative of Mar Shimun, the
           Patriarch; communicated by the Rev. F.N. Heazell         175

       40. Refugees from Hakkiari: Letter, dated Diliman,
           1st/14th April, 1916, from Surma, the sister of Mar
           Shimun, to Mrs. D.S. Margoliouth, of Oxford              177

       41. The Nestorians of the Bohtan District: Letter, dated
           Salmas, 6th March, 1916, from the Rev. E.W. McDowell,
           of the Urmia Mission Station, reporting information
           brought by a young man (with whom Mr. McDowell was
           previously acquainted) who had escaped the massacre;
           communicated by the Board of Foreign Missions of the
           Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.                        180

       42. Second Exodus from Urmia: Letter dated Tabriz, 20th
           August, 1915, from Mr. Hugo A. Müller (Treasurer of
           the American Mission Station at Urmia); communicated
           by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian
           Church in the U.S.A.                                     182

       43. Second Exodus from Urmia: Narrative of a Nestorian
           victim, the wife of the Rev. David Jacob, of Urmia,
           published in the Armenian journal “Ararat,” of London,
           January, 1916                                            184

       44. Urmia District: Report on the distribution of relief,
           covering the period 1st June to 31st December, 1915;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                        187

       45. Azerbaijan: Statement, dated Tiflis, 22nd February,
           1916, by Mr. M. Philips Price, War Correspondent for
           various British and American newspapers on the
           Caucasian Front; communicated to Aneurin Williams,
           Esq., M.P., and published in the Armenian journal
           “Ararat,” of London, March, 1916                         191

 V.—THE REFUGEES IN THE CAUCASUS                                    193


       46. The Flight to the Caucasus: Despatches to the Armenian
           journal “Horizon,” of Tiflis, from Mr. Sampson
           Aroutiounian, President of the Armenian National
           Committee of Tiflis, who went in person to meet the
           Refugees                                                 194

       47. The Flight to the Caucasus: Despatch from the special
           correspondent of the Armenian journal “Arev,” of Bakou   197

       48. _Memorandum on the condition of Armenian Refugees in
           the Caucasus and Orphans at Van; compiled in the
           British Foreign Office from information, dated 9th
           December, 1915, which was furnished by Mr. Stevens,
           British Consul at Batoum_                                199

       49. _Memorandum on the condition of Armenian Refugees in
           the Caucasus; compiled in the British Foreign Office
           from information, dated 29th December, 1915, which was
           furnished by Mr. Stevens, British Consul at Batoum_      203

       50. _Report on the activity of Armenian Refugee Relief
           Organisations in the Caucasus and Turkish Armenia;
           enclosed in a despatch (No. I.), dated Batoum, 3rd
           January, 1916, from Mr. Consul Stevens to the British
           Foreign Office_                                          208

       51. _Refugees in the Caucasus: Letter dated Erivan, 29th
           December, 1915, from the Rev. S.G. Wilson to Dr.
           Samuel T. Dutton, Secretary of the American Committee
           for Armenian and Syrian Relief_                          216

       52. _Repatriation of Refugees: Letter, dated Erivan (?),
           March 1916, from the Rev. S.G. Wilson; communicated by
           the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief_   219



 VI.—VILAYET OF ERZEROUM                                            221


       53. Erzeroum: Record of an Interview between the Rev. H.J.
           Buxton and the Rev. Robert Stapleton, a missionary of
           the American Board, resident at Erzeroum from before
           the outbreak of war until after the capture of the
           city by the Russians                                     222

       54. Erzeroum: Report, dated 25th September, 1915, drawn up
           by the American Consul-General at Trebizond, after his
           return from a visit to Erzeroum; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        228

       55. Erzeroum: Abstract of a Report by Mr. B.H. Khounountz,
           representative of the “All-Russian Urban Union”, on a
           visit to Erzeroum after the Russian occupation;
           published in the Armenian journal “Horizon,” of
           Tiflis, 25th February, 1916                              231

       56. Erzeroum: Abstract of a Report by Dr. Y. Minassian,
           who accompanied Mr. Khounountz to Erzeroum as
           representative of the Caucasian Section of the
           “All-Russian Urban Union”; published in the Armenian
           journal “Mschak,” of Tiflis, 8th March, 1916             233

       57. Erzeroum: Statement by Mr. A.S. Safrastian, dated
           Tiflis, 15th March, 1916                                 236

       58. Erzeroum: Statement by the Kurd Ali-Aghazadé Faro,
           published in the Armenian journal “Mschak,” 19th
           December, 1915                                           241

       59. Baibourt: Narrative of an Armenian lady deported in
           the third convoy; communicated by the American
           Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief                 242

       60. Baibourt: Statement, reproduced from the Armenian
           journal “Horizon,” of Tiflis, in the Armenian journal
           “Gotchnag,” of New York, 18th March, 1916                244

       61. Baibourt, Keghi, and Erzindjan: Letter, dated
           Erzeroum, 25th May/7th June, 1915; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        245

       62. Erzindjan: Statement by two Red Cross Nurses of Danish
           Nationality, formerly in the service of the German
           Military Mission at Erzeroum; communicated by a Swiss
           gentleman of Geneva                                      246

       63. Kamakh and Erzeroum: Statement published in the New
           York journal “Gotchnag,” 4th September, 1915             255



 VII.—VILAYET OF MAMOURET-UL-AZIZ                                   257


       64. H.: Statement made by Miss D.A., a Danish lady in the
           service of the German Red Cross at H., to Mr. D.B., at
           Basle, and communicated by Mr. D.B. to Lord Bryce        258

       65. H.: Report, dated 11th July, 1915, from a foreign
           resident at H.; communicated by the American Committee
           for Armenian and Syrian Relief                           262

       66. H.: Memorandum forwarded by a foreign resident at H.
           (the author of the preceding report); communicated by
           the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief    265

       67. H.: Narrative of an Armenian Refugee from H.;
           communicated to Lord Bryce by the correspondent of the
           London “Times” at Bukarest                               268

       68. Mamouret-ul-Aziz: Narrative of an Armenian lady
           deported from C. (a place half-an-hour’s distance from
           H.), describing her journey from C. to Ras-ul-Ain;
           written after her escape from Turkey, and dated
           Alexandria, 2nd November, 1915; published in the
           Armenian journal “Gotchnag,” of New York, 8th January,
           1916                                                     271

       69. H.: Statement by the Principal of the College, dated
           19th July, 1915; communicated by the American
           Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief                 278

       70. H.: Statement by the Principal of the College, dated
           19th July, 1915, relating to the deportation of
           Armenians from villages in the neighbourhood of H.;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                        281

       71. H.: Letter, dated 10th November, 1915, from the
           Principal of the College at H. to Mr. N. at
           Constantinople; communicated by the American Committee
           for Armenian and Syrian Relief                           282



 VIII.—VILAYET OF TREBIZOND, AND SANDJAK OF SHABIN KARA-HISSAR      285


       72. Trebizond: Report from a foreign resident at
           Trebizond; communicated by the American Committee for
           Armenian and Syrian Relief                               286

       73. Trebizond: Extracts from an interview with Comm. G.
           Gorrini, late Italian Consul-General at Trebizond;
           published in the journal “Il Messaggero,” of Rome,
           25th August, 1915                                        290

       74. Trebizond: Narrative of the Montenegrin Kavass of the
           local branch of the Ottoman Bank; published in the
           Armenian journal “Arev,” of Alexandria, 2nd October,
           1915                                                     293

       75. Kerasond (Kiresoun), Trebizond and Shabin Kara-Hissar:
           Evidence collected by an Armenian gentleman from
           eye-witnesses now in Roumania; communicated by the
           correspondent of the London “Times” at Bukarest          294

       76. Trebizond and Erzeroum: Despatch from the
           correspondent of the London “Times” at Bukarest, dated
           Bukarest, 18th May, and published on the 22nd May,
           1916                                                     299



 IX.—SIVAS: THE CITY AND PARTS OF THE VILAYET                       301


       77. Sivas: Letter from a foreign resident at Sivas, dated
           13th July, 1915; communicated by the American
           Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief                 302

       78. Sivas: Letter written from Malatia by Miss Mary L.
           Graffam, Principal of the Girls’ High School at Sivas,
           to a correspondent at Constantinople; reprinted from
           the Boston “Missionary Herald,” December, 1915           305

       79. Extracts from a letter, dated Massachusetts, 29th
           August, 1915, from another foreign resident at Sivas
           to Mr. G.H. Paelian                                      309

       80. Sivas: Narrative of a naturalised Ottoman subject,
           dated New York City, 10th March, 1916; communicated by
           the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief    311

       81. Sivas: The Adventures of Murad; narrated by “S.H.S.”
           in the journal “The New Armenia,” of New York, 1st
           March, 1916                                              317

       82. Sivas: Record of an Interview given by the Refugee
           Murad to Mr. A.S. Safrastian at Tiflis                   320



 X.—SANDJAK OF KAISARIA                                             327


       83. Kaisaria: Statement by a traveller from Kaisaria,
           published in the Armenian journal “Balkanian Mamoul,”
           of Roustchouk                                            328

       84. Everek: Statement published in the Armenian journal
           “Gotchnag,” of New York, 28th August, 1915               329

       85. K.: Letter from a foreign resident at K., dated 16th
           November, 1915; communicated by the American Committee
           for Armenian and Syrian Relief                           330


 XI.—THE TOWN OF X.                                                 331


       86. X.: Narrative of the Principal of the College at X.;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                        332

       87. X.: Address delivered in America, 13th December, 1915,
           by a professor from the College at X.; communicated by
           the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief    336

       88. X.: Statement by Miss AA., a foreign traveller in
           Turkey; communicated by the American Committee for
           Armenian and Syrian Relief                               349

       89. Narrative of Miss AA., a foreign traveller in Asiatic
           Turkey, describing a journey from X. to Z., 10th
           August to 6th September, 1915; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        356

       90. X.: Report from Mr. AL., a foreign resident at L., in
           Asiatic Turkey, dated 26th August, 1915; communicated
           by the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian
           Relief                                                   364

       91. X. (?): Narrative of a foreign resident of German
           nationality; communicated by the American Committee
           for Armenian and Syrian Relief                           367

       92. X.: Letter, dated New York City, 30th December, 1915,
           from Professor QQ., of the College at X., to an
           Armenian Professor resident beyond the Ottoman
           frontier                                                 369

       93. X.: Narrative of a journey from X. to Constantinople,
           by Professor QQ., of the College at X.; communicated
           by the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian
           Relief                                                   373

       94. X.: Narrative of Miss CC., communicated by her to a
           Swiss gentleman at Geneva during her passage through
           Switzerland in December, 1915                            378


 XII.—THE CITY OF ANGORA                                            381


       95. Angora: Statement by a traveller, not of Armenian
           nationality, who passed through Angora in August, 1915   382

       96. Angora: Extract from the narrative (Doc. 88 of Miss
           AA., a foreign traveller in Asiatic Turkey;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                        385

       97. Angora: Extract from a letter dated 16th September,
           1915; appended to the Memorandum (Doc. 11, dated
           15/28th October, 1915, from a well-informed source at
           Bukarest                                                 388



 XIII.—THRACE, CONSTANTINOPLE, BROUSSA AND ISMID                    389


       98. The Metropolitan Districts: Information published in
           the Armenian journal “Gotchnag,” of New York             390

       99. Constantinople: Letter, dated Constantinople, 13/26th
           October, 1915, from an Armenian inhabitant; published
           in the Armenian journal “Balkanian Mamoul,” of
           Roustchouk                                               392

      100. Adrianople: Despatch from the correspondent of the
           London “Times” at Bukarest, dated 18th December and
           published on the 21st December, 1915                     394

      101. Broussa: Report by a foreign visitor to the city,
           dated 24th September, 1915; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        395

      102. Adapazar: Statement, dated 24th September, 1915, by a
           foreign resident in Turkey; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        398

      103. Adapazar: Fuller statement by the author of the
           preceding document; published in the journal “The New
           Armenia,” of New York, 15th May, 1916                    400



 XIV.—THE ANATOLIAN RAILWAY                                         407


      104. The Anatolian Railway: Narrative of a journey, during
           the deportation of the Armenians, by a physician of
           foreign nationality, who had been resident in Turkey
           for ten years; communicated by the American Committee
           for Armenian and Syrian Relief                           409

      105. Eski Shehr: Letter from an Armenian victim, published
           in the Armenian journal “Horizon,” of Tiflis, 30th
           October/12th November, 1915                              414

      106. Afiun Kara Hissar: Letter dated Afiun Kara Hissar,
           10th/23rd September, 1915; published in the Armenian
           journal “Horizon,” of Tiflis, 30th October/12th
           November, 1915                                           416

      107. Afiun Kara Hissar: Résumé of a letter, dated Afiun
           Kara Hissar, 2nd/15th October, 1915; appended to the
           Memorandum (Doc. 11, dated 15/28th October, 1915, from
           a well-informed source at Bukarest                       417

      108. Afiun Kara Hissar: Letter, dated Massachusetts, 22nd
           November, 1915, from an American traveller;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                        418

      109. Q.: Report from Dr. D., dated Q., 8th September, 1915;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                        421

      110. Q.: Report from Dr. E., dated Q., 3rd September, 1915;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                        426

      111. Q.: Letter from Dr. E., dated 27th October, 1915;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                        431

      112. Q.: Letter, dated Q., 25th November, 1915, from Dr. E.
           to Mr. N. at Constantinople; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        433

      113. Konia: Résumé of a letter, dated Konia, 2nd/15th
           October, 1915; appended to the Memorandum (Doc. 11),
           dated 15th/28th October, 1915, from a well-informed
           source at Bukarest                                       437

      114. Baghdad Railway: Diary of a foreign resident in the
           town of B., on a section of the line; edited by
           William Walter Rockwell, Esq., Ph.D., and published by
           the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief
           (1916)                                                   438

      115. AE., a town on the Railway: Series of Reports from a
           foreign resident at AE., communicated by the American
           Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief                 450

      116. The Taurus and Amanus passes: Extracts from a Letter,
           dated Aleppo, 5th November, 1915, from Dr. L., a
           foreign resident in Turkey, to Mr. N. at
           Constantinople; communicated by the American Committee
           for Armenian and Syrian Relief                           454

      117. The Amanus passes: Statements by two Swiss residents
           in Turkey; communicated by the American Committee for
           Armenian and Syrian Relief                               455

      118. Smyrna—Aleppo—Damascus—Aleppo—Smyrna: Itinerary of a
           foreign traveller in Asiatic Turkey; communicated by
           the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief    459



 XV.—CILICIA (VILAYET OF ADANA AND SANDJAK OF MARASH)               465


      119. Cilicia: Address (with enclosure), dated 3rd July,
           1915, from the Armenian Colony in Egypt to His
           Excellency Lieutenant-General Sir J.G. Maxwell,
           Commander-in-Chief of His Britannic Majesty’s Forces
           in Egypt                                                 468

      120. Cilicia: Letter, dated 20th June, 1915, from Dr. L., a
           foreign resident in Turkey; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        472

      121. BM.: Letter from a foreign eye-witness, dated 6th
           July, 1915, on board a steamship; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        474

      122. Zeitoun: Antecedents of the deportation, recorded by
           the Rev. Stephen Trowbridge, Secretary of the Cairo
           Committee of the American Red Cross, from an oral
           statement by the Rev. Dikran Andreasian, Pastor of the
           Armenian Protestant Church at Zeitoun                    479

      123. Exiles from Zeitoun: Diary of a foreign resident in
           the town of B. on the Cilician plain; communicated by
           a Swiss gentleman of Geneva                              482

      124. Exiles from Zeitoun: Further statement by the author
           of the preceding document; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        487

      125. Exiles from Zeitoun: Letter, dated Konia, 17th July,
           1915, from a foreign resident at Konia to Mr. N. at
           Constantinople; communicated by the American Committee
           for Armenian and Syrian Relief                           490

      126. AF.: Statement, dated 16th December, 1915, by a
           foreign resident at AF.; communicated by the American
           Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief                 492

      127. AF.: Record of individual cases, drawn up by the
           author of the preceding statement, and dated 17th
           December, 1915                                           500

      128. Adana: Statement, dated 3rd December, 1915, by a
           foreign resident at Adana; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        502

      129. Adana: Statement, dated 9th May, 1916, by Miss Y., a
           foreign resident at Adana, recording her experiences
           there from September, 1914, to September, 1915           505


 XVI.—JIBAL MOUSA                                                   511


      130. Jibal Mousa: The defence of the mountain and the
           rescue of its defenders by the French Fleet; narrative
           of an eye-witness, the Rev. Dikran Andreasian, Pastor
           of the Armenian Protestant Church at Zeitoun             512

      131. Jibal Mousa: Report, dated Egypt, 28th September,
           1915, on the Armenian Refugees rescued and transported
           to Port Said by the cruisers of the French Fleet;
           drawn up by Mgr. Thorgom, Bishop of the Gregorian
           Community in Egypt                                       521

      132. _Jibal Mousa: Another report on the Refugees at Port
           Said, drawn up by Mr. Tovmas K. Muggerdichian,
           formerly Dragoman of the British Consulate at
           Diyarbekir_                                              525



 XVII.—THE TOWNS OF OURFA AND AC.                                   527


      133. Ourfa: Letter, dated Ourfa, 14th June, 1915, from Mr.
           K.; communicated by the American Committee for
           Armenian and Syrian Relief                               528

      134. Ourfa: Extract from a letter by Mr. Tovmas K.
           Muggerdichian; published in the Armenian journal
           “Gotchnag,” of New York, 1st April, 1916                 530

      135. Ourfa: Interview with Mrs. J. Vance Young, an
           eye-witness of the events at Ourfa; published in the
           “Egyptian Gazette,” 28th September/11th October, and
           reproduced in the Armenian journal “Houssaper,” of
           Cairo, 30th September/13th October, 1915                 531

      136. Ourfa: Postscript to a memorandum (Doc. 141 by a
           foreign witness from Aleppo; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        532

      137. AC.: Statement by Miss A., a foreign resident at AC.,
           written subsequently to her departure from Turkey in
           September, 1915; communicated by the Rev. I.N. Camp,
           of Cairo                                                 533

      138. AC.: Letters from an Armenian inhabitant, describing
           the deportation of Armenians from Cilicia;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                        544


 XVIII.—VILAYET OF ALEPPO                                           545


      139. Aleppo: Series of Reports from a foreign resident at
           Aleppo; communicated by the American Committee for
           Armenian and Syrian Relief                               547

      140. Aleppo: Memorandum, dated Aleppo, 18th June/1st July,
           1915; communicated by the American Committee for
           Armenian and Syrian Relief                               551

      141. Aleppo: Memorandum by a foreign witness from Aleppo;
           communicated by the American Committee for Armenian
           and Syrian Relief                                        552

      142. Aleppo: Message, dated 17th February, 1916, from
           Fraülein O.; published in the German journal
           “Sonnenaufgang,” April, 1916                             555



 XIX.—VILAYET OF DAMASCUS AND SANDJAK OF DER-EL-ZOR                 557


      143. Damascus: Report from a foreign resident at Damascus,
           dated 20th September, but containing information up to
           the 3rd October, 1915; communicated by the American
           Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief                 558

      144. Exiles on the Euphrates: Record, dated Erzeroum, June,
           1915, by M. Henry Barby, of an interview with Dr. H.
           Toroyan, an Armenian physician formerly in the service
           of the Ottoman Army; published in “Le Journal,” of
           Paris, 13th July, 1916                                   562

      145. Der-el-Zor: Letter, dated 12th July, 1915, from
           Schwester L. Möhring, a German missionary, describing
           her journey from Baghdad to the passes of Amanus;
           published in the German journal “Sonnenaufgang,”
           September, 1915                                          566


 XX.—DOCUMENTS RECEIVED WHILE GOING TO PRESS                        571


      146. Despatch from Mr. Henry Wood (Doc. 1: Fuller version,
           obtained through the courtesy of the representative of
           the American “United Press” in London                    572

      147. Urmia, Salmas, and Hakkiari: Fuller statement by Mr.
           Paul Shimmon, edited, as a pamphlet, by the Rev. F.N.
           Heazell, Organising Secretary of the Archbishop of
           Canterbury’s Assyrian Mission                            577

      148. First exodus from Urmia: Narrative of Mr. J.D.
           Barnard, of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Assyrian
           Mission; published in the “Assyrian Mission Quarterly
           Paper,” April, 1915                                      587

      149. Erzeroum: Letter, dated 21st March, 1916, from the
           Rev. Robert S. Stapleton to the Hon. F. Willoughby
           Smith, U.S. Consul at Tiflis; communicated by the
           American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief        589


 A Summary of Armenian History up to and including the year 1915    591

 I.—The European War and Armenia                                    593

 II.—An Outline of Armenian History                                 596

 III.—Dispersion and Distribution of the Armenian Nation            607

 IV.—The Armenian People and the Ottoman Government                 617

 V.—The Deportations of 1915: Antecedents                           627

 VI.—The Deportations of 1915: Procedure                            637


 Annexe A                                                           654

 Annexe B                                                           657

 Annexe C                                                           659

 Annexe D                                                           661

 Annexe E                                                           662

 Annexe F                                                           664


 Index of Places referred to in the Documents                       669


      150. Message, dated 22nd July, 1916, from Mr. N., of
           Constantinople; communicated by the American Committee
           for Armenian and Syrian Relief                           684

                             CORRESPONDENCE

                                BETWEEN
                       VISCOUNT GREY OF FALLODON

                _Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs_



                                  AND



                            VISCOUNT BRYCE.

              LETTER FROM VISCOUNT BRYCE TO VISCOUNT GREY
                    OF FALLODON, SECRETARY OF STATE
                              FOR FOREIGN
                                AFFAIRS.

                                                   _July 1st, 1916._

MY DEAR SIR EDWARD,

In the autumn of 1915 accounts of massacres and deportations of the
Christian population of Asiatic Turkey began to reach Western Europe and
the United States. Few and imperfect at first—for every effort was made
by the Turkish Government to prevent them from passing out of the
country—these accounts increased in number and fullness of detail, till
in the beginning of 1916 it became possible to obtain a fairly accurate
knowledge of what had happened. It then struck me that, in the interest
of historic truth, as well as with a view to the questions that must
arise when the war ends, it had become necessary to try to complete
these accounts, and test them by further evidence, so as to compile a
general narrative of the events and estimate their significance. As
materials were wanting or scanty in respect of some localities, I wrote
to all the persons I could think of likely to possess or to be able to
procure trustworthy data, begging them to favour me with such data. I
addressed myself in particular to friends in the United States, a
country which has long had intimate relations with the Eastern
Christians and to which many of those Christians have in recent years
emigrated. Similar requests were made to Switzerland, also a neutral
country, many of whose people have taken a lively interest in the
welfare of the Armenians. When the responses from these quarters showed
that sufficient materials for a history—provisional, no doubt, but
trustworthy as far as the present data went—could be obtained, I had the
good fortune to secure the co-operation of a young historian of high
academic distinction, Mr. Arnold J. Toynbee, late Fellow of Balliol
College, Oxford. He undertook to examine and put together the pieces of
evidence collected, arranging them in order and adding such
observations, historical and geographical, as seemed needed to explain
them. The materials so arranged by Mr. Toynbee, followed by such
observations as aforesaid, I now transmit to you. They are, of course,
of unequal value, for while most of them are narratives by
eye-witnesses, some few report, at second hand what was told by
eye-witnesses. In a short introduction prefixed, I have tried to
estimate their value, and so need only say here that nothing has been
admitted the substantial truth of which seems open to reasonable doubt.
Facts only have been dealt with; questions of future policy have been
carefully avoided.

It is evidently desirable not only that ascertained facts should be put
on record for the sake of future historians, while the events are still
fresh in living memory, but also that the public opinion of the
belligerent nations—and, I may add, of neutral peoples also—should be
enabled by a knowledge of what has happened in Asia Minor and Armenia to
exercise its judgment on the course proper to be followed when, at the
end of the present war, a political re-settlement of the Nearer East has
to be undertaken.

                                               I am,
                                                    Yours sincerely,
                                                            BRYCE.

                 LETTER FROM VISCOUNT GREY OF FALLODON,
                SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
                           TO VISCOUNT BRYCE.

                                           Foreign Office,
                                                _August 23rd, 1916_.

MY DEAR BRYCE,

I have to thank you for sending me the collection of documents on the
Armenian Massacres which has been so ably put together by Mr. Arnold J.
Toynbee.

It is a terrible mass of evidence; but I feel that it ought to be
published and widely studied by all who have the broad interests of
humanity at heart. It will be valuable, not only for the immediate
information of public opinion as to the conduct of the Turkish
Government towards this defenceless people, but also as a mine of
information for historians in the future, and for the other purposes
suggested in your letter.

                                             Yours sincerely,
                                                   GREY OF FALLODON.



                         Documents presented to



                       VISCOUNT GREY OF FALLODON

                _Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs_



                          _By Viscount Bryce_



                           With a preface by



                            VISCOUNT BRYCE.

                       PREFACE BY VISCOUNT BRYCE.


In the summer of 1915 accounts, few and scanty at first, but increasing
in volume later, began to find their way out of Asiatic Turkey as to the
events that were happening there. These accounts described what seemed
to be an effort to exterminate a whole nation, without distinction of
age or sex, whose misfortune it was to be the subjects of a Government
devoid of scruples and of pity, and the policy they disclosed was one
without precedent even in the blood-stained annals of the East. It then
became the obvious duty of those who realised the gravity of these
events to try to collect and put together all the data available for the
purpose of presenting a full and authentic record of what had occurred.
This has been done in the present volume. It contains all the evidence
that could be obtained up till July 1916 as to the massacres and
deportations of the Armenian and other Eastern Christians dwelling in
Asia Minor, Armenia and that north-western corner of Persia which was
invaded by the Turkish troops. It is presented primarily as a
contribution to history, but partly also for the purpose of enabling the
civilised nations of Europe to comprehend the problems which will arise
at the end of this war, when it will become necessary to provide for the
future government of what are now the Turkish dominions. The compilation
has been made in the spirit proper to an historical enquiry, that is to
say, nothing has been omitted which could throw light on the facts,
whatever the political bearing of the accounts might be. In such an
enquiry, no racial or religious sympathies, no prejudices, not even the
natural horror raised by crimes, ought to distract the mind of the
enquirer from the duty of trying to ascertain the real facts.

As will be seen from the analysis which follows, the evidence here
collected comes from various sources.

A large, perhaps the largest, part has been drawn from neutral witnesses
who were living in or passing through Asiatic Turkey while these events
were happening, and had opportunities of observing them.

Another part comes from natives of the country, nearly all Christians,
who succeeded, despite the stringency of the Turkish censorship, in
getting letters into neutral countries, or who themselves escaped into
Greece, or Russia, or Egypt and were there able to write down what they
had seen.

A third but much smaller part comes from subjects of the now belligerent
Powers (mostly Germans) who were in Turkey when these events were
happening, and subsequently published in their own countries accounts
based on their personal knowledge.

In presenting this evidence it has been necessary in very many cases to
withhold the names of the witnesses, because to publish their names
would be to expose such of them as are still within the Turkish
dominions, or the relations and friends of these persons, to the
ruthless vengeance of the gang who now rule those dominions in the name
of the unfortunate Sultan. Even in the case of those neutral witnesses
who are safe in their own countries, a similar precaution must be
observed, because many of them, or their friends and associates, have
property in Turkey which would at once, despite their neutral character,
be seized by the Turkish Government. These difficulties, inevitable in
the nature of the case, are of course only temporary. The names of the
great majority of the witnesses are known to the editor of this book and
to myself[1], and also to several other persons[2], and they can be made
public as soon as it is certain that no harm will result to these
witnesses or to their friends. That certainty evidently cannot be
attained till the war is over and the rule of the savage gang already
referred to has come to an end.

The question now arises—What is the value of this evidence? Though the
names of many of the witnesses cannot be given, I may say that most of
them, and nearly all of those who belong to neutral or belligerent
countries, are persons entitled to confidence in respect of their
character and standing, and are, moreover, persons who have no
conceivable motive for inventing or perverting facts, because they are
(with extremely few exceptions) either neutrals with no national or
personal or pecuniary interests involved, or else German subjects. Were
I free to mention names, the trustworthiness of these neutrals and
Germans would at once be recognised.

Let us, however, look at the evidence itself.

(i) Nearly all of it comes from eye-witnesses, some of whom wrote it
down themselves, while others gave it to persons who wrote it out at the
time from the statements given to them orally. Nearly all of it,
moreover, was written immediately after the events described, when the
witnesses’ recollection was still fresh and clear.

(ii) The main facts rest upon evidence coming from different and
independent sources. When the same fact is stated by witnesses who had
no communication with one another, and in many cases did not even speak
the same language, the presumption in favour of its truth becomes
strong.

Take, for instance, the evidence (Section VIII.) regarding the
particularly terrible events at Trebizond. We have a statement from the
Italian Consul-General (Doc. 73, from the Kavass of the local branch of
the Ottoman Bank, a Montenegrin under Italian protection (Doc. 74, and
from an Armenian girl whose family lived in the neighbourhood of the
Italian Consulate, and who was brought out of Turkey by the Italian
Consul-General as his maidservant. The testimony of these three
witnesses exactly tallies, not only as to the public crimes committed in
the city before they left it, but also as to their personal relations
with one another (for they each mention the others explicitly in their
several statements). Yet they were in no touch whatever with one another
when their respective testimonies were given. The Consul-General gave
his at Rome, in an interview with an Italian journalist; the Kavass gave
his in an interview with an Armenian gentleman in Egypt; and the girl
hers in Roumania to a compatriot resident in that country. The three
statements had certainly never been collated till they came, by
different channels, into the hands of the editor of this book. In
addition to this, there is a statement from another foreign resident at
Trebizond (Doc. 72, which reached us through America.

Or take the case of the convoys of exiles deported from the Vilayet of
Erzeroum, and, in particular, from the towns of Erzeroum and Baibourt.
We have a second-hand account of their fate in Doc. 2 a despatch from a
well-informed source at Constantinople; we have a first-hand account,
which completely bears out the former, from a lady who was herself
deported in the third convoy of exiles (Doc. 59; we have the narrative
of two Danish nurses in the service of the German Red Cross at
Erzindjan, who witnessed the passage of the Baibourt exiles through that
place (Doc. 62; and finally there are three witnesses from the town of
H., several days’ journey further along the exiles’ route, who refer
independently to the arrival of convoys from Erzeroum and the
neighbourhood. One of these latter witnesses is a (third) Danish Red
Cross nurse (Doc. 64, one a neutral resident at H. of different
nationality, and one an Armenian inhabitant of the town.

These are two typical instances in which broad groups of events are
independently and consistently recorded, but there are innumerable
instances of the same kind in the case of particular occurrences. The
hanging of the Armenian Bishop of Baibourt, for example, is mentioned,
at second-hand, in Doc. 7 (written at Constantinople) and Doc. 12 (a
selection of evidence published in Germany); but it is also witnessed to
by the author of Doc. 59 an actual resident at Baibourt who was present
there at the time of the murder. Again, the disappearance of the Bishop
of Erzeroum on the road to exile is not only recorded in Doc. 11 a
memorandum from a competent source at Bukarest, but is confirmed, in
Docs. 57 and 76, by testimony obtained from eye-witnesses on the spot
after the Russian occupation of Erzeroum had left them free to speak
out.

(iii) Facts of the same, or of a very similar, nature occurring in
different places, are deposed to by different and independent witnesses.
As there is every reason to believe—and indeed it is hardly denied—that
the massacres and deportations were carried out under general orders
proceeding from Constantinople, the fact that persons who knew only what
was happening in one locality record circumstances there broadly
resembling those which occurred in another locality goes to show the
general correctness of both sets of accounts.

Thus, the two Danish Red Cross nurses (Doc. 62 state that they twice
witnessed the massacre, in cold blood, of gangs of unarmed Armenian
soldiers employed on navvy work, along the road from Erzindjan to Sivas.
In Doc. 7 (written at Constantinople) we find a statement that other
gangs of unarmed Armenian soldiers were similarly murdered on the roads
between Ourfa and Diyarbekir, and Diyarbekir and Harpout; and the
massacre on this latter section of road is confirmed by a German lady
resident, at the time, at Harpout (Doc. 23.

Again, there is frequent mention of roads being lined, or littered, with
the corpses of Armenian exiles who had died of exhaustion or been
murdered on the way. If these allusions were merely made in general
terms, they might conceivably be explained away as amplifications of
some isolated case, or even as rhetorical embellishments of the exiles’
story without foundation in fact. But when we find such statements made
with regard to particular stretches of road in widely different
localities, and often by more than one witness with regard to a given
stretch, we are led to infer that this wholesale mortality by the
wayside was in very deed a frequent concomitant of the Deportations, and
an inevitable consequence of the method on which the general scheme of
Deportation was organised from headquarters. We hear in Doc. 7 for
instance, of corpses on the road from Malatia to Sivas, on the testimony
of a Moslem traveller; we hear of them on the road from Diyarbekir to
Ourfa in Doc. 12 (a German cavalry captain), and on the road from Ourfa
to Aleppo in Doc. 9 (an Armenian witness), in Doc. 135 (an interned
Englishwoman), and also in Doc. 64 (a Danish Red Cross nurse). The
latter gives the detail of the corpses being mangled by wild beasts, a
detail also mentioned by the German authors of Docs. 12 and 23. Similar
testimony from German officers regarding the road between Baghdad and
Aleppo is reported independently in Docs. 108 and 121.

(iv) The volume of this concurrent evidence from different quarters is
so large as to establish the main facts beyond all question. Errors of
detail in some instances may be allowed for. Exaggeration may, in the
case of native witnesses, who were more likely to be excited, be also,
now and then, allowed for. But the general character of the events
stands out, resting on foundations too broad to be shaken, and even
details comparatively unimportant in themselves are often remarkably
corroborated from different quarters. The fact that the Zeitounli exiles
at Sultania were for some time prevented by the local Turkish
authorities from receiving relief is attested in Doc. 4 (Constantinople)
and Doc. 123 (the town of B. in Cilicia), as well as in Doc. 125 from
Konia. The malicious trick by which the exiles from Shar were deflected
from a good road to a bad, in order that they might be compelled to
abandon their carts, is recorded independently in Docs. 12 and 126.

(v) In particular it is to be noted that many of the most shocking and
horrible accounts are those for which there is the most abundant
testimony from the most trustworthy neutral witnesses. None of the worst
cruelties rest on native evidence alone. If all that class of evidence
were entirely struck out, the general effect would be much the same,
though some of the minor details would be wanting. One may, indeed, say
that an examination of the neutral evidence tends to confirm the native
evidence as a whole by showing that there is in it less of exaggeration
than might have been expected.

Docs. 7 and 9, for instance, both of which are native reports at
second-hand, refer in somewhat rhetorical terms to the corpses of
murdered Armenians washed down by the waters of the Tigris and
Euphrates. Yet their words are more than justified by many concrete and
independent pieces of evidence. The description in Doc. 12 (German
material) of how barge-loads of Armenians were drowned in the Tigris
below Diyarbekir, renders more fully credible the accounts of how the
Armenians of Trebizond were drowned wholesale in the Black Sea. Doc. 12
also contains the statement, from a German employee of the Baghdad
Railway, that the Armenian exiles who reached Biredjik were drowned in
batches every night in the Euphrates; and similar horrors are reported
from almost every section of the Euphrates’ course. Docs. 56, 57, 59 and
62 describe how the convoys of exiles from the Vilayet of Erzeroum were
cast into the Kara Su (western branch of the Euphrates) at the gorge
called Kamakh Boghaz, and were then either shot in the water or left to
drown. The author of Doc. 5 was present at such a scene, though she was
herself spared, and the information in Docs. 56 and 57 was obtained
direct from a lady who was actually cast in, but managed to struggle to
the bank and escape. The authors of Doc. 62 received their information
from a gendarme who had been attached to a convoy and had himself
participated in the massacre. Doc. 24 records the experiences of an
Armenian woman deported from Moush, who was driven with her
fellow-exiles into the Mourad Su (eastern branch of the Euphrates), but
also managed to escape, though the rest were drowned. Doc. 66 describes
corpses floating in the river in the neighbourhood of Kiakhta, and Doc.
137 the drowning of exiles in the tributaries of the Euphrates between
Harpout and Aleppo. These are evidently instances of a regular practice,
and when we find the exiles from Trebizond and Kerasond being disposed
of in the same fashion in a comparatively distant part of the Turkish
Empire, we are almost compelled to infer that the drowning of the exiles
_en masse_ was a definite part of the general scheme drawn out by the
Young Turk leaders at Constantinople.

Perhaps the most terrible feature of all was the suffering of the women
with child, who were made to march with the convoys and gave birth to
their babies on the road. This is alluded to in Doc. 12 from a German
source, at second-hand, but in Docs. 129 and 137 we have the testimony
of neutral witnesses who actually succoured these victims, so far as the
extremity of their plight and the brutality of their escort made succour
possible. It should be mentioned that in Doc. 68 an Armenian exile
testifies to the kindness of an individual Turkish gendarme to one of
her fellow-victims who was in these straits.

(vi) The vast scale of these massacres and the pitiless cruelty with
which the deportations were carried out may seem to some readers to
throw doubt on the authenticity of the narratives. Can human beings (it
may be asked) have perpetrated such crimes on innocent women and
children? But a recollection of previous massacres will show that such
crimes are part of the long settled and often repeated policy of Turkish
rulers. In Chios, nearly a century ago, the Turks slaughtered almost the
whole Greek population of the island. In European Turkey in 1876 many
thousands of Bulgarians were killed on the suspicion of an intended
rising, and the outrages committed on women were, on a smaller scale, as
bad as those here recorded. In 1895 and 1896 more than a hundred
thousand Armenian Christians were put to death by Abd-ul-Hamid, many
thousands of whom died as martyrs to their Christian faith, by abjuring
which they could have saved their lives. All these massacres are
registered not only in the ordinary press records of current history but
in the reports of British diplomatic and consular officials written at
the time. They are as certain as anything else that has happened in our
day. There is, therefore, no antecedent improbability to be overcome
before the accounts here given can be accepted. All that happened in
1915 is in the regular line of Turkish policy. The only differences are
in the scale of the present crimes, and in the fact that the lingering
sufferings of deportations in which the deaths were as numerous as in
the massacres, and fell with special severity upon the women, have in
this latest instance been added.

The evidence is cumulative. Each part of it supports the rest because
each part is independent of the others. The main facts are the same, and
reveal the same plans and intentions at work. Even the varieties are
instructive because they show those diversities of temper and feeling
which appear in human nature everywhere.

The Turkish officials are usually heartless and callous. But here and
there we see one of a finer temper, who refuses to carry out the orders
given him and is sometimes dismissed for his refusal. The Moslem rabble
is usually pitiless. It pillages the houses and robs the persons of the
hapless exiles. But now and then there appear pious and compassionate
Moslems who try to save the lives or alleviate the miseries of their
Christian neighbours. We have a vivid picture of human life, where
wickedness in high places deliberately lets loose the passions of racial
or religious hatred, as well as the commoner passion of rapacity, yet
cannot extinguish those better feelings which show as points of light in
the gloom.

It is, however, for the reader to form his own judgment on these
documents as he peruses them. They do not, and by the nature of the case
cannot, constitute what is called judicial evidence, such as a Court of
Justice obtains when it puts witnesses on oath and subjects them to
cross-examination. But by far the larger part (almost all, indeed, of
what is here published) does constitute historical evidence of the best
kind, inasmuch as the statements come from those who saw the events they
describe and recorded them in writing immediately afterwards. They
corroborate one another, the narratives given by different observers
showing a substantial agreement, which becomes conclusive when we find
the salient facts repeated with no more variations in detail than the
various opportunities of the independent observers made natural. The
gravest facts are those for which the evidence is most complete, and it
all tallies fatally with that which twenty years ago established the
guilt of Abd-ul-Hamid for the deeds that have made his name infamous. In
this case there are, moreover, what was wanting then, admissions which
add weight to the testimony here presented, I mean the admissions of the
Turkish Government and of their German apologists.[3] The attempts made
to find excuses for wholesale slaughter and for the removal of a whole
people from its homes leave no room for doubt as to the slaughter and
the removal. The main facts are established by the confession of the
criminals themselves. What the evidence here presented does is to show
in detail how these things were effected, what cruelties accompanied
them, and how inexcusable they were. The disproval of the palliations
which the Turks have put forward is as complete as the proof of the
atrocities themselves.

In order to test the soundness of my own conclusions as to the value of
the evidence, I have submitted it to the judgment of three friends, men
for whose opinion everyone who knows them will have the highest
respect—a distinguished historian, Mr. H.A.L. Fisher (Vice-Chancellor of
the University of Sheffield); a distinguished scholar, Mr. Gilbert
Murray (Professor of Greek in the University of Oxford); and a
distinguished American lawyer of long experience and high authority, Mr.
Moorfield Storey, of Boston, Mass.—men accustomed in their respective
walks of life to examine and appraise evidence; and I append the letters
which convey their several views.

This preface is intended to deal only with the credibility of the
evidence here presented, so I will refrain from comment on the facts. A
single observation, or rather a single question, may, however, be
permitted from one who has closely followed the history of the Turkish
East for more than forty years. European travellers have often commended
the honesty and the kindliness of the Turkish peasantry, and our
soldiers have said that they are fair fighters. Against them I have
nothing to say, and will even add that I have known individual Turkish
officials who impressed me as men of honesty and good-will. But the
record of the rulers of Turkey for the last two or three centuries, from
the Sultan on his throne down to the district Mutessarif, is, taken as a
whole, an almost unbroken record of corruption, of injustice, of an
oppression which often rises into hideous cruelty. The Young Turks, when
they deposed Abd-ul-Hamid, came forward as the apostles of freedom,
promising equal rights and equal treatment to all Ottoman subjects. The
facts here recorded show how that promise was kept. Can any one still
continue to hope that the evils of such a government are curable? Or
does the evidence contained in this volume furnish the most terrible and
convincing proof that it can no longer be permitted to rule over
subjects of a different faith?

                                                              BRYCE.

                   LETTER FROM MR. H.A.L. FISHER,
              VICE-CHANCELLOR OF SHEFFIELD UNIVERSITY,
                         TO VISCOUNT BRYCE.

                                          The University,
                                               Sheffield,
                                                 _August 2nd, 1916_.

MY DEAR LORD BRYCE,

The evidence here collected with respect to the sufferings of the
Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire during the present war will
carry conviction wherever and whenever it is studied by honest
enquirers. It bears upon the face of it all the marks of
credibility. In the first place, the transactions were recorded soon
after they took place and while the memory of them was still fresh
and poignant. Then the greater part of the story rests upon the word
of eye-witnesses, and the remainder upon the evidence of persons who
had special opportunities for obtaining correct information. It is
true that some of the witnesses are Armenians, whose testimony, if
otherwise unconfirmed, might be regarded as liable to be
over-coloured or distorted, but the Armenian evidence does not stand
alone. It is corroborated by reports received from Americans, Danes,
Swiss, Germans, Italians and other foreigners. Again, this foreign
testimony comes for the most part from men and women whose calling
alone entitles them to be heard with respect, that is to say, from
witnesses who may fairly be expected to exceed the average level of
character and intelligence and to view the transactions which they
record with as much detachment as is compatible with human feeling.
Indeed, the foreign witnesses who happened to be spectators of the
deportation, dispersion, and massacre of the Armenian nation, do not
strike me as being, in any one case, blind and indiscriminate haters
of the Turk. They are prompt to notice facts which strike them as
creditable to individual members of the Moslem community.

I am also impressed with the cumulative effect of the evidence.
Whoever speaks, and from whatever quarter in the wide region covered
by these reports the voice may proceed, the story is one and the
same. There are no discrepancies or contradictions of importance,
but, on the contrary, countless scattered pieces of mutual
corroboration. There is no contrariety as to the broad fact that the
Armenian population has been uprooted from its homes, dispersed,
and, to a large though not exactly calculable extent, exterminated
in consequence of general orders issued from Constantinople. It is
clear that a catastrophe, conceived upon a scale quite unparalleled
in modern history, has been contrived for the Armenian inhabitants
of the Ottoman Empire. It is found that the original responsibility
rests with the Ottoman Government at Constantinople, whose policy
was actively seconded by the members of the Committee of Union and
Progress in the Provinces. And in view of the fact that the
representations of the Austrian Ambassador with the Porte were
effectual in procuring a partial measure of exemption for the
Armenian Catholics, we are led to surmise that the unspeakable
horrors which this volume records might have been mitigated, if not
wholly checked, had active and energetic remonstrances been from the
first moment addressed to the Ottoman Government by the two Powers
who had acquired a predominant influence in Constantinople. The
evidence, on the contrary, tends to suggest that these two Powers
were, in a general way, favourable to the policy of deportation.

                                      Yours sincerely,
                                                     HERBERT FISHER.

               LETTER FROM PROFESSOR GILBERT MURRAY,
                  REGIUS PROFESSOR OF GREEK IN THE
              UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, TO VISCOUNT BRYCE.

                                     82, Woodstock Road,
                                             Oxford,
                                                  _June 27th, 1916_.

DEAR LORD BRYCE,

I have spent some time studying the documents you are about to
publish relative to the deportations and massacres of Armenians in
the Turkish Empire during the spring and summer of 1915. I know, of
course, how carefully a historian should scrutinize the evidence for
events so startling in character, reported to have occurred in
regions so far removed from the eyes of civilized Europe. I realize
that in times of persecution passions run high, that oriental races
tend to use hyperbolical language, and that the victims of
oppression cannot be expected to speak with strict fairness of their
oppressors. But the evidence of these letters and reports will bear
any scrutiny and overpower any scepticism. Their genuineness is
established beyond question, though obviously you are right in
withholding certain of the names of persons and places. The
statements of the Armenian refugees themselves are fully confirmed
by residents of American, Scandinavian and even of German
nationality; and the undesigned agreement between so many credible
witnesses from widely separate districts puts all the main lines of
the story beyond the possibility of doubt.

                                  I remain,
                                       Yours sincerely,
                                                     GILBERT MURRAY.

                 LETTER FROM MR. MOORFIELD STOREY,
                    EX-PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN
                BAR ASSOCIATION, TO VISCOUNT BRYCE.

                                         735, Exchange Building,
                                               Boston, U.S.,
                                                 _7th August, 1916_.

MY DEAR SIR,

I have examined considerable portions of the volume which contains
the statements regarding the treatment of the Armenians by the
Turks, in order to determine the value of these statements as
evidence.

I have no doubt that, while there may be inaccuracies of detail,
these statements establish without any question the essential facts.
It must be borne in mind that in such a case the evidence of
eye-witnesses is not easily obtained; the victims, with few
exceptions, are dead; the perpetrators will not confess; any casual
spectators cannot be reached, and in most cases are either in
sympathy with what was done or afraid to speak. There are no
tribunals before which witnesses can be summoned and compelled to
testify, and a rigid censorship is maintained by the authorities
responsible for the crimes, which prevents the truth from coming out
freely, and no investigation by impartial persons will be permitted.

Such statements as you print are the best evidence which, in the
circumstances, it is possible to obtain. They come from persons
holding positions which give weight to their words, and from other
persons with no motive to falsify, and it is impossible that such a
body of concurring evidence should have been manufactured. Moreover,
it is confirmed by evidence from German sources which has with
difficulty escaped the rigid censorship maintained by the German
authorities—a censorship which is in itself a confession, since
there is no reason why the Germans should not give full currency to
such evidence unless the authorities felt themselves in some way
responsible for what it discloses.

In my opinion, the evidence which you print is as reliable as that
upon which rests our belief in many of the universally admitted
facts of history, and I think it establishes beyond any reasonable
doubt the deliberate purpose of the Turkish authorities practically
to exterminate the Armenians, and their responsibility for the
hideous atrocities which have been perpetrated upon that unhappy
people.

                                          Yours truly,
                                                   MOORFIELD STOREY.

           LETTER, DATED ALEPPO, 8th OCTOBER, 1915, FROM
                FOUR MEMBERS OF THE GERMAN MISSIONS
               STAFF IN TURKEY TO THE IMPERIAL GERMAN
             MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AT BERLIN.[4]

We think it our duty to draw the attention of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs to the fact that our school work will be deprived,
for the future, of its moral basis and will lose all authority in
the eyes of the natives, if it is really beyond the power of the
German Government to mitigate the brutality of the treatment which
the exiled women and children of the massacred Armenians are
receiving.

In face of the scenes of horror which are being unfolded daily
before our eyes in the neighbourhood of our school, our educational
activity becomes a mockery of humanity. How can we make our pupils
listen to the Tales of the Seven Dwarfs, how can we teach them
conjugations and declensions, when, in the compounds next door to
our school, death is carrying off their starving compatriots—when
there are girls and women and children, practically naked, some
lying on the ground, others stretched between the dead or the
coffins made ready for them beforehand, and breathing their last
breath!

Out of 2,000 to 3,000 peasant women from the Armenian Plateau who
were brought here in good health, only forty or fifty skeletons are
left. The prettier ones are the victims of their gaolers’ lust; the
plain ones succumb to blows, hunger and thirst (they lie by the
water’s edge, but are not allowed to quench their thirst). The
Europeans are forbidden to distribute bread to the starving. Every
day more than a hundred corpses are carried out of Aleppo.

All this happens under the eyes of high Turkish officials. There are
forty or fifty emaciated phantoms crowded into the compound opposite
our school. They are women out of their mind; they have forgotten
how to eat; when one offers them bread, they throw it aside with
indifference. They only groan and wait for death.

“See,” say the natives: “Taâlim el Alman (the teaching of the
Germans).”

The German scutcheon is in danger of being smirched for ever in the
memory of the Near Eastern peoples. There are natives of Aleppo,
more enlightened than the rest, who say: “The Germans do not want
these horrors. Perhaps the German nation does not know about them.
If it did, how could the German Press, which is attached to the
truth, talk about the humanity of the treatment accorded to the
Armenians who are guilty of High Treason? Perhaps, too, the German
Government has its hands tied by some contract defining the powers
of the [German and Turkish] States in regard to one another’s
affairs?”

No, when it is a question of giving over thousands of women and
children to death by starvation, the words “Opportunism” and
“definition of powers” lose their meaning. Every civilised human
being is “empowered” in this case to interfere, and it is his
bounden duty to do so. Our prestige in the East is the thing at
stake. There are even Turks and Arabs who have remained human, and
who shake their heads in sorrow when they see, in the exile convoys
that pass through the town, how the brutal soldiers shower blows on
women with child who can march no farther.

We may expect further and still more dreadful hecatombs after the
order published by Djemal Pasha. (The engineers of the Baghdad
Railway are forbidden, by this order, to photograph the Armenian
convoys; any plates they have already used for this must be given up
within twenty-four hours, under penalty of prosecution before the
Council of War.) It is a proof that the responsible authorities fear
the light, but have no intention of putting an end to scenes which
are a disgrace to humanity.

We know that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already, from other
sources, received detailed descriptions of what is happening here.
But as no change has occurred in the system of the deportations, we
feel ourselves under a double obligation to make this report, all
the more because the fact of our living abroad enables us to see
more clearly the immense danger by which the German name is
threatened here.

                       MEMORANDUM BY THE EDITOR.


As far as their contents are concerned, the documents collected in
this volume explain themselves, and if any reader wishes for an
outline of the events they describe, as a guide to their detail, he
will find it in the “Historical Summary” at the end of the book,
especially in Section V. In this preliminary memorandum the Editor
has simply to state the sources, character and value of the
documents, and to explain the system on which they have been edited.

The sources of the documents are very varied. Some of them were
communicated to the Editor directly by the writers themselves, or,
in the case of private letters, by the persons to whom the letters
were addressed. Several of those relating to the distribution of
relief in Russian Caucasia have been placed in his hands by the
courtesy of the British Foreign Office. Others, again, he owes to
the courtesy of individuals, including Lord Bryce, who has
superintended the work throughout, and given most generously of his
time and thought towards making it as accurate and complete as
possible; several members of the American Committee for Armenian and
Syrian Relief[5]; the Rev. G.T. Scott, Assistant Secretary of the
Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.;
M. Arshag Tchobanian; Dr. Herbert Adams Gibbons; Dr. William Walter
Rockwell, of the Union Theological Seminary of New York; the Rev.
Stephen Trowbridge, Secretary of the American Red Cross Committee at
Cairo; the Rev. I.N. Camp, a missionary in the service of the
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, at present
stationed at Cairo; Aneurin Williams, Esq., M.P.; the Rev. Harold
Buxton, Treasurer of the Armenian Refugees (Lord Mayor’s) Fund; Mr.
J.D. Bourchier, correspondent of the London _Times_ newspaper in the
Balkans; Mrs. D.S. Margoliouth, of Oxford; the Rev. F.N. Heazell,
Organising Secretary of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Assyrian
Mission; Mr. G.H. Paelian, an American citizen resident in London;
Mr. A.S. Safrastian, of Tiflis; and Mr. H.N. Mosditchian, of London.
Another source of material has been the Press. Despatches, letters
and statements have been reprinted in this volume from the columns
of English, American, Swiss, French, Russian, Italian and also
German newspapers, and from Armenian journals published at Tiflis,
London and New York. The editors of _Ararat_, _Gotchnag_ and the
_New Armenia_ have shown the Editor of this volume every possible
kindness, and have courteously presented him with free copies of
their current issues.

The documents are all rendered here in English, but they reached the
Editor’s hands in various languages—not only English but French,
Italian, German and Armenian. The translations from the French,
German and Italian have been made by the Editor with the assistance
of his wife. For the translation of documents from the Armenian he
is indebted to Mr. Paelian, who has devoted a large part of his
scanty leisure to doing the Editor this most valuable service. But
for Mr. Paelian’s promptness and good will, the work might have been
considerably delayed.

The character of the documents varies with the writers. Some of the
witnesses are native Armenian or Nestorian inhabitants of the Near
East, who were either victims of the atrocities themselves or were
intimately connected with others who played a direct part in the
scenes described. A majority of the witnesses, however, are foreign
residents in the Ottoman Empire or the Persian Province of
Azerbaijan, and nearly all these, again, are citizens of neutral
countries, either European or American—missionaries, teachers,
doctors, Red Cross nurses or officials. A few witnesses (and these
are the weightiest of all) are subjects of states allied to Turkey
in the present war.

The value of the documents of course depends upon the witnesses’
standing and character, and upon the opportunities they possessed of
knowing the facts. The Editor is certain in his own mind that all
the documents published here are genuine statements of the truth,
and he presents them in this assurance. Errors will, doubtless, be
here and there discovered, but he believes that any errors there may
be have been made in good faith, and that they will prove to touch
only points of detail, which do not affect the truth of the whole.
At the same time he realises that, considered as legal evidence
before a court, the documents differ considerably in probative
value. From this legal point of view, they can be tabulated in
several classes:—

    (_a_) Evidence published by the editor of a German journal in
        Germany, and suppressed by the Imperial German Censorship
        (Doc. 12. This evidence is, of course, above any suspicion
        of prejudice against the Turks.

    (_b_) Documents written by German eye-witnesses of the events
        they describe (Docs. 18, 23, 91, 145), or by neutral
        eye-witnesses resident in Turkey in the service of German
        missionary or philanthropic institutions, or of the German
        Red Cross (Docs. 62, 64, 117, 142). This evidence is equally
        above suspicion of partiality against the Turks or in favour
        of the Armenians.

    (_c_) Documents written by other neutral eye-witnesses,
        principally American and Swiss, who have no connection,
        either public or private, with the Turco-German Alliance or
        with the Entente, and who are presumably without bias
        towards either party. Documents of such authorship
        constitute the bulk of the material in this volume, and
        practically all of them are written at first hand. There are
        no apparent grounds for not reposing full confidence in
        them.

    (_d_) Documents written by Armenian or Nestorian natives of the
        regions concerned. This native evidence may be thought to
        have somewhat less cogency than the rest, as the witnesses
        have suffered personally from the horrors they describe, and
        are open to stronger influences of prejudice and emotion
        than foreign observers. Errors of detail are more likely to
        occur here, especially as regards estimates of numbers. The
        Editor wishes to repeat, however, that, after comparing the
        different statements of these native witnesses with one
        another, and with the documents in the three preceding
        classes, he is convinced of the substantial accuracy of all
        the evidence, of whatever class, that is presented in this
        volume.

The total body of evidence is large, as the considerable bulk of the
volume shows, and this is the more satisfactory because the Ottoman
Government has taken every possible precaution to prevent any
knowledge of its proceedings from reaching the outer world. Private
postal and telegraphic communications were suspended between
Constantinople and the provinces, and between one province and
another. There was a stringent censorship of outgoing mails, even
the consuls of neutral countries were forbidden to telegraph in
cypher, and travellers leaving Turkey were searched and divested of
every scrap of paper, whether written upon or blank, in their
possession. A quotation from a letter, written by the author of one
of our documents[6] just after she had safely passed beyond the
Ottoman frontier, will give some idea of the severity of this
official embargo upon news of every sort:

“As I was coming out from under the hands of the censor, I was asked
to write to you, telling you something of the real situation in our
part of the world. In my opinion the censorship now is worse than it
was in the olden days, for now they have such highly trained men.
One of our censors had a five years’ training in the New York Post
Office. If our letters seem to tell you little, please remember that
there are the strictest orders against the censor’s passing anything
on politics, war or even poverty. Any sentences that even touch on
these subjects are either cut out or marked or blotted out with ink.
A German lady even wrote to a friend of hers in Germany, telling her
of poverty in BM. and asking her to send relief funds. She purposely
mentioned no causes for this poverty, but only said there was such a
condition. The only parts of the letter that reached her friend were
the opening and closing sentences. The knife had claimed the rest.
So, as Mrs. E. said: ‘Please tell our friends in America that when
we write about concerts and field meets and such things, that does
not show that the country is safe or that work is as usual. We write
about that simply because there is nothing else about which we are
allowed to write.’ ”

Nearly all our evidence, therefore, comes from residents in Turkey
who witnessed, like this lady, the events that occurred in some
particular district or districts, and subsequently left Turkey for
some other country, where they could record what they had seen
without endangering their lives. Yet, even on neutral ground, these
witnesses are not beyond the reach of Turkish resentment. Many of
them are anxious to take up their work again in Turkey at the
earliest opportunity, and nearly all of them still have interests in
the country, or fellow-workers, or friends, who are so many gages in
the Ottoman Government’s hands. That Government is known to have
agents in Europe, and possibly in America as well, whose business it
is to inform against anyone who exposes its misdeeds; and the Young
Turkish gang, by whom the Ottoman Government is controlled, have no
shame and no scruple about wreaking vengeance by any and every means
upon accusers whose indictments they are wholly unable to answer
before the judgment seat of the civilised world. It is, therefore,
absolutely essential to withhold in many cases the names of the
witnesses themselves, and of people, or even of places, mentioned in
their testimony. In fact, some of the documents have only been
communicated to the Editor on this express condition—for instance,
the document enclosed with the letter quoted a few lines above. “May
I ask you, however,” continues this very letter, “not to publish my
name or that of any missionary from BM., not even the name of BM.
itself or any of the places which I shall mention, as the censorship
is so strict and terrible now that the mention of names brings us
under suspicion at once. May I instance? Dr. E. and Dr. L. have been
under such suspicion or ill-will that they have not been able to get
a simple family letter through to members of their family in America
for months, and the whole station of AC. is under sufficient
suspicion to prevent most of the letters they write to you and Mr.
N, from reaching their destination. The reason, we feel quite
certain, is a report on Moslem work which was sent to you.”

And the same considerations are urged even more emphatically by Miss
A., the author of Doc. 137 who is our chief witness for the
occurrences at AC. itself:—

For the sake of the people left in Turkey, and especially my orphan
children, I hope nothing will be published as from me. If any word
of it should get into Turkey, it might have very serious
consequences for them.

“Although very few magazines or papers were allowed into the
interior, yet occasionally we saw one. In the coast towns, pieces
are being cut from the papers, and sold at high prices to Turks. I
left my post just because I thought my presence there might make it
hard for those under my charge; but if anything that I am supposed
to have told gets back into Turkey, I fear the whole of my community
may have to suffer. I do not think that those outside Turkey fully
realise what danger there is, even in letters, to those left in the
country. The local authorities seemed to be always on the watch for
something to find as a cause of complaint against both missionaries
and Armenians.

“The poor refugees that we saw in BF. as we passed through begged us
to help them, but, when we got to BJ., the missionaries there said
they had been forbidden to give aid. One woman had been taken to the
Government Building because she had been found helping some poor
families in her own district that she had been visiting for years.
There were many sick at BF., and the pastor and others sent
post-cards, begging us to send help quickly. One man asked me to
lend him some money, saying I could get it back from his brother in
America. It was the danger to him that made me hesitate. The money
was finally sent, but one feared to think what it might be an excuse
for. And so over all the country.

“All the time when people were in great need, the question was in
one’s mind: ‘Will relief endanger their lives?’ New rules were
constantly being sprung upon us. A person would write a letter, but
before it reached its destination it would be ‘against the
regulations.’

“All money in banks and all property belonging to the exiles was
confiscated by the Government. The people who were deported from AC.
did not know it, but when they had used up all that they had taken
with them, they would write to us. It was in this way that we found
out that they had neither money nor property left; but we were
powerless to let them know what the difficulty was, so they would
write again and again.

“All the time, we felt we were in a trap. The most courageous
Armenians dared not come to see me, nor could I go to their homes.
We had to meet at some public building if they wanted to see me
about anything.

“No one living in freedom can understand what it feels like to be in
Turkey these days.”

In face of this, the reader will see for himself that the
publication of names, under present circumstances, would often be a
grave and perilous breach of trust, and the Editor has, therefore,
(though only where absolutely necessary, and without making any
change whatever affecting the substance of the documents),
substituted arbitrary symbols for the names of persons and places in
the text, in the manner shown in the preceding quotation. A complete
key to these symbols has been prepared and communicated, in
confidence, to the British Foreign Office, Lord Bryce, Dr. Barton,
and the Rev. G.T. Scott; and this key will be published as soon as
circumstances permit, or, in other words, as soon as the dangers
which would threaten the persons referred to have ceased to exist.

The Ottoman Government and its allies, whose good name is almost as
seriously compromised as the Ottoman name by the facts, may be
expected to make what capital they can out of the precautions
imposed by their own treatment of their Christian subjects, and to
impugn the genuineness of the documents that have been edited in the
way here described. That was the course they adopted in the case of
the evidence relating to the conduct of the German Army in Belgium,
which was published with the same, equally necessary, reservations.
The Editor can best forestall such disingenuous criticism by stating
clearly the principles on which this suppression of names has been
made:

      (_a_) Names of persons are not published in this volume unless
        they have already appeared publicly, in the same connection,
        in print, or unless the person in question is clearly beyond
        the reach of Turkish revenge.

      (_b_) Names of places are published wherever possible. They
        are only withheld when they would be certain to reveal the
        identity of persons mentioned in connection with them.

      (_c_) All names withheld are represented in the text by
        capital letters of the alphabet or combinations of capital
        letters. These letters are not the initials of the names in
        question, but were assigned in an arbitrary order, as the
        various documents happened to come into the Editor’s hands.

      (_d_) The name of a place is always represented by the same
        symbol throughout the volume, _e.g._, “X.” stands for the
        same place, whether it occurs in Section I. or Section XI.

      (_e_) In the case of the names of people the same symbol only
        stands for the same person within a single section, _e.g._,
        “Miss A.” stands for the same person, in whatever document
        it occurs in Section XVII.; but in the documents of Section
        XI. “Miss A.” represents someone different.

The Editor wishes to state, once more, that these documents in which
names are represented by symbols are not a whit less valid, as
evidence, than the documents in which no such substitutions have had
to be made. If the reader desires confirmation of this, the Editor
would refer him to the gentlemen mentioned above, who have been
placed in possession of the confidential key.

There are other documents, however, where the names have, on similar
grounds, been withheld from the Editor himself, either by the
authors of the documents or by those through whose hands the Editor
obtained them, or where the ultimate source of the testimony is for
some reason obscure. The Editor has been careful to indicate these
cases as conspicuously as possible. Where there is any name, either
of a place or of a person, unknown to him in the text, he has
represented it by a blank (——). Where the name of the author of the
document is unknown to him, he has stated this in a footnote to the
title by which the document is headed.[7]

The Editor is, of course, aware that these documents which he only
possesses in a defective form cannot be presented as evidence in the
strict sense by himself, and can plausibly be repudiated by the
parties whose crimes they describe. He is the more content to admit
this legal objection to them because they merely confirm what is
established by the other evidence independently of them. They
constitute no more than twenty-two out of the 150 documents in the
whole collection, and, if they are passed over, the picture
presented by the far larger mass of documents that cannot be
impugned remains perfectly precise and complete. The Editor has
chosen to publish them, in their natural order, with the rest,
because he has no more doubt about their genuineness than about the
genuineness of the others—and with good reason, for, out of the
twenty-two documents in question, not less then eleven have been
communicated to him by the American Committee for Armenian and
Syrian Relief—citizens of high standing in a neutral country and
gentlemen of unimpeachable good faith. He repeats, however, that
these twenty-two documents are in no way essential to the
presentation of the case as a whole.

The documents are arranged in groups, in a geographical order, which
is adjusted as far as possible to the general chronological order in
which the different regions were affected by the Ottoman
Government’s scheme. The first group or section contains documents
that do not confine themselves to any one region, but give general
descriptions of events occurring throughout the Ottoman Empire.
These documents are for the most part earlier in date than those
relating to particular districts, and are therefore placed at the
beginning. The second section opens the geographical series with the
documents relating to Van, the north-easternmost province of the
Ottoman Empire in the direction of the Caucasus and Azerbaijan. The
third section deals with Bitlis, the province adjoining Van on the
west, which suffered next in order; the fourth with Azerbaijan, the
Persian province on the eastern side of Van, which suffered during
the Turkish offensive in the winter of 1914-5; the fifth with
Russian Trans-Caucasia, where the refugees from Van and Azerbaijan
sought refuge in August, 1915. The succeeding sections follow one
another in geographical order from east to west, beginning with
Erzeroum, the border province adjoining Van on the north-west along
the Russo-Turkish frontier. Erzeroum constitutes the sixth section,
Mamouret-ul-Aziz the seventh, Trebizond the eighth, Sivas the ninth,
Kaisaria the tenth, the town of X. the eleventh, Angora the twelfth,
Constantinople and the adjacent districts the thirteenth. From this
point the sections run in reverse order from north-west to
south-east, following the track of the Baghdad Railway. The
fourteenth section deals with places along this route between (but
excluding) Adapazar and Aleppo; the fifteenth deals with Cilicia,
the region through which the Baghdad Railway passes half-way along
its course, and this is the only case in which the chronological and
geographical arrangements seriously conflict, for the Cilicians were
the first to suffer—they were already being deported twelve days
before fighting broke out at Van. The sixteenth section is Jibal
Mousa, a group of villages adjoining Cilicia on the south; the
seventeenth the Armenian colonies at Ourfa and AC., two cities on
the Mesopotamian fringe; the eighteenth Aleppo, upon which nearly
all the convoys of exiles converged; and the nineteenth Damascus and
Der-el-Zor, the two districts where the greater part of the
survivors were finally deposited. A twentieth section has also been
added for documents received while the volume was in the press.

Wherever a date is given without further indication, it may be
assumed to be in “New Style.” Where two alternative dates are given
(_e.g._, 26th September/9th October), the first is “Old Style” and
the second “New.” Dates are never given in “Old Style” alone. Where
sums of money are given in Turkish or Persian units, the English
equivalent is usually added in brackets. Sums given in dollars have
always been translated into English pounds sterling.

The names of places have not been spelt on any consistent system,
there being no recognised system in general use. The Editor has
merely endeavoured to standardise the spelling of each particular
name wherever it occurs.

An index of all places referred to by name in the documents that are
in the Editor’s possession, whether the name has been withheld in
the text or not, has been compiled for him most accurately by Miss
Margaret Toynbee, to whom he is grateful for this important addition
to the usefulness of the book. This index is printed at the end of
the volume. The map which accompanies it has been compiled by the
Editor himself from various sources, chiefly from Kiepert’s
excellent sheets of Asia Minor, in the Map Room of the Royal
Geographical Society, where he has received most kind and valuable
assistance from the staff.

                        I. GENERAL DESCRIPTIONS.


_The Ottoman Government did its utmost to prevent the news of what
it was doing to the Armenians from leaking through to the outer
world. A stringent censorship was established at all the frontiers,
private communication was severed between Constantinople and the
provinces, and the provinces themselves were isolated from one
another. Nearly all our information has been obtained from witnesses
who succeeded in making their way out of Turkey after the massacres
and deportations had occurred, and who wrote down their experiences
after reaching America or Europe. The evidence of these witnesses is
first-hand, but it is mostly confined to the particular region in
which each witness happened to reside, and it has therefore been
grouped in this collection province by province, in geographical
order. We possess, however, certain general accounts which reached
Europe and America at an earlier date, for the most part, than the
individual narratives, and they are printed here in advance of the
rest—partly for the chronological reason, and partly because they
give a broad survey of what happened, which may impress the general
features upon the reader before he approaches the detailed testimony
of the sections that follow._

_In contrast to the bulk of our evidence, the majority of these
preliminary documents give their information at second-hand; but
practically every statement they make is more than borne out in
detail by the first-hand witnesses, and this is particularly the
case with the more startling and appalling of the facts they
record._

_The most interesting document in this section is No. 12, which was
compiled from German sources, published in a German journal, and
immediately suppressed by the German Censorship._


1. DESPATCH[8] FROM MR. HENRY WOOD, CORRESPONDENT OF THE AMERICAN
    “UNITED PRESS” AT CONSTANTINOPLE; PUBLISHED IN THE AMERICAN
    PRESS, 14th AUGUST, 1915.

So critical is the situation that Ambassador Morgenthau, who alone
is fighting to prevent wholesale slaughter, has felt obliged to ask
the co-operation of the Ambassadors of Turkey’s two Allies. They
have been successful to the extent of securing definite promises
from the leading members of the Young Turk Government that no orders
will be given for massacres. The critical moment for the Armenians,
however, will come, it is feared, when the Turks may meet with
serious reverses in the Dardanelles or when the Armenians
themselves, who not only are in open revolt but are actually in
possession of Van and several other important towns, may meet with
fresh successes. It is this uprising of the Armenians who are
seeking to establish an independent government that the Turks
declare is alone responsible for the terrible measures now being
taken against them[9]. In the meantime, the position of the
Armenians and the system of deportation, dispersion, and
extermination that is being carried out against them beggars all
description.

Although the present renewal of the Armenian atrocities has been
under way for three months, it is only just now that reports
creeping into Constantinople from the remotest points of the
interior show that absolutely no portion of the Armenian population
has been spared. It now appears that the order for the present
cruelties was issued in the early part of May, and was at once put
into execution with all the extreme genius of the Turkish police
system—the one department of government for which the Turks have
ever shown the greatest aptitude, both in organisation and
administration. At that time sealed orders were sent to the police
of the entire Empire. These were to be opened on a specified date
that would ensure the orders being in the hands of every department
at the moment they were to be opened. Once opened, they provided for
a simultaneous descent at practically the same moment on the
Armenian population of the entire Empire.

At Broussa, in Asiatic Turkey, the city which it is expected the
Turks will select for their capital in the event of Constantinople
falling, I investigated personally the manner in which these orders
were carried out[10]. From eye-witnesses in other towns from the
interior I found that the execution of them was everywhere
identical. At midnight, the police authorities swooped down on the
homes of all Armenians whose names had been put on the proscribed
list sent out from Constantinople. The men were at once placed under
arrest, and then the houses were searched for papers which might
implicate them either in the present revolutionary movement of the
Armenians on the frontier or in plots against the Government which
the Turks declare exist. In this search, carpets were torn from the
floors, draperies stripped from the walls, and even the children
turned out of their beds and cradles in order that the mattresses
and coverings might be searched.

Following this search, the men were then carried away, and at once
there began the carrying out of the system of deportation and
dispersion which has been the cruellest feature of the present
anti-Armenian wave. The younger men for the most part were at once
drafted into the Army. On the authority of men whose names would be
known in both America and Europe if I dared mention them, I am told
that hundreds if not thousands of these were sent at once to the
front ranks at the Dardanelles, where death in a very short space of
time is almost a certainty. The older men were then deported into
the interior, while the women and children, when not carried off in
an opposite direction, were left to shift for themselves as best
they could. The terrible feature of this deportation up to date is
that it has been carried out on such a basis as to render it
practically impossible in thousands of cases that these families can
ever again be reunited. Not only wives and husbands, brothers and
sisters, but even mothers and their little children have been
dispersed in such a manner as to preclude practically all hope that
they will ever see each other again.

In defence of these terrible measures which have been taken, the
Turks at Constantinople declare that no one but the Armenians
themselves is to blame. They state that when the present attack
began on the Dardanelles, the Armenians were notified that if they
took advantage of the moment when the Turks were concentrating every
energy for the maintenance of the Empire, to rise in rebellion, they
would be dealt with without quarter. This warning, however, the
Armenians failed to heed. They not only rose in rebellion, occupying
a number of important towns, including Van, but extended important
help to the Russians in the latter’s campaign in the Caucasus.[11]

While this is the Turkish side of the situation, there is also
another side which I shall give on the authority of men who have
passed practically their entire lives in Turkey and whose names, if
I dared mention them, would be recognised in both Europe and America
as competent authority. According to these men, the decision has
gone out from the Young Turk party that the Armenian population of
Turkey must be set back fifty years. This has been decided upon as
necessary in order to ensure the supremacy of the Turkish race in
the Ottoman Empire, which is one of the basic principles of the
Young Turk party. The situation, I am told, is absolutely analogous
to that which preceded the Armenian massacres under Abd-ul-Hamid. So
far, however, the Young Turks have confined themselves to the new
system of deportation, dispersion and separation of families.

-----

Footnote 1:

  Memorandum by the Editor, page xli.

Footnote 2:

  Memorandum by the Editor, page xl.

Footnote 3:

  For instance, the conversation of a German officer reported in Doc.
  108 p. 420. For the general attitude of the Turks and German towards
  the treatment of the Armenians, see “Historical Summary,” chapter V.

  On the 11th January, 1916, Herr von Stumm, Chief of the Political
  Department of the German Foreign Office, gave the following answer in
  the Reichstag to a question from Dr. Liebknecht:

  “It is known to the Imperial Chancellor that revolutionary
  demonstrations, organised by our enemies, have taken place in Armenia,
  and that they have caused the Turkish Government to expel the Armenian
  population of certain districts and to allot to them new
  dwelling-places. An exchange of views about the reaction of these
  measures upon the population is now taking place. Further information
  cannot be given.”

Footnote 4:

  A copy of this letter was communicated to the _Berner Tagwacht_ by
  Dr. Forel, a Swiss gentleman, and reproduced in the _Journal de
  Génève_, 17th August, 1916. It was signed by four persons—Dr.
  Gräter (of Swiss nationality), Dr. Niepage (of German
  nationality), and two others whose names have been withheld by Dr.
  Forel.—EDITOR.

Footnote 5:

          AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.
                     70, Fifth Avenue, New York.

  Including work of the Armenian Relief, the Persian War Relief, and
               the Syrian-Palestine Relief Committees.


    James L. Barton.        Samuel T. Dutton.      Walter H. Mallory.
       _Chairman._            _Secretary._         _Field Secretary._

                     Charles R. Crane, _Treasurer_.

      Arthur J. Brown.                    John Moffat.
      Edwin M. Bulkley.                   John R. Mott.
      John B. Calvert.                    Frank Mason North.
      John D. Crimmins.                   Harry V. Osborne.
      Cleveland H. Dodge.                 George A. Plimpton.
      Charles W. Eliot.                   Rt. Rev. P. Rhinelander.
      William T. Ellis.                   Karl Davis Robinson.
      James Cardinal Gibbons.             William W. Rockwell.
      Rt. Rev. David H. Greer.            George T. Scott.
      Norman Hapgood.                     Isaac N. Seligman.
      Maurice H. Harris.                  William Sloane.
      William I. Haven.                   Edward Lincoln Smith.
      Hamilton Holt.                      James M. Speers.
      Arthur Curtiss James.               Oscar M. Straus.
      Frederick Lynch.                    Stanley White.
      Chas. S. MacFarland.                Talcott Williams.
      H. Pereira Mendes.                  Stephen S. Wise.

Footnote 6:

  Doc. 121

Footnote 7:

  In other words, wherever the title of a document is given without
  such a footnote, that means that the Editor is in possession of
  the author’s name, even if the name is not published but
  represented by a symbol (_e.g._, “Dr. L.”), or by such periphrases
  as “A foreign resident,” &c.

Footnote 8:

  For full text see page 572.

Footnote 9:

  See “Historical Summary,” Chapter V.

Footnote 10:

  Compare Doc. 101

Footnote 11:

  For the real facts see Section II.


2. DESPATCH, DATED 11th JUNE, 1915, FROM AN ESPECIALLY WELL INFORMED
    NEUTRAL SOURCE AT CONSTANTINOPLE; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN
    COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

A week before anything was done to Baibourt, the villages all round
had been emptied of their Armenian inhabitants. The forced exodus
from Baibourt took place on the 1st June[12]. All the villages, as
well as three-fourths of the town, had already been evacuated. The
third convoy included from 4,000 to 5,000 people. Within six or
seven days from the start, all males down to below fifteen years of
age had been murdered.

Persecutions, accompanied by horrible torture, have taken place in
the Armenian village of Baghtchedjik or Bardizag (2,000 families),
in Ovadjik (600 families), in Arslanbeg (600 families), in Döngöl
(65 families), in Sabandja (1,000 families), in Ismid, etc. The
inhabitants of Kurt-Belené (6,000 to 7,000 families) have been
expelled.

In Arabkir the Armenian population has been converted to Islam,
after 2,000 males had been killed.

-----

Footnote 12:

  See Doc. 59


3. EXTRACT FROM A LETTER[13], DATED ARABKIR, 25th JUNE/8th JULY,
    1915, COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND
    SYRIAN RELIEF.

The Armenian population has been converted to Islam; it was a means
of escaping from the forced migration. Orthodox Turks are given the
wives of absent husbands or their daughters. We have been told that,
according to an order from the Padishah, everybody must embrace
Islam[14].


4. LETTER FROM AN AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE, DATED CONSTANTINOPLE,
    15th/28th JUNE, 1915; PUBLISHED IN THE NEW YORK JOURNAL
    “GOTCHNAG,” 28th AUGUST, 1915.

In America you have probably not yet heard of the terrible crisis
through which the Armenians of Turkey are passing at this moment.
The severe censorship to which all communications between
Constantinople and the provinces are subjected, and the absolute
embargo on travelling under which the Armenians have been placed,
have resulted in depriving us, even in Constantinople, of all but
the scantiest information regarding the whole provincial area. And
yet what we know already is sufficient to give you some idea.

In every part of Turkey the Armenian population is in a more or less
serious plight, in suspense between life and death. Apart from the
distress produced by the illegal requisitions, the paralysis of
industry, the ravages of the typhus, and the mobilisation of the
men—first of those from 20 to 45, and then of those from 18 to 50
years of age—thousands of Armenians have been suffering during the
last two months in prison or in exile.

At the beginning of the month of April, immediately after the events
at Van, the Government issued an order requisitioning Armenian
houses, schools, and episcopal residences, even in the most obscure
corners of the provinces, and making the possession of arms, which
were allowed until now, or of books and images, which were freely
sold in public, a pretext for imprisonments and convictions. The
effect of this order has been such that in the prisons of Kaisaria
alone there are, at the present moment, more than 500 Armenians in
custody, without reckoning those who, by a mere administrative act
and without any charge being brought against them, have been
deported into districts inhabited entirely by Mohammedans.

However, even this state of things is mild enough in comparison with
the condition of affairs in Cilicia and the provinces bordering on
the Caucasus. The Turkish Government is now putting into execution
its plan of dispersing the Armenian population of the Armenian
provinces, taking advantage of the preoccupation of all the European
Powers, and of the indifference of Germany and Austria. They began
to execute this plan about four months ago, starting with
Cilicia[15], where the entire Armenian population of Zeitoun, Dört
Yöl and the neighbourhood, and a considerable part of the population
of Marash and Hassan-Beyli, have been removed from their homes by
brute force and without warning.

Some of the exiles, about 1,000 families, have been sent to the
Sultania district of the Vilayet of Konia[16]. The majority,
however, have been dispersed among the villages of the province of
Zor, beyond Aleppo, and through the districts in the immediate
neighbourhood of Aleppo itself—Moumbidj, Bab, Ma’ara, Idlib, etc.
This compulsory emigration is still in progress. The same fate is in
prospect for Adana, Mersina, Hadjin, Sis, etc. As can be seen from
the despatches and letters which arrive from these districts, all
these people are being deported without the possibility of taking
anything with them, and this into districts with a climate to which
they are absolutely unaccustomed. There, without shelter, naked and
famished, they are abandoned to their fate, and have to subsist on
the morsel of bread which the Government sees good to throw to them,
a Government which is incapable of providing even its own troops
with bread.

The least details of this compulsory emigration that reach us at
Constantinople, reduce one to tears at their recital. Among those
1,000 families deported to Sultania there are less than fifty men.
The majority made the journey on foot; the old people and the young
children died by the wayside, and young women with child miscarried
and were abandoned on the mountains. Even now that they have reached
their place of exile, these deported Armenians pay a toll of about
ten victims a day in deaths from sickness and famine. At Aleppo they
need at present £35 (Turkish) a day to provide the exiles with
bread. You can imagine what their situation must be in the deserts,
where the native Arabs themselves are near starvation.

A sum of money has been sent from Constantinople to the Katholikos
of Cilicia, who is at the present moment at Aleppo, witnessing the
misery and agony of his flock. At Aleppo, at any rate, the
authorities permit the distribution of relief to these unfortunate
people; at Sultania, on the other hand, it has so far been
impossible to bring any relief within their reach, because the
Government refuses permission, in spite of the efforts of the
American Embassy.

The same state of affairs now prevails at Erzeroum, Bitlis, Sairt,
etc. According to absolutely trustworthy information which we have
received, they have begun, during the last two or three weeks, to
deport the Armenians of Erzeroum and the neighbourhood towards
Derdjan; the rest have been given several days’ grace. From Bitlis
and Sairt we have just had despatches forwarded to us, imploring
relief. From Moush we have no news, but the same state of affairs
must certainly prevail there also[17]. At Khnyss[18] there has been
a massacre, but we do not yet know how serious it was. In the
neighbourhood of Sivas several villages, Govdoun among others, have
been burnt....

-----

Footnote 13:

  Name of author withheld.

Footnote 14:

  See Doc. 82, page 324.

Footnote 15:

  See Section XV.

Footnote 16:

  See Docs. 123 and 125.

Footnote 17:

  See Section III.

Footnote 18:

  See Doc. 53.


5. LETTER FROM THE SAME SOURCE, DATED CONSTANTINOPLE, 12/25th JULY,
    1915; PUBLISHED IN THE NEW YORK JOURNAL “GOTCHNAG,” 28th AUGUST,
    1915.

Since my last letter, our nation’s position has unhappily become
more serious, inasmuch as it is now not merely the Armenians of
Cilicia who have been deported, but the Armenians of all the native
Armenian provinces. From Samsoun and Kaisaria on the one hand to
Edessa on the other, about a million and a half people are at this
moment on their way to the deserts of Mesopotamia, to be planted in
the midst of Arab and Kurdish populations. These people cannot take
with them anything but the barest necessities, because of the
impossibility of transport and the insecurity of the roads; so that
very few of them indeed will succeed in reaching the spot marked out
for their exile, while, if immediate relief is not sent them, they
will die of hunger....


6. LETTER FROM THE SAME SOURCE, DATED CONSTANTINOPLE, 13/26th JULY,
    1915, AND ADDRESSED TO A DISTINGUISHED ARMENIAN RESIDENT BEYOND
    THE OTTOMAN FRONTIER.

Since the 25th May last, events have followed hard upon one another,
and the misery of our nation is now at its zenith.

Apart from a few rumours about the situation of the Armenians at
Erzeroum, we had heard of nothing, till recently, except the
deportation of the inhabitants of several towns and villages in
Cilicia. Now we know from an unimpeachable source that the Armenians
of all the towns and all the villages of Cilicia have been deported
_en masse_ to the desert regions south of Aleppo.

From the 1st May onwards, the population of the city of Erzeroum,
and shortly afterwards the population of the whole province, was
collected at Samsoun and embarked on shipboard. The populations of
Kaisaria, Diyarbekir, Ourfa, Trebizond, Sivas, Harpout and the
district of Van have been deported to the deserts of Mesopotamia,
from the southern outskirts of Aleppo as far as Mosul and Baghdad.
“Armenia without the Armenians”—that is the Ottoman Government’s
project. The Moslems are already being allowed to take possession of
the lands and houses abandoned by the Armenians.

The exiles are forbidden to take anything with them. For that
matter, in the districts under military occupation there is nothing
left to take, as the military authorities have exerted themselves to
carry off, for their own use, everything that they could lay hands
on.

The exiles will have to traverse on foot a distance that involves
one or two months’ marching and sometimes even more, before they
reach the particular corner of the desert assigned to them for their
habitation, and destined to become their tomb. We hear, in fact,
that the course of their route and the stream of the Euphrates are
littered with the corpses of exiles, while those who survive are
doomed to certain death, since they will find in the desert neither
house, nor work, nor food.

It is simply a scheme for exterminating the Armenian nation
wholesale, without any fuss. It is just another form of massacre,
and a more horrible form.

Remember that all the men between the ages of 20 and 45 are at the
front. Those between 45 and 60 are working for the military
transport service. As for those who had paid the statutory tax for
exemption from military service, they have either been exiled or
imprisoned on one pretext or another. The result is that there is no
one left to deport but the old men, the women and the children.
These poor creatures have to travel through regions which, even in
times of peace, were reputed dangerous, and where there was a
serious risk of being robbed. Now that the Turkish brigands, as well
as the gendarmes and civil officials, enjoy the most absolute
licence, the exiles will inevitably be robbed on the road, and their
women and girls dishonoured and abducted.

We are hearing also from various places of conversions to Islam. It
seems that the people have no other alternative for saving their
lives.

The courts martial are working everywhere at full pressure.

You must have heard through the newspapers of the hanging of 20
Huntchakists at Constantinople. The verdict given against them is
not based on any of the established laws of the Empire. The same day
twelve Armenians were hanged at Kaisaria, on the charge of having
obeyed instructions received from the secret conference held at
Bukarest by the Huntchakists and Droshakists. Besides these
hangings, 32 persons have been sentenced at Kaisaria to terms of
hard labour, ranging from ten to fifteen years. Most of them are
honest merchants who are in no sort of relation with the political
parties. Twelve Armenians have also been hanged in Cilicia.
Condemnations have become daily occurrences. The discovery of arms,
books and pictures is enough to condemn an Armenian to several
years’ imprisonment.

Besides this many people have succumbed under the rod. Thirteen
Armenians have been killed in this way at Diyarbekir, and six at
Kaisaria. Thirteen others have been killed on their way to Shabin
Kara-Hissar and Sivas. The priests of the village of Kourk with
their companions have suffered the same fate on the road between
Sou-Shehr and Sivas, although they had their hands pinioned and were
defenceless.

I will spare you the recital of other outrages which have occurred
sporadically all over the country, under the cloak of searches for
arms and for revolutionary agents. Not a single house has been left
unsearched, not even the episcopal residences, the churches or the
schools. Hundreds of women, girls, and even quite young children are
groaning in prison. Churches and convents have been pillaged,
desecrated and destroyed. Even the Bishops are not spared. Mgr.
Barkev Danielian (Bishop of Broussa), Mgr. Kevork Tourian (Bishop of
Trebizond), Mgr. Khosrov Behrikian (Bishop of Kaisaria), Mgr.
Vaghinadj Torikian (Bishop of Shabin Kara-Hissar), and Mgr. Kevork
Nalbandian (Bishop of Tchar-Sandjak) have been arrested and handed
over to the courts martial. Father Muggerditch, locum-tenens of the
Bishop of Diyarbekir, has died of blows received in prison. We have
no news of the other bishops, but I imagine that the greater part of
them are in prison.

We are so cut off from the world that we might be in a fortress. We
have no means of correspondence, neither post nor telegraph.

The villages in the neighbourhood of Van and Bitlis have been
plundered, and their inhabitants put to the sword. At the beginning
of this month, there was a pitiless massacre of all the inhabitants
of Kara-Hissar with the exception of a few children who are said to
have escaped by a miracle. Unhappily we learn the details of all
these occurrences too late, and even then only with the utmost
difficulty.

So you see that the Armenians in Turkey have only a few more days
to live, and if the Armenians abroad do not succeed in enlisting
the sympathy of the neutrals on our behalf, there will be
extraordinarily few Armenians left a few months hence, out of the
million and a half that there were in Turkey before the war. The
annihilation of the Armenian nation will then be inevitable.


7. LETTER FROM THE SAME SOURCE, DATED CONSTANTINOPLE, 2/15th AUGUST,
    1915, AND ADDRESSED TO THE SAME ARMENIAN RESIDENT BEYOND THE
    OTTOMAN FRONTIER.


Since I wrote my last letter (of which you have acknowledged the
receipt), we have been able to obtain more precise information from
the provinces of the interior. The information with which we present
you herewith is derived from the following witnesses: an Armenian
lady forcibly converted to Islam, and brought by an unforeseen
chance to Constantinople; a girl from Zila, between nine and ten
years old, who was abducted by a Turkish officer and has reached
Constantinople; a Turkish traveller from Harpout; foreign travellers
from Erzindjan, and so on. In fine, this information is derived
either from eye-witnesses or from actual victims of the crimes.

It is now established that there is not an Armenian left in the
provinces of Erzeroum, Trebizond, Sivas, Harpout, Bitlis and
Diyarbekir. About a million of the Armenian inhabitants of these
provinces have been deported from their homes and sent southwards
into exile. These deportations have been carried out very
systematically by the local authorities since the beginning of April
last. First of all, in every village and every town, the population
was disarmed by the gendarmerie, and by criminals released for this
purpose from prison. On the pretext of disarming the Armenians,
these criminals committed assassinations and inflicted hideous
tortures. Next, they imprisoned the Armenians _en masse_, on the
pretext that they had found in their possession arms, books, a
political organisation, and so on—at a pinch, wealth or any kind of
social standing was pretext enough. After that, they began the
deportation. And first, on the pretext of sending them into exile,
they evicted such men as had not been imprisoned, or such as had
been set at liberty through lack of any charge against them; then
they massacred them—not one of these escaped slaughter. Before they
started, they were examined officially by the authorities, and any
money or valuables in their possession were confiscated. They were
usually shackled—either separately, or in gangs of five to ten. The
remainder—old men, women, and children—were treated as waifs in the
province of Harpout, and placed at the disposal of the Moslem
population. The highest official, as well as the most simple
peasant, chose out the woman or girl who caught his fancy, and took
her to wife, converting her by force to Islam. As for the children,
the Moslems took as many of them as they wanted, and then the
remnant of the Armenians were marched away, famished and destitute
of provisions, to fall victims to hunger, unless that were
anticipated by the savagery of the brigand-bands. In the province of
Diyarbekir there was an outright massacre, especially at Mardin, and
the population was subjected to all the afore-mentioned atrocities.

In the provinces of Erzeroum, Bitlis, Sivas and Diyarbekir, the
local authorities gave certain facilities to the Armenians condemned
to deportation: five to ten days’ grace, authorisation to effect a
partial sale of their goods, and permission to hire a cart, in the
case of some families. But after the first few days of their
journey, the carters abandoned them on the road and returned home.
These convoys were waylaid the day after the start, or sometimes
several days after, by bands of brigands or by Moslem peasants who
spoiled them of all they had. The brigands fraternised with the
gendarmes and slaughtered the few grown men or youths who were
included in the convoys. They carried off the women, girls and
children, leaving only the old women, who were driven along by the
gendarmes under blows of the lash and died of hunger by the
roadside. An eye-witness reports to us that the women deported from
the province of Erzeroum were abandoned, some days ago, on the plain
of Harpout, where they have all died of hunger (50 or 60 a day).

The only step taken by the authorities was to send people to bury
them, in order to safeguard the health of the Moslem population.

The little girl from Zila tells us that when the Armenians of
Marsovan, Amasia and Tokat reached Sari-Kishila (between Kaisaria
and Sivas), the children of both sexes were torn from their mothers
before the very windows of the Government Building, and were locked
up in certain other buildings, while the convoy was forced to
continue its march. After that, they gave notice in the neighbouring
villages that anyone might come and take his choice. She and her
companion (Newart of Amasia) were carried off and brought to
Constantinople by a Turkish officer. The convoys of women and
children were placed on view in front of the Government Building at
each town or village where they passed, to give the Moslems an
opportunity of taking their choice.

The convoy which started from Baibourt was thinned out in this way,
and the women and children who survived were thrown into the
Euphrates on the outskirts of Erzindjan, at a place called
Kamakh-Boghazi.[19] Mademoiselle Flora A. Wedel Yarlesberg, a
Norwegian lady of good family who was a nurse in a German Red Cross
hospital, and another nurse who was her colleague, were so revolted
by these barbarities and by other experiences of equal horror, that
they tendered their resignations, returned to Constantinople, and
called personally at several Embassies to denounce these hideous
crimes.

The same barbarities have been committed everywhere, and by this
time travellers find nothing but thousands of Armenian corpses along
all the roads in these provinces. A Moslem traveller on his way from
Malatia to Sivas, a nine hours’ journey, passed nothing but corpses
of men and women. All the male Armenians of Malatia had been taken
there and massacred; the women and children have all been converted
to Islam. No Armenian can travel in these parts, for every Moslem,
and especially the brigands and gendarmes, considers it his duty now
to kill them at sight. Recently Messieurs Zohrab and Vartkes, two
Armenian members of the Ottoman Parliament, who had been sent off to
Diyarbekir to be tried by the Council of War, were killed, before
they got there, at a short distance from Aleppo. In these provinces
one can only travel _incognito_ under a Moslem name. As for the
women’s fate, we have already spoken of it above, and it seems
unnecessary to go into further particulars about their honour, when
one sees the utter disregard there is for their life.

The Armenian soldiers, too, have suffered the same fate. They were
also all disarmed and put to constructing roads.[20] We have certain
knowledge that the Armenian soldiers of the province of Erzeroum,
who were at work on the road from Erzeroum to Erzindjan, have all
been massacred. The Armenian soldiers of the province of Diyarbekir
have all been massacred on the Diyarbekir-Ourfa road, and the
Diyarbekir-Harpout road. From Harpout alone, 1,800 young Armenians
were enrolled and sent off to work at Diyarbekir; all were massacred
in the neighbourhood of Arghana. We have no news from the other
districts, but they have assuredly suffered the same fate there
also.

In certain towns, the Armenians who had been consigned to oblivion
in the prisons have been hanged in batches. During the past month
alone, several dozen Armenians have been hanged in Kaisaria. In many
places the Armenian inhabitants, to save their lives, have tried to
become Mohammedans, but this time such overtures have not been
readily accepted, as they were at the time of the other great
massacres. At Sivas, the would-be converts to Islam were offered the
following terms: they must hand over all children under twelve years
of age to the Government, which would undertake to place them in
orphanages; and they must consent, for their own part, to leave
their homes and settle wherever the Government directed.

At Harpout, they would not accept the conversion of the men; in the
case of the women, they made their conversion conditional in each
instance upon the presence of a Moslem willing to take the convert
in marriage. Many Armenian women preferred to throw themselves into
the Euphrates with their infants, or committed suicide in their
homes. The Euphrates and Tigris have become the sepulchre of
thousands of Armenians.

All Armenians converted in the Black Sea towns—Trebizond, Samsoun,
Kerasond, etc.—have been sent to the interior, and settled in towns
inhabited exclusively by Moslems. The town of Shabin-Karahissar
resisted the disarming and deportation, and was thereupon bombarded.
The whole population of the town and the surrounding country, from
the Bishop downwards, was pitilessly massacred.

In short, from Samsoun on the one hand to Seghert[21] and Diyarbekir
on the other, there is now not a single Armenian left. The majority
have been massacred, part have been carried off, and a very small
part have been converted to Islam.

History has never recorded, never hinted at, such a hecatomb. We are
driven to believe that under the reign of Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid we
were exceedingly fortunate.

We have just learned the fate of some of the provincial bishops.
Mgr. Anania Hazarabedian, Bishop of Baibourt, has been hanged
without any confirmation of the sentence by the Central
Government[22]. Mgr. Bosak Der-Khoremian. Bishop of Harpout, started
on his road to exile in May, and had barely left the outskirts of
the town when he was cruelly murdered. But we have still no news of
the Bishops of Seghert, Bitlis, Moush, Keghi, Palou, Erzindjan,
Kamakh, Tokat, Gurin, Samsoun and Trebizond, or for a month past of
the Bishops of Sivas and Erzeroum. It is superfluous to speak of the
martyred priests. When the people were deported, the churches were
pillaged and turned into mosques, stables, or what not. Besides
that, they have begun to sell at Constantinople the sacred objects
and other properties of the Armenian churches, just as the Turks
have begun to bring to Constantinople the children of the unhappy
Armenian mothers.

It appears that the massacres have been less cruel in Cilicia, or at
least we have no news yet of the worst. The population, which has
been deported to the provinces of Aleppo and Der-el-Zor and to
Damascus, will certainly perish of hunger. We have just heard that
the Government has refused to leave in peace even the insignificant
Armenian colonies at Aleppo and Ourfa, who might have assisted their
unhappy brethren on their southward road; and the Katholikos of
Cilicia, who still remains at Aleppo, is busy distributing the
relief we are forwarding to him.

We thought at first that the Government’s plan was to settle the
Armenian question once and for all by clearing out the Armenians of
the six Armenian provinces and removing the Armenian population of
Cilicia, to forestall another danger in the future. Unhappily their
plan was wider in scope and more thorough in intention. It consisted
in the extermination of the whole Armenian population throughout the
whole of Turkey. The result is that, in those seven provinces where
the Government was pledged to introduce reforms, there is not one
per cent. of the Armenian population left alive. So far, we do not
know whether a single Armenian has reached Mosul or its
neighbourhood. And this plan has now been put into execution even in
the suburbs of Constantinople. The majority of the Armenians in the
district of Ismid and in the province of Broussa have been forcibly
deported to Mesopotamia, leaving behind them their homes and their
property. In detail, the population of Adapazar, Ismid, Gegvé,
Armasha and the neighbourhood has been removed—in fact, the
population of all the villages in the Ismid district (except
Baghtchedjik, which has been granted several days’ grace). The
Principal of the Seminary at Armasha has also been removed with his
colleagues in orders and his seminarists[23]. They have had to leave
everything behind, and been able to take nothing with them on their
journey. Six weeping mothers confided their little ones to the
Armenians of Konia, in order to save their lives, but the local
authorities tore them away from their Armenian guardians, and handed
them over to Moslems.

So now it is Constantinople’s turn. In any case, the population has
fallen into a panic, and is waiting from one moment to another for
the execution of its doom. The arrests are innumerable, and those
arrested are immediately removed from the capital. The majority will
assuredly perish. It is the retail merchants of provincial birth,
but resident in Constantinople, who are so far being deported—among
them Marouké, Ipranossian Garabed, Kherbekian of Erzeroum, Atamian
Karekin, Krikorian Sempad of Bitlis, etc. We are making great
efforts to save at any rate the Armenians of Constantinople from
this horrible extermination of the race, in order that, hereafter,
we may have at least one rallying point for the Armenian cause in
Turkey.

Is there anything further to add to this report? The whole Armenian
population of Turkey has been condemned to death, and this decree is
being put into execution energetically in every corner of the
Empire, under the eyes of the European Powers; while, so far,
neither Germany nor Austria has succeeded in checking the action of
their ally and removing the stain of these barbarities, which also
attaches to them. All our efforts have been without result. Our hope
is set upon the Armenians abroad.

-----

Footnote 19:

  See Docs. 59, 60, 61, 62. The witnesses at Erzindjan were not
  Norwegians but Danes—EDITOR.

Footnote 20:

  See Docs. 23 and 62.

Footnote 21:

  Sairt (?)

Footnote 22:

  See Doc. 59.

Footnote 23:

  See Doc. 99.


8. EXTRACTS FROM A LETTER, DATED ATHENS, 8th/21st JULY, 1915, FROM
    AN ARMENIAN FORMERLY RESIDENT IN TURKEY TO A PROMINENT ARMENIAN
    IN WESTERN EUROPE.

Events have been taking place in Turkey of which I imagine that you
have no first-hand or reliable information, on account of the strict
censorship and scarcity of travellers.... And as I have been able to
obtain reliable information, I have thought it my duty as an
Armenian to submit it to your Excellency.

Mr. A., who was a missionary teacher at the town of B. in Cilicia
for four years, and with whom I am acquainted personally (and I have
good reason to believe in every word he says), arrived in this city
only yesterday, coming from AE. in company with Miss B., the
daughter of the Director of Mr. A.’ s college, with whom I am also
acquainted personally.

They just began to inform me by saying that the condition of the
Armenians in Cilicia was awful. The town of Dört Yöl, after having
been cleared of its Armenian population, has been peacefully
occupied by Turkish families, and not by the military authorities.
The whole of the Armenian inhabitants have been sent away—turned out
of their homes—and are naturally suffering from hunger. The exposure
is something that cannot be described. Before evacuation, some nine
leading merchants were hanged, on the accusation that they were in
communication with the British fleet and were spying for the Allied
Forces[24].

Zeitoun has met the same fate. There is not a single Armenian left
in Zeitoun, and all the houses are occupied by Turkish people. My
friends could not understand what exactly had happened to the
Zeitounlis, but the fact is that special care has been taken by the
Turkish authorities that too many of them should not be left
together. Attempts have been made to make them Mohammedans, and it
is known that the authorities attempted to distribute one, two, or
three families to each Turkish village in the district of Marash.

They have attempted to do the same thing to Hadjin, but, somehow or
other, only half the inhabitants have left, whose homes have
naturally been occupied by the Turks.

The Turks of Tarsus and Adana are showing the same disposition as
they did before the massacres of 1909.

Missionaries from Beirout state that the same persecution is being
carried out against Christian Syrians.

Dr. C., for many years a missionary in Smyrna, and latterly in AD.,
was exiled to Angora. He states that there were thirty Armenians
exiled with him from AD. on the simple charge that they had either
themselves been Huntchakists or had friends belonging to the said
Party. Extortion of money, robbery and insults are usual, and
conditions in general are worse than at any period in the time of
Hamid. Dr. C. has been in Turkey for 35 years and knows Turkish.

At Kaisaria they hanged eight Armenians. About the same time they
hanged twenty-six at Constantinople, and this immediately after the
note of the Powers threatening to hold Turkish officials responsible
for massacres of Armenians. Imprisonment and exile are common
things, and the Reverend Missionary finished by saying that “I ought
to be glad I was out of it.”

Dr. C., coming from Constantinople, gave me the further information
that massacres had been going on round Bitlis for some time. And
then, from correspondents at Bitlis, his informants had had news
that whole villages were embracing Mohammedanism in order to escape
tortures, because the object of the massacres was not simply to
kill, but to torture.

A resident at Mardin had telegraphed by code to Constantinople
informing his correspondent there that the same conditions existed
at Mardin as during 1895.

The American Ambassador at Constantinople, after asking the Turkish
Government to stop the massacres, went to the German Ambassador. But
Herr Wangenheim said he could not interfere in any way with Turkey’s
internal affairs!!!

All these informants do not hide their belief, based on what they
have actually seen, that German policy is at the back of the
movement for a clean Mohammedan “Turkey for the Turks.”

I will give your Excellency another coincident piece of evidence. In
May, 1914, I travelled with Dr. Niazim Bey, who is the spirit of the
Union and Progress Party, when he was on the mission of establishing
a boycott—nominally against the Greeks only, though it proved to be
against the Armenians as well. The Doctor said that the work of the
Turkish Government was very complicated, and he laid all the fault
of it on the ancestors of the modern Turks, who, in spite of their
being victorious and defying all Europe, nay all the world, had not
been far-sighted enough to cleanse all the country they ruled of the
Christian element, but had yielded to their chivalrous feelings and
allowed the Christians to live. Had they done this bit of cleaning
up at a time when nobody could protest, there would have been an
easy task now for the heads of the Government in governing, and so
on.

The Russian retreat has intoxicated the Turks. They think they have
their chance now, and evidence shows that their almighty ally
Germany encourages them in their effort at house cleaning. The note
of the Allied Powers is no deterrent, even if the Turkish officials
were not sure of final victory, because they feel that, if they
lose, Turkey is not the place to offer them a happy shelter, and,
with the money they are making now, the officials responsible can
hide themselves in a country where they cannot be found or cannot be
extradited. And some of the bolder spirits, like Talaat and Enver,
have openly said that they do not expect to live if defeated, even
without the threat of the Allies to bring them to account.

The Armenians in Turkey have not been able to conceal their
feelings, and when I myself was in Constantinople, prudent man
though I am, I was unable to conceal my feelings myself, or at least
so effectively as not to be perceived by the Turks.

As early as September last, the Turkish comic paper _Karagoz_ had
written one day that “If the Armenians were cheerful, there was
certainly news of victory for the Allies; if not, it had been the
reverse.” But if, in spite of the Armenians concealing their
feelings, the Turks had definitely adopted the policy—as no doubt
they had—of exterminating the Christians in Turkey, then we have at
least the satisfaction that we have hurt them with the display of
what we felt.

I believe that the Germans did not want to exterminate the Armenians
unless the latter proved of military danger in the present game; but
I imagine the Armenians have incurred the Germans’ displeasure in
this regard.

That Germany, or the Germans in Turkey, are for the above reason
encouraging the Turks in their attempt at extermination, is proved
by the fact that wholesale massacres and deportations have been
specific to regions of which the inhabitants might be of especial
help to an invading army. For instance, Dört Yöl and Zeitoun would
be of excellent help had the Allies made a landing at Payas. Bitlis
is next door to Van; the Russian army is getting towards Bitlis, and
naturally the Armenians of Bitlis would be of great value to them,
as indeed the Armenians of Van have been already.

Take the case of Erzeroum, again a frontier town, which, besides
individual hangings, has been the scene of wholesale massacres;
while towns far away from the theatre of war, such as Angora,
Broussa, Konia, Constantinople, etc., although not exempted from
persecution, have still not been subjected to wholesale massacres
and deportations.

-----

Footnote 24:

  See Doc. 123.


9. LETTER, DATED 3rd/16th AUGUST, 1915, CONVEYED BEYOND THE OTTOMAN
    FRONTIER BY AN ARMENIAN REFUGEE FROM CILICIA IN THE SOLE OF HER
    SHOE[25]

In haste and in secret I seize this opportunity of bringing to your
ears the cry of agony which goes out from the survivors of the
terrible crisis through which we are passing at this moment. They
are exterminating our nation, mowing it down. Perhaps this will be
the last cry from Armenia that you will hear; we have no longer any
fear of death, we see it close at hand, this death of the whole
people. We are waifs who cry for the lives of our brothers. These
lines cannot describe our misery; it would need volumes of reports
to do justice to that.

(1.) At the present moment there are at —— more than 10,000 deported
widows and children (among the latter one sees no boys above eleven
years of age). They had been on the road for from three to five
months; they have been plundered several times over, and have
marched along naked and starving; the Government gave them on one
single occasion a morsel of bread—a few have had it twice. It is
said that the number of these deported widows will reach 60,000;
they are so exhausted that they cannot stand upright; the majority
have great sores on their feet, through having had to march
barefoot.

(2). An enquiry has proved that, out of 1,000 people who started,
scarcely 400 reached ——. Out of the 600 to be accounted for, 380 men
and boys above eleven years of age, and 85 women, had been massacred
or drowned, out of sight of the towns, by the gendarmes who
conducted them; 120 young women and girls and 40 boys had been
carried off, with the result that one does not see a single pretty
face among the survivors.

(3.) Out of these survivors, 60 per cent. are sick; they are to be
sent in the immediate future to ——, where certain death awaits them;
one cannot describe the ferocious treatment to which they are
exposed; they had been on the road for from three to five months;
they had been plundered two, three, five, seven times; their
underclothes even had been ransacked; so far from being given
anything to eat, they had even been prevented from drinking while
they were passing a stream. Three-quarters of the young women and
girls were abducted; the remainder were forced to lie with the
gendarmes who conducted them. Thousands died under these outrages,
and the survivors have stories to tell of refinements of outrage so
disgusting that they pollute one’s ears.

(4.) The massacres have been most violent in the eastern provinces,
and the population has been deported wholesale towards the Hauran
Desert, Gereg and Mosul, where the victims are doomed to a death
from natural causes more infallible than massacre. When one
remembers that these people were leading a comfortable European
life, one is forced to conclude that they will never be able to
survive in an alien and inhospitable climate, even if the knife and
the bullet do not previously do their work.

My friends, I have not time to tell you more; one may say with truth
that not a single Armenian is left in Armenia; soon there will be
none left in Cilicia either. The Armenian, robbed of his life, his
goods, his honour, conveys to you his last cry for help—help to save
the lives of the survivors! Money to buy them bread! There is a
rumour here that the Government will allow the women and the
children under seventeen years of age to leave the country. How are
they to do it? Where are they to go? What ship is to take them? Who
will provide the funds? From moment to moment we are waiting for
relief, to stave off the death of the Nation. Be quick, never mind
how; send us money, we have no means of communication!

Send, through the agency of the American Government, _money_,
_money_, _money_; the bearer of this letter deserves every reward;
she will tell you all the details. Zohrab, Vartkes Daghavarian and
their five companions have been murdered by the gendarmes at
Sheitan-Deré, between Ourfa and Diyarbekir, where thousands of
headless corpses make the passers-by shudder; the Euphrates bears
down its stream thousands of corpses of men and women; photographs
of this have been taken by Europeans. Fifteen thousand Zeitounlis
have been deported to Der-el-Zor, where they are suffering the worst
atrocities. Thousands of babies at the breast have been thrown into
rivers or abandoned by the wayside by their mothers. The urgent need
is _money_! Make that clear to the Armenian colony in America.
_Money!_ _Money!_

One thousand six hundred Armenians have had their throats cut in the
prisons at Diyarbekir. The Arashnort was mutilated, drenched with
alcohol, and burnt alive in the prison yard, in the middle of a
carousing crowd of gendarmes, who even accompanied the scene with
music. The massacres at Beniani, Adiaman and Selefka have been
carried out diabolically; there is not a single man left above the
age of thirteen years; the girls have been outraged mercilessly; we
have seen their mutilated corpses tied together in batches of four,
eight or ten, and cast into the Euphrates. The majority had been
mutilated in an indescribable manner.

The above facts have been gathered from official sources and
eye-witnesses.

The American Consul is able to arrange for the despatch of funds. We
are unable to realise any of our property, either national or
private, because it has all been confiscated by the Government. The
Government has even confiscated the convents, the churches and the
schools. Black famine reigns in this town; we have 15,000 deported
Armenians here, who are being sent on in batches to Arabia. The
whole of Armenia is being cleared out.

I sign this letter with my blood!

-----

Footnote 25:

  The author of the letter has been identified by an Armenian
  resident abroad who recognised his hand-writing.—EDITOR.


10. LETTER FROM MR. N., A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT CONSTANTINOPLE, DATED
    27th AUGUST, 1915; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR
    ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

The Armenians of Bardizag have generally speaking been deported. A
promise secured by Mr. Morgenthau that Protestants should be
exempted from deportation has kept the people at Nicomedia (Isnik)
for nearly a week. They are camped in the open near the Railway
Station, exposed to the weather and to the insults of the populace,
apparently to be deported a few days later on. Whether we shall
succeed in saving the Protestants remains to be seen. Deportation
has taken place generally throughout all the region contiguous to
Nicomedia, Adapazar, Konia, Marsovan, Sivas, Harpout, Diyarbekir and
to some parts of the American Central Mission. Many people have
already lost their lives, and others, as for instance those in this
city, have lost hope as to their final security. I shall enclose a
few letters which will give an idea of the situation throughout the
land.

Prof. QQ.[26] has just arrived from X. He has been four weeks on the
journey, having been delayed considerably at S. He states that the
Armenians have left, having been deported from X. and the vicinity.
Mr. Morgenthau endeavoured to save the Mission _entourage_ at X.
from deportation; the promises securing this, however, were not
fulfilled. Even the hundred girls and young women held in the
College Compound could not be saved from this dreadful fate. To the
bold stand made by the Mission people, on behalf of their pupils and
teachers, the Kaimakam himself opposed his personal authority,
threatening to hang anyone who attempted to prevent the carrying out
of his orders for the deportation of the people. These orders, here
as elsewhere, seemed to respect neither age nor condition....

The movement against the Armenians has now well-nigh covered the
entire country. Many prominent Armenians have lost their lives;
hardly a family has escaped experiencing to some extent the severity
of this blow. It looks as if the patronage from this community for
the American schools has been quite cut off. Teachers and pupils
alike have been sent into exile, or have suffered death or have been
carried off to Turkish communities or harems. There is an ugly
rumour that the turn of the Greeks will come next. Should Greece
move, this will probably be realised....

-----

Footnote 26:

  Author of Docs. 56 and 57.


11. MEMORANDUM DATED 15/28th OCTOBER, 1915, FROM A WELL-INFORMED
    SOURCE AT BUKAREST, RELATING TO THE EXTERMINATION OF THE
    ARMENIANS IN TURKEY.

1. At _Vezir Köprü_ (district of Marsovan) all Armenian women and
girls from 7 to 40 years of age have been _sold at auction_. Women
were also presented to the buyers without payment.

2. At _Kaisaria_ more than 500 Armenian families were forced to
embrace Islam. A father asked his son in Constantinople to follow
his example, “in order to prevent worse consequences for his
parents.”

3. All Armenian judicial officials in the provinces have been
discharged. All Turkish officials who have shown special zeal in the
extermination of the Armenians have been promoted. Thus Zeki Bey,
Kaimakam of _Develou_ (Kaisaria), the man who directed in person the
terrible tortures of the Armenian prisoners and was responsible for
the death of most of them, has been made mektoubdji of the Vilayet
of Constantinople.

4. The Young Turk Government has published, as an excuse or perhaps
as a means of exciting greater hatred against the Armenians, a book
entitled _The Armenian Separatist Movement_, which is as ridiculous
as it is criminal. The reader finds in it not only copies of
entirely fictitious publications, but actually pictures of enormous
depots of arms and munitions purporting to be Armenian.

5. In _Konia_, and everywhere else, the wives of the Armenian
soldiers who have not been deported have been taken as servants or
concubines into Turkish families.

6. In _Marash_ more than three hundred Armenians have been executed
by Court Martial, besides the numerous victims murdered in the
course of the deportations. At _Panderma_ many important Armenians
have been condemned to death by the Court Martial. The vicar Barkev
Vartabed has been condemned to five years’ penal servitude. The
Archbishop of Erzeroum, His Grace Sempad, who, with the Vali’s
authorisation, was returning to Constantinople, was murdered at
Erzindjan by the brigands in the service of the Union and Progress
Committee. The bishops of Trebizond, Kaisaria, Moush, Bitlis, Sairt,
and Erzindjan have all been murdered by order of the Young Turk
Government. According to reports from travellers, all the Armenian
population of Trebizond has been massacred without exception. Almost
the whole male population in Sivas, Erzeroum, Harpout, Bitlis,
Baibourt, Khnyss, Diyarbekir, etc., has been exterminated. At
Tchingiler, a small village in the district of Ismid, 300 men have
been murdered because they did not obey the order to leave their
houses. The people deported from Rodosto, Malgara and Tchorlu, who
have been deprived of all their possessions in accordance with the
new “temporary law” of the 13/26th September, have been separated
from their families and sent on foot from Ismid to Konia on the
arbitrary order of the notorious Ibrahim, dictator of the Ismid
district. Thousands of poor Armenians expelled from Constantinople
are made to march on foot from Ismid to Konia and still further,
after they have delivered up everything they possess to the
gendarmes, including their shoes. Those who can afford to travel by
rail are also fleeced by the gendarmes, who not only demand the
price of the ticket from Constantinople to their destinations, but
extract the whole of their money by selling them food at exorbitant
prices. They demand payment even for unlocking the door of the
water-closet.

7. German travellers from Aleppo describe the misery of the deported
Armenians as terrible. All along the route they saw corpses of
Armenians who had died of hunger.

The Arab deputies from Bagdad and Syria report that the misery in
the deserts of Hauran is indescribable:—

“The railway discharges into the mountains vast numbers of
Armenians, who are abandoned there without bread or water. In the
towns and villages, the Arabs try to bring them some relief; but
generally the Armenians are abandoned at five or six hours’ distance
from their homes. We saw on the way numbers of women and old men and
children dying of hunger, who did not know where to look for help.”

Some Armenians are leading a life of misery among the Arabs, forty
or forty-five hours’ journey from Bagdad. Every day numbers of them
die of hunger. The Government gives them no food. Moreover, fresh
troops have been sent to Bagdad, and these will be a new scourge to
the unfortunate exiles.

8. Three Special Commissions have been sent through the provinces to
liquidate the abandoned goods and estates of the Armenians, in
conformity with the new “temporary law” of the 13/26th September,
1915.


12. INFORMATION REGARDING EVENTS IN ARMENIA, PUBLISHED IN THE
    “SONNENAUFGANG” (ORGAN OF THE “GERMAN LEAGUE FOR THE PROMOTION
    OF CHRISTIAN CHARITABLE WORK IN THE EAST”), OCTOBER, 1915; AND
    IN THE “ALLGEMEINE MISSIONS-ZEITSCHRIFT,” NOVEMBER, 1915.

_This testimony is especially significant because it comes from a
German source, and because the German Censor made a strenuous
attempt to suppress it._

_The same issue of the “Sonnenaufgang” contains the following
editorial note:—_

_“In our preceding issue we published an account by one of our
sisters (Schwester Möhring) of her experiences on a journey, but we
have to abstain from giving to the public the new details that are
reaching us in abundance. It costs us much to do so, as our friends
will understand; but the political situation of our country demands
it.”_

_In the case of the “Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift,” the Censor
was not content with putting pressure on the editor. On the 10th
November, he forbade the reproduction of the present article in the
German press, and did his best to confiscate the whole current issue
of the magazine. Copies of both publications, however, found their
way across the frontier._

_Both the incriminating articles are drawn from common sources, but
the extracts they make from them do not entirely coincide, so that,
by putting them together, a fuller version of these sources can be
compiled._

_In the text printed below, the unbracketed paragraphs are those
which appear both in the “Sonnenaufgang” and in the “Allgemeine
Missions-Zeitschrift”; while paragraphs included in angular
brackets_ (<>) _appear_ only _in the “Sonnenaufgang,” and
those in square brackets_ ([ ]) only _in the “Allgemeine
Missions-Zeitschrift.”_


Between the 10th and the 30th May, 1,200 of the most prominent
Armenians and other Christians, without distinction of confession,
were arrested in the Vilayets of Diyarbekir and Mamouret-ul-Aziz.



[On the 30th May, 674 of them were embarked on thirteen Tigris
barges, under the pretext that they were to be taken to Mosul. The
Vali’s aide-de-camp, assisted by fifty gendarmes, was in charge of
the convoy. Half the gendarmes started off on the barges, while the
other half rode along the bank. A short time after the start the
prisoners were stripped of all their money (about £6,000 Turkish)
and then of their clothes; after that they were thrown into the
river. The gendarmes on the bank were ordered to let none of them
escape. The clothes of these victims were sold in the market of
Diyarbekir.]



In the Vilayet of Aleppo they have evicted the inhabitants of
Hadjin, Shar, Albustan, Göksoun, Tasholouk, Zeitoun, all the
villages of Alabash, Geben, Shivilgi, Furnus and the surrounding
villages, Fundadjak, Hassan-Beyli, Harni, Lappashli, Dört Yöl and
others.

[They have marched them off in convoys into the desert on the
pretext of settling them there. In the village of Tel-Armen (along
the line of the Bagdad Railway, near Mosul) and in the neighbouring
villages about 5,000 people were massacred, leaving only a few women
and children. The people were thrown alive down wells or into the
fire. They pretend that the Armenians are to be employed in
colonising land situated at a distance of from twenty-four to thirty
kilometres from the Bagdad Railway. But as it is only the women and
children who are sent into exile, since all the men, with the
exception of the very old, are at the war, this means nothing less
than the wholesale murder of the families, since they have neither
the labour nor the capital for clearing the country.]

A German met a Christian soldier of his acquaintance, who was on
furlough from Jerusalem. The man was wandering up and down along the
banks of the Euphrates searching for his wife and children, who were
supposed to have been transferred to that neighbourhood. Such
unfortunates are often to be met with in Aleppo, because they
believe that there they will learn something more definite about the
whereabouts of their relations. It has often happened that when a
member of a family has been absent, he discovers on his return that
all his family are gone—evicted from their homes.

[For a whole month corpses were observed floating down the River
Euphrates nearly every day, often in batches of from two to six
corpses bound together. The male corpses are in many cases hideously
mutilated (sexual organs cut off, and so on), the female corpses are
ripped open. The Turkish military authority in control of the
Euphrates, the Kaimakam of Djerablous, refuses to allow the burial
of these corpses, on the ground that he finds it impossible to
establish whether they belong to Moslems or to Christians. He adds
that no one has given him any orders on the subject. The corpses
stranded on the bank are devoured by dogs and vultures. To this fact
there are many German eye-witnesses. An employee of the Bagdad
Railway has brought the information that the prisons at Biredjik are
filled regularly every day and emptied every night—into the
Euphrates. Between Diyarbekir and Ourfa a German cavalry captain saw
innumerable corpses lying unburied all along the road.]



-----

Footnote 27:

  “We have just picked up fifteen babies. Three are already dead.
  They were terribly thin and ailing when we found them. Ah! If we
  could only write all that we see.”—_Extract from a letter dated
  Marash, 4th June, 1915, published in “Sonnenaufgang,” September,
  1915._


13. STATEMENT MADE BY A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT CONSTANTINOPLE TO A
    SWISS GENTLEMAN AT GENEVA; COMMUNICATED BY THE LATTER.

When I left Turkey early in March (1916), the Armenian situation was
as follows:—

In general deportations had ceased, but local interference with
Armenians continued. Quite often Armenians who had remained in the
villages or cities between the Taurus Mountains and Constantinople
have been sent from one locality to another within the province, or
even to localities in other provinces.

Arrests of Armenians in the Capital continue with considerable
frequency. Those arrested were usually sent to some interior
province, often to be killed or to be left to die from ill-treatment
or lack of food.

Extortion of money and supplies from Armenians, and discriminations
against them in the distribution of bread and other food supplies,
continue out of all proportion to these practices as applied to
other Ottoman subjects.

The suffering of all Armenians, and especially of those in exile, is
very great, and many are dying from lack of proper food and from
disease. Anti-Armenian feeling among Moslems is increasing.

Early in January of this year, trustworthy reports from Aleppo gave
492,000 as the number of deported Armenians who were at that time in
the regions of Mosul, Der-el-Zor, Aleppo and Damascus[28]. Most of
these are women and children and old men, practically all of whom
are in great need of food and other necessities of life. Without
physicians and medicine, disease is reaping a rich harvest from
these exiles.

The Turkish Minister of the Interior has stated that about 800,000
Armenians have been deported, and that about 300,000 of these people
have been killed or have perished from other causes. Other estimates
place the number of deported at 1,200,000, and the number who have
perished from all causes at 500,000.

-----

Footnote 28:

  See Doc. 139, d.

14. CABLEGRAM, DATED 4th MAY, 1916, TRANSMITTED THROUGH THE STATE
    DEPARTMENT AT WASHINGTON TO THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN
    AND SYRIAN RELIEF, FROM THE COMMITTEE’S REPRESENTATIVES IN
    TURKEY.

_Aleppo._

Relief work here supports 1,350 orphans, who are only a portion of
the destitute children now in the city. It has also furnished food
to families in nine destitute centres, including Hama, Rakka, Killis
and Damascus. £1,500 (Turkish) monthly are being used at Aleppo for
orphans; £600 (Turkish) are being used for the poor of Aleppo;
£2,245 (Turkish) are being used in the destitute centres. This is
considered to be a minimum allocation, and ten times the amount
would not meet the full needs. The work is being overseen by the
German and American Consuls. So insufficient are the funds that many
exiles in the destitute places have only grass to eat, and they are
dying of starvation by hundreds. £1,000 (Turkish) are required each
week for the Aleppo centre.

_Marash._

Ten thousand Armenians are threatened with deportation, and all are
in a most needy condition. Attempted industrial assistance for
Moslems and Christians was stopped by Government. Christians are not
allowed to do any business, and the price of food is very high.
Export from Agno to Marash has been forbidden, and many people are
dying of starvation. £1,600 (Turkish) are needed here monthly.

_Aintab._

Forty-five hundred Armenians remain here, two-thirds of whom are on
relief lists. Four hundred refugee women and children in city and
neighbourhood require £1,000 (Turkish) each month.

_Tarsus._

This being a station on the route taken by the exiles from the
region north of Tarsus, the roads are always full of people in
miserable condition. According to Government estimates, 92,000
exiles have passed through Tarsus, while, according to other
reports, the number is much larger. Typhus is very prevalent. The
needs here require £500 (Turkish) a month.

_Adana._

The situation here in general resembles that at Agno, with the
special feature that many children need to be saved and fed. £500
(Turkish) monthly are needed.

_Sivas._

In addition to the local Christian population remaining here, 25,000
destitute refugees, including women and children from coast cities,
have been added. All need help. Monthly requirements amount to £600
(Turkish).

_Konia._

Two thousand orphans. £1,500 (Turkish) monthly required for the
needs of this city and neighbouring places.

_Harpout._

This place asks for £400 (Turkish) monthly.

_Marsovan and Kaisaria._

£500 (Turkish) monthly are needed.

_Smyrna._

There has been much sickness here and there is a scarcity of food.
£400 (Turkish) monthly are needed.

_Broussa._

£200 (Turkish) monthly are being used here.



                                  II.
                            VILAYET OF VAN.


_The Vilayet of Van had a higher percentage of Armenians in its
population than any other province of the Ottoman Empire; it was
also the border province of the north-eastern frontier, towards
Russian and Persian territory, and as such was the earliest to be
exposed to invasion after the breakdown of the Turkish offensive
against the Caucasus in the winter of 1914-1915._

_The documents contained in this section give a detailed and
perfectly self-consistent account, from five independent sources, of
those events at Van which led to the first open breach between the
Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the Turks, and which gave the
Government a pretext for extending the scheme of deportation already
operative in Cilicia to the whole Armenian population under its
jurisdiction._

_The evidence makes it clear that there was no unprovoked
insurrection of the Armenians at Van, as the Ottoman Government
asserts in its official apologia. The Armenians only took up arms in
self-defence, and the entire responsibility for the outbreak rests
with Djevdet Bey, the local governor—whether he was acting on his
own initiative or was simply carrying out instructions from
Constantinople._


15. THE AMERICAN MISSION AT VAN: NARRATIVE PRINTED PRIVATELY IN THE
    UNITED STATES BY MISS GRACE HIGLEY KNAPP (1915).

_The first part of this narrative, down to and including the
sub-section headed “Deliverance,” has been transcribed almost word
for word by Miss Knapp from a letter she wrote at Van, on the 24th
May, 1915, to Dr. Barton, and has, therefore, all the value of
contemporary evidence._

_The period of the (first) Russian occupation of Van is also covered
by two further letters from Miss Knapp to Dr. Barton—a long one
written piece-meal on the 14th, 20th and 22nd June, and a second
dated 20th July. These contain much more detail than the three
corresponding sub-sections of her narrative, but the detail is
principally devoted to personal matters and to the care of the
Moslem refugees. As neither subject was strictly relevant to the
purpose of the present collection, it seemed better to reprint the
narrative rather than the letters in the case of these sections
also._

_There is also a letter (published in the Eleventh Report of the
Women’s Armenian Relief Fund) from Miss Louie Bond to Mrs. Orpin,
written on the 27th July, almost the eve of the evacuation; but
this, too, is practically entirely devoted to personal matters._

_For the period of the retreat there are no contemporary letters,
but only an undated memorandum by Miss Knapp, which agrees word for
word with the latter part of her present narrative, from the
beginning of the section headed “Flight” to the end._

            THE SETTING OF THE DRAMA AND THE ACTORS THEREIN.

Van was one of the most beautiful cities of Asiatic Turkey—a city of
gardens and vineyards, situated on Lake Van in the centre of a
plateau bordered by magnificent mountains. The walled city,
containing the shops and most of the public buildings, was dominated
by Castle Rock, a huge rock rising sheer from the plain, crowned
with ancient battlements and fortifications, and bearing on its
lakeward face famous cuneiform inscriptions. The Gardens, so-called
because nearly every house had its garden or vineyard, extended over
four miles eastward from the walled city and were about two miles in
width.

The inhabitants numbered fifty thousand, three-fifths of whom were
Armenians, two-fifths Turks. The Armenians were progressive and
ambitious, and because of their numerical strength and the proximity
of Russia the revolutionary party grew to be a force to be reckoned
with. Three of its noted leaders were Vremyan, member of the Ottoman
Parliament; Ishkhan, the one most skilled in military tactics; and
Aram, of whom there will be much to say later. The Governor often
consulted with these men and seemed to be on the most friendly terms
with them.

The American Mission Compound was on the south-eastern border of the
middle third of the Gardens, on a slight rise of ground that made
its buildings somewhat conspicuous. These buildings were a church
building, two large new school buildings, two small ones, a lace
school, a hospital, dispensary and four missionary residences.
South-east, and quite near, was a broad plain. Here was the largest
Turkish barracks of the large garrison, between which and the
American premises nothing intervened. North and nearer, but with
streets and houses between, was another large barracks, and farther
north, within rifle range, was Toprak-Kala Hill, surmounted by a
small barracks dubbed by the Americans the “Pepper Box.” Five
minutes’ walk to the east of us was the German Orphanage managed by
Herr Spörri, his wife and daughter (of Swiss extraction) and three
single ladies.

The American force in 1914-1915 consisted of the veteran missionary,
Mrs. G.C. Raynolds (Dr. Raynolds had been in America a year and a
half collecting funds for our Van college, and had been prevented
from returning by the outbreak of war); Dr. Clarence D. Ussher, in
charge of the hospital and medical work; Mrs. Ussher, in charge of a
philanthropic lace industry; Mr. and Mrs. Ernest A. Yarrow, in
charge of the Boys’ School and general work; Miss Gertrude Rogers,
principal of the Girls’ School; Miss Caroline Silliman, in charge of
the primary department, and two Armenian and one Turkish
kindergarten; Miss Elizabeth Ussher, in charge of the musical
department; Miss Louise Bond, the English superintendent of the
hospital; and Miss Grisel McLaren, our touring missionary. Dr.
Ussher and Mr. Yarrow had each four children; I was a visitor from
Bitlis.

                  BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP SEA.

During the mobilization of the fall and winter the Armenians had
been ruthlessly plundered under the name of requisitioning; rich men
were ruined and the poor stripped. Armenian soldiers in the Turkish
army were neglected, half starved, set to digging trenches and doing
the menial work; but, worst of all, they were deprived of their arms
and thus left at the mercy of their fanatical, age-long enemies,
their Moslem fellow-soldiers. Small wonder that those who could find
a loophole of escape or could pay for exemption from military duty
did so; many of those who could do neither simply would not give
themselves up. We felt that a day of reckoning would soon come—a
collision between these opposing forces or a holy war. But the
revolutionists conducted themselves with remarkable restraint and
prudence; controlled their hot-headed youth; patrolled the streets
to prevent skirmishes; and bade the villagers endure in
silence—better a village or two burned unavenged than that any
attempt at reprisals should furnish an excuse for massacre.

For some time after Djevdet Bey, a brother-in-law of Enver Pasha,
minister of war, became Governor General of Van Vilayet, he was
absent from the city fighting at the border. When he returned in the
early spring, everyone felt there would soon be “something doing.”
There was. He demanded from the Armenians 3,000 soldiers. So anxious
were they to keep the peace that they promised to accede to this
demand. But at this juncture trouble broke out between Armenians and
Turks in the Shadakh region, and Djevdet Bey requested Ishkhan to go
there as peace commissioner, accompanied by three other notable
revolutionists. On their way there he had all four treacherously
murdered. This was Friday, the 16th April. He then summoned Vremyan
to him under the pretence of consulting with this leader, arrested
him and sent him off to Constantinople.

The revolutionists now felt that they could not trust Djevdet Bey,
the Vali, in any way and that therefore they could not give him the
3,000 men. They told him they would give 400 and pay by degrees the
exemption tax for the rest. He would not accept the compromise. The
Armenians begged Dr. Ussher and Mr. Yarrow to see Djevdet Bey and
try to mollify him. The Vali was obdurate. He “must be obeyed.” He
would put down this “rebellion” at all costs. He would first punish
Shadakh, then attend to Van, but if the rebels fired one shot
meanwhile he would put to death every man, woman and child of the
Christians.

The fact cannot be too strongly emphasized that there was no
“rebellion.” As already pointed out, the revolutionists meant to
keep the peace if it lay in their power to do so. But for some time
past a line of Turkish entrenchments had been secretly drawn round
the Armenian quarter of the Gardens. The revolutionists, determined
to sell their lives as dearly as possible, prepared a defensive line
of entrenchments.

Djevdet Bey said he wished to send a guard of fifty soldiers to the
American premises. This guard must be accepted or a written
statement given him by the Americans to the effect that it had been
offered and refused, so that he should be absolved from all
responsibility for our safety. He wished for an immediate answer,
but at last consented to wait till Sunday noon.

Our Armenian friends, most of them, agreed that the guard must be
accepted. But the revolutionists declared that such a force in so
central a location menaced the safety of the Armenian forces and
that they would never permit it to reach our premises alive. We
might have a guard of five. But Djevdet Bey would give us fifty or
none. Truly we were between the devil and the deep sea, for, if both
revolutionists and Vali kept their word, we should be the occasion
for the outbreak of trouble, if the guard were sent; if it were not
sent, we should have no official assurance of safety for the
thousands who were already preparing to take refuge on our premises.
We should be blamed for an unhappy outcome either way. On Monday,
when Dr. Ussher saw the Vali again, he seemed to be wavering and
asked if he should send the guard. Dr. Ussher left the decision with
him, but added that the sending of such a force might precipitate
trouble. It was never sent.

Meanwhile Djevdet Bey had asked Miss McLaren and Schwester Martha,
who had been nursing in the Turkish military hospital all winter, to
continue their work there, and they had consented.

                    WAR! “ISHIM YOK, KEIFIM TCHOK.”

On Tuesday, the 20th April, at 6 a.m., some Turkish soldiers tried
to seize one of a band of village women on their way to the city.
She fled. Two Armenian soldiers came up and asked the Turks what
they were doing. The Turkish soldiers fired on the Armenians,
killing them. Thereupon the Turkish entrenchments opened fire. The
siege had begun. There was a steady rifle firing all day, and from
the walled city, now cut off from communication with the Gardens,
was heard a continuous cannonading from Castle Rock upon the houses
below. In the evening, houses were seen burning in every direction.

All the Armenians in the Gardens—nearly 30,000, as the Armenian
population of the walled city is small—were now gathered into a
district about a mile square, protected by eighty “teerks” (manned
and barricaded houses) besides walls and trenches. The Armenian
force consisted of 1,500 trained riflemen possessing only about 300
rifles. Their supply of ammunition was not great, so they were very
sparing of it; used pistols only, when they could, and employed all
sorts of devices to draw the fire of the enemy and waste their
ammunition. They began to make bullets and cartridges, turning out
2,000 a day; also gunpowder, and after awhile they made three
mortars for throwing bombs. The supply of material for the
manufacture of these things was limited, and methods and implements
were crude and primitive, but they were very happy and hopeful and
exultant over their ability to keep the enemy at bay. Some of the
rules for their men were: Keep clean; do not drink; tell the truth;
do not curse the religion of the enemy. They sent a manifesto to the
Turks to the effect that their quarrel was with one man and not with
their Turkish neighbours. Valis might come and go, but the two races
must continue to live together, and they hoped that after Djevdet
went there might be peaceful and friendly relations between them.
The Turks answered in the same spirit, saying that they were forced
to fight. Indeed, a protest against this war was signed by many
prominent Turks, but Djevdet would pay no attention to it.

The Armenians took and burned (the inmates, however, escaping) the
barracks north of our premises, but apart from this they did not
attempt the offensive to any extent—their numbers were too few. They
were fighting for their homes, their very lives, and our sympathies
could not but be wholly on their side, though we strove to keep our
actions neutral. We allowed no armed men to enter the premises, and
their leader, Aram, in order to help us to preserve the neutrality
of our premises, forbade the bringing of wounded soldiers to our
hospital, though Dr. Ussher treated them at their own temporary
hospital. But Djevdet Bey wrote to Dr. Ussher on the 23rd that armed
men had been seen entering our premises and that the rebels had
prepared entrenchments near us. If, at the time of attack, one shot
were fired from these entrenchments, he would be “regretfully
compelled” to turn his cannon upon our premises and completely
destroy them. We might know this for a surety. We answered that we
were preserving the neutrality of our premises by every means in our
power. By no law could we be held responsible for the actions of
individuals or organisations outside our premises.

Our correspondence with the Vali was carried on through our official
representative, Signor Sbordone, the Italian consular agent, and our
postman was an old woman bearing a flag of truce. On her second
journey she fell into a ditch and, rising without her white flag,
was instantly shot dead by Turkish soldiers. Another was found, but
she was wounded while sitting at the door of her shack on our
premises. Then Aram said that he would permit no further
correspondence until the Vali should answer a letter of Sbordone’s,
in which the latter had told Djevdet that he had no right to expect
the Armenians to surrender now, since the campaign had taken on the
character of a massacre.

Djevdet would permit no communication with Miss McLaren at the
Turkish hospital, and would answer no question of ours concerning
her welfare, though after two weeks he wrote to Herr Spörri that she
and Schwester Martha were well and comfortable. Dr. Ussher had known
the Vali as a boy and had always been on the most friendly terms
with him, but in a letter to the Austrian banker who had taken
refuge on the German premises, the Vali wrote that one of his
officers had taken some Russian prisoners and cannon and that he
would cause them to parade in front of “His Majesty Dr. Ussher’s
fortifications, so that he, who with the rebels was always awaiting
the Russians, should see them and be content.” This letter ended
with the words: “Ishim yok, keifim tchok” (“I have no work and much
fun.”) While he was having no work and much fun, his soldiers and
their wild allies, the Kurds, were sweeping the countryside,
massacring men, women, and children and burning their homes. Babies
were shot in their mothers’ arms, small children were horribly
mutilated, women were stripped and beaten. The villages were not
prepared for attack; many made no resistance; others resisted until
their ammunition gave out. On Sunday, the 25th, the first band of
village refugees came to the city. At early dawn we heard them
knocking, knocking, knocking at our gate. Dr. Ussher went out in
dressing gown and slippers to hear their pitiful tale and send the
wounded to the hospital, where he worked over them all day.

                THE MISSION’S FIRST-AID TO THE INJURED.

Six thousand people from the Gardens had early removed to our
premises with all their worldly possessions, filling church and
school buildings and every room that could possibly be spared in the
missionary residences. One woman said to Miss Silliman: “What would
we do without this place? This is the third massacre during which I
have taken refuge here.” A large proportion of these people had to
be fed, as they had been so poor that they had bought daily from the
ovens what bread they had money for, and now that resource was cut
off. Housing, sanitation, government, food, relation with the
revolutionist forces, were problems that required great tact and
executive ability. The Armenians were not able to cope with these
problems unaided. They turned to the missionaries for help.

Mr. Yarrow has a splendid gift for organisation. He soon had
everything in smoothly running order, with everyone hard at work
at what he was best fitted to do. A regular city government for
the whole city of thirty thousand inhabitants was organised with
mayor, judges, and police—the town had never been so well policed
before. Committees were formed to deal with every possible
contingency. Grain was sold or contributed to the common fund by
those who possessed it, most of whom manifested a generous and
self-sacrificing spirit; one man gave all the wheat he possessed
except a month’s supply for his family. The use of a public oven
was secured, bread tickets issued, a soup kitchen opened, and
daily rations were given out to those on our premises and those
outside who needed food. Miss Rogers and Miss Silliman secured a
daily supply of milk, and made some of their school-girls boil it
and distribute it to babies who needed it, until 190 were being
thus fed. The Boy Scouts, whom thirteen year-old Neville Ussher
had helped organize in the fall, now did yeoman’s service in
protecting the buildings against the dangers of fire, keeping the
premises clean, carrying wounded on stretchers, reporting the
sick, and, during the fourth week, distributing milk and eggs to
babies and sick outside the premises.

Our hospital, which had a normal capacity of fifty beds, was made to
accommodate one hundred and sixty-seven, beds being borrowed and
placed on the floor in every available space. Such of the wounded as
could walk or be brought to the hospital came regularly to have
their wounds dressed. Many complicated operations were required to
repair the mutilations inflicted by an unimaginable brutality and
love of torture. Dr. Ussher, as the only physician and surgeon in
the besieged city, had not only the care of the patients in his
hospital, the treatment of the wounded refugees and of the wounded
Armenian soldiers, but his dispensary and out-patients increased to
an appalling number. Among the refugees exposure and privation
brought in their train scores of cases of pneumonia and dysentery,
and an epidemic of measles raged among the children. Miss Silliman
took charge of a measles annex, Miss Rogers and Miss Ussher helped
in the hospital, where Miss Bond and her Armenian nurses were worked
to the limit of their strength, and after a while Mrs. Ussher, aided
by Miss Rogers, opened an overflow hospital in an Armenian
school-house, cleared of refugees for the purpose. Here it was a
struggle to get beds, utensils, helpers, even food enough for the
patients. Indeed all this extra medical and surgical work was
hampered by insufficient medical and surgical supplies, for the
annual shipment had been stalled at Alexandretta.

                               DARK DAYS.

At the end of two weeks the people in the walled city managed to
send us word that they were holding their own and had taken some of
the government buildings, though they were only a handful of
fighters and were cannonaded day and night. About 16,000 cannon
balls or shrapnel were fired upon them. The old-fashioned balls sunk
into the three-feet thick walls of sun-dried brick without doing
much harm. In time, of course, the walls would fall in, but they
were the walls of upper stories. People took refuge in the lower
stories, so only three persons lost their lives from this cause.
Some of the “teerks” in the Gardens were also cannonaded without
much damage being done. It seemed the enemy was reserving his
heavier cannon and his shrapnel till the last. Three cannon balls
fell on our premises the first week, one of them on a porch of the
Usshers’ house. Thirteen persons were wounded by bullets on the
premises, one fatally. Our premises were so centrally located that
the bullets of the Turks kept whizzing through, entered several
rooms, broke the tiles on the roofs, and peppered the outside of the
walls. We became so used to the pop-pop-pop of rifles and booming of
cannon that we paid little attention to them in the daytime, but the
fierce fusillades at night were rather nerve-racking.

A man escaping from Ardjish related the fate of that town, second in
size and importance to Van in the vilayet. The kaimakam had called
the men of all the guilds together on the 19th April, and, as he had
always been friendly to the Armenians, they trusted him. When they
had all gathered, he had them mown down by his soldiers.

Many of the village refugees had stopped short of the city at the
little village of Shushantz, on a mountain side near the city. Here
Aram bade them remain. On the 8th May we saw the place in flames,
and Varak Monastery near by, with its priceless ancient manuscripts,
also went up in smoke. These villagers now flocked into the city.
Djevdet seemed to have altered his tactics. He had women and
children driven in by hundreds to help starve the city out. Owing to
the mobilisation of the previous fall, the supply of wheat in the
Gardens had been very much less than usual to begin with, and now
that 10,000 refugees were being given a daily ration, though a
ration barely sufficient to sustain life, this supply was rapidly
approaching its limit. The ammunition was also giving out. Djevdet
could bring in plenty of men and ammunition from other cities.
Unless help came from Russia, it was impossible for the city to hold
out much longer against him, and the hope of such help seemed very
faint. We had no communication with the outside world; a telegram we
had prepared to send to our embassy before the siege never left the
city; the revolutionists were constantly sending out appeals for
help to the Russo-Armenian volunteers on the border, but no word or
sign of their reaching their destination was received by us. At the
very last, when the Turks should come to close quarters, we knew
that all the population of the besieged city would crowd into our
premises as a last hope. But, enraged as Djevdet was by this
unexpected and prolonged resistance, was it to be hoped that he
could be persuaded to spare the lives of one of these men, women and
children? We believed not. He might offer the Americans personal
safety if we would leave the premises, but this, of course, we would
not do; we would share the fate of our people. And it seemed not at
all improbable that he would not even offer us safety, believing, as
he seemed to believe, that we were aiding and upholding the
“rebels.”

Those were dark days indeed. Our little American circle came
together two evenings in the week to discuss the problems constantly
arising. We would joke and laugh over some aspects of our situation,
but as we listened to the volley firing only two blocks away, we
knew that at any hour the heroic but weakening defence might be
overpowered; knew that then hell would be let loose in the crowded
city and our crowded compound; knew that we should witness
unspeakable atrocities perpetrated on the persons of those we loved,
and probably suffer them in our own persons. And we would sing:

           “Peace, perfect peace; the future all unknown!
           Jesus we know and He is on the throne,”

and pray to the God who was able to deliver us out of the very mouth
of the lion.

On Saturday forenoon a rift seemed to appear in the clouds, for many
ships were seen on the lake, sailing away from Van, and we heard
that they contained Turkish women and children. We became a “city
all gone up to the housetops,” wondering and surmising. Once before
such a flight had taken place, when the Russians had advanced as far
as Sarai. They had retreated, however, and the Turkish families had
returned.

That afternoon the sky darkened again. Cannon at the Big Barracks on
the plain began to fire in our direction. At first we could not
believe that the shots were aimed at our flag, but no doubt was
permitted us on that point. Seven shells fell on the premises, one
on the roof of Miss Rogers’ and Miss Silliman’s house, making a big
hole in it; two others did the same thing on the boys’-school and
girls’-school roofs. On Sunday morning the bombardment began again.
Twenty-six shells fell on the premises before noon.

When the heavy firing began Dr. Ussher was visiting patients outside
and Mrs. Ussher was also away from home at her overflow hospital, so
I ran over from our own hospital to take their children to the
safest part of the house, a narrow hall on the first-floor. There we
listened to the shrieking of the shrapnel and awaited the bursting
of each shell. A deafening explosion shook the house. I ran up to my
room to find it so full of dust and smoke that I could not see a
foot before me. A shell had come through the three-feet-thick
outside wall, burst, scattering its contained bullets, and its cap
had passed through a partition wall into the next room and broken a
door opposite. A shell entered a room in Mrs. Raynold’s house,
killing a little Armenian girl. Ten more shells fell in the
afternoon. Djevdet was fulfilling his threat of bombarding our
premises, and this proved to us that we could hope for no mercy at
his hands when he should take the city.[29]

                              DELIVERANCE.

In this darkest hour of all came deliverance. A lull followed the
cannonading. Then at sunset a letter came from the occupants of the
only Armenian house within the Turkish lines which had been spared
(this because Djevdet had lived in it when a boy) which gave the
information that the Turks had left the city. The barracks on the
summit and at the foot of Toprak-Kala were found to contain so small
a guard that it was easily overpowered, and these buildings were
burned amidst the wildest excitement. So with all the Turkish
“teerks,” which were visited in turn. The Big Barracks was next seen
to disgorge its garrison, a large company of horsemen who rode away
over the hills, and that building, too, was burned after midnight.
Large stores of wheat and ammunition were found. It all reminded one
of the seventh chapter of II. Kings.

The whole city was awake, singing and rejoicing all night. In the
morning its inhabitants could go whither they would unafraid. And
now came the first check to our rejoicing. Miss McLaren was gone!
She and Schwester Martha had been sent with the patients of the
Turkish hospital four days before to Bitlis.

Mr. Yarrow went to the hospital. He found there twenty-five wounded
soldiers too sick to travel, left there without food or water for
five days. He found unburied dead. He stayed all day in the horrible
place, that his presence might protect the terrified creatures until
he could secure their removal to our hospital.

On Wednesday, the 19th May, the Russians and Russo-Armenian
volunteers came into the city. It had been the knowledge of their
approach that had caused the Turks to flee. Some hard fighting had
to be done in the villages, however, before Djevdet and his
reinforcements were driven out of the province. Troops poured into
the city from Russia and Persia and passed on towards Bitlis.

Aram was made temporary governor of the province, and, for the first
time for centuries, Armenians were given a chance to govern
themselves. Business revived. People began to rebuild their burned
houses and shops. We re-opened our mission schools, except the
school in the walled city, the school-house there having been
burned.

                           THE TABLES TURNED.

Not all the Turks had fled from the city. Some old men and women and
children had stayed behind, many of them in hiding. The Armenian
soldiers, unlike Turks, were not making war on such. There was only
one place where the captives could be safe from the rabble, however.
In their dilemma the Armenians turned, as usual, to the American
missionaries. And so it came to pass that hardly had the six
thousand Armenian refugees left our premises when the care of a
thousand Turkish refugees was thrust upon us, some of them from
villages the Russo-Armenian volunteers were “cleaning out.”

It was with the greatest difficulty that food could be procured for
these people. The city had an army to feed now. Wheat—the stores
left by the Turks—was obtainable, but no flour, and the use of a
mill was not available for some time. The missionaries had no help
in a task so distasteful to the Armenians except that of two or
three of the teachers of the school in the walled city, who now had
no other work. Mr. Yarrow was obliged to drop most of his other
duties and spend practically all his time working for our protégés.
Mrs. Yarrow, Miss Rogers and Miss Silliman administered medicines
and tried to give every one of the poor creatures a bath. Mrs.
Ussher had bedding made, and secured and personally dispensed milk
to the children and sick, spending several hours daily among them.

The wild Cossacks considered the Turkish women legitimate prey, and
though the Russian General gave us a small guard, there was seldom a
night during the first two or three weeks in which Dr. Ussher and
Mr. Yarrow did not have to drive off marauders who had climbed over
the walls of the compound and eluded the guard.

The effect on its followers of the religion of Islam was never more
strongly contrasted with Christianity. While the Armenian refugees
had been mutually helpful and self-sacrificing, these Moslems showed
themselves absolutely selfish, callous and indifferent to each
other’s suffering. Where the Armenians had been cheery and hopeful,
and had clung to life with wonderful vitality, the Moslems, with no
faith in God and no hope of a future life, bereft now of hope in
this life, died like flies of the prevailing dysentery from lack of
stamina and the will to live.

The situation became intolerable. The missionaries begged the
Russian General to send these people out to villages, with a guard
sufficient for safety and flocks to maintain them until they could
begin to get their living from the soil. He was too much occupied
with other matters to attend to us.

After six weeks of this, Countess Alexandra Tolstoi (daughter of the
famous novelist) came to Van and took off our hands the care of our
“guests,” though they remained on our premises. She was a young
woman, simple, sensible, and lovable. We gave her a surprise party
on her birthday, carrying her the traditional cake with candles and
crowning her with flowers, and she declared she had never had a
birthday so delightfully celebrated in all her life. She worked hard
for her charges. When her funds gave out and no more were
forthcoming and her Russian helpers fell ill, she succeeded where we
had failed and induced the General to send the Turks out into the
country with provision for their safety and sustenance.

                THE PESTILENCE THAT WALKETH IN DARKNESS.

Our Turkish refugees cost us a fearful price.

The last day of June Mrs. Ussher took her children, who had whooping
cough, out of the pestilential atmosphere of the city to Artamid,
the summer home on Lake Van, nine miles away. Dr. Ussher went there
for the week-end, desperately in need of a little rest. On Saturday
night they both became very ill. Upon hearing of this I went down to
take care of them. On Monday Mr. and Mrs. Yarrow also fell ill. Ten
days yet remained till the time set for closing the hospital for the
summer, but Miss Bond set her nurses to the task of sending the
patients away and went over to nurse the Yarrows. This left me
without help for five days. Then, for four days more, two Armenian
nurses cared for the sick ones at night and an untrained man nurse
helped me during the daytime. Miss Rogers had come down on Thursday,
the day after commencement, for the cure of what she believed to be
an attack of malaria. On Friday she too fell ill. Fortunately, there
was at last a really good Russian physician in town, and he was most
faithful in his attendance. The sickness proved to be typhus. Later
we learned that at about the same time Miss Silliman, who had left
for America on her furlough on the 15th June, accompanied by Neville
Ussher, had been ill at Tiflis with what we now know was a mild form
of the same disease. Dr. Ussher might have contracted it from his
outside patients, but the others undoubtedly contracted it from the
Turkish refugees.

Mrs. Yarrow was dangerously ill, but passed her crisis safely and
first of all. Miss Bond then came to Artamid, though Mr. Yarrow was
still very ill, feeling that the Usshers needed her more on account
of their distance from the doctor. Miss Ussher took charge of the
Yarrow children up in Van; Mrs. Raynolds managed the business
affairs of the mission.

Mrs. Ussher had a very severe form of the disease, and her delicate
frame, worn out with the overwork and terrible strain of the months
past, could make no resistance. On the 14th July she entered into
the life eternal.

We dared not let the sick ones suspect what had happened. Dr. Ussher
was too ill at the time and for more than two weeks longer to be
told of his terrible loss. For three months preceding his illness he
had been the only physician in Van, and the strain of over-work and
sleeplessness told severely now. After he had passed his typhus
crisis, his life was in danger for a week longer from the pneumonia
which had been a complication from the first. Then followed another
not infrequent complication of typhus, an abscess in the parotid
gland which caused long-continued weakness and suffering, at one
time threatened life and reason, and has had serious consequences
which may prove permanent. Mr. Yarrow was so ill that his life was
quite despaired of. It was by a veritable miracle that he was
restored to us.

                                FLIGHT.

Meanwhile the Russian army had been slowly advancing westward.
It had not been uniformly successful as we had expected it to
be. Indeed, the Russians seemed to fight sluggishly and
unenthusiastically. The Russo-Armenian volunteers, who were
always sent ahead of the main army, did the heavy fighting. By
the last week of July the Russians had not yet taken Bitlis,
only ninety miles distant from Van. Suddenly the Turkish army
began to advance towards Van, and the Russian army to retreat.

On Friday, the 30th July, General Nicolaieff ordered all the
Armenians of the Van province, also the Americans and other
foreigners, to flee for their lives. By Saturday night the city was
nearly emptied of Armenians and quite emptied of conveyances. Nearly
all our teachers, nurses, employees had left. It was every man for
himself and no one to help us secure carriages or horses for our own
flight. We at Artamid, with a sick man to provide for, would have
had great difficulty in getting up to the city in time, had not Mrs.
Yarrow risen from her sick-bed to go to the General and beg him to
send us ambulances. These reached us after midnight.

There was little question in our minds as to our own flight. Our
experience during the siege had shown us that the fact of our being
Americans would not protect us from the Turks. Had not our two men,
Mr. Yarrow and Dr. Ussher, been absolutely helpless we might have
debated the matter. As it was, we women could not assume the
responsibility of staying and keeping them there, and even if we had
stayed we could have found no means to live in a deserted city.

We were fifteen Americans and had ten Armenian dependents—women and
children—to provide for. The head nurse of the hospital, Garabed,
plucky and loyal little fellow that he was, had sent on his mother
and wife and had remained behind to help us get out of the country.
Dr. Ussher’s man-cook, having been with us at Artamid when the panic
began, had been unable to secure conveyance for his sick wife. We
greatly needed his help on the journey, but this involved our
providing for a third sick person. We had three horses, an American
grocer’s delivery cart, really not strong enough for heavy work on
rough and mountainous roads, and a small cart that would seat three.
Our two other carts were not usable.

We begged the General to give us ambulances. He absolutely
refused—he had none to spare. But, he added, he was to be replaced
in a day or two by General Trokin; we could appeal to him when he
came; the danger was not immediate. Somewhat reassured and not
knowing how we could manage without help from the Russians, we made
no effort to leave that day. But the next day, Monday, we heard that
the volunteers who were trying to keep the road open to Russia would
not be able to do so much longer—there was no time to lose. We set
to work.

One of our teachers who had not succeeded in getting away before
Monday morning, kindly took a small bag of clothing on his ox-cart
for each of us. We spread the quilts and blankets we should need on
the way on the bottom of the delivery cart, intending to lay our
three sick people on these. Garabed, who had never driven a team in
his life, must drive two of our horses in this cart. Mrs. Raynolds
would drive the third horse harnessed to the small cart, and take
the babies and what food there was possibly room for; no provisions
could be bought on the way. The rest of us must walk, though Mrs.
Yarrow and Miss Rogers were newly risen from a sick bed and the
children were all under twelve. We put loads on the cows we must
take with us for the sake of the babies and the patients. But the
cows were refractory; they kicked off the loads and ran wildly about
the yard, tails up, heads down, whereupon the single horse broke
loose and “also ran,” smashing the small cart.

At this moment, the “psychological moment,” two doctors of the
Russian Red Cross rode into our yard. Seeing our plight they turned
and rode out again. They returned a little later and on _their own
responsibility_ promised to take us with the Red Cross caravan.
Thank the Lord!

We now put our loads on the delivery cart; put the wheels of the
smashed cart on the body of a wheelless cart, and now that we might
take a little more with us than food and bedding, packed in bags
what we felt to be absolutely necessary. What we left behind we
should never see again; we felt certain that the Russian soldiers
before they left would loot our houses and perhaps burn them to
forestall the Turks.

The Red Cross provided us with two ambulances with horses and
drivers, and a stretcher carried between two horses for Dr. Ussher.
He was usually taken into one of their sick tents when we camped at
night; most of the rest of us slept on the ground in the open.

We left on Tuesday, the 3rd August. The Russians appeared to have
received news that made them very uneasy, and, indeed, General
Trokin himself left Van that very afternoon, as we learned later.
The next day at sundown we heard the firing between the Kurds and
the volunteers who were so gallantly trying to keep them at bay, to
keep the road to Russia open as long as possible. It sounded
startlingly near. We travelled till two a.m. that night in order to
reach Bergri, where we should be, not safe, but beyond the line
along which the Turks would try to intercept travellers. We were
just in time. General Trokin’s party, that had left Van only a few
hours later than we, were unable to reach Bergri, and had to return
and get out by the longer route through Persia. Had we with our
slower rate of travel been obliged to do this, we might not have
been able to get out at all.

                     THE ARROW THAT FLIETH BY DAY.

That afternoon—Thursday afternoon—we forded a wide and deep river,
then entered a narrow valley, from the mountains commanding which
Kurds suddenly began to fire down on the Red Cross caravan and the
thousands of foot travellers. One man in an ambulance was killed,
others wounded. The drivers of ambulances and litters whipped up
their horses to a mad gallop. It was a race for life. The sight of
those gasping, terror-stricken thousands was one never to be
forgotten. The teacher who had taken our bags of clothing threw
everything off his ox-cart in order to escape with his life. The
Armenians on our long wagon threw off much of the luggage to lighten
it, and thus we lost most of what we had brought with us.

Once out of the valley we were comparatively safe. We met a force of
volunteers and Cossacks who entered the valley to engage with the
Kurds. Mrs. Raynolds had been riding in the small cart. After the
danger was over, while getting out of the cart, she fell and broke
her leg below the knee. The Red Cross physicians set it at once, but
she suffered greatly during the remainder of the journey over the
rough roads, though lying at full length in one of our ambulances.
She was quite helpless. Mr. Yarrow lay, too, in his ambulance, which
he was unable to leave day or night during the journey, except when
he was carried into a Red Cross tent on Sunday.

On Friday all but the four helpless ones and the babies walked over
Mt. Taparez. On Saturday we again climbed on foot a high mountain,
from sundown till three o’clock the next morning. The caravan rested
on Sunday at a Red Cross camp near the top of Tchingli Mt. at the
foot of Mt. Ararat. Here Dr. Ussher had two severe operations on his
face without anæsthetics. On Monday at sunset we reached Igdir. Dr.
Ussher was taken to a military hospital for officers, and the
military sent him on to Tiflis on Thursday. We could not secure
carriages until Wednesday morning to take us to the railway station
at Etchmiadzin. We arrived in Tiflis the next morning.

                          SAFE!—BUT SORROWING.

Most of us had lost nearly everything but the clothes we stood in,
and these we had worn day and night during the ten days’ journey.
Small wonder that the first hotel we went to had “no rooms.” Mr.
Smith, the American Consul, was most kind and did everything he
could for us. He secured a room in a private hospital for Mrs.
Raynolds and a bed in the city hospital for Dr. Ussher.

Dr. Ussher was again brought to death’s door by very severe
dysentery contracted on the road. He had become a nervous and
physical wreck and in appearance the ghost of himself.

Dysentery was epidemic among the scores of thousands of refugees
from Van Province who had crowded into Transcaucasia. The very air
seemed poisoned; our children were all ill, and it seemed to us that
they would not get well until we could leave Tiflis.

Mrs. Raynolds’ broken bone refused to knit. She seemed also to be
suffering from a collapse of her whole system. She would lie there
patient, indifferent to what was going on about her, sunk in
memories of the past, perhaps—who can say?

On the 24th August we were astounded at receiving a telegram from
Dr. Raynolds. We had not heard of his leaving America and here he
was at Petrograd! It seems he had started for Van as soon as he had
heard of the Russian occupation, in company with Mr. Henry White,
who was to teach in our college. At Petrograd he learned from the
ambassador that the Van missionaries were in Tiflis, but of the
reason therefor he had heard not a word, nor had he heard of his
wife’s condition.

Mrs. Raynolds brightened for a moment when told that her husband was
on the way to her. Then the things of earth seemed to slip away from
her; she might not tarry even for the dear one’s coming. On Friday,
the 27th August, her tired spirit found rest. Two days later Dr.
Raynolds arrived to find wife gone, house gone, the work of his
lifetime seemingly in ruins, the people he had loved exiles and
destitute.

On Tuesday Mrs. Raynolds was laid to rest in the German Lutheran
cemetery, and around her were gathered many of those whom she had
lived to serve.

Then Dr. Raynolds and Mr. White decided that there was nothing left
for them to do but return with us to America, and we left that week
for Petrograd. There the American managers of what corresponds to
our Y.M.C.A. were exceedingly kind and helpful. The city was so full
of refugees from Poland that we had to sleep on tables in the
Association halls the first night, but succeeded in securing rooms
the next day. The children recovered, and Dr. Ussher’s improvement
in health from the time of our arrival in Petrograd was simply
wonderful. Mr. Yarrow seemed now quite himself again, although in
reality he had not fully regained his strength.

Travelling up by rail round the Gulf of Bothnia, we spent a few days
in Stockholm and sailed from Christiania on the 24th September, on
the Danish ship “Hellig Olav.”

We had had absolutely no news from any station in Turkey since the
middle of April, and from America only what information Dr. Raynolds
had brought us. On our arrival in New York, on the 5th October, we
heard of the massacre of the Armenians in Bitlis by Djevdet Bey as
soon as he had reached there after having been driven from Van. We
heard of Miss Ely’s death there in July, and of my brother’s death,
on the 10th August, in Diyarbekir[30]; we heard that Miss McLaren
was ill with typhus in Bitlis, and later that she was well; we
learned of the massacre of Armenians all over Turkey and of their
deportation. The Van refugees have been fortunate by comparison in
that they could flee. Money for their relief has been sent to
Transcaucasia; a few of them have succeeded in securing passports
and getting to America.

-----

Footnote 29:

  _The shelling of the mission buildings is also described by Mr.
  Yarrow, in an interview published in the New York “Times” 6th
  October, 1915, the day after his arrival in America:_—

  “For twenty-seven days 1,500 determined Armenians held Van against
  5,000 Turks and Kurds, and for the last three days they were
  shelled with shrapnel from a howitzer brought up by a Turkish
  company headed by a German officer. I myself saw him directing the
  fire of the gun.

  “Two days before the Russians came to Van, the Turks deliberately
  fired at the mission buildings. They stood out prominently and
  could not be mistaken, and also flew five American flags and one
  Red Cross flag as a protection. The firing was so accurate that
  the shots cut the signal halyards and brought the flags to the
  ground.”

Footnote 30:

  See Doc. 23, page 89.


16. VAN: LETTER DATED VAN, 7th JUNE, 1915, FROM MR. Y.K. RUSHDOUNI;
    PUBLISHED IN THE “MANCHESTER GUARDIAN,” 2nd AUGUST, 1915.

The day after Germany’s declaration of war on Russia, martial law
was proclaimed in Van, and the Turkish Government set about the work
of mobilisation. The Armenians responded to the call in a better
mood than the Moslems, many of whom either ran away or did not
present themselves for service. But from the very beginning the
authorities adopted a harsh attitude towards the Armenians in the
Vilayet. Under the pretence of requisitioning, they ruthlessly
plundered and looted the Armenians. Business was brought to an
absolute standstill, and the import and sale of wheat in the city
was forbidden on the plea that it was needed to provision the
armies—though ways and means were always found if the applicant was
a Moslem. As for the Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army, they
were neglected, half-starved, set to do all the menial work, and,
worst of all, disarmed and left over to the mercies of their Moslem
comrades, who managed to kill a few hundreds altogether in various
parts. It became evident that the Government was bent on the
systematic destruction of the Armenian population. A feeling of
despondency seized hold of all.

When Turkey went into the war the distress of the people reached an
even higher pitch, especially when the Government armed all the
males of the Moslem population between the ages of 15 and 60 and
gave up Christian villages to fire and sword at the slightest
pretext. Pelou, the largest village of the Kavash district, was
reduced to a heap of ruins. Twelve villages in the Gargar district,
on the Persian frontier, Bashkala, and Sarai, with the Nestorian and
Armenian villages round, were ruthlessly wiped out after the Russian
retreat[31], and of their population only a few old crippled women
were left as survivors. News of this sort was constantly being
brought to the town by refugees from distant places like
Boghaz-Kessen, Hazaren, Nordoz, &c. This pouring in of the refugees
aggravated the problem of living in the city of Van.

On the other hand, the three leaders of the former Revolutionary
Party called Dashnagists, who since the proclamation of the
Constitution had been changed into a political party and had come to
an understanding with the Young Turks, exhorted the people to endure
in silence. Better, they said, that some villages be burned and
destroyed unavenged than give the slightest pretext to the Moslems
for a general massacre. One of the first villages to defend itself
was Bairak, whose inhabitants succeeded in keeping the soldiers and
Kurdish mob from entering the village. The Turkish Government sent a
peace commission composed of Armenians and Turks to quiet down
matters there, which was done. At the same time a message was sent
to the Governor-General, Djevdet Bey, a brother-in-law of Enver
Pasha, then on the border, to come to Van. Djevdet Bey, on his
arrival, demanded 4,000[32] soldiers from the Armenians. The
Armenians were so anxious to keep the peace that they promised to
accede to this demand under an altered form approved by the
Government. But at this juncture trouble broke out between Armenians
and Turks in the Shadakh region. Some say that this was started at
the instigation of Djevdet Bey. This Governor had requested Ishkan,
one of the three Dashnagist leaders, to go there as peace
commissioner, accompanied by three other notable Armenians. On their
way there, however, on Friday, the 16th April, all four were
treacherously murdered.

The Armenians now felt that they could not trust the Governor, and,
instead of giving him the 4,000 men, they told him they would give
400 and pay the exemption tax for the rest, in instalments. In the
meantime they asked the American missionaries, Dr. Ussher and Mr.
Yarrow, and the Italian agent Signor Sbordone, to try to mollify the
Governor. The attitude of the Governor was wavering. At times he
would be moderate and swear that peace would be kept. At other times
he was harsh and irreconcilable, declaring that he intended to put
down “rebellion” at all costs. First he would punish Shadakh, then
he would attend to Van; if the rebels fired one shot it would be a
signal for him to attack, and neither Turks nor Armenians would be
left in the Vilayet.[33]

Things continued in this suspense till the 20th[34] April, when
some Turkish soldiers tried to seize some village women on their
way to the city. The women fled. Two Armenians came up and asked
the Turks what they were doing. The Turkish soldiers fired on the
Armenians and killed them. This served as a signal. The booming of
cannons and rattle of rifles began from every side, and it was
realised that the Armenian quarter was besieged. In the evening
houses in the Armenian quarter could be seen burning in every
direction. The Governor-General had sworn that not a single house
should be left in Van, except the one where his father had lived
as Governor-General. Under the command of Armenag Yegarian, of the
Ramgavar Party, the Armenians, nearly 30,000 in number now, began
to man and barricade houses and open trenches. Eighty such
barricaded positions, called in Armenian “teerks,” were held by
the Armenians, and the enclosed area of about two square miles was
gradually connected in between by deep trenches. To assure
regularity, a Provisional Government was set up, and a military
court was appointed to deal with military affairs. Everyone
capable of doing something, male or female, young or old, was set
to work. Women and girls were busy cooking, mending, sewing,
making bedding for homeless refugees and soldiers, and nursing
wounded people and motherless children. About 1,300[35] young men
were under arms day and night trying to hold the enemy at bay.
Lads were employed as messengers between the “teerks.” The rest of
the men were used as workmen to dig trenches and build new walls
and barricades, as the old ones crumbled before the cannon-fire.
About 16,000 cannon-shots were fired at the handful of inhabitants
in the old city under the Castle Rock.

After some days, refugees began to pour in from near and far.[36]
The Government had not succeeded in besieging the eastern side of
the Armenian quarter, and it was still possible to enter the city.
On the 16th May no less than 12,000 bread-tickets were issued to
refugees. At the same time, owing to privation and exposure, an
epidemic of measles broke out among the children, and dysentery and
pneumonia among the adults, and many who had escaped the sword of
the Moslem fell victims to disease.

As the supply of ammunition was very meagre and the intention of the
Armenians was to prolong their defence till help might come from
Armenian volunteers, they were very sparing in its use. They used
pistols when they could, and employed all kinds of devices to draw
the fire of the enemy and waste his ammunition. At the same time
they began to devise means of making bullets and cartridges, and
manufacturing smokeless gunpowder and bombs, and succeeded in
turning out daily 4,000[37] cartridges, and even in making three
mortars for throwing bombs and bursting shells. In the meantime the
Provisional Government issued strict orders for keeping the
neutrality of foreign institutions and premises, forbidding armed
men to pass through these parts or carry the wounded Armenian
soldiers to the American Mission Hospital. A manifesto was also sent
to the Turks to the effect that the quarrel was with one man,
Djevdet Bey, not with their Turkish neighbours. Governors come and
go, but the two races must continue to live together. Gradually,
however, the Armenians succeeded in ousting the Turks from their
positions. On the 17th May, after nearly four weeks’ resistance, it
became obvious that the enemy was putting forward his last efforts.

At sunset a daring dash put to flight the remaining Turkish soldiers
in the two northern barracks on Toprak-Kalé Hill and below. These
two barracks were at once burnt. About midnight another attack put
the southern great barracks in Armenian hands, and these, too, were
set on fire. Towards morning the news spread that the Turks and
soldiers had left the city. It was understood that the Government,
on hearing of the approach of the Russian army and the Armenian
volunteers, had ordered a systematic retreat some days before, and
the last regiment, with the Governor, had evacuated the town on the
night of the 18th May. Immediately hungry and starved people rushed
toward the Turkish quarters to satisfy their feelings of justice by
plundering and burning. Shortly after, news came that the Russian
army, with Armenian volunteers, was in sight. The joy of the people
was boundless; tears of gladness and of emotion for what they had
suffered during the past month, rolled down their cheeks as they
made them welcome. The keys of the captured city and of the castle
were immediately taken and laid at the feet of the Russian General,
who gave orders to the Armenians to organise a Provisional
Government for the affairs of the town.

-----

Footnote 31:

  The Russians had made a preliminary incursion over the border
  after the Turkish declaration of war.—_Editor._

Footnote 32:

  Miss Knapp gives the number as 3,000 (Doc. 15.

Footnote 33:

  _Miss Knapp makes the following observation at this point_:—

  “The fact cannot be too strongly emphasised that there was no
  ‘rebellion.’ As already pointed out, the Revolutionists meant to
  keep the peace if it lay in their power to do so. But for some
  time past a line of Turkish entrenchments had been secretly drawn
  round the Armenian quarter of the Gardens. The Revolutionists,
  determined to sell their lives as dearly as possible, prepared a
  defensive line of entrenchments.”

Footnote 34:

  At 6.0 a.m. (Miss Knapp).

Footnote 35:

  “About 1,500 trained riflemen possessing only about 300 rifles.”
  (Miss Knapp).

Footnote 36:

  “A man escaping from Ardjish related the fate of that town, second
  in size and importance to Van in the Vilayet. The Kaimakam had
  called the men of all the guilds together on the 19th April, and
  as he had always been friendly to the Armenians they trusted him.
  When they had all gathered, he had them mown down by his soldiers.
  Many of the village refugees had stopped short of the city, at the
  little village of Shushantz, on the mountain side near the city.
  Here Aram bade them remain. On the 8th May, we saw the place in
  flames, and Varak Monastery near by, with its priceless ancient
  manuscripts, also went up in smoke. These villagers now flocked
  into the city.” (Miss Knapp).

Footnote 37:

  2,000. (Miss Knapp).


17. VAN: NARRATIVE BY MR. Y.K. RUSHDOUNI, PUBLISHED SERIALLY IN THE
    ARMENIAN JOURNAL “GOTCHNAG,” OF NEW YORK.

Van is a city built on a level plain, and has at the present time an
area of about ten or twelve square miles.

The Old City is small (scarcely a single square mile in area); its
centre is the market place and an ancient rock fortress. The real
Van is the Aikesdan (the Vineyards), which rises slowly towards the
East on an imposing scale. In Aikesdan each house, with few
exceptions, has a vineyard and a garden. Its streets are broad and
tree-lined. On each side of these trees run small rivulets, which
are bordered by rows of willow and poplar trees. Van is in reality a
beautiful, extensive and attractive garden. On its western side,
about two or three miles distant, there stretches the beautiful blue
lake of Van, surrounded by high, snow-clad mountains, the most
prominent of which are Sipan, Nimroud, Kerkour and Azadk.

On the eastern side of Van rise the mountains of Varak, on the
slopes of which stand the village of Shoushantz (named after
Shoushanig, the daughter of Sennacherib), and also the famous
monastery of Varak, with its seven altars, where Khrimean Hairik
published his “Ardsouig Vaspouragani” (“The Eagle of Vaspouragan”).
On the slopes of these mountains are also found the monasteries of
Garmeror and St. Gregory, the chapel of St. Lousavorich (The
Illuminator), and Gatnaghpur, Khachaghpur, Salnabad and Abaranchan,
fountains of historical fame. There are also the Upper Varak
villages—the historic summer resorts of Sultan Yailassi and Keshish
Göl.

On the north side of Van there is the ancient and famous Toprak-Kalé
(Earthern Fort). Again in the same direction are the villages of
Shahbagh and Araless, behind which extends the district of Van-Dosb.

On the southern side of the city, beyond the hills of Artamid, one
reaches the Valley of Haig; Vostan, the capital of Rushdounik; and
the mountains of Ardosr, with the tomb of Yeghishé on their slopes.

The Armenian and the Turkish quarters in Van were divided, and,
except for a few streets, were all at some distance from each other.
These two elements in the population had no relations with each
other except those of a commercial nature. The Market and the Old
City were in the hands of the Armenians, but were surrounded by
Turkish quarters. There were Armenian houses which were eight miles
away from the market-place, and to go there and back it was
necessary to pass through the Turkish quarters. The Armenians
covered this distance on foot, horseback or spring-wagons—these
being the only means of transportation.

The day after war had been declared by Germany against Russia,
Turkey declared a “state of war” in Van, and called all the young
men between 21 and 45 to the colours, without distinction of race or
religion. For the needs of the Army the Government requisitioned all
the goods and provisions in the Market. In some cases they made
partial payments, but afterwards they gave promissory notes to all
the owners, which were payable after the war. This was a heavy loss
to the Armenians, as the whole Market was practically in their
hands. They lost all their petroleum, sugar, raisins, soap, copper,
European clothing and various other commodities, besides almost half
their remaining goods.

Owing to the sudden declaration of war and the requisitioning of the
Market, it was impossible for the Armenians to transfer their goods
elsewhere or to hide them, especially as the Market was an
hour-and-a-half’s distance from the Armenian quarters of Aikesdan.

All the tradesmen, shopkeepers, farmers and men of all vocations
immediately answered the call to arms. A crowd gathered in front of
the Government Building in such a way that it was impossible to keep
order. There were some people who waited for three days
continuously, from morning till night, and were unable to get a
chance to register their names. The Dashnakist party encouraged the
Armenians to do their duty faithfully as citizens. Mr. Aram, one of
their leaders, collected together 350 to 400 fine young men, and, to
the accompaniment of Turkish music, songs and dances, led them to
the Government Building to register. The Government officials were
considerably surprised at this willingness on the part of the
Armenians; they held them up as an example in upbraiding the Turks,
and particularly the Kurds, who had answered the call very
reluctantly.

The Government treated the Armenians very liberally, exempting all
the Gregorian and Protestant teachers of 25 years of age, and
allowing them to continue their schools, on the condition that they
would all go to the Government Building and register, so that in
case of necessity they might be called up as militia for the
protection of the City.

During the first two weeks this impartial treatment by the Turkish
Government filled the Armenians with gladness and trust, and the
Armenian soldiers that had deserted returned and gave themselves up.
The only thing which gave rise to anxiety was the financial crisis.
Trade and farming had completely stopped. The merchants were robbed,
and all the traders were in the hands of the Government. It was the
time to prepare for the annual taking of stock, but there were no
available means.

Under the pretence of supplying the needs of the Army, the
Government confiscated all the provisions. This was the first
symptom of injustice and partiality. The understanding was that
every man would be entitled to buy a certain amount of food and wood
after informing the Government of the number and needs of his
family, and after obtaining permission from them, and that every
month those families whose men were on active service would receive
30 piastres (5s.) per head.

At this time the Armenians’ claims were very often ignored; and
because the Government was aware that the Armenians would not,
whatever happened, go hungry and without clothing or wood for fuel,
it collected from all the Armenian quarters and villages, in the
form of a heavy tax, a certain quantity of wheat, wood, sheep, fat,
and clothing. In addition the majority of the Armenian and Syrian
soldiers were left without arms and clothing, and very often without
anything to eat, under the pretence that the clothing and the arms
were not yet ready, and that they had no means of transporting food
in so short a time. This caused the desertion of many from the Army,
and some remained away altogether. Others borrowed money and asked
the Government, through influential officials, to be allowed to pay
exemption money, and it seems that the Government also was trying to
find a means to come to an understanding with the Armenians. It
therefore published a special notice announcing that all the
non-Moslems above 26 years of age would be exempted from the Army by
payment of a special fee. The Armenians sold everything to pay the
Government, that they might profit by this occasion. The period of
exemption was extended by the Government to the following spring.

It is worth mentioning here that, according to the Turkish
officials, there were about the same number of deserters among the
Turks and Kurds, but they never paid as much exemption money as the
Armenians did.

The Government sided with the Germans even when they were neutral,
whereas the Armenians—unfortunately—sympathised with the Allies. But
even then no special injustice was done. The Government showed
kindness to the Armenians, at least on the surface, while the
Governor, Tahsin Pasha, had such close relations with the leaders of
the Dashnakist party that people thought he was their special
friend. Besides this, it was arranged that two Armenian Members of
the Ottoman Parliament who were the representatives of Van, Messrs.
Vahan Papazian and Vremyan, should stay with the people to keep them
and the Government on good terms with one another.

After the entry of the Turks into the war, however, the situation
assumed a different aspect. The Government began to adopt a cold and
suspicious attitude towards the Armenians, who had performed their
duty towards the Government to the best of their ability, and even
after the abolition of the “Capitulations” had joined the Turks in
their celebrations of the event. In spite of all this, the coolness
between them was very marked, and this became especially apparent
after it was found that the Armenians had supplied volunteers to the
Russians, and that they were the very troops who had occupied
Bayazid. It was then reported that all the Kurdish tribes had gone
over to the side of the Russians and had caused great prejudice to
the Turks. This terrified the Turks to such a degree that many rich
women went to the American missionary ladies of Van to ask their
protection, saying: “We are not afraid of the Russians as much as we
are of the Kurds.” But the unfortunate part was that, in Government
circles, the dominant topic of conversation was the Armenian
Volunteers.

It was before this that Tahsin Bey summoned the heads of the
Dashnakists (the heads of the Hunchakists were already in prison)
and pointed out to them that the Armenians had begun a volunteer
movement, and that this movement would be dangerous to them; and
afterwards in a special letter he suggested to them, and especially
to Mr. Vremyan, that they should write to the heads of the
Dashnakists of Bayazid and stop this movement. This letter was sent
to Mr. Toros, the head of the Dashnakists of Ardjish, but Mr. Toros
was killed by a Turkish gendarme. At the same time it was stated
that the Turkish Government had made special overtures to the
Dashnakists and proposed that they should form bands of chettis
composed of Turks and Armenians and raid Caucasia, but I do not know
how it happened that this was refused by the Armenians[38].

A short time after the Turks intervened in the war, all the
Armenians in the Turkish Army were disarmed and employed as ordinary
labourers. The arms of the Armenian gendarmes in the local districts
were taken and given to the Turks, while the latter were left free
on the understanding that they would be called up, though this never
actually took place. This general disarming filled the Armenians
with fear and suspicion. Those of the disarmed Armenians who found
means of escape, deserted, and some whom I knew personally were sent
back by the officials.

Turkey had not yet declared war, but she was mobilising her forces,
when the members of the Armenian Reform Committee came to Van with
M. Hoff, the Inspector-General. The Government did not carry out the
plan, which was prepared and announced to the Armenians, for
receiving the Inspector-General and his party with pomp and
ceremony, but they sent them to the beautiful little village of
Artamid on the southern side of the city, situated on the shore of
Lake Van. After they had stayed there a few days they were sent back
again, carrying with them the scheme of Armenian Reforms.

Shortly after Turkey had declared war, Tahsin Pasha was called to
Erzeroum, and in his place Djevdet Bey, the brother-in-law of Enver
Pasha, was selected as Governor for Van.

About the end of the autumn, when the Russian Army had annihilated
the Turkish Army on the Persian border, had taken Bashkalé and
Sarai, and was moving towards Van, there was a violent panic among
the Turkish officers and general public. Many of the officers sold
their property and transferred their families by boats to Bitlis.
Other prominent families, like the Hamoud-oglou—who had done great
harm to the Armenians—took the same course. Among the rank and file
those that were afraid addressed themselves to the Armenians, who
received them very kindly. The object of the Armenians was to teach
some dangerous officers a good lesson, but they had no intention
whatever of harming the innocent officers and the Turkish public.

I met many who said very plainly: “Here is a good opportunity for us
to show our Turkish compatriots and neighbours that we Armenians
never harboured any bad intentions towards them, but had always
demanded simply a state of equality, which would be beneficial to
all who wished to live a peaceful life.”

At the time when the Turkish army was annihilated on the Persian
border, and there was not even the militia in Van and less than 400
gendarmes between Van and Bitlis, it would have been very easy for
the Armenians to occupy the greater part of the provinces of Van and
Moush, if they had wanted to revolt and massacre the Turks (who were
in fear of their lives) or do what the Turks had done in the past to
the “Giaours” (“Infidels”).

The Government knew this, and for this reason treated the Armenians
very flatteringly. The Armenian people was thankful to be able to
live without fear and to have friendly and sincere relations with
their Turkish neighbours. The Dashnakist Party also, who had been in
close touch with the Government, were content with this situation,
and were satisfied now that the Government considered them of
importance and asked their advice on the welfare of the “Vatan”
(Fatherland).

Unfortunately this state of affairs was of short duration. Suddenly
the Russian army retreated. The different fragments of the Turkish
Army rallied again, and instead of pursuing the enemy, they
exterminated the Armenian and Syrian population of Bashkalé, Sarai
and all the surrounding villages. They had massacred all the male
population, and in certain places—according to the reports of a
Turkish commander who was a Russian subject—had thrown them into
wells. The most beautiful of the women had been distributed among
the Moslems, and some of them were even sent to Van; the old and
weak women who remained were collected together and driven to
various places like a herd of cattle. The Armenian Bishop of Van
sent a Turco-Armenian delegation to the Government to ask its help
for the sufferers, but the Government entirely ignored the request,
or postponed it from day to day.

The Governor of Van went to the front, leaving an assistant in his
place, and by his patriotic exertions he re-organised the Turkish
Army. He succeeded in winning to the side of the Turks the
rebellious Kurds and even Smgo the Chief, who lived under Russian
protection. This news was immediately telegraphed to Van and
Constantinople. Djevdet Bey, the lion general of the Turks, with his
reorganised army, followed the Russians up to Tabriz, and occupied
it. It is unnecessary to repeat that the Turkish Army, wherever it
went, carried with it fire and sword and all kinds of terrible
tortures, which were inflicted upon the “_Infidels_.” Regarding
this, the American missionaries are the best informed eye-witnesses.

Owing to these Turkish successes on the frontier and the Armenian
volunteer movements, the Government and the Turkish public changed
their attitude towards the Armenians. The Government was more civil
in its demands and asked all the deserters to appear before it,
although without actually promising them arms and their restoration
to the Army. To all questions concerning this, the answer was: “That
is for us to decide.” The war taxes were doubled, and to all the
petitions and objections regarding this, the answer was: “The Army
is more important than the populace.”

The Government began now not to attach much importance to their
friends the Dashnakists, and there was a time when the Assistant
Governor refused even to receive Mr. Vremyan in audience, saying: “I
cannot stand his rudeness and blustering.”

A little distance from Van all the country places like Nordouz,
Hazaren and Boghaz-Kessen were destroyed. Part of the inhabitants
were massacred, others found refuge in Van, and the remainder
altogether disappeared. The horrors spread to the other districts
and villages round Van. Garjgan was evacuated; the village of Pelou,
which had 120 houses, and the ten villages of Gargar were sacked.

In a semi-civilised country it is an easy matter for a Government to
find pretexts for its acts, when the Governor so desires. For
instance, in Pelou a drunken young man had a fight with a gendarme,
pulled out his revolver and killed him. In the mountains above the
village of Shoushantz, six Kurdish deserters were killed—but none of
the authorities ascertained by whom they were killed, or who they
were. These and similar events gave cause and pretext to the Turkish
Government for censuring the Armenians. But no one was censured for
the massacres and general unrest at Sarai, Bashkalé, Nordouz,
Hazaren and Boghaz-Kessen. Then new army corps and machine guns were
brought up to Van to be transferred to the frontier; all the Turkish
and Kurdish citizens from 15 to 60 years of age were armed with
these weapons, and when the Armenian Bishop protested to the
Government, the answer was: “We are arming them to organise them
into militia; after a little while we will collect them all and put
them into barracks. If the Armenians are also willing to volunteer
and come to the barracks, let them come and we will give them arms.”

After the events at Pelou and Gargar, it was reported that a Turkish
mob from Bitlis had devastated the district of Garjgan with fire and
sword, and was advancing on Kavash and Haiotz-Tzor, and that after
destroying these places they would proceed towards Van. Upon the
arrival of this report, some Dashnakists went out towards Ankegh and
Antanan in Haiotz-Tzor and destroyed the bridge near Ankegh, to
prevent the Turks sending help to the mob which was advancing from
Bitlis, and also to stop the mob from marching upon Van. After this
the Armenians also killed a few gendarmes and Kurds. Among those
killed was reported to be the Judge of Vostan. As far as I remember,
seven persons were killed at this time. This event caused fear among
the Turks and Kurds. The Government therefore sent Mr. Vremyan as a
mediator. Mr. Vremyan settled the question, putting the blame on the
Kaimakam of Vostan, who had sent for the mob from Bitlis. The
Government superseded the Kaimakam of Vostan and promised to find
and return the booty from Pelou and to restore the people who were
deported to their homes. This was never done. An Armenian proverb
says that “A thief is afraid of himself,” and the Turks also were
afraid of themselves on account of what they had done. While
travelling through Haiotz-Tzor and Kavash they assumed Armenian
names. Yet the officials, whenever they got a chance, protested to
foreigners that the Armenians were ungrateful, that they furnished
volunteers to the Russians, and wanted autonomy; “And therefore,”
they said, “we will not leave this country to them. Let the Russians
take the country, but we refuse to let the Armenians rule over our
families and our kin.” It is unnecessary to add that there were as
many Moslem volunteers as Armenian in the Russian forces.

The Turkish Government was very prudent. So long as it was weak it
flattered the Armenians and praised them to their faces; the leaders
of the Dashnakists, Vremyan, Aram and Ishkhan, were treated as
advisers of the Government. The Armenians on their part tried not to
be the cause of any disturbance in the country. The only ground for
anxiety in the relations between the Government and the Armenians
was the question of the Armenian deserters. After the Armenian
soldiers were disarmed, they did not dare to remain in their posts,
and used to desert. When it was discovered that the Turkish
Government had armed all the male Mohammedans from 14 to 60 years of
age, they were no longer willing to give themselves up, and decided
to die with their wives and children. A few Turkish officials
confessed that it was wrong to disarm the Armenians because there
were more Kurdish deserters than Armenian, but the Government
refrained from attaching as much blame to the Kurds as they did to
the Armenians.

To consider all these problems, a meeting was called under the
presidency of Yeznig Vartabed, the Assistant of the Bishop, in which
all sections of the Armenian population of Van were represented. The
meeting was held at the house of Kevork Agha Jidajian, and came to
the following conclusions: That the Turkish Government was treating
the Armenians with suspicion; that all work, trade, and farming had
stopped; that certain districts such as Nordouz, Gargar and Garjgan
had been cleared of their inhabitants, and that the Armenians of
Sarai and Bashkalé had been annihilated when the Russian army
retreated; finally, that in case of a revolution the Armenians at
Van would be able to hold out for some time, but that, taking into
consideration the whole of Armenia, it was necessary to maintain
peace with the Turks at all costs.

As certain deserters could not give themselves up at the moment for
important reasons, they decided to ask the Government to accept
exemption money for them. The meeting decided to negotiate on these
lines through Mr. Vremyan as their Deputy, with Avedis Effendi
Terzibashian as an adviser experienced in Turkish psychology. The
meeting also proposed to open negotiations through some merchants on
similar lines. A week later the Armenians held a joint conference
with the Turks at Jidajian’s house. At this conference they decided
to live together as neighbours without taking account of any changes
of policy in the Government. The Turks promised to ask the
Government not to give any cause for revolution.

However, the situation was far from being satisfactory, and unrest
was in the air. All the workmen were working for the Government; the
tradesmen would go to their shops, hear rumours, and go home again,
to stay at home for four or five days; and the attitude of the
Government kept changing like a weathercock, in conformity with the
successes or failures at the front. Sometimes it was very severe and
unreasonable, and sometimes very smooth and peaceful. Everyone was
uneasy, as they did not know how long such a situation would last.
We were afraid of massacres. We were afraid of the retreating
Turkish army, which would undoubtedly devastate everything on its
way. We were afraid of famine, as the Government had not given the
people a chance of provisioning themselves, and we knew that the
villages and farms had been robbed. A part of the working class was
in the army. The cattle and sheep belonging to the refugees had been
confiscated and sold. Many people confided to me that they wished
that whatever was going to happen would happen quickly and relieve
them from their suspense. Meanwhile, the people of Van armed
themselves, and kept secret watch day and night at different street
corners, to be prepared for any eventuality.

About the beginning of spring, rebellion started in the district of
Van-Dosb, or Timar, a few hours’ distance from Van. The inhabitants
of the village of Erer in this district were massacred. When the
turn came for the village of Bairak, the local Armenians defended
themselves with the help of the Armenians in Van against the Kurds
and the gendarmes. When the Government saw that people were getting
ready and that things would drift from bad to worse, it went to the
Bishop and expressed its regret for the events that had taken place,
and asked the Armenians to send their representatives to stop the
fighting at Bairak. This was immediately done. Some blamed the
Vice-Governor, who had taken Djevdet’s place, for these affrays. Mr.
Vremyan and the Vice-Governor fell out, the Vice-Governor having
refused to receive Mr. Vremyan in audience, but as Mr. Vremyan was a
Deputy (Member of the Ottoman Parhament) he was allowed to remain in
the district with the sanction of the Government. Mr. Vremyan blamed
the Vice-Governor for the situation, and sent a telegram to this
effect to the Governor, Djevdet, who was at the front. Djevdet
answered him thanking him, and asking him to preserve peace until
his return, when he would put everything in order, “Inshallah” (“God
willing”).

It was the last week of Lent when Djevdet Bey reached Van with 400
trained soldiers, called Lez[39], and a few field guns, and was
received by the Armenians with royal honours; but while passing
through Armenian villages he shut his eyes to the barbarous
behaviour of his soldiers towards the Armenian women. In the new
village of Upper Haiotz-Tzor a number of women were violated, a man
was killed, and others were beaten almost to death, on the pretence
of having arms. For this, one of the young men wanted to follow
Djevdet and kill him, but the Armenian revolutionists did not allow
him to do so. As soon as Djevdet Bey reached the city, he thanked
Vremyan and all those who had done their best for the peace of the
city, and started negotiating with the Armenians concerning the
deserters. He persuaded the Armenians to give themselves up, or at
least a certain part of them, so that he might have less difficulty
in getting back the Turkish and Kurdish deserters.

During Passion Week the negotiations with the Government were
postponed on account of a terrible snowstorm. At this time there was
an army of 4,000 with some artillery in Van. There was no special
cause for anxiety, but everybody felt there was something in the
air, which turned out to be the case. After Easter, when the
negotiations were taken up again with the Government, it was
reported that there had been conflicts at Shadakh. The general
impression was that the Government was behind it. The Government
wanted to arrest a member of the Dashnakist party called Joseph. The
Armenians would not allow him to be arrested, and that started the
trouble. Shadakh is about 24 hours’ journey from Van, towards the
south, on one of the tributaries of the Tigris. During the massacres
of 1895 and 1896, the Armenians of Shadakh had succeeded in
defending themselves with great success and honour. After that, the
Government had wanted to trap the Armenians and massacre them, and
fill their places with Kurds and Turks, but it was not successful,
and now in April the massacres had started from there. The
liberty-loving Armenians of this place defended themselves bravely
for about two months, until the end of May, when the Volunteers went
to their assistance.

Djevdet Bey asked the Dashnakists to send a delegate and put a stop
to these occurrences. The members of this deputation were Mr.
Ishkhan and three young Armenians, a Turkish Prefect of Police, and
a few gendarmes. On the evening of the 16th April, in the Kurdish
village of Hirj, the Armenian delegates were all assassinated—a trap
laid by the Government. Some trustworthy people from Haiotz-Tzor
(Armenian Valley) reported that the very day that Mr. Ishkhan was
going to Shadakh as a peace delegate, the Armenians of Upper
Haiotz-Tzor came to him and said: “For how long shall we endure it?
They have not spared anything. There was only Shadakh left, and they
massacred even the people of Shadakh.” Mr. Ishkhan, who was a
fighter by nature, had declared to the Armenian villagers that they
must keep the peace _at all costs_, and had ordered them to give the
Government everything that was asked for; if one village was burnt,
they were ordered to escape to another village.

Here I would like to explain in parenthesis the reason why I always
mention the Dashnakist party. They were the people who were mixed up
with politics; they were the friends and advisers of the Young Turk
Party, and, having formed a “bloc” with them, they always sided with
the Turks in parliamentary conflicts. The Government on their part
wanted to keep them on their side, knowing that they had great
influence over the villagers, in the Episcopal Court, and in the
Chancery of the Catholics of Aghtamar. The Ramgavars (Democrats)
were not mixed up with politics. They had their own paper,
“Van-Dosp,” and were busy with their own propaganda and their own
trade and teaching, only once in a while fighting against the
Dashnakists. They did not, like the Dashnakists, have special
members who gave all their time to political affairs. The
Hunchakists were very few in number, and during mobilisation their
leaders, Messrs. Ardashes Solakhian and Proudian, were arrested and
afterwards killed.

On Saturday morning, the 17th April, Djevdet Bey asked the following
leaders of the Dashnakists—Messrs. Vremyan, Aram, Avedis Effendi
Terzibashian (a merchant), and Kevork Agha Jidajian—to visit him for
a conference. Aram could not go, for one reason or another; the
others went and were retained. After that it was reported that all
those that went as peace delegates were killed by the Government.
This started a panic among the Armenians, and young men under arms
took up special positions. Father Nerses of the New Church, Set
Effendi Kapamajian and myself went to the American missionaries to
ask them to intercede with the Government on our behalf to maintain
peace. Before the missionaries had reached the Government Building,
Terzibashian and Jidajian were freed, so that they could advise the
Armenians to go and surrender, but Vremyan was kept to be sent to
Constantinople. Djevdet Bey told the missionaries that he had
already sent for them. He also added that, as the peace of the
country was disturbed, the American missionaries must make room for
50 soldiers for their own protection. If they could not do that,
then they must all go to the Government Building, with their whole
households. The missionaries came back with the impression that
everything was over, and that Djevdet Bey had changed altogether.
The same night the Armenians had a meeting in the New Church, where
Terzibashian Effendi told them what Djevdet Bey had said and
communicated to them the result of the negotiations. He said that it
was impossible to influence Djevdet; sometimes he was quite
reasonable, and at other times he was harsh and immovable and wanted
all the deserters to surrender either that day or the following, and
all the Armenians to give up their arms. Again it was decided to ask
him to accept part of the deserters and receive exemption money for
the rest. Signor Sbordone (the agent of the Italian Consul), the
American missionaries and the Armenian merchants made proposals to
Djevdet Bey to this effect, but they were unable to find out what
his intentions were. Sometimes he declared on oath that he would not
bring dishonour on his father, Tahir Pasha, who ruled over Van in
peace during a time of great disturbances, and sometimes in a fury
he would say: “There will either be nothing but Turks or nothing but
Armenians left in this city. After I have finished Shadakh I will
overthrow Van. I will not leave a single house standing except the
house of my father. I will not spare either male or female, youth or
old age. The Armenians must give up their arms and their deserters,
and they must pass in front of my window to go to the barracks. If I
hear the report of a gun or revolver, I will consider that a signal
to carry out what I have just told you.”

On Monday, the 19th April, Djevdet Bey was in a slightly different
mood. He issued an order for everybody to go about their business,
saying that nothing would happen. We had been isolated for a whole
week from the districts outside the town and were ignorant as to
what was going on there, and we did not even know that we were
surrounded by Turkish trenches and troops. On the very day that
Djevdet Bey told us that “All was well,” Agantz, a big town in the
district of Van, was sacked and ruined. Prominent inhabitants of
Agantz, like Abaghtzian, Housian and Shaljian, were invited to go to
the Government Building to receive orders from the Kaimakam. The
other Armenians were collected from the streets and from their
houses. At night, after dark, they took these men in groups of fifty
with their hands tied behind their backs, brought them to the river
bank at the back of the city, and there killed them all. Only three
were able to unloose their hands and escape at night, after
pretending to be dead. One of them went to an Armenian village near
by and was the cause of this village’s escape; another of them went
to the boats that were on the shore and saw that most of the sailors
had been killed, but told the rest about it, who thereupon launched
their boats into the open lake and rowed for the Monastery Island.
The third disappeared altogether.

Haroutune Agha Housian was wounded in three places, but escaped to
his home. When the Turkish officers counted the wounded, however,
they found, by their list, that Mr. Housian was missing, and when
they found him in his house they killed him. All the male
inhabitants of Agantz were killed except these three, and, by the
permission of the Government, the Armenian households—that is, the
women and children and property—were divided among the Turks. In
order to secure their property, the Turks betrothed themselves to
Armenian girls and women, with the intention of marrying them.

Djevdet Bey announced to everybody that “Asayish ber Kemal der”
(“Peace was perfect”), and at the same time he put pressure on the
American missionaries either to sign a statement that they had
refused the protection of the Government, or agree to accept a guard
of 50 soldiers for the missionary compound. He laid more emphasis on
this latter proposition, saying that he would send the same number
of soldiers to the German missionaries. The American missionaries
were so considerate as to ask the advice of the Armenians, and the
latter, especially Mr. Armenag Yegarian, saw in the proposal a plot
to seize the Armenian quarters and homes. Accordingly they made the
missionaries understand that the only thing which would protect them
would be the American flag and the order of the Government, and
that, even if 5,000 soldiers were there, it would be impossible to
be protected against the Government. With this in view, they told
the missionaries that, if Djevdet sent more than 10 or 12 soldiers,
they would be obliged to open fire on them and would not let one
into the Armenian quarters. Taking all these points into
consideration, the missionaries informed the Government that they
were willing to accept as many soldiers as the Government sent them,
but that they would not be responsible for their safe arrival and
were very unwilling to start a conflict on that account. “We are not
afraid of the Armenians,” they said, “and we think that 10 or 12
soldiers and an order from you will be sufficient to protect us.”

On Tuesday morning, the 20th April, at six o clock, some Turkish
soldiers saw a few Armenian women coming to the city from the
village of Shoushantz, half-an-hour’s distance from Van. They
attempted to violate them, and when two Armenian young men went to
remonstrate with the Turkish soldiers, the latter opened fire on
them and killed them. This was not very far from the German Mission,
and the Principal of the German missionaries, Herr Spörri, and his
wife witnessed this incident. He also was kind enough to write
explicitly to Djevdet, stating that it was the Turkish soldiers who
attempted to violate the women and then killed the Armenian young
men who had tried to save the women’s honour.

But Djevdet had received his signal, and as soon as the reports were
heard from Ourpat Arou (where the women had been violated),
artillery fire was opened upon the Armenian quarters of Aikesdan,
and was also turned upon the inhabitants of the Market-place, which
was surrounded by Turkish quarters.

Then we understood that we were really surrounded, and so the armed
Armenian young men held the street corners and did not allow the
Turkish or Kurdish mobs to enter. The Armenian lines protected an
area of about two square miles, which was held by 700 Armenians, 300
only of whom had regular arms and a certain amount of military
training. The others were simply civilians who had revolvers and a
few ordinary weapons. All the fighters had decided to fight to the
bitter end in defence of their families.

Even the American missionaries confessed that they could not
conceive how a Government could display such meanness and treachery
towards citizens who had been so faithful in their duties. It is
important to mention that the sympathies of the American
missionaries had been with the Armenians at all times. They not only
opened the doors of their compounds and houses, but also placed
families and property in security, and began to give their personal
services to the sick and the children.

All the people of Van, without exception, began to work with one
soul. Those who had arms and were able to fight rushed to take their
stand and stop the Turks from entering the Armenian quarters, and
those who were able to work took spade and shovel to go and
strengthen the fighting men’s positions by constructing trenches and
walls. The little boys worked as scouts, the women and girls
undertook the care of the sick and the children. Besides that, the
women did all the sewing and cooking for the fighters.

With the object of caring for the wounded, a Red Cross detachment
was raised with the assistance of Dr. Sanfani (Khosrov Chetjian) and
Dr. Khatchig. To secure law and order, a local Government was
formed, with judicial, police and sanitary branches. Its
administration was conducted in perfect order the whole month
through. The Americans said that Van had never had such a good
Government under the Turkish rule. An end was put to revolutionary
disputes; only such expressions as “Armenian soldier,” “Armenian
Self-defence Committee” and the like were heard; and they named
their positions “Dévé Boyi,” “Dardanelles,” “Sahag Bey’s Dug-out,”
and so on.

For the better organisation of the defending forces they appointed a
military council, which was formed of the representatives of the
revolutionary parties and the non-party Armenians, and which carried
on the work very successfully. This body was in communication with
the lines and supplied soldiers wherever and whenever it was
necessary. The Supply Committee also did good work in supplying food
and beds for those who were working in the different stations. Under
the presidency of Bedros Bey Mozian, the ex-Mayor of Van, and with
the leadership of Mr. Yarrow, they formed a Relief Society whose
object was to collect supplies and provide the necessaries of life
for those who were destitute and had lost their homes. This
committee was a great assistance to the fighting forces.

One of the local papers began to publish the news of the fighting
and distribute it to the people. The Normal School band, under the
leadership of Mr. K. Boujikanian, played Armenian military airs, the
“Marseillaise,” and other tunes, to hearten the fighters. The
greater the intensity of the Turkish artillery fire and the louder
the roar of the guns, the louder the band played, and this made
Djevdet more furious than the bullets of the Armenians; he did not
even restrain himself from expressing his feelings in his bulletins.

During the first days of the fighting, the Military Committee, by
special bulletin, made a public appeal to the Turks, reminding them
of their pledges to one another, and proclaiming that Governments
change but the people always remain neighbours, and that there was
no reason why they should be at enmity with one another. By this
they put the whole of the blame on Djevdet, who possessed nothing
else in Van but a horse, “and he could ride off on that and escape.”
After making this point, the proclamation suggested to the Turkish
inhabitants that they should force Djevdet to desist from the
bloodshed. I do not know the result of this announcement.

The Military Committee also gave orders to the Armenian soldiers not
to drink, not to blaspheme the religion of the enemy, to spare
women, children and unarmed men, to respect neutrals, and to prevent
anyone from entering their compounds under arms. They also ordered
that all the wounded should be taken to the American Hospital, and
that only true reports should be given.

During these dark days the Armenian people were very full of life.
Everybody did his or her best. They all had good hope that Djevdet
would not succeed in annihilating the Armenians of Van. The spirit
of the fighters was enough to inspire those that were in despair. I
have seen young men who had fought the enemy day and night, without
sleeping. Their eyesight had been so affected that they were
practically blind, and they were transferred to the Red Cross
Station to be treated. Even then they were very cheerful. While the
shrapnel was raining upon Van, the Armenian children were playing
soldiers in the streets.

Armenag Yegarian, with his cool and able leadership; Aram, with his
constant presence and advice; P. Terlemezian, with his great heart;
Krikor of Bulgaria, with his indefatigable industry and inventive
genius—they were very able leaders. To save their lives and honour
all the Armenians of Van had placed then services at the disposal of
the Military Council, who awarded crosses and medals to encourage
those who were worthy of them. I was present when a little girl
received one of these medals. During the retaking of a position in
Angous Tzor she bravely went ahead, spied out the ground and brought
back news that the Turks had laid no traps for the advancing
Armenian soldiers.

From the very first day of the fighting the Turks burned all the
Armenian houses that were outside the Armenian fighting zone, but
the village of Shoushantz and Varak Monastery were still in the
hands of the Armenians. Mr. H. Kouyoumjian was in charge of the
entrenchments at Varak, and he came down to Aikesdan once in a while
to report everything that was going on there.

After a week all the Armenians in the surrounding country came in to
Aikesdan by way of Varak and Shoushantz, bringing with them famine,
sickness and terrible news. Those that came from Haiotz-Tzor
(Armenian Valley) reported that two Turkish armies had passed
through the Armenian villages with artillery. The first army paid
for everything that they took, and the people were encouraged by
this act to issue from their retreats, but the second army
surrounded them and massacred them. The Government carried out its
work on such a well-planned system that villages were massacred
without having had warning of the fate of their neighbours only a
mile away. All the inhabitants of the villages that surrendered were
massacred. There were villages that succeeded in removing their
people and taking them to the mountains, but in general we must
confess that the villagers did not prove very brave. They were not
able to co-operate for their common defence, and there were even
some who did not like to oppose the Government. In comparison with
the city people they were short of ammunition, and they managed to
convoy their families into the city by simply firing in the air,
which was one of the reasons why the city people rather looked down
on them. But the fact is that if they had had enough ammunition and
the right leaders, they would have been able very easily to drive
the enemy out of Haiotz-Tzor, Kavash and Tamar.

During the first two weeks the Government massacred the men and had
all the women kidnapped, and deported the remainder from village to
village to give the Turkish population a chance of wreaking their
vengeance. But afterwards, in order to strike at the defensive
powers of Van and to starve the Armenians into surrender by making
them use up their provisions, they collected all the survivors from
the villages and sent them to Aikesdan and to the city proper. The
people in the city refused to pass anybody through the lines of
defence; the enemy therefore sent them to Aikesdan, telling them
that those who returned would be shot. The people of Aikesdan
recognised their terrible straits and took them in; there were a
large number of wounded among the women and children. I saw a woman
from the village of Eremer, whose husband was serving in the Turkish
army and whose twelve-year-old boy was slain before her eyes. She
was wounded herself, as well as her two remaining children, one four
years and the other eleven months old. I shall never forget the
drooping look of the little one and the wounded arm that hung by his
side, nor the woman herself, who was almost mad. All these were
given over to Dr. Ussher, who treated them immediately. I also
remember a woman who had lost seven of her children and had gone out
of her mind. She lay on the ground clutching her hair. She threw
dust on her head and cursed the Kaiser all the time.

The American Hospital, which could accommodate only 50 patients, had
150 sick, and they were obliged to fill every available place with
the wounded. Scarlet fever, whooping cough and smallpox carried off
many of the little ones.

Besides the fighting and working forces, we had to supply food for
about 13,000 people. At the beginning it was possible to give one
loaf of bread to each individual every day, but afterwards we were
obliged to cut it down to half a loaf, supplemented with other food.
All the oxen and cows in the city were slaughtered, and when we had
lost all hope of procuring cattle from outside there were even
people who suggested killing the dogs. The lack of ammunition was
also severely felt, so that in Aikesdan for every thousand rounds
fired by the Turks the Armenians could only reply with one.

After a few days the Turks occupied the positions of Shoushantz and
Varak, and burned the library of old manuscripts at Varak Monastery.
All the Armenians and Syrians from these occupied villages came over
to the city and consequently increased the famine and plague. Up to
this time women between 65 and 70 years old carried letters
backwards and forwards between Djevdet and the Austrian banker
Aligardi, Signor Sbordone, and the German and American missionaries.
These women carried a white flag in one hand and the letter in the
other, and passed to and fro in safety, with the exception of one
who was shot by the Turks because she was unfortunate enough to fall
down and lose the flag, and another one who was wounded by the
Turks. Djevdet tried to discourage the Armenians by descriptions of
Turkish successes, and also suggested that they should give up their
arms and receive a complete amnesty, like the people of Diyarbekir.
In a letter addressed to Mr. Aligardi, the Austrian, he wrote: “Dear
Aligardi, Ishim yok, keifim tchok (“I have nothing to do but amuse
myself”). In another, addressed to Dr. Ussher, he said: ”I will
parade the prisoners and guns I have taken from the Russians in
front of His Majesty Dr. Ussher’s fort, so that he may see and
believe.”

But the Armenians did not let Djevdet do as he pleased. They severed
communications and did not allow any more letters to pass through
the lines. Then, under the direction of Professor M. Minassian, they
succeeded in making smokeless powder, cartridges and three guns,
whose reports were heard with great rejoicings by all the Armenians.
They made about 2,000 cartridges a day, and the blacksmiths made
spears, so that, if necessary, they could fight with spears when the
ammunition was all gone. The Armenians also dug underground
passages, through which they blew up certain Turkish barracks and
entrenchments.

Thus they burned and destroyed the great stone barracks of Hamoud
Agha; the Telegraph and Police Station of Khatch Poghotz (Cross
Street); half the police station of Arar, and the English Consulate,
which was one of the chief Turkish strongholds. This encouraged the
Armenians a great deal, so that there was a time when Djevdet was
obliged to send 500 soldiers against a position held by only 44
Armenians, who after fighting for three or four hours left 33 dead
on the field and retired. A young man called Borouzanjian, the only
son of his widowed mother and the support of his orphan sisters,
resigned his post as hospital orderly and went to fight in the
trenches. He killed four Turkish soldiers and was finally killed
himself. He praised God while dying that he had done his duty, and
asked his comrades to sell his revolver and other personal
belongings and to give the proceeds of them to his mother, so that
she could live on them for a little while.

During this time they sent word to the Armenian Volunteers in
Russia, asking them to come to their aid.

When the villagers came to Aikesdan and thus increased the number of
labourers and fighters, the trenches were elaborated and increased
in number, so that they now covered two square miles. When the
Turkish artillerymen destroyed one line they found a second
fortified line at the back, which was stronger than the first.
Besides this, the Armenians had organised a body of cavalry, so that
they could send help in all directions. Not only Aikesdan was
defended with success, but also the city proper and Shadakh. The
Americans, seeing the spirit of the Armenians, declared that it
would not be far wrong to say that this beat Marathon.

The Turkish soldiers were good shots, especially the artillerymen,
who could direct their shrapnel by accurate sighting upon the
desired point. Who could imagine that their commanders were
civilised and Christian Germans! This fact became known to the
Armenians after the fall of Van.

On the 9th and 10th May we saw the white sails of boats on the
Lake of Van. Without heeding the flying bullets, the people
flocked on to high ground to watch them. We did not know whether
they were some of the Turkish population or officers who were
escaping. They continued the shooting until next morning. After
the 10th May the fighting became more intense, both during the
daytime and at night, and on the 15th and 16th May the guns were
directed upon the American Institutions, where all the people
were. Although during the whole period of fighting they had fired
upon the American compound, the Hospital, the Church and Dr.
Ussher’s home, and wounded thirteen people, it was only during the
last two days that the bombardment was confined to the compound
alone. It was then that a bomb struck Dr. Raynold’s house and
killed Mr. Terzibashian’s three-and-a-half-years-old daughter.

On the evening of the 17th May the Armenians succeeded in destroying
the upper and lower barracks of Toprak Kalé, which raised their
spirits vastly; but in the evening the joy of the Americans
surpassed that of the Armenians. About midnight, in a strong attack,
the Armenians seized and burned the largest Turkish barracks, Hadji
Bekir’s Kushla, which dominated the American compound. At midnight
the town criers went through the town crying victory: “We have taken
all the Turkish positions; they have run away: come out.” On this
report the Armenians, especially those who were in a starving
condition, came out and attacked the Turkish quarters to rob and
burn them. The revenge of centuries was being taken. The Armenian
soldiers did not participate in this movement for twenty-four hours,
but held their positions so that the enemy might not take them by
surprise. The booty that the people took from the Turks consisted
mostly of wheat, flour and bread.

I asked one of the villagers to show me her booty. She did so, and I
was surprised to see that it consisted of clothing that the Turks
had robbed from Armenian women and girls. They found in the house of
Mouhib Effendi, a member of the Ottoman Parliament, a chalice and
other sacred vessels from an Armenian Church. The Turks were in such
a panic that some left their tables laid and took to flight. The
hungry women of yesterday were carrying away booty without stopping,
with a new strength. It was the story of the seventh chapter of the
Fourth Book of Kings that was repeated word for word. The American
compound was now deserted except for the boy scouts, who, with the
help of one of our teachers and Neville Ussher, remained to look
after the sick.

The whole city was in an uproar. Some went to look at the
entrenchments; others went to look at the burned Turkish quarters,
and others to look at the booty. There were others also who visited
the fortress, which was captured that same night, and over which a
flag with a Cross on it was waving. No Government was left, no
authority. The soldiers had marked out their position from Arark to
Khatch Poghotz as a military centre. They took away all the valuable
vessels and property from the people. They were afraid that there
would be fighting, but fortunately nothing happened. In Aikesdan
there were still armed Turks in certain positions, who killed some
Armenians, but they were finally found and killed. It was very
pitiful to see Armenian soldiers leading Turkish women and children
and unarmed men to the American compound for safety, and saying to
them: “Do not cry; nothing will happen to you; we are only looking
for Djevdet, who destroyed both your homes and ours.” Nobody touched
these Turkish women, some of whom had from £30 to £95 (Turkish) on
their persons. Some of the Armenians went to look for their wounded
in the Turkish hospitals, and when they did not find them they were
so infuriated that they killed some of the Turkish wounded and
burned the building. Mr. Yarrow asked me to go and wait there until
he came. I stayed there. The scene was dreadful. For four days the
Government had given them no bread and no care, so that many of them
had already died from neglect. Interspersed among the dead there
were also some still living, but the Armenians did not raise their
hands to touch them. Before the arrival of the Americans, many came
and helped me to put out the fire and attended to those that were
alive. Mr. Yarrow, seeing all this, said: “I am amazed at the
self-control of the Armenians, for though the Turks did not spare a
single wounded Armenian, the Armenians are helping us to save the
Turks—a thing that I do not believe even Europeans would do.”

The scene in the prison was dreadful, as all the Armenian prisoners
had been massacred. The wife of Mr. Proudian had completely lost her
reason, and cried out: “Show me at least the bones of my dear one.”
The unveiling of these dreadful deeds of the Turks so hardened some
of the Armenians that they followed the doctrine of “an eye for an
eye and a tooth for a tooth,” to the great sorrow of the others.

-----

Footnote 38:

  See Doc. 21

Footnote 39:

  Of Lazic nationality (?)—_Editor_.


18. VAN AFTER THE TURKISH RETREAT: LETTER FROM HERR SPÖRRI, OF THE
    GERMAN MISSION AT VAN, PUBLISHED IN THE GERMAN JOURNAL
    “SONNENAUFGANG,” OCTOBER, 1915.

There lies Artamid before us, adorned by its delicious gardens; but
how does the village look? The greater part of it is nothing now but
a heap of ruins. We talked there with three of our former orphan
protégées, who had had fearful experiences during the recent events.
We rode on across the mountain of Artamid. Even in time of peace one
crosses the pass with one’s heart in one’s mouth, because the Kurds
ply their robber trade there. Now it is all uncannily still. Our
glance swept over the magnificent valley of Haiotz-Tzor. There lay
Antananz before us, now utterly destroyed like the rest. We gave
shelter, at the time, to the people from Antananz who had managed to
escape. Further on in the magnificent green landscape lay Vostan. At
first sight one might call it a paradise, but during these latter
days it has also been a hell. What rivers of blood must have flowed
there; it was one of the chief strongholds of the armed Kurds. At
the foot of the mountain we came to Angegh. There again there were
many houses destroyed. We found here a young woman who, after many
years of widowhood, had married a native of the village. Things have
been going well with her; now her husband, too, was slaughtered. One
hundred and thirty people are said to have been murdered thus. We
pitched our camp here in face of the blackened ruins. Straight in
front of us stood an “amrodz,” a tower built of cakes of manure—a
common enough sight in these parts. We were told that the Kurds had
burnt the corpses of the slaughtered Armenians in it. Horrible! And
yet that is at least better than if the corpses of the slain, as has
happened in other places, are allowed to lie for an indefinite
period unburied, so that they are devoured by dogs and poison the
air. There we were met by some soldiers; they were Armenian
“Volunteers” who had come from Russia and were now fighting on the
side of the Russians for the liberation of their Haiasdan. They were
coming now from the neighbourhood of Bitlis, where heavy fighting
was in progress. They had brought some sick back to the town, and
proposed to rest here awhile. After that we rode on to Ten, where
people we already knew came out to meet us from the village and
informed us of what had happened there. There, too, the scenes of
our former activity, the school and the church, lay in ruins, and
many dwelling houses as well. The man who used to put us up was also
among the slain; his widow is still quite distraught. Here about 150
are said to have been murdered. There were so many orphans in the
place, they said to us—Should we now be inclined to take charge of
any again? We were unable to give them any definite answer. As we
rode on and on over the mountains, the splendid air did us much good
and we thanked God for it, for little by little we have come to be
in sore need of recuperation. We had a wonderful view from the
mountain heights, but everywhere in the villages one sees blackened
and ruined houses.


19. VAN AFTER THE MASSACRES: NARRATIVE OF MR. A.S. SAFRASTIAN, DATED
    VAN, 2nd DECEMBER, 1915, AND PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL
    “ARARAT” OF LONDON, JANUARY, 1916.

    “I have seen the ravages of the Crimean war, the Russo-Turkish
    war of 1877-78, the Armenian massacres of 1894-96, and the reign
    of terror which then followed until the year 1914; but the
    massacres which have been going on since April of the current
    year are simply appalling, and by far the most terrible blow
    which the Armenian nation has ever been subject to throughout
    the course of its long history.”

So spoke to me Hagop Boghossian, an old Armenian peasant of Van, a
sturdy octogenarian who, after three forced flights from his home in
the rear of the Russian Army, was once more returning to his home to
tide over the winter in his native village north of Lake Van; and as
he was walking along the muddy pathway, he was telling me the story
of the recent massacres as he knew them, and as he understood them
from his own point of view. His account in its main outline
corresponds with what has been proved beyond all doubt. Before
arousing any suspicion among the Armenians residing in the central
provinces of Asiatic Turkey about its intentions, the Turkish
Government wanted to dispose of the “rebellious” Armenians of Van,
which lay far away from its grip, and the Armenian element of which
had generally been considered by the Turks as a doubtful quantity.
One Djevdet Bey, a brother-in-law of Enver Pasha, happened to be the
governor and the military commander of Van. In February he was
routed in the battle of Diliman and Khoi, in Azerbaijan, a battle in
which the Armenian volunteers under Andranik played some part. When
he returned to Van, he told his friends that while he was at the
front he had to battle throughout the time against Armenians, both
as regular troops of the Russian army and as volunteers. The report
says that Enver Pasha, the Minister of War, expressed almost the
same opinion when his army was defeated early in January in the
battles of Sarikamysh and Ardahan. However exaggerated these
estimates may have been, they seem to have served well the purpose
of the Turkish Government in its efforts to destroy the Armenian
population within its territory; and Djevdet Bey was commissioned to
begin the massacres at Van, where the best relations existed between
the Armenians under Vremyan, the Deputy for Van in the Turkish
Chamber, and Djevdet himself, who for years had enjoyed the
hospitality of the natives.

On the 15th April the young Armenians of Akantz, north of Lake Van
(Ardjish), were mustered by the gendarmes to the sound of the bugle,
to hear the recital of an order which had just arrived from the
Sultan. At sunset these 500 young men were shot outside the town
without any formality. During the following two days the same
process was carried out with heartless and cold-blooded thoroughness
in the 80 Armenian villages of Ardjish, Adiljevas, and the rest of
the district north of Lake Van. In this manner some 24,000 Armenians
were killed in three days, their young women carried away and their
homes looted. After that, Djevdet Bey immediately proceeded to
destroy the able-bodied Armenians on the south side of the Lake in
the same way. Kurds were let loose upon the peasants of the _Kazas_
of Moks and Shatakh, but there these hardy mountaineers proved
somewhat hard nuts to crack. They put up a stout resistance and
frustrated the Turkish plan.

In the town of Van itself the Armenians had already made all the
concessions they possibly could to conciliate the Government in the
matter of deserters from the army and the military requisitions.
Djevdet, however, demanded unconditional surrender; he treacherously
caused the death of four Armenian leaders, and detained Vremyan, who
was killed later. These acts, in combination with the massacres of
Ardjish, cleared up all doubts. The Turks had made up their minds to
annihilate the Armenians by all the means in their power, as they
had shown by killing thousands of absolutely innocent peasants in
Ardjish. The experience of the past had taught the Armenians of Van
that an appeal to arms was the only argument which could save their
life, honour and property, and they collected together all the arms
they possessed. From the middle of April they were besieged by a
Turkish army of about 6,000 men, equipped with artillery and
reinforced by numberless Kurds of all types. Twenty-five thousand
Armenians of the town, who had only some 400 good rifles and double
that number of arms of a medley character, fought for four weeks
against great odds. They organised all their resources through an
improvised staff and various committees for medical help and
distribution of relief. They constructed some mortars and made
smokeless powder to repel the furious Turkish attacks. Every man,
woman and child did their bit to help in the work of liberation;
they held their positions to the last and captured several enemy
positions by blowing up barracks in which the Turks had entrenched
themselves in the middle of the Armenian quarters. After seeing
something of their positions and walking over the scenes of the
fight, one can well understand that it must have been a heroic
battle indeed. The Turks under Djevdet despaired of overcoming Van
and fled hastily at the approach of the Armenian volunteers followed
by the Russian army. Van was captured by the Armenians, who saluted
the entry of the Russian army by the booming of the guns they had
taken from the Turks. An Armenian provisional government was
established in the town and the province from early June. Excesses
of an avenging nature could scarcely be avoided under the
circumstances; yet such excesses by no means overstepped the passion
excited at the moment.

During June and July, almost the entire Armenian population of
Bitlis, Moush, Diyarbekir, and the remaining provinces of Turkish
Armenia was ruthlessly massacred or deported. Of this unparalleled
tragedy the later events at Van, which suffered the most lightly of
all, may serve as an illustration.

After two months of self-government in Van, the fortunes of war
turned against the Armenians. Towards the end of July the Turks took
the offensive on the Transcaucasian front. The Russians retreated
from the Euphrates and Moush towards their own frontiers in order to
counter-attack the enemy under more favourable conditions. But in
this game of strategy, the quarter of a million Armenians of Van,
Alashkerd, etc., the last remnant of the Armenian element in Eastern
Turkey, had also to retreat towards the Russian frontier. Men, women
and children, who had bravely defended themselves against the Turks,
fled in a panic under the most adverse circumstances. There were no
means of transport, except a few ox-carts, horses, donkeys and cows,
and the distance to be traversed varied from 100 to 150 miles
through a waterless and trackless country; while only a few hours’
notice was given to the unsuspecting people to quit their homes,
abandon all they possessed, and walk to Transcaucasia. Every one
burdened himself with some clothing and provisions, and, followed by
exhausted women and children, walked for 10 days under the burning
August sun, smothered in dust and overcome by thirst and fatigue. On
the Bergri bridge (north of Lake Van) the rear of the caravan was
attacked by mounted Kurds. A frightful panic ensued, in which women
and girls threw themselves into the river Bendimahu, while others
threw away their infants in the effort to escape, and entire
families were precipitated into the waters owing to the rush caused
by the panic. The sick, the infirm, and hundreds of children were
abandoned on the roadside, where they died in lingering agony or
were massacred by the Kurds.

On my way to Van along the north-eastern shore of the Lake, I
witnessed revolting evidence of the recent events. Several search
parties had already buried the dead and cleared the ground;
nevertheless, here and there I saw remains of human bodies, of men
and women, under piles of stones or scattered about the roadside. I
discovered decomposing and horribly disfigured bodies of children;
and on the shores of the lake and on the banks of streams skeletons,
pieces of clothing, bones of human beings and animals lying all
around. The stench of putrefaction was simply sickening. The country
from Igdir to Van had indeed been a slaughter-house but a few months
before. Entire villages had been completely wiped out. Except for
some casual travellers, not a single human soul was to be seen
there—there were but vultures and howling dogs who fed upon the
putrefied human remains.

The town of Van itself is mostly a heap of ruins. Since last August
it has changed hands several times; all churches, schools and the
best houses have been burnt down. The pulse of life seemed to have
ceased from beating, where a few months ago the natives had turned
it into a beehive after capturing it from the Turk. On the other
hand, the remnant of the Armenians from Turkey is being greatly
diminished owing to destitution and sickness across the borders of
Transcaucasia. The whole country is devastated beyond any
description. Perhaps nowhere on the European battlefields has the
civil population been so sorely tried as in the Armenian highlands,
and no race has suffered so much as the Armenians in Asiatic Turkey.
At present only some 200,000 of them can be accounted for; and these
are dying by hundreds in Transcaucasia in consequence of the
terrible sufferings they have gone through since last spring.


20. VAN: INTERVIEW WITH A REFUGEE, MRS. GAZARIAN, PUBLISHED IN THE
    “PIONEER PRESS,” OF ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, U.S.A.

A story of the flight of terror-stricken Armenians from the city of
Van, from the persecution of the Turks who massacred thousands of
Armenian women and children and forced the men into their armies,
was told last night by Mrs. Sylvia Gazarian. She has just arrived
from Armenia after suffering great hardships and persecution during
a journey through Russia, and is with her son, Levon Gazarian, a
North St. Paul piano builder.

Mrs. Gazarian during her flight saw her husband die of typhoid
fever, and left seven of her grandchildren lying along the roadside,
victims of starvation and exhaustion. Her son Edward, a Red Cross
surgeon, made the journey with Mrs. Gazarian. He is at his brother’s
home here.

Mrs. Gazarian founded the Christian school at Van, and devoted many
years to educating Armenian children. Her story, which is perhaps
the first uncensored news of the cruelties inflicted by the Turks in
Armenia, was told through Arsen K. Nakashian, an interpreter:—

“I spent a month in Van while our school was the target of the
Turks. I saw them kill, burn and persecute,” she said. “I saw our
town become a part of a barren waste. I saw Turks bury Armenian
victims with the dogs, divide the women among them as wives and
throw babies into the lake. The school was burned, the missionaries
fled, and 35,000 of the 75,000 inhabitants of the Van district were
killed or starved to death.

“Djevdet Bey, Governor-General of Van, started the whole trouble
when, early in April, 1915, he demanded that the Armenians should
support the Turkish army.

“When the Armenians resisted, Djevdet Bey ordered them to be shot.
He demanded that we and the American and German missionaries should
leave Van and seek protection from the Turkish Government. We all
refused. Our valley had been a garden. The Turks did their worst to
make it a morgue.

“For miles around the Armenians congregated at Van, drove out the
Turks and made trenches. Stones, earth and sand-bags were piled over
the school buildings. The Turks attacked, and for more than a month
in April and May kept up a steady fire.

“Finally the Russians came. We were under their protection for a
month. The Turks, fleeing before the Russians, killed all Armenian
prisoners and wounded.

“Russian treachery became evident when they evacuated the town. They
pillaged every standing home. When we demanded that they should stay
and protect us, the general said: ‘If you don’t want us to leave
you, come along.’

“Only old men and feeble women refused the invitation. Fifteen
grandchildren of mine, three daughters and their husbands, my son
and myself made up our forlorn party. We travelled towards Russia on
foot. There was no other way to go. We walked for twelve days—like
dead men and women. As far ahead as we could see, there were women
carrying or dragging their babies and wounded men staggering along
at their sides. Death was common.

“First one and then another of the children died. Typhoid was doing
its work everywhere. We buried the babies where we happened to be.
Seven of them in all died on the journey. When we arrived at Tiflis
my husband died.

“More than a month ago my son and I started for Northern Russia.
Round the Caucasus mountains, across the Russian steppes and into
Moscow, where the Russian troops were assembled in thousands, we
went by train.

“Every Russian official wanted money, and we paid. We reached
Archangel on the Arctic ocean and started for America.”

Just as the woman finished her story her son Edward came in.

“Germany is responsible for the cruelty in Armenia,” he declared:
“She is not a friend but an enemy of Turkey. She covets the
Dardanelles. She aims at making Turkey a German province; but she
knows the power of the Armenians, and she wants Turkey without them.
That is why she permits the Turks to burn, murder and ravage. The
young Turks are educated criminals. They are worse than the older
ones. America is beautiful and peaceful. We will always live here.”



                                  III.
                           VILAYET OF BITLIS.


_The Vilayet of Bitlis lies due west of Van, across the Lake. The
chief Armenian centres in the province were the town of Bitlis
itself, commanding the principal pass leading from the lake-basin to
the upper valley of the Tigris; the town and villages of Moush,
situated in the only considerable plain along the course of the
Mourad Su or Eastern Euphrates; and the semi-independent highland
community of Sassoun, a group of Armenian villages in the massif of
mountains which separates Moush from the headwaters of the Tigris
and the lowlands of Diyarbekir._

_The extermination of the Armenians in these three places was an act
of revenge for the successful resistance of the Armenians at Van and
the advance of the Russian forces to their relief. There was no
pretence here of deportation, and the Armenians were destroyed,
without regard for appearances, by outright massacre, accompanied in
many cases by torture._


21. THE NORTH-EASTERN VILAYETS: STATEMENT COMMUNICATED BY THE
    REFUGEE ROUPEN, OF SASSOUN, TO THE ARMENIAN COMMUNITY AT MOSCOW;
    PUBLISHED IN THE RUSSIAN PRESS, AND SUBSEQUENTLY REPRINTED IN
    THE “GAZETTE DE LAUSANNE,” 13th FEBRUARY, 1916.

At the beginning of the European war, the “Dashnaktzoutioun” Party
met in congress at Erzeroum in order to decide on the attitude to be
observed by the Party. As soon as they heard of this congress, the
Young Turks hastened to send their representatives to Erzeroum to
propose that the Party should declare its intention of aiding and
defending Turkey, by organising an insurrection in the Caucasus in
the event of a declaration of war between Turkey and Russia.
According to the project of the Young Turks, the Armenians were to
pledge themselves to form legions of volunteers and to send them to
the Caucasus with the Turkish propagandists, to prepare the way
there for the insurrection.

The Young Turk representatives had already brought their
propagandists with them to Erzeroum—27 individuals of Persian,
Turkish, Lesghian and Circassian nationality. Their chief was Emir
Hechmat, who is at present organising bands of rebels at Hamadan
(Persia). The Turks tried to persuade the Armenians that the
Caucasian insurrection was inevitable; that very shortly the Tatars,
Georgians and mountaineers would revolt, and that the Armenians
would consequently be obliged to follow them.

They even sketched the future map of the Caucasus.

The Turks offered to the Georgians the provinces of Koutais and of
Tiflis, the Batoum district and a part of the province of Trebizond;
to the Tatars, Shousha, the mountain country as far as Vladivkavkaz,
Bakou, and a part of the province of Elisavetpol; to the Armenians
they offered Kars, the province of Erivan, a part of Elisavetpol, a
fragment of the province of Erzeroum, Van and Bitlis. According to
the Young Turk scheme, all these groups were to become autonomous
under a Turkish protectorate. The Erzeroum Congress refused these
proposals, and advised the Young Turks not to hurl themselves into
the European conflagration—a dangerous adventure which would lead
Turkey to ruin.

The Young Turks were irritated by this advice.

“This is treason!” cried Boukhar-ed-Din-Shakir, one of the delegates
from Constantinople: “You take sides with Russia in a moment as
critical as this; you refuse to defend the Government; you forget
that you are enjoying its hospitality!”

But the Armenians held to their decision.

Once more before the outbreak of war between Russia and Turkey, the
Young Turks tried to obtain the Armenians’ support. This time they
opened their _pourparlers_ with more moderate proposals, and
negotiated with the Armenian representatives of each Vilayet. At
Van, the _pourparlers_ were conducted by the provincial governor
Tahsin Bey, and by Nadji Bey; at Moush, by Servet Bey and Iskhan Bey
(this latter is at present a prisoner of war in Russia); at
Erzeroum, by the same Tahsin Bey and by others.

The project of an Armenian rising in the Caucasus was abandoned.
Instead, the Ottoman Armenians were to unite themselves with the
Transcaucasian Tatars, whose insurrection was, according to the
Young Turks, a certainty.

Once more the Armenians refused.

From the moment war broke out, the Armenian soldiers had presented
themselves for service at their regimental depôts, but they
refused categorically to form irregular bands. On the whole, up to
the end of 1914, the situation in Armenia was quiet. But when the
Turks had been expelled from Bayazid and driven back in the
direction of Van and Moush, their fury turned upon the Armenians,
whose co-religionists in the Caucasus had formed themselves into
volunteer legions under the leadership of Andranik and other
patriotic leaders, and had been giving aid to the enemy.

It was then that the disarming of Armenian soldiers, gendarmes and
members of the other services began. The disarmed Armenian soldiers
were formed into groups of a thousand each, and sent into different
districts to build bridges, dig trenches and work at the fortresses.

At the same time the wholesale massacres began. The first victims
fell at Diyarbekir, Erzeroum and Bitlis. Soldiers, women and
children, both in the towns and villages, were slaughtered _en
masse_. By the end of last January the massacres had extended over
the whole of Armenia. In the Armenian villages, the whole male
population above the age of twelve was led out in batches and shot
before the eyes of the women and children.

The first movement of revolt declared itself towards the beginning
of February, at Koms. Seventy Turkish gendarmes had arrived there
with orders to massacre the chief men of the place, and among them
Roupen and Gorioun. When the Armenians learned their purpose, they
threw themselves upon the gendarmes and killed them all. They
proceeded to take the local governor prisoner, and found on him the
following order from the governor of Moush:—

“Execute the decision communicated verbally to you.”

On the same day the leading Armenians retired into the mountains,
where they were joined by the young men under arms from the district
of Moush.

Two thousand Turks, commanded by Mehmed Effendi, took the offensive
against them, but were annihilated by the Armenians.

This was how the revolt in Armenia began.

The Government saw that the insurrection was spreading, and
announced the suspension of the process of disarmament, rescinding
at the same time the order for the deportation and extermination of
the people of Sassoun. A commission of enquiry was appointed,
consisting of Essad Pasha, the Kaimakam of Boulanik, the President
of the Military Tribunal at Moush, and Mr. V. Papazian, an Armenian
member of the Ottoman Parliament.

The commission found that the gendarmes were the whole cause of the
trouble between the Armenians and the Turks, and the Government
promised to put an end to the reprisals. Talaat Bey telegraphed from
Constantinople that the representatives of the Armenians were not to
be molested.

Quiet was re-established for the moment, but in the month of May the
Turks attempted to force their way into Sassoun, and at the same
time the massacres began again without warning at Harpout, Erzeroum
and Diyarbekir. The Armenians repulsed the Turks and took up a
position round the town of Moush, where a large number of Turkish
troops were concentrated. This was the situation when the Turks
perpetrated the great massacre of Moush at the end of June. Half the
inhabitants of Moush were massacred, the other half were driven out
of the town. The Armenians never knew that at that moment the
Russian troops were only two or three hours’ distance from Moush.

The massacres extended over the whole plain of Moush. The Armenians,
who had managed to retreat on to the heights of Sassoun with a
remnant of their forces and a slender supply of munitions, attacked
the Turks in the valleys and gorges of Sassoun, and inflicted
considerable losses upon them. A fraction of the Armenians who
escaped the massacre broke through the Turkish lines and reached
Van, which was already in the hands of the Russian troops.

The number of Armenian victims is very large. In the town of Moush
alone, out of the 15,000 Armenian inhabitants there are only 200
survivors; out of the 59,000 inhabitants of the plain hardly 9,000
have escaped.


22. BITLIS, MOUSH AND SASSOUN: RECORD OF AN INTERVIEW WITH ROUPEN,
    OF SASSOUN, BY MR. A.S. SAFRASTIAN; DATED TIFLIS, 6th NOVEMBER,
    1915.

At the moment of writing, there is very little doubt that during the
months of June and July last the Turks have almost completely wiped
out about 150,000 Armenians of Bitlis, Moush and Sassoun.

When a detailed account of the horrors which accompanied these
massacres is fully disclosed to the civilised world, it will stand
out in all history as the greatest masterpiece of brutality ever
committed, even by the Turk. A short description of these horrors
was given to me by Roupen, one of the leaders in Sassoun, who has
miraculously escaped the Turkish lines after long marches across
Moush and Lake Van and has been here for the last few days. As soon
as the Turks went into the war, they entered into negotiations with
the Armenian leaders in Moush and Sassoun with a view to
co-operating for the common defence. The Turkish representatives,
however, laid down such conditions as a basis for agreement that the
Armenians could scarcely entertain them as serious. Until January
things had gone on fairly smoothly, and the Armenians were advised
by their leaders to comply with all legitimate demands made by the
authorities. On the failure of negotiations, the Turks adopted hard
measures against the Armenians. They had already ruthlessly
requisitioned every commodity they possibly could lay hands on, and
now they demanded the surrender of their arms from the peasantry.
The Armenians said that they could not give up their arms while the
Kurds were left armed to the teeth and went about unmolested.
Towards the end of January, a Turkish gendarme provoked a quarrel in
Tzeronk, a large Armenian village some 20 miles west of Moush, where
some 70 people were killed and the village destroyed. Soon
afterwards, another quarrel was started by gendarmes in Koms (Goms),
a village on the Euphrates, where the Turks wanted to raise forced
labour for the transport of military supplies. As a previous batch
of men employed on similar work had never returned home, the
peasants grew suspicious and refused to go. Local passion ran high,
and the Turks desired to arrest one Gorioun, a native of
considerable bravery, who had avenged himself upon Mehmed Emin, a
Kurdish brigand, who had ruined his home in the past. All such
conflicts of a local character were settled in one way or another by
negotiation between the authorities and the leaders of the
Dashnaktzoutioun party. In the meantime, Kurdish irregulars and
Moslem bands, who were just returning from the battle of Kilidj
Geduk, where they had been roughly handled by the Russians, began to
harry the Armenians all over the country to the limit of their
endurance. In answer to protests, the authorities explained away the
grievances and gave all assurances of good-will towards the
Armenians, who naturally did not believe in them.

_The Massacres at Sairt and Bitlis._—Towards the end of May, Djevdet
Bey, the military governor, was expelled from Van, and the town was
captured by the native Armenians[40] and then by the Russo-Armenian
forces. Djevdet Bey fled southwards and, crossing the Bohtan,
entered Sairt with some 8,000 soldiers whom he called “Butcher”
battalions (Kassab Tabouri). He massacred most of the Christians of
Sairt, though nothing is known of the details. On the best
authority, however, it is reported that he ordered his soldiers to
burn in a public square the Armenian Bishop Yeghishé Vartabed and
the Chaldean Bishop Addai Sher. Then Djevdet Bey, followed by the
small army of Halil Bey, marched on Bitlis towards the middle of
June. Before his arrival, the Armenians and Kurds of Bitlis had
agreed upon a scheme for mutual protection in case of any emergency,
but Djevdet Bey had his own plans for exterminating the Armenians.
He first raised a ransom of £5,000 from them, and then hanged
Hokhigian and some 20 other Armenian leaders, most of whom were
attending the wounded in field hospitals. On the 25th June, the
Turks surrounded the town of Bitlis and cut its communications with
the neighbouring Armenian villages; then most of the able-bodied men
were taken away from their families 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, and
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 easily quelled by the regular
troops. The recalcitrants, after firing their last cartridges,
either took poison by whole families or destroyed themselves in
their homes, in order not to fall into the hands of Turks. Some
hundred Armenian families in the town, all of them artisans or
skilled labourers badly needed by the military authorities, were
spared during this massacre, but since then there has been no news
of their fate.

It is in such “gentlemanly” fashion that the Turks disposed of about
15,000 Armenians at Bitlis; and the Armenian peasantry of Rahva,
Khoultig, and other populous villages of the surrounding district
suffered the same fate.

_The Massacres in Moush._—Long before this horror had been
perpetrated at Bitlis, the Turks and Kurds of Diyarbekir, followed
by the most blood-thirsty tribes of Bekran and Belek, had wiped out
the Armenians of Slivan, Bisherig, and of the vast plain extending
from Diyarbekir to the foot of the Sassoun block. Some thousands of
refugees had escaped to Sassoun, as the only haven of safety amid a
sea of widespread terror. They told the people of Sassoun and Moush
of the enormities which had been committed upon themselves. The line
of conduct to be adopted by the Armenians was now obvious. The Turks
were resolved to destroy them, and therefore they had to make the
best of a hopeless situation by all means at their disposal. Roupen
tells me that they had no news whatever as to the progress of the
war on the Caucasian front, and that the Turks spread false news to
mislead them. The general peace was maintained in the Province of
Bitlis until the beginning of June, when things came to a climax.
The outlying villages of Boulanik and Moush had already been
massacred in May. Now Sassoun was attacked in two main directions.
The Kurdish tribes of Belek, Bekran, and Shego, the notorious Sheikh
of Zilan and many others were armed by the Government and ordered to
surround Sassoun. The 15,000 Armenians of these mountains,
re-inforced by some other 15,000 from Moush and Diyarbekir, repelled
many fierce attacks, in which the Kurds lost heavily, both in men
and arms; whereupon the Government again entered into negotiations
with the Armenian leaders, through the Bishop of Moush, and offered
them a general amnesty if they laid down their arms and joined in
the defence of the common fatherland. And, as a proof of their
genuineness, the authorities explained away the massacres of Slivan,
Boulanik, &c., as due to a deplorable misunderstanding. Oppressions
suddenly ceased everywhere, and perfect order prevailed in Moush for
about three weeks in June. A strict watch, however, was kept over
the movements of the Armenians, and they were forbidden to
concentrate together. In the last week of June, one Kiazim Bey
arrived from Erzeroum with at least 10,000 troops and mountain
artillery to reinforce the garrison at Moush. The day after his
arrival strong patrols were posted on the hills overlooking the town
of Moush, thus cutting all communication between Moush and Sassoun.
Kurdish bands of “fedais” and gendarmes were commissioned to sever
all intercourse between various villages and the town of Moush, so
that no one knew what was going on even in the immediate
neighbourhood.

Early in July, the authorities ordered the Armenians to surrender
their arms, and pay a large money ransom. The leading Armenians of
the town and the headmen of the villages were subjected to revolting
tortures. Their finger nails and then their toe nails were forcibly
extracted; their teeth were knocked out, and in some cases their
noses were whittled down, the victims being thus done to death under
shocking, lingering agonies. The female relatives of the victims who
came to the rescue were outraged in public before the very eyes of
their mutilated husbands and brothers. The shrieks and death-cries
of the victims filled the air, yet they did not move the Turkish
beast. The same process of disarmament was carried out in the large
Armenian villages of Khaskegh, Franknorshen, &c., and on the
slightest show of resistance men and women were done to death in the
manner described above. On the 10th July, large contingents of
troops, followed by bands of criminals released from the prisons,
began to round up the able-bodied men from all the villages. In the
100 villages of the plain of Moush most of the villagers took up any
arms they possessed and offered a desperate resistance in various
favourable positions. In the natural order of things the ammunition
soon gave out in most villages, and there followed what is perhaps
one of the greatest crimes in all history. Those who had no arms and
had done nothing against the authorities were herded into various
camps and bayoneted in cold blood.

In the town of Moush itself the Armenians, under the leadership of
Gotoyan and others, entrenched themselves in the churches and
stone-built houses and fought for four days in self-defence. The
Turkish artillery, manned by German officers, made short work of all
the Armenian positions. Every one of the Armenians, leaders as well
as men, was killed fighting; and when the silence of death reigned
over the ruins of churches and the rest, the Moslem rabble made a
descent upon the women and children and drove them out of the town
into large camps which had already been prepared for the peasant
women and children. The ghastly scenes which followed may indeed
sound incredible, yet these reports have been confirmed from Russian
sources beyond all doubt.

The shortest method for disposing of the women and children
concentrated in the various camps was to burn them. Fire was set to
large wooden sheds in Alidjan, Megrakom, Khaskegh, and other
Armenian villages, and these absolutely helpless women and children
were roasted to death. Many went mad and threw their children away;
some knelt down and prayed amid the flames in which their bodies
were burning; others shrieked and cried for help which came from
nowhere. And the executioners, who seem to have been unmoved by this
unparalleled savagery, grasped infants by one leg and hurled them
into the fire, calling out to the burning mothers: “Here are your
lions.” Turkish prisoners who had apparently witnessed some of these
scenes were horrified and maddened at remembering the sight. They
told the Russians that the stench of the burning human flesh
permeated the air for many days after.

Under present circumstances it is impossible to say how many
Armenians, out of a population of 60,000 in the plain of Moush, are
left alive; the one fact which can be recorded at present is that
now and then some survivors escape through the mountains and reach
the Russian lines to give further details of the unparalleled crime
perpetrated in Moush during July.

_The Massacres in Sassoun._—While the “Butcher” battalions of
Djevdet Bey and the regulars of Kiazim Bey were engaged in Bitlis
and Moush, some cavalry were sent to Sassoun early in July to
encourage the Kurds who had been defeated by the Armenians at the
beginning of June. The Turkish cavalry invaded the lower valley of
Sassoun and captured a few villages after stout fighting. In the
meantime the reorganised Kurdish tribes attempted to close on
Sassoun from the south, west, and north. During the last fortnight
of July almost incessant fighting went on, sometimes even during the
night. On the whole, the Armenians held their own on all fronts and
expelled the Kurds from their advanced positions. However, the
people of Sassoun had other anxieties to worry about. The population
had doubled since their brothers who had escaped from the plains had
sought refuge in their mountains; the millet crop of the last season
had been a failure; all honey, fruit, and other local produce had
been consumed, and the people had been feeding on unsalted roast
mutton (they had not even any salt to make the mutton more
sustaining); finally, the ammunition was in no way sufficient for
the requirements of heavy fighting. But the worst had yet to come.
Kiazim Bey, after reducing the town and the plain of Moush, rushed
his army to Sassoun for a new effort to overwhelm these brave
mountaineers. Fighting was renewed on all fronts throughout the
Sassoun district. Big guns made carnage among the Armenian ranks.
Roupen tells me that Gorioun, Dikran, and 20 other of their best
fighters were killed by a single shell, which burst in their midst.
Encouraged by the presence of guns, the cavalry and Kurds pushed on
with relentless energy.

The Armenians were compelled to abandon the outlying lines of their
defence and were retreating day by day into the heights of Antok,
the central block of the mountains, some 10,000 feet high. The
non-combatant women and children and their large flocks of cattle
greatly hampered the free movements of the defenders, whose number
had already been reduced from 3,000 to about half that figure.
Terrible confusion prevailed during the Turkish attacks as well as
the Armenian counterattacks. Many of the Armenians smashed their
rifles after firing the last cartridge and grasped their revolvers
and daggers. The Turkish regulars and Kurds, amounting now to
something like 30,000 altogether, pushed higher and higher up the
heights and surrounded the main Armenian position at close quarters.
Then followed one of those desperate and heroic struggles for life
which have always been the pride of mountaineers. Men, women and
children fought with knives, scythes, stones, and anything else they
could handle. They rolled blocks of stone down the steep slopes,
killing many of the enemy. In a frightful hand-to-hand combat, women
were seen thrusting their knives into the throats of Turks and thus
accounting for many of them. On the 5th August, the last day of the
fighting, the blood-stained rocks of Antok were captured by the
Turks. The Armenian warriors of Sassoun, except those who had worked
round to the rear of the Turks to attack them on their flanks, had
died in battle. Several young women, who were in danger of falling
into the Turks hands, threw themselves from the rocks, some of them
with their infants in their arms. The survivors have since been
carrying on a guerilla warfare, living only on unsalted mutton and
grass. The approaching winter may have disastrous consequences for
the remnants of the Sassounli Armenians, because they have nothing
to eat and no means of defending themselves.

-----

Footnote 40:

  See preceding section.


23. MOUSH: STATEMENT BY A GERMAN EYE-WITNESS OF OCCURRENCES AT
    MOUSH; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND
    SYRIAN RELIEF.

Towards the end of October (1914), when the Turkish war began, the
Turkish officials started to take everything they needed for the war
from the Armenians. Their goods, their money, all was confiscated.
Later on, every Turk was free to go to an Armenian shop and take out
what he needed or thought he would like to have. Only a tenth
perhaps was really for the war, the rest was pure robbery. It was
necessary to have food, &c., carried to the front, on the Caucasian
frontier. For this purpose the Government sent out about 300 old
Armenian men, many cripples amongst them, and boys not more than
twelve years old, to carry the goods—a three weeks’ journey from
Moush to the Russian frontier. As every individual Armenian was
robbed of everything he ever had, these poor people soon died of
hunger and cold on the way. They had no clothes at all, for even
these were stolen on the way. If out of these 300 Armenians thirty
or forty returned, it was a marvel; the rest were either beaten to
death or died from the causes stated above.

The winter was most severe in Moush; the gendarmes were sent to levy
high taxes, and as the Armenians had already given everything to the
Turks, and were therefore powerless to pay these enormous taxes,
they were beaten to death. The Armenians never defended themselves
except when they saw the gendarmes ill-treating their wives and
children, and the result in such cases was that the whole village
was burnt down, merely because a few Armenians had tried to protect
their families.

Toward the middle of April we heard rumours that there were great
disturbances in Van. We have heard statements both from Turks and
from Armenians, and as these reports agree in every respect, it is
quite plain that there is some truth in them. They state that the
Ottoman Government sent orders that all Armenians were to give up
their arms, which the Armenians refused to do on the ground that
they required their arms in case of necessity. This caused a regular
massacre. All villages inhabited by Armenians were burnt down. The
Turks boasted of having now got rid of all the Armenians. I heard it
from the officers myself, how they revelled in the thought that the
Armenians had been got rid of.

Thus the winter passed, with things happening every day more
terrible than one can possibly describe. We then heard that
massacres had started in Bitlis. In Moush everything was being
prepared for one, when the Russians arrived at Liz, which is about
14 to 16 hours’ journey from Moush. This occupied the attention of
the Turks, so that the massacre was put off for the time being.
Hardly had the Russians left Liz, however, when all the districts
inhabited by Armenians were pillaged and destroyed.

This was in the month of May. At the beginning of June, we heard
that the whole Armenian population of Bitlis had been got rid of. It
was at this time that we received news that the American Missionary,
Dr. Knapp, had been wounded in an Armenian house and that the
Turkish Government had sent him to Diyarbekir. The very first night
in Diyarbekir he died, and the Government explained his death as a
result of having overeaten, which of course nobody believed.

When there was no one left in Bitlis to massacre, their attention
was diverted to Moush. Cruelties had already been committed, but so
far not too publicly; now, however, they started to shoot people
down without any cause, and beat them to death simply for the
pleasure of doing so. In Moush itself, which is a big town, there
are 25,000 Armenians; in the neighbourhood there are 300 villages,
each containing about 500 houses. In all these not a single male
Armenian is now to be seen, and hardly a woman either, except for a
few here and there.

In the first week of July 20,000 soldiers arrived from
Constantinople by way of Harpout with munitions and eleven guns, and
laid siege to Moush. As a matter of fact, the town had already been
beleaguered since the middle of June. At this stage the Mutessarif
gave orders that we should leave the town and go to Harpout. We
pleaded with him to let us stay, for we had in our charge all the
orphans and patients; but he was angry and threatened to remove us
by force if we did not do as instructed. As we both fell sick,
however, we were allowed to remain at Moush. I received permission,
in the event of our leaving Moush, to take the Armenians of our
orphanage with us; but when we asked for assurances of their safety,
his only reply was: “You can take them with you, but being Armenians
their heads may and will be cut off on the way.”

On the 10th July Moush was bombarded for several hours, on the
pretext that some Armenians had tried to escape. I went to see the
Mutessarif and asked him to protect our buildings; his reply was:
“It serves you right for staying instead of leaving as instructed.
The guns are here to make an end of Moush. Take refuge with the
Turks.” This, of course, was impossible, as we could not leave our
charges. Next day a new order was promulgated for the expulsion of
the Armenians, and three days’ grace was given them to make ready.
They were told to register themselves at the Government Building
before they left. Their families could remain, but their property
and their money were to be confiscated. The Armenians were unable to
go, for they had no money to defray the journey, and they preferred
to die in their houses rather than be separated from their families
and endure a lingering death on the road.

As stated above, three days’ grace was given to the Armenians, but
two hours had scarcely elapsed when the soldiers began breaking into
the houses, arresting the inmates and throwing them into prison. The
guns began to fire and thus the people were effectually prevented
from registering themselves at the Government Building. We all had
to take refuge in the cellar for fear of our orphanage catching
fire. It was heart-rending to hear the cries of the people and
children who were being burnt to death in their houses. The soldiers
took great delight in hearing them, and when people who were out in
the street during the bombardment fell dead, the soldiers merely
laughed at them.

The survivors were sent to Ourfa (there were none left but sick
women and children); I went to the Mutessarif and begged him to have
mercy on the children at least, but in vain. He replied that the
Armenian children must perish with their nation. All our people were
taken from our hospital and orphanage; they left us three female
servants. Under these atrocious circumstances, Moush was burnt to
the ground. Every officer boasted of the number he had personally
massacred as his share in ridding Turkey of the Armenian race.

We left for Harpout. Harpout has become the cemetery of the
Armenians; from all directions they have been brought to Harpout to
be buried. There they lie, and the dogs and the vultures devour
their bodies. Now and then some man throws some earth over the
bodies. In Harpout and Mezré the people have had to endure terrible
tortures. They have had their eye-brows plucked out, their breasts
cut off, their nails torn off; their torturers hew off their feet or
else hammer nails into them just as they do in shoeing horses. This
is all done at night time, and in order that the people may not hear
their screams and know of their agony, soldiers are stationed round
the prisons, beating drums and blowing whistles. It is needless to
relate that many died of these tortures. When they die, the soldiers
cry: “Now let your Christ help you.”

One old priest was tortured so cruelly to extract a confession that,
believing that the torture would cease and that he would be left
alone if he did it, he cried out in his desperation: “We are
revolutionists.” He expected his tortures to cease, but on the
contrary the soldiers cried: “What further do we seek? We have it
here from his own lips.” And instead of picking their victims as
they did before, the officials had all the Armenians tortured
without sparing a soul.

Early in July, 2,000 Armenian soldiers were ordered to leave for
Aleppo to build roads. The people of Harpout were terrified on
hearing this, and a panic started in the town. The Vali sent for the
German missionary, Mr. Ehemann, and begged him to quiet the people,
repeating over and over again that no harm whatever would befall
these soldiers. Mr. Ehemann took the Vali’s word and quieted the
people. But they had scarcely left when we heard that they had all
been murdered and thrown into a cave. Just a few managed to escape,
and we got the reports from them. It was useless to protest to the
Vali. The American Consul at Harpout protested several times, but
the Vali makes no account of him, and treats him in a most shameful
manner. A few days later another 2,000 Armenian soldiers were
despatched via Diyarbekir, and, in order to hinder them the more
surely from escaping, they were left to starve on the way, so that
they had no strength left in them to flee. The Kurds were given
notice that the Armenians were on the way, and the Kurdish women
came with their butcher’s knives to help the men. In Mezré a public
brothel was erected for the Turks, and all the beautiful Armenian
girls and women were placed there. At night the Turks were allowed
free entrance. The permission for the Protestant and Catholic
Armenians to be exempted from deportation only arrived after their
deportation had taken place. The Government wanted to force the few
remaining Armenians to accept the Mohammedan faith. A few did so in
order to save their wives and children from the terrible sufferings
already witnessed in the case of others. The people begged us to
leave for Constantinople and obtain some security for them. On our
way to Constantinople we only encountered old women. No young women
or girls were to be seen.

Already by November[41] we had known that there would be a massacre.
The Mutessarif of Moush, who was a very intimate friend of Enver
Pasha, declared quite openly that they would massacre the Armenians
at the first opportune moment and exterminate the whole race. Before
the Russians arrived they intended first to butcher the Armenians,
and then fight the Russians afterwards. Towards the beginning of
April, in the presence of a Major Lange and several other high
officials, including the American and German Consuls, Ekran Bey
quite openly declared the Government’s intention of exterminating
the Armenian race. All these details plainly show that the massacre
was deliberately planned.

In a few villages destitute women come begging, naked and sick, for
alms and protection. We are not allowed to give them anything, we
are not allowed to take them in, in fact we are forbidden to do
anything for them, and they die outside. If only permission could be
obtained from the authorities to help them! If we cannot endure the
sight of these poor people’s sufferings, what must it be like for
the sufferers themselves?

It is a story written in blood. Two old missionaries and a younger
lady (an American) were sent away from Mardin. They were treated
just like prisoners, dogged continually by the gendarmes, and were
brought in this fashion to Sivas. For missionaries of that age a
journey of this kind in the present circumstances was obviously a
terrible hardship.

-----

Footnote 41:

  1914.


24. MOUSH DISTRICT: NARRATIVE OF A DEPORTED WOMAN, RELATED BY HER TO
    MR. VARTKES OF MOUSH[42], RECORDED BY HIM ON THE 25th JULY,
    1915, AND PUBLISHED SUBSEQUENTLY IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL
    “VAN-TOSP.”

To-day I heard a terrible story. All the Armenians who were deported
from Moush were either killed or drowned in the Mourad River[43].
Among these were my mother and three sisters with their children.
This news was brought to us by a woman who came here at midnight. We
thought she was a ghost, as she seemed like one coming from the
grave. She had saved her two-year-old boy.

She immediately asked for bread. We had not any, as we were living
on raw grain and meat, but we gave her what we had. After she had
had enough, we asked her all kinds of questions. She was from the
village of Kheiban, and was one of the deported. This is what she
told us:

“The Turks collected all the women and children of the villages of
Sordar, Pazou, Hassanova, Salekan and Gvars, and after keeping them
for five days they brought them to Ziaret. Here the inhabitants of
Meghd, Baghlou, Ourough, Ziaret and Kheiban joined them, and they
were all taken towards the bridge over the Mourad River. On the way
the families from the villages of Dom, Hergerd, Norag, Aladin,
Goms[44], Khashkhaldoukh, Souloukh, Khoronk, Kartzor, Kizil Agatch,
Komer, Shekhlan, Avazaghpur, Plel and Kurdmeidan joined the party,
making altogether a company of 8,000 to 10,000 people.

“All the old women and the weak who were unable to walk were killed.
There were about one hundred Kurdish guards over us, and our lives
depended on their pleasure. It was a very common thing for them to
rape our girls in our presence. Very often they violated eight or
ten-year-old girls, and as a consequence many would be unable to
walk, and were shot.

“Our company moved on slowly, leaving heaps of corpses behind. Most
of us were almost naked. When we passed by a village, all the
Kurdish men and women would come and rob us as they pleased. When a
Kurd fancied a girl, nothing would prevent him from taking her. The
babies of those who were carried away were killed in our presence.

“They gave us bread once every other day, though many did not get
even that. When all our provisions were gone, we gathered wheat from
the fields and ate it. Many a mother lost her mind and dropped her
baby by the wayside.

“Some succeeded in running away, and hid themselves in the fields
among the wheat until it was dark. Those who were acquainted with
the mountains of that region would thus escape and go back to seek
their dear ones. Some went to Sassoun, hearing that it had not yet
fallen, others were drowned in the Mourad River. I did not attempt
to run away, as I had witnessed with my own eyes the assassination
of my dear ones. I had a few piastres left, and hoped to live a few
days longer.

“We heard on our way from the Kurds that Kurdish Chettis (bands of
robbers) had collected all the inhabitants of Kurdmeidan and
Shekhlan, about 500 women and children, and burnt them by the order
of Rashid Effendi, the head of the Chettis.

“When we reached the Khozmo Pass, our guards changed their southerly
direction and turned west, in the direction of the Euphrates. When
we reached the boundary of the Ginj district our guards were
changed, the new ones being more brutal. By this time our number was
diminished by half. When we reached the boundary of Djabaghchour we
passed through a narrow valley; here our guards ordered us to sit
down by the river and take a rest. We were very thankful for this
respite and ran towards the river to get a drink of water.

“After half-an-hour we saw a crowd of Kurds coming towards us from
Djabaghchour. They surrounded us and ordered us to cross the river,
and many obeyed. The report of the guns drowned the sounds of
wailing and crying. In that panic I took my little boy on my back
and jumped into the river. I was a good swimmer and succeeded in
reaching the opposite shore of the Euphrates with my precious bundle
unnoticed, and hid myself behind some undergrowth.

“By nightfall no one remained alive from our party. The Kurds left
in the direction of Djabaghchour. At dusk I came out from my hiding
place to a field in the vicinity and found some wheat, which I ate;
then I followed the Euphrates in a northerly direction, and after
great difficulty I reached the plain of Moush. I decided to go to
the mountains of Sourp Garabed, as I had heard that there were many
Armenians there. During the nights my boy was a great comfort to me.
I felt that a living being was with me and fear lost its horror. I
thank God I have seen the faces of Armenians again.”

The poor woman ended her story, and our hearts were stricken with
sorrow, for we had loved ones among the unfortunate people of her
convoy. Two days later her boy died from lack of nourishment, and
after five days she was found by a party of patrolling Kurds and
killed.


25. MOUSH: RESUMÉ OF INFORMATION FURNISHED BY REFUGEES IN THE
    CAUCASUS AND PUBLISHED IN THE CAUCASIAN PRESS, ESPECIALLY IN THE
    ARMENIAN JOURNAL “MSCHAK”; COMPILED BY MR. G.H. PAELIAN, AND
    COMMUNICATED BY HIM TO THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL “ARARAT,” OF LONDON,
    MARCH, 1916.

The following reports concerning the massacres and deportations in
the region of Moush and Sassoun have come to hand from completely
independent sources, yet it is remarkable to note how they confirm
one another.

The massacres of Moush began on the 28th June (11th July), Sunday
morning, and lasted until Monday night. They were organised by the
Governors of Van and Bitlis and carried out in the presence of their
representatives, among whom were Abdoullah Bey of Sipuk, Topal
Ibrahim of Moush (tax collector), Hassan (tax collector), and the
police hakim. Before the massacres, all the prominent Armenians
underwent indescribable sufferings. They were flogged and their
limbs twisted until their thumbs began to bleed. The day the
peasants were arrested they wished to take Holy Communion first, but
were refused. The monks of Saint Garabed and the prominent Armenians
of the villages of Gvars, Sortra and Pazou were assassinated in the
monastery. The perpetrators opened the tomb of Bishop Nerses
Kharakhanian, with the hope of finding money. They took his shroud
and put the body back in the tomb. Mehmed Effendi, the Ottoman
deputy for Gendjé[45], collected about 40 women and children and
killed them. Two hundred of the inhabitants of Moush were brought to
the village of Shekhlan and thrown into the Mourad River. One
hundred men from Sassoun, who surrendered, were imprisoned without
food or drink. When they begged for bread, the Turkish inhabitants
could not stand their wailing, and asked the Government either to
give them bread or kill them. They were all killed about the middle
of November.

Then the Government looked for the Armenians who had found refuge
with some Kurds, and finding about 2,000 of them massacred them all.
The fact is confirmed that Kegham Der Garabedian, the Ottoman deputy
for Moush, was hanged. The property of the Armenians of Moush and
Bitlis was sold by the Government, and all their sheep and cattle
which were left with the Kurds were requisitioned by the army of
Halil Bey.

According to reports from the Caucasus, the Turks gathered together
about 5,000 Armenians by treachery and deception from 20 Armenian
villages round the monastery of Saint Garabed at Moush and massacred
them. This took place near the wall of the monastery. Before the
massacre began, a German officer stood on the wall and harangued the
Armenians to the effect that the Turkish Government had shown great
kindness to, and had honoured, the Armenians, but that they were not
satisfied and wanted autonomy; he then, by the report of a revolver,
gave the signal for the general massacre. Among the massacred were
two monks, one of them being the father superior of Sourp Garabed,
Yeghishé Vartabed, who had a chance of escaping but did not wish to
be separated from his flock and was killed with them. From the
Sahajian district about 4,000 Armenians found refuge in the forests
of the monastery, and fought against the attacking Turks and Kurds.
They kept themselves alive on wheat, raw meat without salt, turtle,
frogs, etc. Some of them finally surrendered, but no one knows the
fate of the remainder. The monastery of St. Garabed was sacked and
robbed. The Turks opened the tomb of St. Garabed and destroyed
everything. They also discovered some secret chambers. Turkish
chiefs took up their quarters in the monastery with imprisoned
Armenian girls.

According to another report no one was spared in Moush, not even the
orphans in the German Orphanage. Some of these were killed and
others deported. The Rev. Krikor and Mr. Marcar Ghougasian, teachers
in the German Orphanage, were killed, and only two escaped death,
Miss Margarid Nalbandian and Miss Maritza Arisdakesian. These were
graduates of the German Seminary at Mezré, and owe their lives to a
kind German lady.

According to the reports of some Armenians who had found refuge in
the forests of Sourp Garabed and finally made their way to the
Caucasus, Hilmi Bey was appointed for the purpose of clearing the
Armenian provinces of Armenians. This man reached Erzeroum on the
18th May, and then went to Khnyss, Boulanik, Khlat, etc., massacring
every Armenian in these places. According to a letter, dated the
19th June (3rd July), written to one of these refugees, Hilmi Bey
had three army corps (?) with him, a body of gendarmes, and the
volunteers of Hadji Moussa Bey and Sheikh Hazret, who had come to
Moush to massacre the Armenians. To these forces were added the
Turkish mob of Moush, the Turkish refugees from Alashkerd and
Badnotz, Keur Husein Pasha and Abd-ul-Medjid Bey. The massacres were
directed by Governor Djevdet of Van, Commander Halil of Diliman,
Governor Abd-ul-Khalak of Bitlis, and Governor Servet Bey of Moush.
The order for massacre was given on the 28th June (11th July).
According to Turkish Government statistics 120,000 Armenians were
killed in this district.

-----

Footnote 42:

  At that time in hiding in the forests of Sourp Garabed.

Footnote 43:

  Eastern Euphrates.

Footnote 44:

  Koms.

Footnote 45:

  Ginj (?)


26. BITLIS: LETTER DATED 14th OCTOBER, 1915, FROM A FOREIGN RESIDENT
    AT BITLIS TO A GERMAN OFFICIAL; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN
    COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

From having seen you yesterday, I am assured that you will receive
with kindly consideration what I feel obliged to write to you. It is
about the women and children who still remain with us.

It might be well to relate first a few of the recent events bearing
on the matter.

On the 23rd June the Armenian men of the city, including those on
our premises, were led to prison. A few days later, when they began
to take the women from the city, I called on the Vali and told him
that I could not give up the girls of our school and the women who
had come to me for protection. He said that Halil Bey had decided
the matter in regard to the women, and that he himself had no power
to alter that decision, but that he would leave those on our
premises till the last. I wrote a letter to Halil Bey with the
consent of the Vali, to whom I sent a copy. I received no answer.

The women and girls are now employed in the hospitals, and by this
means we have been able to keep them until now. We have spoken with
Djevdet Bey recently, but he gives us no assurance of their ultimate
safety, and says that the children must go. Of our Protestant
community, we have twenty-five teachers and pupils, twenty-five
women and twelve children. Apart from these there are other women
who are employed in the hospital, and about thirty orphans. The
first orphans whom we received were brought to the school by Turkish
officials, and since it appeared that the Government did not
disapprove, we have received others and provide them with food and
shelter. Much as we should like to save them all, we feel that we
can only insist on keeping those of our community.

My heart is full of this subject. It is not my desire in any way to
oppose the Government. Our superiors give us very definite
instructions on this point before we come out. We all agreed here
that since the Government thought it a necessary war measure that
the men should be taken into exile, we could not refuse to give them
up. But since that time I have witnessed so many things that seemed
unnecessary, that the giving up of those entrusted to my care now
seems a different matter. I am not saying that we can prevent their
being taken—some of our women have already been taken from us—no one
realises more than we do our own helplessness. But we are trying by
every means in our power to save them. I plead with you for your
help in this. I have wanted very much to see the Vali, but owing to
Miss A.’s being ill I have had no interpreter.

We received word recently from Constantinople that the Government
had informed our Ambassador that Protestant communities would not be
molested, and that he had notified the consuls to that effect. But
such orders have not been carried out here.

These women and children who are with us cannot possibly do harm to
the Government—why must they be sent away to such a fate? If the
hospital were removed, we could then be responsible for their
support, until such time as it would be fitting to take them with us
to Harpout. My first plan, in the event of their trying to take our
girls, was to barricade the school building, and compel them to
force their way in or set fire to the building. Death in that form
would have been welcome to the girls under those circumstances. The
plan was not practicable, and I am telling you only that you may
understand how much we dread the fate that awaits them. When I
suggested the plan to my associates, I met with some opposition, but
Sister B. said: “If I were in your place I would do the same thing,”
and suggested that she should take some of the women whom I could
not accommodate in the school, to another building, and remain with
them there. Her sympathetic understanding at that time was a great
help to me. I have always had a great faith in Germany. Through Miss
C. I learned to love her country. Somehow, I trust you as I trusted
her, and I feel that you will do for us what she would have done had
she been able. Both Miss A. and myself entreat you most earnestly
that you will use what influence you can exert here, that we may
keep these women and children with us.

Your companions are here and inform us that you will leave
to-morrow. We regret that we shall not see you again, but enjoyed
the opportunity of meeting you the one time.



                                  IV.
                        AZERBAIJAN AND HAKKIARI.


_The province of Azerbaijan lies immediately east of Van, across the
Persian border, and consists principally of another and still larger
inland basin, shut in by mountains which drain towards the central
Lake of Urmia._

_Though Azerbaijan is nominally a part of Persia, there are
practically no Persians among its inhabitants. The majority of them
are Shiah Mohammedans, speaking a Turkish dialect; but the parts
west of the Lake, and especially the districts of Urmia and Salmas,
are occupied by a Semitic Christian population, variously known as
“Nestorians” (from their religion), “Syrians” (from their language)
or “Chaldoeans” (from their race). They are descended from the
former inhabitants of Mesopotamia, who were pushed into and over the
mountains by Arab encroachment. A larger number of them is still
left on the Ottoman side of the watershed, in the Hakkiari district
round the headwaters of the Greater Zab, and further west, again,
near the confluence of the Tigris and the Bohtan. In the two latter
districts they are now in a minority as compared with their Kurdish
neighbours, and Kurds are also interspersed among the Nestorians in
the Urmia basin, especially towards the southern end of the Lake,
but also on the west (Tergawar)._

_When, in the winter of 1914-15, the Turks took the offensive
against the Russians on the Caucasian front, they sent a subsidiary
army, reinforced by Kurdish tribesmen, into Azerbaijan. The weak
Russian forces occupying the province retired northwards at the
beginning of January, and the Turco-Kurdish invaders penetrated as
far as Tabriz, while the Nestorian villages on the western side of
Lake Urmia remained in their possession for nearly five months. The
Russians were followed in their retreat by a considerable part of
the Christian population, who suffered terrible hardships on their
winter journey. Those that remained behind flocked into the town of
Urmia, and were subject to all manner of atrocities during the
twenty weeks that the Turks and Kurds controlled the place. The
Russians completed the re-occupation of Azerbaijan in May, 1915;
they entered the town of Urmia on the 24th May, five days after
their first entry into Van, and freed the people of Salmas and Urmia
from their oppressors. But they could not save the communities in
the Zab district, who suffered in June the same fate as the
Armenians of Bitlis, Moush and Sassoun; and when the Russians were
compelled to evacuate Van again at the end of July, the panic spread
from Van to Urmia, and a fresh stream of Nestorian refugees swelled
the general exodus of Christians into the Russian Provinces of the
Caucasus._


27. URMIA: STATEMENT BY THE REV. WILLIAM A. SHEDD, D.D., OF THE
    AMERICAN (PRESBYTERIAN) MISSION STATION AT URMIA; COMMUNICATED
    BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN
    THE U.S.A.

Persia is not in the war, but the war has been in Persia ever since
its beginning. Indeed, the military movements of Russia and of
Turkey date back several years before its outbreak. The Turks in
1906 occupied a strip of territory along the Persian border
extending from a point south-west of Soujboulak to a point west of
Khoi. The purpose was no doubt to secure a boundary-line making it
more possible to move troops from the Mosul region into
Trans-Caucasia, as well as to make it easier to hold the frontier
against any Russian attack. In 1911, the Turks evacuated this strip
of territory and the whole boundary question was submitted to a
mixed commission, on which the British and Russian Governments were
represented as well as the Turkish and Persian. When war began in
August, 1914, this commission had completed its work from the
Persian Gulf to Salmas. The Russians, in connection with internal
disturbances in Persia, occupied with their troops a number of
cities in northern Persia. Tabriz was occupied in 1909; Urmia and
Khoi in 1910. This measure enabled the Russians not only to control
Persia, but also to secure the road from their rail-head at Djoulfa
to Van through Khoi. When the Great War began, Russia was therefore
in occupation.

Disturbances at once began along the border and at the beginning of
October, 1914, a determined attack was made on Urmia, ostensibly by
Kurds. It was afterwards clear, from statements made by Persians and
Turks who were engaged in the attack, that the nucleus of the
fighting force was made up of Turkish soldiers and that the attack
was under the command of Turkish officers. It was also clear from
statements made by Persians friendly with the Turks and unfriendly
towards the Russians, that the result of success in this attack
would have been the looting of the Christian population, with
probable loss of life.

About a month after this attack, war was declared between Russia and
Turkey. About the same time the Russians closed the Turkish
Consulates at Urmia, Tabriz and Khoi, and expelled the Kurds and
other Sunni Moslems from the villages near Urmia. Arms were given at
the same time to some of the Christians. The Turks in response
expelled several thousand Christians from adjoining regions in
Turkey. These refugees were settled in the villages vacated by the
Sunni Moslems who had been expelled. Turkish and Kurdish forces
gathered along the frontier and especially to the south in the
Soujboulak region.

In the latter part of December, two engagements took place—one 20
miles south of Urmia between Kurdish and Russian soldiers, in which
the latter were successful; the other was at Miandoab, at the south
end of Lake Urmia, in which the Russian forces, with some Persians,
were routed by Turks and Kurds. About the same time Enver Pasha
invaded Trans-Caucasia from Armenia at Sarikamysh in the Kars
region. This threatened to cut off Russia’s communications with
Persia, and orders were given for the evacuation of Tabriz, Urmia
and Khoi. The evacuation of Urmia took place on the 2nd January,
that of Salmas a day or two later, and that of Tabriz on the 5th.
Meanwhile, the military situation in Trans-Caucasia had changed with
the rout of Enver Pasha’s army, and Khoi was not evacuated.

For convenience it may be well to summarise the military events from
the 1st January to the 1st June. Tabriz was occupied by the Turks
and Kurds, but, about the 1st February, a crushing defeat a few
miles north of Tabriz led to its sudden evacuation and to the flight
of the Turkish forces back to Miandoab. The American Consul at
Tabriz, the Hon. Gordon Paddock, with the very effective
co-operation of the German Consul, who had previously been in the
American Hospital under the protection of the American Consul, kept
the city of Tabriz from loss of life and to a large extent from loss
of property. The Turks collected large Kurdish forces from the
Soujboulak region and from districts in eastern Turkey; these,
together with a smaller force of Turkish regulars, moved through
Urmia and Salmas against Khoi, joining Turkish forces from Van under
Djevdet Bey. This campaign against Khoi lasted until the 1st March,
and was unsuccessful. In March the Russian forces drove the Turks
from Salmas and occupied this region. Affairs remained in this
condition until April. In April the Van campaign of the Russians,
with the aid of Armenian volunteers, began. A Turkish force of
approximately 18,000 men with mountain guns under Halil Bey, an
uncle of Enver Pasha, reached Urmia on the 16th April. They had come
over the mountain passes from Mosul, having been sent from
Constantinople by way of Aleppo to Mosul. Halil Bey was defeated in
Salmas, and in May retreated towards Van. The Turkish forces were
finally withdrawn from Urmia on the 20th May, and the Russians
re-occupied that city on the 24th May. The region of Soujboulak was
occupied by the Turks for some months longer, but the campaign in
that region has no bearing on the Christian population, since there
are no Christians in the region.

The Christian population in this region is partly Armenian and
partly Nestorian—or Syrian, as they call themselves. The Armenian
element consisted of four or five thousand in Tabriz, ten thousand
or more in Salmas, a small number in Khoi, and some six or seven
thousand in the Urmia district. The Nestorians, except for less than
2,000 in Salmas, all lived in the Urmia district. Including refugees
from Turkey and the Armenians, there were in Urmia, at the beginning
of 1915, not far from 35,000 Christians. The Syrians or Nestorians
include not only members of the old Nestorian Church but also
Protestants, members of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Roman
Catholics—or Chaldeans, as the last are generally called. In Maragha
there is a colony of Armenians numbering some hundreds. Excepting
the Christians in Tabriz, Maragha, and the city of Urmia, the last
numbering not more than 2,000, all these Christians live in
villages, Mohammedans and Christians sometimes sharing a village
between them and sometimes living in separate villages. These
Mohammedan villagers belong to the Shiah sect but speak the Turkish
language.

The evacuation of the Russians put all the Christians in peril. The
Salmas Christians (except about 800), most of the Christians of
Tabriz, and eight or ten thousand from Urmia fled with the
retreating Russians. They left on the shortest notice, without
preparation and in the heart of winter. Many perished by the way,
mothers dying in childbirth, old men and women and little children
falling by the way side from exhaustion. This fleeing army of
refugees, increased in numbers by several thousand from the regions
in Turkey between Khoi and Van, passed over the Russian border and
scattered in the villages and towns of Trans-Caucasia. Many of them
died of disease due to the privations and exposures of flight and
life as refugees.

This flight left some 25,000 Christians in Urmia. All of these
sought shelter from massacre. On the one hand the Kurds were pouring
into the plain, urged on and followed by Turkish officers and
troops; on the other hand the Moslem villagers set to work robbing
and looting, killing men and women and outraging the women. Several
thousand found refuge with friendly Mohammedans. Great credit is due
to no small number of Moslems, most of them humble villagers and
some men of higher rank, who protected the imperilled Christians. In
some cases safety was bought by professing Mohammedanism, but many
died as martyrs to the faith. In several places the Christians
defended themselves, but the massacring was not confined to these.
Villages that deliberately gave up their arms and avoided any
conflict suffered as much as those that fought. The mass of the
people fled to the city, and all, including the city people, took
refuge in the mission compounds. The French Roman Catholic Mission
sheltered about 3,000, and the compounds of the American
Presbyterian Mission about 17,000. The latter were enlarged by
joining up neighbouring yards and so enclosing in one connected
compound, with only one gate for entrance and exit, some fifteen to
twenty yards. The American flag was placed over the compounds of the
American Mission, and here people were safe from massacre. The
villages, in the meantime, with three or four exceptions, were a
prey to plunder and destruction. Everything movable that possessed
the least value was either carried away or destroyed.

During the months of Turkish occupation there was never a moment of
real safety for the Christians. The most unremitting efforts on the
part of the missionaries secured comparative safety within the city
walls, so that the people were scattered to some extent from the
Mission Compound; and a few villages, including two that were not
plundered at the beginning, were kept comparatively safe through the
efforts of the Persian Governor. Beyond these narrow limits the
Christians could not go. This was shown by constant robberies and
murders when Christians ventured forth. During this period the Turks
were guilty not only of failure to protect the Christians
effectively, but also of direct massacres under their orders. One
hundred and seventy men thus massacred were buried by the American
missionaries, their bodies lying in heaps where they had been shot
down and stabbed, tied together and led out to be murdered by
Turkish agents. These massacres took place on three different
occasions. Once men were seized by Turkish officers in the French
Mission and sent out from the Turkish headquarters to be killed;
once there were men seized in a village which was under the
protection of Turkish soldiers and had had its safety pledged
repeatedly by the highest Turkish officials; and once there were men
from just over the border in Turkey who had been forced to bring
telegraph wire down to Urmia and were then taken out and killed. In
each of these cases some escaped and crawled out, wounded and
bloody, from the heaps of dead and dying, to find refuge with the
American missionaries. Besides these, the Armenian soldiers in the
Turkish army, previously to the arrival of Halil Bey, were shot. In
Urmia, the total losses of this period, from the evacuation of the
town by the Russians on the 2nd January until their return on the
24th May, were the murder of over one thousand people—men, women and
children; the outraging of hundreds of women and girls of every
age—from eight or nine years to old age; the total robbing of about
five-sixths of the Christian population; and the partial or total
destruction of about the same proportion of their houses. Over two
hundred girls and women were carried off into captivity, to be
forced to embrace Islam and to accept Mohammedan husbands. The
Salmas district suffered quite as much as Urmia, excepting that the
mass of the people fled with the Russian troops, and consequently
the crimes against women were not so numerous. About 800 who
remained in Salmas, most of whom were old people, with some of the
poorer and younger women, were gathered together by Djevdet Bey
before his withdrawal from Salmas and were massacred. This happened
early in March. The Salmas villages were left in much the same
condition as those of Urmia.

The relief work began before the evacuation. Unsettled conditions
had frightened people, and many had brought their goods for safe
keeping to the American missionaries. With the evacuation many more
brought their property, whatever they could save from the general
riot. The protection of those under the American flag and of others
in the city and in Mohammedan homes was accomplished only by the
most constant vigilance during all those months. It was necessary to
feed thousands of the people, and over ten thousand people were fed
for about six months. Many of the girls and women who were taken
captive were found and returned to their homes; information was
secured as to others, which led to their subsequent rescue.
Conditions of life were such that it was impossible to prevent
epidemics, those that carried off the largest number being typhoid
and typhus. Both of these diseases were probably brought by Turkish
soldiers cared for in the American Hospital. The total number who
died of disease during the period of Turkish occupation was not less
than four thousand. Of eighteen adults connected with the American
Mission, thirteen had either typhus or typhoid, and three lost their
lives. The French missionaries suffered just as severely, and were
in greater peril of violence.

To assign guilt and analyse the causes of this terrible loss of life
and property is not an altogether easy task. There is no class of
Mohammedans that can be exempted from blame. The villagers joined in
the looting and shared in the crimes of violence, and Persians of
the higher class acquiesced in the outrages and shared in the
plunder. The Kurds were in their natural element. The Turks not only
gave occasion for all that happened, but were direct participants in
the worst of the crimes. On the other hand, individuals of every
class deserve credit. There were many villagers who showed only
kindness. The Persian Governor made it possible, by his
co-operation, for the American missionaries to do what they did; the
Kurds responded to appeals for mercy and, in some cases, returned
captive girls unsolicited and did other humane service. A few
individual Turkish officers and a number of their soldiers took
strong measures to keep order. One such officer saved the city from
loot when riot had already begun. There were various causes;
jealousy of the greater prosperity of the Christian population was
one, and political animosity, race hatred and religious fanaticism
all had a part. There was also a definite and determined, purpose
and malice in the conduct of Turkish officials. It is certainly safe
to say that a part of this outrage and ruin was directly due to the
Turks, and that none of it would have taken place except for them.

The duty of Americans, and especially the missionaries, is not so
much to apportion the blame as to repair the damages. The task in
Persia is very great, but the opportunities are equally as great.
The number of destitute persons has been increased by the influx of
forty or fifty thousand refugees from Turkey—Nestorians who lived in
the mountain region between Urmia and Van, and who were forced to
flee from their homes by the Turks and Kurds. In outlying districts
the men have been massacred, and those who have survived are mainly
women and children; but from the mountain valleys, where the bulk of
these people live, they were able to escape _en masse_.


28. FIRST EXODUS FROM URMIA, JANUARY, 1915: REPORT DATED 1st MARCH,
    1915, FROM THE REVEREND ROBERT M. LABAREE, OF THE AMERICAN
    MISSION STATION AT TABRIZ, TO THE HON. F. WILLOUGHBY SMITH, U.S.
    CONSUL AT TIFLIS; COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS
    OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A.

In view of your interest in the welfare of the Persian Christian
refugees here in the Caucasus, and your efforts in their behalf, may
I submit to you a report on their condition as I have seen it in my
journey hither from Tabriz? Commissioned by the American
Presbyterian Mission of West Persia to investigate the affairs of
the many thousands who have fled recently from Persia into Russia in
order to escape the cruel vengeance of the Kurdish border tribes, I
left Tabriz over two weeks ago and have spent the intervening time
visiting the various centres where these refugees are congregated.
It is hard to estimate exactly the number of these refugees from
Persia, for mingled with them are a multitude of fugitives from
Turkey. The total number of all these unfortunates in the district
of Erivan, where most of them have found refuge, was stated by a
good authority to be seventy thousand. The Persian contingent is
pretty consistently estimated at from fifteen to twenty thousand.
The refugees from Turkey are almost entirely Armenian, and are being
taken care of by the wealthy Armenians of this province through
their well organised relief committees. Those from Persia are less
fortunate, for a majority of them are Syrian; and, although the
Armenians have been very generous to them also, they have no
influential friends to speak in their behalf and minister to their
needs. It is also safe to say that the fugitives from the Urmia
plain are the most sadly in need of assistance, for they had no
previous warning of the impending disaster, and most of them have
come out without any preparation whatever for their prolonged
sojourn in a strange land.

I doubt whether the story of that awful flight can ever adequately
be told. Few tales that I have ever heard can compare with it in
heart-rending interest. The whole northern section of the Urmia
plain learned of the departure of the Russian troops about ten
o’clock on the night of Saturday, the 2nd January (1915). By
midnight the terrible exodus had begun, and by morning the Christian
villages of that district were practically deserted. People left
their cattle in the stables and all their household goods in their
homes, just as they were, and hurried away to save their lives. If
anyone possessed a horse or a donkey or any other beast of burden he
was fortunate, and if he happened to have ready cash in his home he
was even more so; but, well-to-do as a man may be, cash is not
always on hand in the villages, and so many who, according to the
standards of the country, were rich, started on their long journey
with a mere pittance, and the vast majority of men and women and
children were on foot. Before the seven days’ hard walking through
the slush and mud to the Russian border was accomplished, all
encumbrances were cast aside, quilts, extra clothing, and even
bread, for it became a question with the poor, tired, struggling
crowd which they would carry—their bedding or their babies. Of
course, very many of the weaker ones never reached Djoulfa at all,
but lay down by the roadside for their last long rest, and those who
did reach the Russian border were so haggard and emaciated that
their own friends did not recognise them. Almost worse than the
weary tramping by day, in the most terrible mud, were the nights in
the villages by the way. Every possible shelter was so crowded that
there was no room whatever to lie down, and the air became so foul
before morning that the occupants were nearly suffocated; and yet
those who could find no shelter and lay out all night in the wet
were even more miserable. As one has heard the same sad story
repeated a score of times with only a difference in details, one has
wondered what human flesh and blood can stand in a great crisis like
this. I should like to give two instances that have come under my
personal knowledge; such stories might be multiplied a thousand
times.

One old man with two daughters-in-law and six grandchildren started
on that fatal night from the village of Karagöz. All were afoot, and
the women carried their little ones by turns, while the old man
stumbled along as best he could, unable to carry any burden. He at
last gave out, lay down by the roadside and died. The two women and
their little charges pressed on for a day or two longer, when one of
them gave birth to a baby, also by the roadside. The mother tore off
her dress, wrapped the baby in the pieces and resumed the weary
tramp. Fortunately for them, the two women found their husbands
waiting for them in Russian Djoulfa; but, alas, in the new
complications arising from the coming of the baby two of the other
children were separated from the party and lost. Two days the
parents waited in Djoulfa, until a wagon-load of little waifs was
brought in by kind-hearted soldiers. They found their two little
ones among the number, but so emaciated by their hardships that they
died shortly afterwards. People dying and children being born by the
way are commonplaces of this journey; but it is not every one that
has had a combination of such misfortunes.

Here, again, is another instance no less sad. The pastor of our Cosi
congregation set out, as others did, in the dark, together with his
wife, married daughter, and five-year-old granddaughter; but he
became separated from them very soon, so that the women were
compelled to make the journey alone. They reached the town of
Nahichevan, in Russian territory, with hundreds of others in a
wholly exhausted condition. All three of them were sick and were
taken to the local hospital, where a few days later the father of
the family found them. But shortly afterwards, when the thousands of
refugees were cleared out of the town and scattered in the villages,
he was forced to leave, and his family have not seen him since. The
daughter and grandchild were dismissed from the hospital, and the
old mother, rather than remain alone, sick as she was, left also.
For five days they stayed with a crowd of others in the railway
station, when they were moved on to another village; and there, the
old woman’s dysentery having become so bad and the little girl
having developed the prevailing scarlet fever, they were taken to
the village hospital. I found them there a couple of weeks later, or
rather the younger woman and her child; the mother had passed away
two hours before I arrived. I buried the dear old woman, in whose
house I have been many times. I gave her a better funeral than most
of the other dying refugees; but it was only a rough coffin with
shavings as a pillow for her poor tired head. And then, with a
little money put into the hand of the daughter and a promise to do
what I could to find her father, I left her, dazed as a woman in a
dream, and came away. The father cannot be found, and I fear that he
has dropped down in some unknown spot and died.

I have wondered time and time again whether this panic-stricken
flight was not some terrible mistake, and whether the people had not
better have stayed at home and cast themselves on the mercies of the
Kurds and their Moslem neighbours; but as the stories of the
sufferings of those who remained behind begin to reach us—stories of
bloodshed and forced apostacy, and of women and girls carried off to
a life worse than death—I have revised my judgment. Even all this
untold misery by the way and in a strange land is better than the
fate of those who remained at home.

But I must pass on to report the conditions as they now exist among
the refugees. In my effort to get the facts, I have had interviews
with the Exarch (the Metropolitan Bishop of Tiflis), the Governor of
the Erivan district, the Armenian Bishops of Tabriz (now in
Nahichevan) and of Erivan, members of the various relief committees
and the village elders, who act as local relief committees, together
with a very large number of the refugees themselves in various
sections of the province. Whatever one may find to criticise in the
administration of relief, one cannot but recognise the tremendous
burden that has descended upon the people of this region and the
serious problems they have had to face. While one cannot say that
there has been an adequate effort to grapple with the difficulties,
yet much has been done. The Government officials have given free
railway transportation to the interior, and they have wisely had the
people scattered among the villages, where they can best be taken
care of. The energetic Armenian committees have taken care of their
own people, and have been unexpectedly generous to the Syrians who
are quartered in their midst. In Tiflis the Syrians themselves have
done much for their own race in that city, and have had an efficient
committee working in conjunction with the municipal relief
committee. But more worthy of praise than any or all of these
together are the humble kind-hearted villagers themselves, who have
carried the heaviest end of the burden, taking in the homeless
wanderers, giving them shelter and even bedding, and furnishing them
with food. Had it not been for this unorganised relief, the misery
would have been many times more intense. In one village, of 50
houses, I found 307 refugees; and in another, of 100 houses, 850
dependents. In the former place all that had been received from
outside sources had been 220 roubles, and in the latter the extent
of outside relief had been about six pounds per head of poor flour.
But the farmers of that section have had a bad year of it, and are
themselves feeling the pinch of poverty; and the burden of all this
multitude of destitute people is getting to be almost intolerable.
At best, too, what has been done by all agencies combined has failed
to save the wretched refugees from their sad plight. With often
twenty of them in one room, sleeping on the grass, destitute of
bedclothing and having unwholesome-looking bread to eat, their lot
is not to be envied. No wonder that after the hardships of the
journey scores and hundreds of them have died, pneumonia and enteric
troubles and scarlet fever having carried off a multitude. The
scarlet fever has been especially virulent, and there was scarcely a
house which I visited where from two to five little ones had not
been carried out to the cemetery. One could hardly hope to save a
man with dysentery on the five kopecks (1¼_d._) a day given for his
support, or with the coarse flour given in other districts. While
one cannot but pity all, yet one’s especial sympathy goes out to
those whom one has seen in their own country living in comfort and,
for this country, even in luxury, yet here, in this strange land,
dependent on the dole of bread given them.

With such conditions I have not dared to do anything in the way of
relief, except to leave here and there small sums for the sick and
for those particularly suffering. As long as I have not found anyone
that has died or is dying from hunger I did not think it justifiable
to expend our little funds in the hopeless task of making men
comfortable. More and more am I persuaded that we must reserve our
efforts to the time when these people begin to return to their
homes. If the way opens for such a return, it must be our first
endeavour to restore them to their villages; for very many of them
have their wheat-fields and vineyards, and if these are not looked
after this spring, the relief problem of the future becomes many
times more serious. But how are these unfortunates to get home? Some
of them had a little money when they came out and some reserve
strength; now both funds and physical force are gone, and after the
hard journey back they will reach homes plundered of everything, and
in many cases burnt. Officials here have declared that there is no
question but that the Government will send them back by rail to
Djoulfa free of charge; but, when they are once in Persia, then all
relief committees save our own cease to act. It is on this basis
that I wish to make my appeal to the American public. In a report
which I subjoin, Dr. Shedd, of our Mission in Urmia, gives us a
picture of the conditions there among those who, to the number of
ten to fifteen thousand, have found shelter in our Mission yards. Up
to the 25th January I learn that he has spent over eight hundred
pounds sterling in their support; and he names £3,000 as the minimum
of what is needed for the people there. He himself considers this an
under-estimate, looking at the problem only from the limited
knowledge he had at his command; and I am sure that it is. Five
thousand for those in Urmia and five thousand for those who have
fled, seems to me a more reasonable estimate. Ten thousand pounds is
a big sum to ask, especially at this time, when so many other
portions of the world are stretching out their hands to our country
for aid; but most of these have many eloquent tongues to voice their
cry, while for this people, that have lived so far away among
fanatical Moslem masters, who is there to speak? I can only hope
that this little story of their sufferings may bring some relief,
even if it is not the sum asked and so much needed. I wish I might
hope that others would help in this work; but the French Mission has
little assistance to give, and the Orthodox Mission, that has made a
big bid for the friendship of this people, seems to have completely
flattened out. I doubt whether anything can be hoped for from that
source, and I am very sure that nothing will be given in a large
unsectarian way. And so it appears to me that we of America are the
only ones that can be relied upon to come to the assistance of this
old historic people, who have now endured the heaviest blow that has
fallen upon them for centuries.

There is one other matter. I have said that we must reserve our help
for the time when these people return home; money given them here,
unless it be in very large sums, can do no good. You, however, have
suggested that £200, given through me to the heads of the Relief
Committees of the Caucasus to be used for these Persian refugees,
might do more than anything else to quicken their own assistance to
this unfortunate people. The reasons you have given for this
judgment have seemed to me strong ones, and I have telegraphed
to-day to our headquarters, stating the facts. If any such funds are
sent, I shall ask you to help me in giving the money in such a
manner as shall produce the best results. In the meantime I wish to
thank you most cordially for all that you have done to assist me in
this good work.


29. AZERBAIJAN, BEHIND THE RUSSIAN FRONT: EXTRACTS FROM A SERIES OF
    LETTERS BY THE REV. ROBERT M. LABAREE; COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD
    OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A.

=(a) Letter dated Tabriz, 12th March, 1915 (to Mr. Labaree’s
    mother).=

Sad news. The Kurds driven back from Khoi massacred 800 Syrian and
Armenian men with cruel torture. This in the plain of Salmas. In
Urmia the largest and wealthiest Syrian village, Gulpashan, which
had been spared by payments of large sums of money, was given over
to plunder by the returning Kurds. The men of the village were all
taken out to the cemetery and killed; the women and girls treated
barbarously. Sixty men were taken out of the French Mission, where
they had taken refuge, and shot. Others have been hanged. The Swiss
teacher of the missionaries’ children has died of typhoid. I have
been asked to go to Urmia, but every way is blocked. Please let Mr.
Speer know facts.

=(b) Letter dated Tabriz, 13th March, 1915 (to Mr. Speer).=

Dr. Shedd’s latest communication speaks for itself and reveals a
terrible condition of things at Urmia. This condition, I fear, has
been rendered even more acute in the two weeks since the letter was
written by the defeat of the Turks and Kurds near Salmas. At that
time all the remaining Christian refugees in Diliman (the chief town
of Salmas) suffered terribly. All the males above twelve years of
age were taken to two neighbouring villages, tortured and shot.
Their number is estimated at 800. The women were to be made Moslems,
but the entrance of the Russians into the town the next day
prevented that. I doubt not but that the retreating Kurds will wish
to do the same thing as they pass through Urmia. One is perfectly
helpless at such a time. The Consuls are acting in concert, but what
can they do? The only salvation seems to be that the Russian army
may advance soon to Urmia, but for military reasons this may be out
of the question.

My own visit to Urmia has been stopped for the present by events.
There is no possible way of my reaching Urmia, unless the Consul
should go and I should accompany him.

=(c) Letter dated Diliman, 19th April, 1915 (to the Presbyterian
    Missions Board, New York).=

There seems no more prospect now than when I last wrote of any
measures being taken by the Russian authorities to relieve the Urmia
situation. If any plans are afoot for the occupation of the city
they are not at all in evidence, and I am persuaded that a good many
things must happen elsewhere before the local conditions will be
materially changed.

Recently a Mr. McGowan, a reporter of the Associated Press, fresh
from America, arrived here—all interest over the situation. He was
most anxious to reach Urmia, if any way could be found to get in and
any assurance be given that he could return. We decided upon a
perfectly open policy. With the consent of the Russian officers
here, we secured a messenger and sent him directly to the Turkish
Consul in Urmia, asking for guards and safe conduct, from a point
just beyond the pass to the city, and return. In our letter to the
Consul we enclosed an open letter to Will Shedd, asking his advice
in the matter. Indirectly we hear that our messenger was put under
arrest (lest, I suppose, he should undertake to return), and no
answer has been sent to our request; while, on the other hand,
horsemen were despatched to a midway point to escort into the city
some Persians who had sent a request very much like our own by the
same messenger. It is no use making any more efforts to get inside
this chestnut burr, until through God’s Providence it opens itself.
I am here to render what help I can, and while as yet I have been
able to do nothing, yet perhaps it will be given me later to give
some little assistance to our poor, tired, beleaguered friends in
Urmia. Mr. McGowan has gone back to the Caucasus. It was a pleasure
to get sight of an American face and have a fresh whiff from the
outside world. The news that comes to us from across the Turkish
border is far from pleasant. The many hundreds (and perhaps some
thousands) of Armenians and Syrians in the region of Bashkala have
been massacred. The Armenians and Kurds in and about Van have begun
to fight. In the mountains Mar Shimun is said to have gathered the
independent tribes about him, and they are battling for their lives
against great odds. These are the near-by places. What is going on
inside Turkey, God only knows.

Yesterday I assembled about fifty Armenians from the neighbourhood
of Bashkala in a near-by village for a service. They were all men in
the employment of the Russian army when it withdrew from there
several months ago. They had to come away with the troops, leaving
behind their families and all that they possessed. They feel certain
that their wives and children have been massacred or else taken away
to a captivity worse than death. When one stands before such an
audience, the words that are so easy to speak at other times fail
one. Is there any balm in Gilead for such wounds? Is there any power
to take away from the hearts of these men the sorrow and the
rankling spirit of revenge? May God never put me in a position like
that, or else may he give me more grace than I how possess.

When one knows that three-fourths of the Moslems of this district,
if not nine-tenths of them, were implicated in the plunder of
Christian villages, and that many of them were parties to worse
crimes, it is hard to have the same zest for work among them. But
now that the way to Urmia seems barred for the present, I am
planning to plunge into that work. Just now the Moslems here are so
alarmed lest they suffer for what they have done that they are ready
to listen to almost anything a Christian may say. It is a pity that
in so many cases this willingness has no higher motive.

=(d) Letter dated Tabriz, 6th May, 1915 (to the Presbyterian
    Missions Board, New York).=

Just a word to report that I am safe at home. My departure from
Salmas was most sudden and exciting. An overwhelming force of Turks
and Kurds attacked the place, and in the course of manœuvres we were
nearly caught between the two firing-lines. It is not an experience
that often comes to one, nor is it one that one wants repeated. With
hundreds of other refugees, now twice plundered, we made our way to
Djoulfa, and from there I came here.


30. TABRIZ: LETTER DATED TABRIZ, 17th MARCH, 1915, FROM THE REV.
    F.N. JESSUP; COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF
    THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A.

On the 1st November (1914) Turkey declared a “Djihad,” or Holy War,
against the Allies, and it was soon evident that she would try to
stir up other Moslem nations. In December a small force of Turkish
troops crossed into Persia at Soudjboulak, south of Urmia, but we
thought nothing of it, knowing that the Russian forces here would be
able to cope with them. But on the last day of December it became
evident that the Russians were actually about to withdraw from here,
and there was a panic among the Armenians and other native
Christians. Day and night the poor Armenians fled out of the city
towards the Russian border, and out of 750 or more families only
about 250 were left, most of these being the poorest people. From
the first we were beset by people asking to be allowed to take
refuge with us. We had permission to admit those who were connected
with us, and, in addition, had to make arrangements to receive all
the Europeans who might need protection. It was decided that all the
missionaries should come to this compound, where the Memorial School
and men’s dispensary are located. You can imagine the rush and work
of the first days of January—all the school-rooms to be cleared of
everything so as to be ready for the crowds of people so anxious to
get in, people to be interviewed day and night, rules to be made as
to who and what were to be admitted, our own houses to be made ready
for the advent of the missionary families. For example, my house, in
which I had been living alone on Friday, by Saturday night contained
five families, consisting of ten adults and seven children; and
whereas up to that time Dr. Vanneman and I had been having our meals
alone, now in my dining-room all the Americans ate together,
nineteen adults and a number of children! By this time almost all
the Europeans had left the city, including the Consuls of the Allied
Powers; the banks were closed and the Indo-European telegraph office
was shut. The Europeans who were left in the city came to us for
refuge, all except one family of Italians and a few Germans,
Austrians and Turkish subjects who thought they would be safe. But
even these asked to have a place reserved in case of need, for no
one knew what might happen when a horde of undisciplined Kurds
entered the city. Not only this, but a number of prominent
Mohammedans came to ask protection, and very many more left the city
to flee to Teheran, knowing that they might be molested or
blackmailed.

On Tuesday, the 5th January, the Russian troops left the city and
encamped on its outskirts; the next day they started north towards
Djoulfa, and on Friday, the 8th, the Turks and Kurds entered. For
the next three weeks they were in possession of Tabriz. We were cut
off from the outside world, without news of what was occurring
elsewhere, practically shut up in this compound with the four
hundred who had taken refuge with us. We had as our guests Belgians
from the Customs and Finance Departments, French Catholic Sisters
with forty or fifty of their school-children, two German ladies who
had been sick and unable to go with the rest of the German colony, a
Russian lady, and two American Seventh Day Adventist missionaries
from Maragha, but most of the people were Armenian and Nestorian. As
you see, they were of all nationalities and religions, but all lived
together in the greatest goodwill, and things moved with a
remarkable lack of trouble or friction.

We had planned to observe the regular Week of Prayer with nightly
services in our church, but our church had to be abandoned, for
almost every Christian from that quarter of the city had fled, and
no one dared to stir out of doors after dark. But we were given a
greater opportunity. Instead of a week’s services attended by fifty
or sixty people, we had Evangelistic services in the assembly room
of the Memorial School every night for a full four weeks, with a
hundred to a hundred and fifty in attendance, and all listening with
the most earnest attention. And as we had with us refugee families
from Soudjboulak, Maragha and other places, we had a chance to
preach the Gospel to those rarely, if ever, reached by the truth.
Instead of having to seek a congregation, we had it ready within our
gates, and one composed of those whose hearts were softened in the
fact of our common danger and life together.

As the time went on, the blackmail and plundering on the part of the
Kurds grew worse and people became more anxious. It was indeed a
welcome day when the sound of cannon and machine guns was heard to
the north, and it appeared that the Russians were returning to
deliver the city. This they did on the 30th January, and so well had
the campaign been arranged that the fleeing Kurds were cut off from
the city after the battle, and so could not loot or kill on their
retreat, as many had feared they might. And thus in God’s providence
the city was relieved, and we and the many lives entrusted to us
were kept safe from harm during that trying time.

When the roads were once again open and word reached us from other
places, we began to hear of the terrible plight of the Christians of
other places, especially Urmia and Salmas. When suddenly and
unexpectedly the native Christians of those places heard that the
Russian army was immediately to be withdrawn, they knew that their
only safety from the cruelties of the approaching Kurds lay in
flight. Men, women and little children were obliged to start off at
once, in mid-winter, most of them on foot, unable to make
preparation or to carry sufficient food, clothing, or bedding, and
to flee in terror of their lives through snow and deep mud, wading
through streams and toiling over the mountains and across plains
covered with almost impassable mire, till at last they might reach
Djoulfa on the Russian frontier, nearly 150 miles away. The story of
the horror of that flight will probably never be fully told. From
Urmia 17,000 or 18,000 must have fled. When they reached the Salmas
plain, their numbers were swelled by thousands of Armenian
Christians fleeing thence. Men who went through the experience tell
us that the events of those days are indescribable. On the edge of
the Salmas plain multitudes could find no lodging and had to sleep
in the snow. Some children were carried off by wolves, and many more
died before morning. And then the march of those days! Up before
daylight, struggling in the snow and slush and darkness to find and
keep to the road through the mountain passes, hurrying on ever,
knowing that at the end of the day only those who first arrived
could be sure of finding shelter for the next night; parents
becoming separated from each other and from their children in the
darkness or in the mass of hurrying people, unable to find them
again, but hoping that they might meet at the end of the day; people
throwing away the quilts or other necessary bedding they had brought
because physically unable to carry them; the road strewn with
abandoned goods; the weak and sick falling by the wayside, many
never to rise again; men become as beasts in the common struggle
just to live. At night many would arrive long after dark at the
appointed stopping-place only to find every caravanserai and lodging
so full that they would be forced to spend the night out of doors.
Those within fared little better, crowded in so tightly that often
they could neither lie nor sit down, but had to remain standing all
night in rooms with every door and window shut, and the air so foul
that the winter’s cold without seemed preferable. And at such
stopping-places exhausted mothers and fathers were anxiously going
from house to house and group to group, seeking their lost children.
The fugitives have many terrible tales to tell. By the time they had
reached Khoi their plight was desperate, but beyond Khoi their
sufferings were increased by the deep mire through which they had to
struggle. One of our Christian workers from Urmia told me that with
his own eyes he saw a man go up to his mother, who had sunk
exhausted in the mud, and shoot her through the head, rather than
leave her to die by degrees or to be killed by wolves. They tell of
a family who started from Urmia—an aged father and his two married
daughters, each carrying two children, one on her back and the other
in her arms. There, in the mire beyond Khoi, the father could no
longer go on and had to be left, and one of the women gave birth to
a child. She wrapped the new-born babe in a piece of cloth torn from
her dress, and taking it in her arms struggled on, but the other two
children had to be abandoned like their grandfather. On arriving at
Djoulfa these women found their husbands, who had been in Tiflis and
had hurried down to meet the fugitives. There for several anxious
days they waited, hoping for news of the lost children. The fathers
had been away long, and could not be sure of recognizing them, and
the mothers were too exhausted to return. At last some soldiers came
in with a waggon full of lost children whom they had rescued, and
among them were the two little ones. But they had suffered so from
exposure that in a few days they both died. The grandfather had
perished in the mire.

Mr. Labaree, of our station, left for the Caucasus as soon as the
way was open, to find out conditions and see what we could do to
help the poor refugees. There are 70,000 or more reported in those
regions, not only from Persia, but from Turkey and the border. The
Armenians of the Caucasus had organised relief committees, and the
Government was also helping. The average grant was about 2_d._ or
1½_d._ per adult a day. The villagers among whom those thousands of
absolutely destitute strangers were distributed were very kind, but
the burden was very heavy for them. Mr. Labaree said that the poor
fugitives were in a pitiable state. Sickness had followed the
exposure and strain—scarlet fever and other diseases—and in almost
every room he visited he heard of four or five children who had
died.

But the condition of those who did not, or could not, flee from the
Urmia and Salmas plains has been even worse. In Urmia about 12,000
took refuge in the three compounds belonging to our Mission, while
3,000 more were in the French Catholic Mission. Here most of them
have remained since the 1st January, but some have withdrawn to
yards adjoining ours, some have been taken out by force and killed
by the Turks, and many have died. Urmia has been entirely cut off
from us. A few letters and messages they have succeeded in sending
through, and from these we have learned something of their
condition. At the first arrival of the Kurds and Turks, most of the
people remaining in the Christian villages fled to the Mission for
protection. Of those who stayed in the villages, many girls and
women were carried off by the Mohammedans and many men killed. In
those first days of January, about ten thousand were crowded into
our compound at Urmia city. In the church there were three thousand,
so many that they could not lie down to sleep. At the beginning from
ten to twenty-five were dying daily in our city compound, and a
little later the mortality increased to from twenty-five to forty a
day. At first it was not possible to take the bodies out of the
grounds for burial. Later, when they were able to secure some
adjoining yards, conditions became a little better. Dr. Packard,
hearing that a large Christian village was being attacked by the
Kurds, rode out there and, at the risk of his life, made his way to
the Kurdish chiefs and then to the village, and persuaded the Kurds
to spare the lives of the people on condition of their surrendering
their goods. Thus, by his influence with the Kurds, won by many
medical services in the past, he was able to save nearly a thousand
poor people from massacre and conduct them that night to the city.

All these thousands have had to be fed and cared for. It has meant a
daily expenditure of from £50 to £55 sterling for the three tons of
bread distributed each day. Some of the wealthy fugitives to Russia
left money with the Missionaries on their departure, with permission
to borrow it and use it if necessary, and in this way they were able
to get on up to the last reports, for we have been unable in any way
to reach them or send them money. But it is now nearly a month since
we have received authentic news from the Missionaries at Urmia. At
that time they reported the situation as very grave. We have heard
that a Turkish officer and several men entered our Mission grounds
by force, beat Mr. Allen twice because he could not tell them of the
whereabouts of some men they sought, and carried off several men to
kill them. From the Catholic Mission, in the same way, some forty
men were taken and massacred. In a village whose people had from the
first been peaceful and had paid a large sum for protection, 51
(others report 85) men were seized, taken outside and butchered, and
then the soldiers returned to outrage the women and girls, not even
little children being spared.

For three weeks Mr. Labaree has been in Salmas, hoping that a
Russian expeditionary force might be sent to rescue the Urmia
Christians and that he might be able to go over to help the
Missionaries, who must be greatly worn by the strain and by their
work. But as yet he has neither been able to go nor to send or
receive any word, nor are there any signs of a rescue.

This is the most awful calamity which has befallen the Nestorian
people in the ninety years of our mission work among them. About
1,000 had been killed and 2,000 had died of disease or fear up to
the middle of March, just in Urmia itself, and the Nestorians here
estimate that perhaps as many more died on the flight to Russia or
have died since. This would mean a fifth or a sixth of the 30,000
Nestorians who live on the Urmia plain. Their prosperous villages
have all been pillaged and most of them burned, and their churches
destroyed. Of the survivors, half are refugees in great want in the
Caucasus, the rest remain in Urmia in conditions of peril and fear
and need which wring one’s heart. Already over £4,000 sterling must
have been spent by the Missionaries in Urmia to preserve the lives
of those taking refuge with them. As soon as it becomes in the least
safe, they must be helped to return to their ruined homes and
villages to make a fresh start. Two months ago Mr. Labaree appealed
to America for at least £10,000 sterling as the smallest sum
required, and as time goes on it becomes evident that more will be
needed. Thus far about £2,400 has been received from the American
Red Cross and our Board, £30 from our missionaries in Hamadan, and
£20 from the English missionaries at Ispahan. Of course we here are
trying to help too. These poor distressed Nestorians are the
especial charge of our American Presbyterian Church, which has
laboured so many years for their good, and there is little hope of
help for them in this hour when so many nations are in trouble,
except in so far as _we_ help them.

And it is not only the Christians of Urmia that are in great need.
Those of the village of Miandoab (Armenians, these), have similarly
lost everything. The Kurds still occupy their town, and they are
refugees in Maragha and Tabriz. At Maragha the Armenians have
suffered greatly, for most of them had to flee, and now they have
the burden of all the refugees from Miandoab and other villages. And
in Salmas it is worse. All the Christian villages on that plain have
been smoked. Most of the Christians fled when the army withdrew in
January, but some remained behind and these sought the protection of
their Moslem neighbours. But a few days before the return of the
Russian army to Salmas, when the Turks saw that they would be
compelled to flee, they secured the names of all Christians by a
ruse, pretending that all who registered would be protected. Then
they gathered all the men into one place and carried them out in
companies of about twenty-five, each to be shot down in cold blood.
Others were tied with their heads sticking through the rungs of a
ladder and decapitated, others hacked to pieces or mutilated before
death. In this way practically every Christian man remaining in
Salmas was massacred. You can imagine the fate of girls and women.
The most detailed report received, signed by a number of men now on
the ground, stated that from 712 to 720 men were thus killed in
Salmas.


31. URMIA DURING THE TURCO-KURDISH OCCUPATION: DIARY OF A
    MISSIONARY, EDITED BY MISS MARY SCHAUFFLER PLATT, AND PUBLISHED
    BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN
    THE U.S.A.

_Urmia, Persia, Saturday, 9th January, 1915._

I want to start a letter telling you of the events of the last week,
though I cannot tell when it will reach you. As you know, the
Russians had taken possession of this part of Persia, and were
maintaining order here, so that for the last year conditions were
more orderly, peaceful and prosperous than for long years before.
They had a consul here who was very capable, and tried to do justice
to all.

When war was declared between Russia and Turkey, we knew that this
meant war for Urmia, for we are right on the Turkish border, and
only a few years ago Turkey tried to get this section for herself,
but failed. We were told by the Russians in authority here that they
would hold Urmia against all odds, so the city was fortified by
trenches and defences on every side, and several thousand
reinforcements came.

On New Year’s Day, according to our custom, we received our friends.
As many as a hundred and forty of our Moslem and Christian friends,
men and women, called “to bless our New Year.” On Saturday, the 2nd,
like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, we were informed that the whole
Russian army was withdrawing; some had gone in the night, the rest
would leave immediately. There was a panic at once among the
Christian (Syrian and Armenian) population.[46] The Osmanlis, or
Turks and Kurds, were but a few miles away, and the Christians were
absolutely defenceless.

At once, as soon as the Russians had gone, with large numbers of
Syrians and Armenians leaving at the same time, the evil-minded
Moslems all over the plain began to plunder the Christian villages.
When the people were trying to flee to the missionaries in the city,
they were robbed on the roads of everything they had, even of their
outer clothing. In some of the villages the Moslem masters placed
guards to prevent the people from going themselves or bringing their
possessions to the city, saying they would protect them. When they
tried to get away, these same guards robbed and stripped them.

The crowds had begun to pour in at our gates on Sunday; the city
people were taken in by night and many others from near by. On
Sunday morning we put up the American flags over the entrances. On
Monday morning Dr. Packard, with American and Turkish flags,
accompanied by two Syrians, started out to meet the leading Kurdish
chief. He arrived at Geogtapa in time to prevent a terrible
massacre. The people of Geogtapa who had not fled to the city had
gone to our church and the Russian church, both of which are
situated on a high hill formed of ashes, a relic of Zoroastrian
times. The churchyards are enclosed by high mud walls. All finally
went to the Russian church, which was on the highest ground. They
barricaded the strong doors, and, when the Kurds attacked, the men
defended the fort with their guns and the women crowded like sheep
into the church. When Dr. Packard arrived, a lively battle was going
on, with little chance for the Christians. He had great difficulty
in getting to the chiefs without being shot; but he finally reached
them, and they knew him. Some of these Kurds had spent weeks in our
hospital and had been operated upon by Dr. Packard, so they listened
to him while he pleaded for the lives of the people inside. After
several hours’ entreaty, they agreed to let the people go with him
if they would give up their guns and ammunition.

I was talking yesterday with Layah, our Bible Woman, who was inside
the church. She said that when Dr. Packard first tried to signal to
them, they did not know him and kept on firing, but when they
recognized him a shout went up: “It’s the Hakim Sahib! Thank God! We
are saved!” I asked her what the Kurds did when they came out, and
she said they stood by and helped them, saying: “Come on! Come on!
Don’t be afraid!” In the rush, Layah fell and broke her arm, and is
now lying on Miss Lamme’s sofa resting.

All Monday the refugees had been coming in, until it seemed that
every room and storeroom was full, many of the rooms not lying-down
full but sitting-up full. But that night, when Dr. Packard came, he
brought over fifteen hundred more with him, and they had to be
stowed away. This is Saturday, the sixth day these thousands have
been here in our yards, not less than ten thousand—perhaps twelve or
fourteen thousand. We have taken several small yards and houses
adjoining ours, and the English Mission yard adjoining the seminary
yard is also full. Of course, the two Englishmen of the English
Mission had to leave with the Russian army, and with them a large
number of prominent Syrians who had been sympathizers with Russia.
Here in the city there has been plundering and some destruction of
property, but no general disorder—unless it be in the Armenian
quarter. The fine brick quarters which were built as barracks for
the Russian army I understand have remained intact, because the
invaders are afraid to go near them for fear they may be mined.

From the first the Sheikh promised protection to us and our people,
and when the Osmanli officers came they immediately took possession
of the city, and have tried to keep order and prevent plundering by
Moslems. The other day a Moslem, terribly wounded by a Turkish guard
while robbing, was brought here for treatment. This is an
illustration of our position: Here is a Mussulman thief, plundering
Christians, shot by the Osmanli guard, and then brought to us by his
friends that we might care for him.

Although we were promised safety for all within our gates there is
no certainty. On Wednesday morning I lay in bed a little longer than
usual, and about half-past seven suddenly an awful cry of fear and
despair went up from thousands of throats, and the crowds rushed
toward the church, then swayed back, not knowing whither to fly.
From the church, where human beings are packed in like sardines,
they began jumping from the windows. My first thought was that the
Kurds had broken in through our back gate, which opens into the
Moslem quarter, and that the massacre was about to begin; but the
poor, terrified people soon quieted, and before I could get dressed
I knew it must have been a false alarm. The poor, hunted creatures
think that if they can only hold to the skirts of a missionary they
will be safe.

On Thursday, Hannah, the wife of one of our pastors, reached us
after great suffering and exposure. They lived in Nazi, and heard
the report that the Russians were leaving. They couldn’t believe it,
but on Sunday afternoon Kurds from the west came and began
plundering. The people all fled to a walled village, because they
thought they might be safer there and because our preacher there,
Kasha Oner (Preacher Abner), had many friends among the Kurds, being
a mountaineer. On Monday, a Kurd visited them, pretending that he
had been sent by the Turks from the city, telling them they need
have no fear, as they would be protected; but it became evident that
he was a spy. Afterwards a band of Kurds came, demanded the guns,
and drank tea with the people; then others came and they began
robbing and killing. The people gathered together like a flock of
frightened sheep, and many were slaughtered. The greater part of
them got through the great gateway while the Kurds were plundering,
and that night they spent in the mountains without food or shelter
and with very little covering. One of our girls, Katie, who had gone
home on Friday for her Christmas vacation, was among them. She saw
her mother murdered and had to leave her body lying by the gate as
they ran. The next morning more than four hundred of them started
towards the city, cold, hungry, exhausted; many, having lost their
shoes in their flight, had frozen and bleeding feet. Hannah came
here, her feet were dressed, and she is lying comfortably on a
mattress on Miss Lamme’s floor. Her husband and daughter were
already here. The rest of the party were taken in at our College
compound, two miles west of the city.

The pitiful tales we hear of murder, of narrow escape through snow
and mud, hungry, sick and cold, are numberless.

_Monday, 11th January, 1915._

Several families from Degala are camped in our parlour, and the
night before last Victoria, one of the women, came to me and said an
old woman had just come in who didn’t seem able to answer anything
she asked her. I found her crouched in a corner of the hall. She
said she was so cold. At first she couldn’t eat, but after drinking
some tea she improved. We had absolutely no place but a stone floor
for her; but we took up a carpet from my bedroom, rolled her up in
it in the upper hallway, and she went to sleep. She was the
janitress of our church in Barbaroud, fifteen miles to the south.
The Kurds did their worst there several days ago, and she had
escaped, barefooted, almost naked, and without food. She died a day
or two later.

One poor woman, who had both husband and son killed, has gone crazy,
and we haven’t any place to put her but a dark closet under the
stairway. At midnight I was awakened by her pounding on the door.
She has a nursing baby. Thank God, to-day they took her to the
hospital, where they can care for her a little better than here.
(She died two days later.) At the College compound, where the
hospital is, they have only about two thousand, and we have perhaps
twelve thousand, and every day more are coming. Those who have been
hiding with Moslem friends are coming to us day by day, and we
haven’t any place to put them. We have not been able to take the
dead from our yards, so we are burying them in the little yard by
the side of the church—twenty-seven so far. Some die every day, and
there is no shroud or coffin for them.

_Evening._

We have just had a Praise Meeting in the parlour with fifty or sixty
who could gather from the halls and rooms near, and we feel more
cheerful. We thought if Paul and Silas, with their stripes, could
sing praises in prison, so could we.

_Wednesday, 13th January._

Since Monday, the 4th, we have been giving out bread. In the morning
we sell to those who have money, and in the afternoon give free
bread to those who cannot buy, disposing of over four tons of bread
a day. Practically all the refugees from the city have their own
food, and some from the villages, too. We buy our bread from the
bazaar (market), and a very efficient and willing young Syrian has
been attending to the weighing and giving out, while groups of other
young men have been selling and distributing. The only things we
have had for carrying the bread are our clothes-baskets and old tin
bath-tubs, and they are doing good service. We have received some
gifts of food for the refugees from Moslems. One man gave over six
hundred pounds of meat, which we cooked and gave out in one section,
but it is very difficult to distribute anything except bread among
so large a number. I am speaking only of what we are doing here in
this compound, where by far the larger number of refugees are. They
are doing similar work in Sardari (the Boys’-School premises) and at
the College compound. Mr. McDowell is looking after sanitary
conditions and the streams of water flowing through the yards, which
furnish the only drinking water for the crowds, and conditions are
much improved.

There are hundreds of mountaineers who have no place to go to.
Before this affair they were distributed among the villages, and we
had established a number of schools especially for them. These
people had been driven from their homes by the Kurds early in the
autumn. Many of them seem little better than animals—dirty, lazy,
satisfied with any hole to lie in and just enough bread to keep
their stomachs comfortable. Of course, they are not all of this
sort, but we have several hundred that are. They are chiefly crowded
into the church and our large school-room. The people who are
suffering most are those who have been accustomed to the comforts
and decencies of life, who are crowded together like cattle, without
sufficient clothing or food.

The day after the flight from Geogtapa we went with a basket of
bread to one of the larger rooms of the Press, which was filled with
self-respecting people who had the day before been in comfortable
circumstances, but who had fled with nothing, or had been robbed of
whatever they had tried to bring with them. When they saw the bread
for distribution, they began to cry and cover their faces, and we
had to drop the bread into their laps—they didn’t reach out for it.
Of course, we assured them that under such circumstances, it was no
shame to eat the bread of charity.

When the people began to flee, they wanted to deposit their money
with us, and our Treasurer accepted it on condition that we could
use it without interest and repay it when normal conditions are
restored. It is with this money that we have been enabled to buy
bread and save these people from starvation.

Children are being born every day. We have managed to give two small
rooms to these women, many of whom haven’t even a quilt. Children
were born even in the crowded church. One of the women who was
reporting these cases complained in a very aggrieved tone that some
were “even bringing two,” as if one wasn’t enough to satisfy anybody
under existing circumstances.

This is the first day that we have been able to get donkeys to haul
away the refuse. I hope we shall soon be able to take the dead to
the cemetery.

_Thursday, 14th January._

Mr. Allen returned last evening from his journey to the villages of
the Nazlu river. Several thousand fled towards Russia; many have
hidden with Moslems, who are now trying to force them to become
Mohammedans and to give their girls in marriage to Moslems. In Ada
perhaps as many as a hundred were killed, most of them young men. It
is told that they were stood up in line, one behind another, by the
Kurds, to see how many one bullet would kill. I went down to see the
woman in the room under mine who had received word of the killing of
her brother in Karadjalu. Everywhere there is wailing and sadness,
and her lamentation for her dead brother is the wail of thousands of
hearts:—

 “Oh, Yeremia (Jeremiah), my brother!
 The pillar of our house; a father to us all, ah, Yeremia, Yeremia!
 Thou didst comfort us all! A giant in body and giant in spirit.
 Oh, Yeremia, my brother, oh, my brother, Yeremia, my heart is broken
    for thee!
 My brother! Oh, my brother, thy house is left desolate; thy little
    ones orphans.
 Oh, Yeremia, Yeremia! thou wert a righteous man, merciful to the
    poor!”

_Saturday, 16th January._

Yesterday some Abijalu people were in, asking for bread, although a
week ago they were among the well-to-do. The same story of robbery,
exposure and horror. When a Kurd tried to carry off Shamasha Sayad’s
daughter, she jumped into the well and stayed there for hours in
water up to her chin. Some one said a few days ago, “Blessed are the
dead,” and I echoed the sentiment.

_Monday, 18th January._

In the midst of panic, distress and death, we have had two weddings.
Both had been arranged to take place on the Syrian New Year, the
14th January. Dr. Shedd performed the ceremony in both cases. Both
brides had their trousseaux ready, but felt these were not proper
times for the display of finery, so wore ordinary dresses.

These last few days a number of the city families have returned in
fear and trembling to their homes, taking just a very few things
with them. This is relieving the overcrowded rooms somewhat, and
Miss Schoebel this afternoon is trying to drive the people out into
the sunshine long enough to have the rooms swept—or, rather,
shovelled. It consumes all one’s energies to try to get anyone to do
anything. All the responsibility and much of the actual labour has
devolved upon the missionaries. Of course, many of our best men fled
to Russia, and among those who are left there are few leaders. There
are some notable exceptions, though, both here and at the
College—_e.g._, Jacob David, who without missionary assistance has
charge of eight hundred and fifty refugees and is doing finely.
Another, a young shopkeeper, has had charge of the weighing and
distribution of bread, with much of the buying, from the beginning.
He has done the work with surprising efficiency and self-devotion.
Bands of young men have been ready, day after day, for distributing
bread. The nights have been divided into three watches, and groups
of men have taken their turns in acting as watchmen. Mr. Nisan, who
has charge of the English Mission yard, one night found the watchmen
asleep, so the next day they were tied to trees, and a placard
placed over them with the inscription: “Unfaithful Watchmen,” as a
warning to others. Guarding the streams is a very necessary and a
very difficult task. Mr. McDowell finds it extremely hard to get
anyone among the hundreds of Syrians here who can be trusted to
oversee such work, or who can be kept on a job longer than an hour
or so at a time.

We are urging some now to return to their homes. Many are so afraid,
and we cannot give them assurance of safety. Some Kurds have gone,
but many are still about. The people come to the individual
missionaries and beg for just one small room for their families,
each one with his own special plea. When we tell them the greatest
danger for them just now is to remain crowded in such narrow bounds,
it makes little or no appeal to them. They are nine-tenths fatalists
any way, and think that it all depends upon the “will of Allah.”
They say: “Let us die by the hand of God and not of the Kurds.”

We have been having unusually fine weather; only two bad days, and
they were not cold. A Mohammedan was heard to say: “Do you see how
God loves these Christians? Who ever saw such weather in the middle
of winter?”

Dr. Shedd is the representative of our station before the
Government; he and Dr.Packard have had that end of the work, daily
pleading before Persian and Osmanli authorities for the Christian
population. It was told us that a prominent Moslem had said: “Dr.
Shedd is the best Christian in the city! Just see how he comes every
day through the deep mud to plead for those people!”

_Wednesday, 20th January._

A few people from the city went to their homes, and our hopes began
to rise; but yesterday and to-day others came in from the Nazlu
river and from Tchargousha. Thirty-six dead were carried to the
trench in Mart Maryam[47] (St. Mary) churchyard yesterday; the
larger part of them were children.

Lucy, daughter of Kasha (preacher) David of Ardishai, came in
yesterday with her baby from Gulpashan, where they had been refugees
for some time, living in terror of Kurds by day and night. They also
feared the Moslem neighbours and the Turkish guards sent in to
protect the village. Her own village was Tchargousha. In terror the
people fled to the roofs as the village was surrounded by Kurds, and
there was no avenue of escape. The Kurds came up on to the roofs and
commanded the people to go down. Lucy, with one Kurd below her on
the ladder and two above her, her baby on her back, got down. In the
yard she saw her younger sister, Sherin, a pretty girl of about
fifteen, being dragged away by a Kurd. She was imploring Lucy to
save her, but Lucy was helpless. When she was telling me this with
tears and sobs, she said: “Every night, when I try to sleep, I hear
her entreaties, ‘Oh, Lucy, I’ll be your sacrifice, Save me, Lucy!’ I
called to her, ‘Pull your head-kerchief over your face; don’t look
into their faces.’ She tried to conceal her face, and daubed it with
mud, but she has such beautiful dark eyes and rosy cheeks! The Kurds
grabbed the young women and girls, peering into their faces, till
each one found a pretty one for himself, then dragged her away. If
they had only killed my sister we could say, ‘She is dead, like many
another—it is finished’; but that she should be in the hands of a
Kurd—we cannot bear it!” Some of these captives have been recovered,
but there is no word of Sherin.

_Saturday, 23rd January._

Yesterday we counted three thousand three hundred in the church, and
many have gone out, so there must have been four thousand people
there these last two weeks. Is it any wonder that children are dying
by the score? Morning and afternoon there are burials; at other
times the bodies are collected and laid in a room near the gate.
To-day Mr. McDowell succeeded after long efforts in getting a cart
for scavenger work. It came but one day. We have not been able to
get even donkeys, except five or six. The scavengers would not come
into the yards of Christians for such work, even though Mr. McDowell
offered to pay well. We cannot open our back windows, the stench is
too dreadful. I suppose the mere mention of such things is quite
shocking even to read; but we have been living in such surroundings
for nearly three weeks, and see only a little light ahead. We are
hoping we can distribute some of the mountain refugees in empty
houses here in Mart Maryam and the Christian quarter.

Many Moslems who pretended to accept food and goods of Christians
for safe keeping, are now claiming them as their own. One of our
preachers, after having been plundered of practically everything by
his Moslem neighbours, was received as a refugee into one of their
houses and was fed from his own dishes, of his own food, and put to
sleep in his own bed.

Dr. Packard has been gone for several days to the Nazlu villages, to
gather together the remnants of the people scattered in Moslem
villages, or in hiding, and to see if it be possible to put them
into a few of their own places again. Most of the Kurds have left,
but the Syrians are unarmed, and, just as from the beginning, their
Moslem neighbours are their greatest enemies. If it isn’t a Djihad
(Holy War), it is very near it. It must have been planned
beforehand, for there has been concerted action from one end of the
plain to the other, though here and there some Moslems have been
friendly throughout, have done many kindly deeds and saved many
lives.

_Later._

Just at this joint we had an interesting diversion. A band of
Turkish soldiers came into our yard and said they wanted to search
our premises for wounded Russian soldiers. They searched the houses
of the Allens, the Müllers, and our house; then the schools and all
outside buildings and storehouses, even to the smallest closets. You
might have thought they were searching for a lost hair from Osman’s
beard! I have an idea they thought we were concealing arms or
ammunition, though ten days ago we collected all we could find
anywhere among the people, and gave them up to the Osmanli
commander. As we had nothing hidden, of course we had nothing to
fear, though some of the people were scared.

A dozen times a day I pray: “Oh, Lord, how long?” All the first days
it seemed as if it must be a horrible dream from which I would
awake; but it has become a three weeks’ reality, with little hope of
a near dawning. It looks as if our long night might stretch out till
the dawn of peace in Europe. And for these things who shall answer,
if not the Powers of Europe?

We have read that America has done so much for the sufferers in
Europe; surely they will not be too poor to help this little corner
of misery, with its twenty-five or thirty thousand sufferers, and
with absolutely no one on earth to look to but the American Mission!
For months we have not been permitted to write of conditions here,
and now we are entirely shut off from the world, even from Tabriz.
Anything we write “must be in French, just to say we are well.” Our
last word from Tabriz, the nearest mission station and residence of
the American Consul, was written on the 31st December, and this is
the 23rd January.

_Sunday, 24th January._

The fourth Sunday, but no Sabbath. To-day nearly all the people were
taken out of the church and distributed among the empty houses near
the Russian Mission and in the old church. I went with some of the
young men who are helping with the distribution of the bread to
count the people in each place. In one house there were two hundred
and fifty; these are all mountaineers. We give to each one sheet or
loaf of bread per day; about ten ounces. Not very extravagant
feeding, you see!

_Tuesday, 26th January._

On Sunday a Jew brought us word from Usknuk that Kasha David’s
daughter, Sherin, is there in the house of a Kurd, and that every
effort is being made by gifts, persuasion and threats, to make her
turn Mohammedan, but that she always answers “You may kill me, but I
will never deny my faith.” We are making plans to try to get her
back. Dr. Packard reported on his return from the Nazlu villages
that in one place practically the whole population has become Moslem
and have given up their church to be a mosque, while some even
cursed their former faith. But, of course, such people never had any
religion, and changing the name of it is a matter of convenience.

_Wednesday, 27th January._

Miss Lamme and I went to-day to the Jewish quarters to look up
Syrian refugees there. We found them in large numbers in the Jewish
houses, where they had been kept and in some cases fed. Yesterday
the French Mission sent away from their yards two hundred and fifty
or more persons, who first went to the Governor. He telephoned to
Dr. Shedd, and we had to receive them. They were put into Dr.
Israel’s house in Dilgusha, outside the city walls. All the houses
there have been completely plundered; many have been robbed of doors
and windows. No one thinks of returning to homes there, but a great
many have returned to Mart Maryam.

_Later._

Everywhere about the yards people are basking in the wonderful
sunshine, which is more like April than January. The common sight
everywhere is the everlasting hunt for vermin, friends and
neighbours graciously assisting one another. I suppose it is a
vulgar subject to mention, but “we’ve got ’em,” and must go on
living in hourly contact with thousands of others who swarm with
them.

_Friday, 5th February._

We can’t complain of the monotony of life, for we never know what
will happen next. On Tuesday morning I had a wedding in my room
here. The boy and girl were simple villagers. He had gone to Russia
and brought back a little money, with some foreign clothes. Then his
folks began to look round for a wife for him. He was betrothed
several months ago to Anna of Ardishai, and, according to custom,
gave her the money to buy her trousseau. For several weeks she had
been sewing, until at last the wonderful silk dress, white silk
head-kerchief, veil and all the necessaries, were ready. The wedding
was fixed for the Syrian New Year; but—the Kurds came and carried
off wedding clothes and everything else in the house. They all fled
here, and were married in the old, dirty garments they were wearing
when they ran for their lives, for this was a month ago. In the
flight the bride’s mother was lost, probably killed, as nothing has
been heard of her since. Their only present was a little tea and
sugar that I tied up in a kerchief and gave to the bride, that they
might invite a few friends to drink tea instead of eating the dinner
they had intended giving.

There are a great many people who have been accustomed to good
living heretofore, but for months have had no cooked food, so I
invited a number of these to dinner on Wednesday. We had a meat
stew, bread, cheese, pickles and tea, all they could eat. There were
thirty-five for dinner, and twenty for supper. There was enough left
over to feed fifty or more poor and sick ones outside. The whole
thing cost about four dollars and fed a hundred people. We spread
long cloths on the parlour floor and ate with wooden spoons from
enamel plates borrowed for the occasion from the school. The matron
and school-girls did the cooking and serving.

But for our next-door neighbours the scene quickly changed again
from weddings and dinners to one of terror and flight by night. The
house of Dr. —— adjoins ours, and the roofs are continuous. For
several days there had been rumours that their house would be
plundered by the Turkish authorities, and they had not dared to
undress and go to bed in peace, but on Wednesday they felt more safe
and went to bed early. I myself had gone to bed, but not to sleep.
Just before eleven o’clock I heard loud knocking on their gate, and
then a rapid trampling of feet on the roof over my room. Pretty soon
there was quite a commotion in our front yard. I jumped up, and saw
in the yard a dozen or more Turkish soldiers, who entered through
our front door and went up to the roof through our halls. I dressed
as quickly as I could and went to Miss Coan’s room on the roof, to
find that some of the women from Dr. ——’s family were already there.
In a few minutes the rest of the women and children from there
climbed the wall or slid from the roof on to our balcony, and I let
them in through the window into our parlour. They were crying and
frightened nearly to death, but kept quiet. The Turks searched the
house, but took nothing, saying they had come to take evil men, not
things. They came back through our house again. The orders have been
in our yard that the gate should never be opened at night but by one
of the gentlemen; so, when they first knocked, the guard came and
called Mr. Allen. He let them in and went with them to Dr. ——’s
house. In the meantime, a Syrian had aroused Mr. Müller, and when he
tried to get out of his front door he found a Turk guarding it. He
tried to push out, saying that he was the master of the house, but
the Turk struck him and refused to let him pass. When the gang
returned from our neighbours’, they insisted on searching Mr.
Müller’s house, even going into the bedroom where Mrs. Müller was in
bed and Ruth was sick. Meanwhile a second band came and pounded on
our gate, but our guards had run away, and finally one of the men
climbed a telephone pole to the roof, got down inside and opened the
gate. The officer tied up the Persian guards as a punishment for not
opening the gate. Afterwards they went into the Allen house and even
asked to have the piano played. It is maddening to have our premises
and houses invaded in this way, and by such a lot, but we are
helpless, and, for the sake of what we may be able to do for the
safety of the people, our gentlemen have to smile and try to turn
away their wrath with soft words, even though they are threatened
and called liars by the representatives of the invading Government.
I don’t believe the Mission in the seventy-five years and more of
its existence has ever been placed in so difficult and humiliating a
position.

Still the ghastly procession of the dead marches on. Between seven
and eight hundred have died so far. A great many are able to get
plain wooden coffins for their dead now, but the great mass are just
dropped into the great trench of rotting humanity. As I stand at my
window in the morning I see one after another of the little bodies
carried by, wrapped mostly in a ragged piece of patch-work; and the
condition of the living is more pitiful than that of the
dead—hungry, ragged, dirty, sick, cold, wet, swarming with
vermin—thousands of them! Not for all the wealth of all the rulers
of Europe would I bear for one hour their responsibility for the
suffering and misery of this one little corner of the world alone. A
helpless, unarmed Christian community turned over to the sword and
the passion of Islam!

This morning my attention was called to a girl of twelve, who was
too sick to be kept any longer in a room with other people. A young
Syrian woman, who was helping with the sick, wanted to put her into
that closet under the stairway from which none ever come out alive.
I said: “She will die in there.” She replied: “Of course she will
die, but we shall have to find a place for her until she does.” We
put her there temporarily until we found a small room where there
were only _twenty_. These we distributed among other crowded rooms,
brought Marganeta there, laid her on some matting and covered her
with an old carpet. Poor child, she has a sweet face, but life has
treated her cruelly.

Dysentery has been bad for a long time, and when the sick get
helpless and their condition offensive, it is almost impossible to
get anyone to care for them unless they have near relatives.
Dysentery and measles have both been epidemic for a long time, and
nearly all deaths are directly due to one or both of these diseases.

We had a real respectable funeral in the front yard this afternoon.
A good old woman from Degala died, and her pastor had a service for
her. This is only the second real funeral service I have seen,
though a preacher is always present at the two burials daily, and
conducts a service at the cemetery.

_Friday, 12th February._

To-day we have begun a new method of giving out bread. We have
printed forms, which we fill in and ask the heads of families to
sign, promising to pay us later for the bread. All day thousands
have been crowding the big tent in the yard, where a number of young
men have been filling in and giving out these tickets for bread. The
problem is a big one. Undoubtedly some could find bread who are
taking it free, but we cannot decide most of the cases. Then we are
spending thousands of borrowed money, and as yet no response to our
cablegram sent long ago to America! The numbers asking for bread are
increasing daily, but if we should refuse it, hundreds would die of
starvation.

Again the yards are wet and muddy from melting snow. The last two
days have been very hard for the thousands without fuel and with
very little clothing. One of the verses that helps to keep my faith
steady these days is: “He that spared not His own Son.”

The death-rate has been considerably reduced; for two weeks or more
it averaged over thirty a day.

Mr. Allen is off on a tour to the villages of the upper Nazlu river,
to see what is left there, and to give help or encouragement to
anyone who may be left. A while ago when Mr. Allen visited the
villages on the Baranduz, one of our Bible Women told him of a
certain spot she wished him to visit. She lived in Kurtapa, and as
she was about to flee with a bag containing nine tomans[48] of
money, the robbers appeared at the door. She quickly threw the bag
down beside a broken earthen tub and the thieves did not see it. Mr.
Allen went to that village, found the room and the broken tub with
the bag of money beside it, and brought the money to its owner.

Last week, the Shahbanda, or Turkish Consul, who is now the chief
authority, demanded six thousand tomans of the Syrians. With great
trouble this was partly collected and partly borrowed by the help of
the Sirdar (Persian Governor), who demanded six hundred more for his
share. The Shahbanda promised that, if this were given, the shops
and houses of the Syrians in the city would not be disturbed. It
remains to be seen how much his word is worth.

To-morrow completes six weeks of this siege and semi-siege
condition. We keep on praying, but see no signs of deliverance. We
are shut off from the world, and thousands are held in this bondage
by a few hundred Osmanli troops and a few wandering Kurds. I realize
now that Persia is dead—or worse; she has no manhood nor moral
character left.

_Wednesday, 17th February._

A few days ago the Turkish Consul arrested all the men at the French
Mission. After some examination, a hundred were sent away, leaving
about sixty-three at the Consulate. A gallows with seven nooses was
erected at the “Kurdish Gate” of the city, the one near us, and on
Sunday the ropes were put in place. The people here on Sunday were
very badly scared. The women of the men under arrest came and wept
and besought Dr. Shedd to do something, but he could do nothing.
That evening the people gathered in the church for prayer, and
continued praying until midnight. Each night since similar meetings
have been held. As yet no one has been hanged, but the Turkish
Consul is demanding money for their release. The second day after
the arrest of these people, a Turkish soldier was sent to us to ask
us to send bread for the prisoners, and we have been feeding them
ever since. When their women-folk went to see them they were charged
two krans (ninepence) admission. It has been reported that the
prisoners have been tortured in various ways known to the Turks, in
order to extort money from their families.

The Turkish Consul has demanded the ten thousand tomans of English
bank money committed to us when the bankers fled. The matter has
been referred to our Consul in Tabriz. If it should have to be
surrendered, we should be in straits, for that is all we have to buy
bread with for these thousands of hungry people. Weeks ago we
appealed to America, both to the Red Cross and to our Board, but
there is no reply.

It was reported to me that there were refugees here who had stores
of flour, meat, butter, etc., and yet were taking bread from us, so
yesterday I made an investigation and found small quantities; but if
the whole were sold, it would not amount to twenty dollars, and the
owners would be reduced to nothing but dry bread, and, though this
might do for a limited time, they cannot “live by bread alone” week
after week. Undoubtedly this terrible epidemic of dysentery which
has carried off hundreds is due largely to lack of proper food and
want of variety of food. As I made the rounds of our own yards
yesterday and visited the people herded together in one of the dark
storerooms of our Persian Girls’-School, it seemed to me that their
condition of cold, hunger, filth and sickness was about as miserable
as they could get in this world. One great difference that was
apparent in all the rooms was the absence of small children,
hundreds having died during these last months.

The evangelistic work is now well organized, and everywhere there
are at least daily meetings for everyone. The women workers under
Miss Lamme visit outside places. Mrs. McDowell, with native women,
also visits outside places where there are large numbers of refugees
herded together. Mr. McDowell tries to keep the preachers at work,
too.

Last week a group of one hundred and fifty or more mountaineers who
are staying at Sengar, two or three miles from the city came down
with one of Kurdu’s men, asking us to feed them They said that
heretofore they had been provided for by Kurdu, a Kurdish chief, for
whom they had been working, carrying away for him the plunder he had
collected here, and that now he was leaving and we must feed them.
We put them off several times, but finally accepted the additional
burden. Every one who gets tired of his job of charity or
responsibility throws it upon us. There seems no end, and this is
the seventh week.

_Thursday, 18th February._

Yesterday afternoon I went out to the College compound for the first
time since Christmas. We had to drive under the gallows at the city
gate. It creates rather unpleasant feelings to think that perhaps
some of our friends may be suspended there.

Our Mission is being treated with more consideration than at first,
and we are hoping that perhaps the Turkish Consul has heard from
Constantinople, and that our own Government has been exerting
influence at Berlin and Constantinople. For weeks we have had no
word from the outside world; but we “rest in Jehovah and wait
patiently for Him.”

_Friday, 19th February._

This has been a snowy day again. The people have been making it a
day of fasting and prayer—as if every day were not a fast day!

_Saturday, 20th February._

All day negotiations have been going on in regard to the English
bank money. When Dr. Shedd and Dr. Packard were called to the
Turkish Consulate, they found there the former Urmia Consul, who had
fled from here last autumn when war between Russia and Turkey was
first declared. He had gone south to Soujboulak. It looks as if he
were perhaps fleeing now in this direction, which would mean that
the Russians were in Soujboulak; we have heard this report. It is
being reported that the Kurds were making preparations to-day for
leaving here. It may be that the Consul’s haste to get this money is
another evidence that he is expecting to leave soon. He told the
gentlemen to-day that he thought that, as Americans, they ought to
make a contribution toward the cause of Turkey. They have felt that
a compromise on the ten thousand is the best way out, and suggested
that he take two thousand; but he refused to take less than five
thousand, and promised that he would not take it before to-morrow,
so if something does not develop before to-morrow we shall probably
be the poorer by that amount. We are hoping that it may be taken
without any show of force or violence. Of course, we cannot make any
resistance.

To-day we finished going over all the bread tickets, arranging the
names according to villages. Then we called in responsible men from
each village and went over the lists, to find out those who would be
able to help themselves soon, and those who had reported more
members of families than they have. I am sorry to say that we found
scores who were cheating in various ways, and now we have to get
hold of all of them—a big business for some days to come. We are
distributing 14,000-15,000 loaves of about ten and a half ounces
each day; but there are so many getting more than a loaf each that
there are probably not more than eleven thousand persons receiving.

An epidemic of typhoid has broken out at the College among the
refugees—twenty-seven cases. To-day, even in the midst of our
troubles, the Evangelistic Board met to consider a reorganization of
the work. When the people are able to return to the villages, they
will probably have to settle temporarily in a few of the larger
ones.

_Sunday, 21st February._

To-day there are three or four services in the church. This morning
it was packed for a communion service and many were turned away.
Another communion service is arranged for this afternoon, and then
again next Sunday, to give an opportunity for all communicants.

_Tuesday, 23rd February._

Last night one of the most terrible things that has yet happened
occurred. In the evening ten or a dozen of the prisoners from the
French Mission, taken ten days or more ago by the Turkish Consul,
were discharged, and we all felt that probably the rest would soon
be set free, as there was no special charge against them. But this
morning five men, two of them Moslems, were found hanging from the
gallows at the Kurdish Gate, and forty-eight others were shot beyond
the Tcharbash Gate. No one has dared to go out yet and get the
bodies, though Dr. Shedd has asked permission of the Turkish Consul.
For two days we had felt so much more hopeful, but to-day a terrible
fear has fallen on the people. There is much silent weeping, but
little violent demonstration, though the mothers, wives and families
of the murdered men are here. The question in everybody’s mind is:
“What will the Turks do next?” Forty or fifty shots were distinctly
heard in the night between one and two o’clock, but no one guessed
what they meant. We had begun yesterday to take their bread-tickets
away from a few of the people to try to force them to go to their
villages or find money in some way to provide for themselves; but
now they are too frightened to leave and everything is set back
again. Two or three days ago the Turks took some things from the
French Mission property here, carpets, etc., and we hear that they
are plundering more to-day. On Sunday we received a card from Tabriz
saying that everything was quiet there, that £1,000 relief had been
received, and that Mr. Labaree was going to the Caucasus to relieve
the refugees who had fled from Urmia to Russia.

_Wednesday, 24th February._

The French missionaries and the nine nuns were very much alarmed for
their personal safety. They asked that one of our men should go
there and put up an American flag; but, of course, we could not do
that. Yesterday the Turkish Consul sent word that if we wanted the
bodies of the three Christians hanging at the gate, we had
permission to take them. Mr. McDowell and Mr. Allen went with some
Syrians, took down the bodies, and buried them. There has been a
little more disorder than usual, and the people are terrified again.
I have had to give back many of the bread tickets that we had
collected. There are hundreds of people who have fields and
vineyards, but who cannot borrow a dollar. These tickets are really
promissory notes which they have signed, promising to pay later, but
we need _cash_ now, and our bread queue does not decrease—rather,
increases. I wonder what a trained Red Cross worker would do with a
mob that will not stand in line or stay where you put them; who,
when you go over the case and give the answer, refuse to take it,
but stand about and weep briny tears by the hour. They have no sense
of honour, don’t know how to tell the truth, can’t tell the same
story twice, and do not know much about anything except that their
stomachs are empty. They try to get bread under the names of the
dead, and when accused of evading the truth, will declare in the
most injured tones: “We wouldn’t lie.” There is much that would be
funny in these investigations if it did not get monotonous.

_Saturday, 27th February._

When Mr. McDowell returned from the burial of those shot on Jewish
Hill, he reported that they had found forty bodies and identified
all but five or six.

On Wednesday night, a still more horrible deed was committed at
Gulpashan. This village and Iriawa had been shielded, partly through
the efforts of a German; but on Wednesday night a band of Persian
volunteers, arriving from Salmas or beyond, went there, took fifty
men, and, according to reports, shot them in the graveyard near by.
They then plundered the village, took girls and young women,
outraged them, and acted in general as one might expect Satan to do
when turned loose.

The horror and sadness of everything has been brought nearer to us
by the death of Mlle. Madelaine Perrochet, a young Swiss girl who
came with the Coans four months ago to teach the missionary
children. She was only twenty-one, so bright, so pretty, that we had
all learned to love her dearly. She spoke English well, and, of
course, French and German. She died on Thursday, after dinner, and
yesterday (Friday) we had the funeral service in Dr. Coan’s living
room, led by Mr. McDowell. We could not take her out to our little
cemetery at Seir, so she was buried in Dr. Coan’s garden, just at
the right of the entrance to the long grape-arbour. In his prayer
Mr. McDowell used the words: “We are not only walking in the valley
of the shadow of death, but we are dwelling there in these weeks.”

Just now two of the young Syrians who are the chief men in helping
with the bread came in and told me that they had received warning
secretly that they had better leave here and hide with some friendly
Moslems, as the Turkish Consul is going to take out all the young
men from our yards and other places in the city and kill them—“wipe
them out.” I cannot believe that it can be true, but we cannot know.
If they enter our yards by force and murder men, then there is no
further safety for any of us. As one of these young men said just
now: “Let us commit everything into the hands of God, and then wait
and be ready for whatever comes.”

Typhus is raging at the College. Yesterday there were seventy cases
at the College compound, and over a hundred others on diet, with the
probability of a large part of them developing typhoid. It is
impossible to take care of so many cases or feed them properly under
such conditions. At the hospital they are buying all the milk and
mesta (matzoun) they can get. Mrs. Cochran has had charge of the
feeding there, as well as doing much else, and yesterday she went to
bed; to-day there are symptoms of typhoid. Mrs. Coan and Miss Coan
took care of Mlle. Perrochet, and the last week or two had the help
of a Syrian woman who has had a nurse’s course in America, Miss
George. She has proved very efficient and a great help and comfort.

_Saturday Night._

There was a great deal of anxiety lest something should happen here;
but we woke on Sunday morning in safety and saw a rainbow in the
northern sky, though there was no rain. The reports of Mr. Allen
from Gulpashan were too black to be written. The soldiers sent out
by the Consul to protect the villages against Kurds and Moslem
looters left unviolated hardly a woman or girl of those remaining in
the village, and a number of girls were carried off. It seemed quite
apparent that they understood that the whole business of protecting
was to be a farce. When on Sunday morning Mr. Allen returned and
wanted to bring people with him, he was not permitted. Those who had
been murdered in the cemetery a few nights previously had been
buried under a few inches of earth, and when he wanted to have them
uncovered to identify them and bury them deeper, he was refused. The
soldiers had made them all sit down on the ground and then shot at
them. They then looked them over, and any who were found to be
breathing were shot the second time. The only reason for all this
was that they bore the name of “Christian.” What has the Christian
world to say?

Mr. McDowell went to Iriawa and found similar conditions there. We
were very glad to see him and Mr. Allen safely back, for they
undoubtedly were in jeopardy themselves and were treated insolently
by the soldiers.

Mrs. Cochran is better, and we feel now that she will not have
typhoid. It is a tremendous relief. Only seven died here in this
quarter yesterday. The death list here has passed the thousand mark,
and, including the Boys’-School yard and the College, fifteen
hundred. All the past week three young men and myself have been kept
busy all the morning and into the middle of the afternoon examining
bread tickets, hearing pleas, and giving out new tickets as the new
refugees have come in. The last several days we have purchased,
without counting the College, nearly ten thousand pounds of bread
daily.

_Friday, 5th March._

Mrs. Cochran has typhoid, but so far in a light form. Mrs. Coan and
Miss Coan are taking on her work as best they can, and caring for
her too, with the help of the Syrian nurse, Miss George. Dr. Packard
has been in bed two or three days, but we do not know if it is
typhoid or not. Mr. Allen went to Gulpashan with permission from the
Turkish Consul, to bury those who had been murdered. He found fifty
bodies. When he came back, a crowd of sixty-four, mostly women and
girls, came with him. Our yards and rooms, including the church, are
crowded again, but with cleaner people. Most of the mountaineers are
out. Two families of mountaineers who are friendly with the Kurds
started out yesterday for their homes. It is spring now, and time
for ploughing and sowing, and unless the people can soon get to
their villages there will be a dearth of wheat and other grain next
year. There are repeated reports of the approach of the Russian
army, and some Germans here have said that they were soon expecting
to go on a journey. If the Turks should have to flee, there is no
telling what they might do before going; but we do not dare to let
our hopes of deliverance rise, for it makes the long wait harder.

A few days ago the ex-Turkish Consul sent word that if there were
any girls held captive that we wanted to get, he would find them for
us. That looks as if there had been a quarrel—or perhaps it is a
trick to trip us into being unwise. It takes the wisdom of the
serpent as well as the simplicity of the dove!

_Saturday, 6th March._

Dr. Packard has developed typhoid. There is only Mrs. Packard to
take care of him, and she is far from strong, and there are four
lively boys to care for and keep out of mischief and danger. Since
Mlle.’s death, it leaves the children’s education on the mothers’
shoulders, and Mrs. Packard has been trying to take the bulk of it.

This morning I made out the second month’s report of the bread funds
which have passed through my hands. So far we have spent
approximately £1,500. Over £120 has been collected in sales, which
leaves nearly £1,400 debt for us. This does not include College or
Boys’-School yard. All of this has been spent on dry bread alone,
two hundred and twenty-three and a half tons, all brought in on the
backs of carriers. About one hundred and fifty pounds is a man’s
load. This month we have distributed four and a quarter tons a day.

_Evening._

There is considerable fear to-night among the Christians that the
Turks may strike a blow before they go. We have twenty-five extra
guards of Persian soldiers. All day Moslem villagers have been
fleeing to the city in fear of what the Russians may do when they
come. We do not know how near they are, for we have no means of
communication. It would seem strange to lie down in quiet and peace,
knowing that all fear and terror to these poor people were passed.

_Sunday, 7th March._

Dr. Packard is very sick with typhoid; yesterday his temperature was
105. He seems quieter to-day. Dr. Pera, former hospital assistant,
has promised to take care of him every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
and Mrs. Packard will be night-nurse. Mrs. Cochran seems to be
getting along quietly. Thirty cases of typhoid are reported in one
of the houses in the suburbs, which a few days ago we filled up with
refugees brought from the College compound. They probably brought
the germ with them. The only reason it is not raging here is the
eternal vigilance of Mr. McDowell in looking after sanitary
conditions and the watercourses. He has frequently to appeal to the
Governor to get donkeys for carrying off refuse, though he pays
well. As the church is full of refugees, two meetings are held daily
in the Seminary yard. Kasha Moshi of Geogtapa makes a fine outdoor
preacher.

Just now, as I came from dinner, a woman met me, leading a little
girl by the hand, and in her most wheedling tones tried to present
her to me as a gift, saying she was her great-grandchild. I laughed
and said I already had one hundred such gifts. She felt that I was
not properly appreciative! There are scores of people who would like
to dump their responsibilities under these conditions. We have had a
number of cases of relatives deserting old and helpless women and
leaving them for us to care for until they died.

_Monday, 8th March._

Yesterday there was general fasting and prayer until noon for Dr.
Packard’s and Mrs. Cochran’s recovery. There is a beginning of what
we hope may be a deep and permanent spiritual awakening. In such
times one lives in the presence of eternal realities, and Heaven
seems quite near. It is marvellous how the Word of God speaks to us
in every condition and experience through which we pass.

_Tuesday, 9th March._

On Sunday a Mohammedan orator made a speech in a garden in Dilgusha
to a crowd of several thousand people, practically all Moslems. He
said that Italy and Persia had joined in the alliance with Germany,
Austria and Turkey, and, of course, are in the way of victory.
America had taken no part in this war, but is doing good all over
the world without regard to race or religion, caring for the sick
and wounded, feeding the hungry and befriending the needy. The
American missionaries here, he said, have done and are doing this,
and everyone should honour them and stand up for them. At this there
was great applause.

Last night a body of askars entered the house of Dr. ——, whose yard
adjoins ours, and demanded Mar Elia, a Russian Bishop, who has been
in hiding these last weeks. They didn’t find him, but took about
forty pounds’ worth of money and jewellery and frightened the people
nearly to death. Our watchman called Mr. McDowell and Mr. Allen and
they tried to go over to the help of the women. Mr. McDowell climbed
the ladder from this side to go over into their yard, but at the top
met a gun in the hands of an askar, who demanded his retreat. Mr.
McDowell, out of respect for the gun, didn’t insist on having his
way. That yard is not in our hands and we have no flag there, so, of
course, we couldn’t do anything. This has scared the people again.
This morning one woman brought me some jewellery and papers to keep
for her. She had been in America and only returned last spring, and
was bewailing her stupidity in returning. She says she is only
waiting for a way to open for her to go back, never to return.
Hundreds are saying the same thing, and I think there will be a
large emigration to America when the way opens. I wouldn’t mind
emigrating myself for a while!

_Friday, 12th March._

We cannot complain of the monotony of life for these last two or
three days. It was on Monday night that the Turks tried to get the
Bishop, but he escaped over the church roof. The next afternoon they
suddenly appeared again, and this time found him hiding on the
church roof behind a parapet. He tried to get down an old ladder
standing by the wall, but the askar who was at the other end of the
roof raised his gun and told him he would shoot if he attempted to
run, so he was captured. It is said that he had two thousand tomans
in gold and Russian paper money on his person. This, of course, was
taken. The most unfortunate incident of that capture was the arrest
at the same time of Dr. Lokman. At Mr. McDowell’s request, Dr.
Lokman (Syrian) had gone over the wall into Dr. ——’s house to find
out if there were any typhoid cases there, and was caught by the
askars. Our mission at once began to make efforts to secure their
release. The Turkish Consul demanded £200 for Dr. Lokman and £2,000
for the Bishop. In the evening he sent word that unless they were
immediately redeemed they would be shot at midnight. He ordered the
Persian Governor to send eight men to assist at the shooting. In the
meantime they had gotten hold of another man or two. When word came
about Dr. Lokman there was some hustling to find the money. “Brides”
(young married women) were asked to give up the gold pieces from
their dowry, and in a short time the £200 was sent. When Dr. Lokman
was notified of his release he was sleeping soundly without any
realization of the doom hanging over him. When he reached our yards
and his family and friends congratulated him, he felt like one
raised from the dead. Just as soon as he heard that the others were
still in danger, he said: “Well, we must try to do something to
release them.” He is one of the most prominent Syrians here and
influential with the Persian Government. From the first day of these
troubles he has been on hand to help in governmental affairs in
every way possible. All day yesterday efforts were being made to get
money to redeem the others.

These last two nights our yards have been overflowing with people
from the Christian quarter here, and already the Moslems from the
villages are crowding into the city for fear of the Russians. As one
of our bakers said yesterday: “The city gates cannot let them in
fast enough.” The city is in a panic for fear of what the Russians
will do to the Moslems when they arrive. Heaven grant that they will
act in the spirit of Christ and not of Mohammed! Everywhere the
Moslems are now anxious to show themselves friends of Christians.
David gives expression to my sentiments concerning the wicked in Ps.
59.

The Germans, I understand, have already left, except one of the
leaders, and he is ready to go in haste. Yesterday I had to stay in
bed with a headache, and it seemed to me that the very air was
vibrating with expectation and excitement. Ten thousand times a day
the petition arises, “O Lord, deliver us.” Ten weeks to-morrow! It
seems impossible to hold out much longer. “O Lord, deliver us from
the hand of the wicked.” Dr. Packard is still quite sick. Mrs.
Cochran seems to be getting along slowly. They have so many cases of
typhoid at the College that they have put up the big tent in the
School yard there for a hospital.

_Tuesday, 16th March._

To-day our hearts are heavy and sorrowful. Dr. Packard is very sick
indeed, and it seems now as if Miss Coan has typhoid or typhus,
whichever this sickness is. Mrs. Cochran appears to be getting along
all right. We want Dr. Vanneman from Tabriz, but there seems to be
no way to get a message through to him. Dr. Shedd asked the Turkish
Consul to help us get a messenger through, but he said he couldn’t.
The Russians are between Urmia and Tabriz. We have twenty-five or
thirty cases of typhoid here in this compound. Mr. McDowell is
trying to empty a few rooms to put the sick in, but it is very
difficult.

Last night there was great fear again in Mart Maryam lest the new
arrivals might devise some new evil for them, and many wanted to
crowd into our yard, but every place is full. We are feeding 15,000
persons daily, one loaf each. A note by secret messenger came from
Dr. Vanneman a few days ago, saying that they had received £1,200
for relief. This means a great deal, but it will pay only a third of
the debt we already have. The Turks still hold Shamasha Lazar and
Mar Elia (Bishop) for a big ransom. Our funds are getting low, and
Mr. Müller has borrowed some money at 24 per cent. interest. Last
week our hopes of deliverance were high, but hope so long deferred
makes the heart grow faint. Mr. McDowell was trying to get some sick
people out of the big school-room when he saw a tired and weary
woman, with a baby in her arms, sitting in one of the seats, and
said to her: “Where do you stay?” She said: “Just here.” “How long
have you been here?” “Since the beginning (two months),” she
replied. “How do you sleep at night?” “I lay the baby on the desk in
front of me, and I have this post at the back to lean against. This
is a very good place. Thank you very much.”

The men don’t dare to go outside our yards for fear of being
arrested and held for ransom. One of the Syrian physicians was asked
by a missionary to go outside and see some sick. He laughed and
said: “I’ll go if you will pay the bill.”

_Thursday, 18th March._

It is such a relief to have Dr. Packard come to himself again,
though he is very weak. Miss Coan’s fever still continues, and Miss
Lamme has gone to the College to help there. This morning Mr.
McDowell is down with fever, but we hope it is only malaria.
Shamasha Lazar, who has been a prisoner for a week at the Turkish
Consulate, was released on payment of one thousand tomans cash on
the condition that he finds the other £400 within two days.

If there were a mail or some other way open to Tabriz, we could sell
orders on Dr. Vanneman, our Mission Treasurer in Tabriz, but the
bankers will not buy such orders now because they can’t dispose of
them until a way to Tabriz is opened. The day before yesterday we
tried to make a bargain with our twenty or more Mohammedan bakers,
who are supplying us with about six tons of bread daily, to let us
have it on twenty days’ credit. They agreed to do it on condition
that at the end of ten days we would pay half; but after they left
here they agreed among themselves that they would not deliver bread
yesterday, though they didn’t tell us. In the morning, when we found
that no bread was coming, we sent out and got other bakers to
deliver for cash. When our regular bakers found we were buying
elsewhere, they came back, and after a long discussion they promised
to deliver for twenty days, if we would pay half every five days. So
it stands; we shall see if they stick to their bargain. Fortunately,
yesterday we had half a day’s supply on hand, and managed to buy
enough to finish out. There is a cash famine, and anyone who has any
money wants to hold on to it in such uncertain times.

This morning, a little after five, we were aroused by shouts and a
commotion near by. The askars with their officers had entered the
English mission yard by climbing a ladder from the street over the
wall into the yard of a Mr. ——, who is a Syrian, but an English
subject. The watchman gave the alarm, and Mr. Muller and Mr. Allen
were soon on the spot. Of course they couldn’t do anything but
reassure the women. Eight or ten men were arrested and taken away,
probably to be held for ransom. That property has been connected
with ours from the beginning of these troubles, and the American
flag has been over the entrance. Mr. Allen said to the officer: “You
don’t intend to respect the American flag?” He replied: “The Turkish
flag is also there.” (It is under the American flag.) This makes one
feel doubtful for the safety of our own yards. It is wonderful how
quiet these thousands of people can keep while such things are going
on. A number of women and girls sleep in the parlour adjoining my
room, and I opened the door and told them not to leave the room.
They said: “No, we are only dressing”; but it was evident that they
were trembling with fear; and this is the state we have lived in for
eleven weeks.

One of the most pitiful objects of humanity that I have ever yet
seen came into the room to ask for a ticket—a boy of about twelve or
fourteen, wasted to a mummy-like skeleton by hunger and sickness, so
weak that he could hardly stand or speak, unbathed for these many
months. I asked where he had been staying. He said: “In the
school-room.”

The Turks have demanded ten thousand suits of shirts and pyjamas for
the army. Eight thousand were demanded from the Moslem women, and
two thousand from the Christian or Syrian women. As the latter are
practically all here with us and in the Christian quarter, it fell
upon the missionaries to take the responsibility, so Miss Schoebel
took charge. So far fifty-five bolts of calico have been sent; Miss
Schoebel gave out the material to responsible women, and they in
turn found others to help with the sewing (mostly by hand) and about
eight hundred of the shirts are ready. How would you like to sit
down and make clothes for Turks and Kurds who had robbed you, burned
your homes, murdered your husbands, brothers, and fathers,
dishonoured your women, and carried your girls into captivity?

_Saturday, 20th March._

The prisoners taken from the English Mission yards by the Turks were
kept about twenty-four hours, examined, and to the great and
unexpected joy of everyone were set free without ransom. The Turks
said they had heard that a Russian spy was being kept in that yard,
and when they found no evidence of this, they set the men free.
Another thing may have had something to do with it. The night before
last several Turkish soldiers who were sick with typhoid went to the
College compound. When informed that there was absolutely no place
for them, they returned to the Consulate, which is in the former
Russian Mission. The Shahbanda then sent for Dr. Shedd. It was after
nightfall and we didn’t know why he was sent for, but were fearful
lest another blow might be about to fall upon us. But he asked him
if we would be willing to care for their sick, a dozen or more, who
have typhoid. He was told that there was no room in the hospital or
College building adjoining, which are already crowded full of sick,
but that we would do what we could. This probably had something to
do with the dismissal of the prisoners. For two days no other
arrests have been made, and only the Bishop is now a prisoner. The
last ransom they asked for him was fifteen thousand tomans. The
Shahbanda has said that he is going to take down all the American
flags except the one over our main entrance. We have several other
properties adjoining ours which are full of refugees, and several of
the naturalized citizens have American flags up.

We are happy this morning that all our sick are better. Mr. McDowell
was up yesterday and Miss Schoebel has no fever this morning, so it
looks as if she had only malaria. Mrs. Cochran is getting along
finely; Dr. Packard we hope has passed the crisis; Miss Coan seems
to be having a fight case. Our rooms, hallways, and every place are
crowded to the limit again. The men are afraid to stay anywhere else
for fear of arrest. The Turks have given out word that several
thousand troops are coming, and are demanding houses in Mart Maryam,
and those turned out have nowhere else to go.

We are having trouble in getting bread, as the bakers refuse to
deliver without cash on the spot. They say the “blue eyes”
(Russians) will return, “and then you will not pay us.” Mr. Müller
will try to-day to get wheat on several months’ credit, and we shall
use that instead of cash if possible. I am realizing what a
wonderful thing money is, and what a dreadful thing it is to be
without it, especially under such circumstances. As long as we could
pay cash we couldn’t stop some of the bakers from bringing more than
we wanted. We feel, with so many of our number sick, so many others
busy caring for them, the end of our money in sight, and our
physical strength almost exhausted, that surely deliverance must be
near. Through eleven weeks we have looked for it in vain.

I have just paid a visit to the school dining-room, which is one of
our hospital rooms. If there is another spot on this earth of more
concentrated human misery, I hope I may never know it. One boy had
just died. The mother looked up at me so pitifully, and said: “Lady,
he is dead.” Another baby was lying on the floor dying, under the
influence of khash-khash (opium). The mother has no milk for lack of
food, and the baby is dying of starvation. The mother said: “Khanum,
I am so sick, what shall I do?” I could only reply: “I do not know.”
Twenty others were lying on the floor, without bedding, in various
stages of misery, groaning, weeping and appealing for help. One
child was lying on his father’s coat with a hard bundle under his
head, with the marks of slow starvation upon him. To-morrow he too
will probably be gone, and we shall thank God that it is so. They
are so many, our strength and our means are so limited, the rooms
are so crowded, we can do little for them and death is their best
friend. One of our Bible Women is lying here, with her two daughters
on one side of her and her sister on the other. Her boy died a few
weeks ago. When I spoke to her she tried to raise herself up and
tell me about some of the other sick in the room. We have been
furnishing matting for the sick to lie on, and using Mr. Sterrett’s
supply of wood for fires in the sick room; the rest have had to do
without fires except the few who have been able to get wood for
their rooms. In one of the typhoid rooms yesterday I noticed a pile
of charred wood in the corner and asked about it. They said they had
sent to the village and brought in the half-burned beams of their
homes for fuel. That was all that was left of their house, except a
pile of mud. Others have done the same thing.

Yesterday Rabi Nanou, one of our Bible Women, went out as usual to
hold meetings in the places where large numbers of refugees, mostly
mountain people, are huddled together. She was stopped in the street
by an askar who demanded her long coat. She told him she had been
stripped of everything when she first fled from her village, and
that the coat had since been given her by one of the missionary
ladies. He said, nevertheless, it was not necessary for her, and
demanded that she should take it off. Just then another askar came
up who had been a guard at our gate. He interfered, saying that he
knew her as a deaconess who went out every day to preach to the
people, and she was allowed to go on with her coat.

A while ago I took some soft-boiled eggs and several pieces of bread
to the sick ones in the dining-room, and to Rabi Surra and her
family. They are very grateful for everything. I’ve no doubt that,
if they were properly fed, most of them would be up in a week.

_Sunday, 21st March._

Yesterday Mr. McDowell called a meeting of all the native doctors to
try to get them to help in the responsibility of caring for the
increasing number of typhoid cases. There are a number of doctors
who do practically nothing and find excuses when anything is asked
of them. It is hard to understand how they can spend hours every day
sitting in their rooms or walking up and down the pavement here
while they might be doing something to help in the care of the
scores of sick people and in the effort Mr. McDowell is making for
the preservation of the health of the community. Our assistant
physician, Dr. Daniel Werda, is sick with typhoid, and Dr. David, of
Soujboulak, who went out to the hospital to help, has been brought
home sick. Dr. Pera, our former assistant, is at the College
compound now, helping with the sick missionaries and a few special
cases, and Dr. Joseph Khoshaba has consented to go out there to
help. Dr. Theo. Mar Yosep has been our stand-by from the very
beginning, and is the only native doctor here in the city yards who
has really worked. He has been on hand every day.

_Tuesday, 23rd March._

Sunday evening was the beginning of the Persian New Year, _Noruz_,
and as soon as the cannon went off to announce that the New Year had
begun there was a great firing of guns and torpedoes, more than
usual. It was kept up for half-an-hour or more, and many of the
people were badly frightened, thinking that perhaps a battle was on.
We heard the next day that the Shahbanda was scared, not knowing
what it was.

The Shahbanda sent forty-eight bolts of muslin for pyjamas, and the
women under Miss Schoebel’s directions are now sewing on them,
having finished eight hundred and fifty shirts.

The smells in our backyards are almost unbearable. I can’t open my
back window at all. The sun is quite hot and dries things up; it
also brings out the awful smells. Last night the Shahbanda gave us
permission to send a messenger to Tabriz for Dr. Vanneman. Our sick
are all getting along fairly well. Dr. Packard has passed the crisis
and each day seems a little bit better. There are about twenty-five
Turks in the hospital now.

_Thursday, 25th March._

We are trying to send away some of the people by taking back their
bread tickets to-day; but we cannot give them any assurance of
safety. They are so crowded here, and there is so much sickness, and
money is so scarce, that it seems the lesser of two evils to send
some of the people away, even though a few be killed.

Yesterday we gave each of the sixty sick persons in the school
dining-room a soft-boiled egg, and in the afternoon tea, which was
served by two or three school-girls. Sugar and tea are so expensive,
about three times the regular price, that it costs about six
shillings just to treat that one room to tea. The big school-room is
in just as bad a condition as the dining-room, only with so many
more tenants that it seems impracticable to do anything there. I’ve
no doubt that if hundreds of these people were properly fed for a
week they would be on their feet, but it is beyond our means and our
strength. Just now the voice of Kasha Moushi Douman of Geogtapa
comes to me through the open window of the paved school court where
he is preaching. Twice a day preaching exercises are held in the
school yard, and besides there are a number of preachers and women
who go round daily to rooms and other yards for services.

_Monday, 29th March._

We have had two or three rainy days, which are very hard for the
people. Some of the sick are lying on the balcony with almost no
covering or bedding. I saw one of the most awful sights I have yet
seen on the school balcony yesterday—a woman stretched out on the
bare bricks, half-naked, in the throes of death, the damp cold air
blowing over her, friendless, helpless. The whole school-room,
aisles, desks, corners, and platform is filled with the most
miserable of the starving sick. We made the man who has charge of
our tea-stand take the samovars there yesterday, Palm Sunday, and
give each of the one hundred and fifty people two large glasses of
tea. It costs about twelve shillings, but eight shillings were given
me by Syrians. With the thousands of dollars of debt just for dry
bread, we don’t feel we can borrow money for special food for the
sick ones, except in limited quantities for typhoid patients. We
need space more than anything else, rooms where we could put the
sick on straw mats with at least a quilt over them, a fire and a
little food besides dry bread, which many are too sick to eat. It
seems dreadful to think of two thousand people dying here in this
way, but after twelve weeks of it we cannot but feel glad every time
one more of these helpless suffering ones finds rest. Sometimes for
days I seem to be hardened past feeling, and then again the horror
of it all sweeps over me. We pray and pray and cry out to God for
deliverance, but no help comes. We seem shut off from the rest of
the world and left to our fate. Nothing from the outside world for
three months! We hear many reports, but few materialize. We are told
that word has come that the Crown Prince has arrived in Tabriz and
that Urmia should celebrate, so there has been a great deal of
firing of cannon, display of banners, and decoration. We have had
our entrance decorated with banners and rugs. There is a great deal
of rejoicing among the Persians, who desire to see the Persian
Government strong enough to turn out both Turk and Russian.

A few days ago, Mr. Müller managed to borrow a thousand tomans from
a merchant in the bazaar. It was counted out in two-kran silver
pieces. This he was bringing home on the back of a porter, he
walking close behind with a Persian soldier. Suddenly he found
himself surrounded by six Kurds, armed to the teeth with guns,
cartridge belts, and daggers. Two walked ahead and punched the
money-bag to assure themselves that it was really money; the others
pressed close behind Mr. Müller as they followed him through the
streets. They asked him where he was taking the money, but he walked
on in dignified silence, not deigning to answer, though trembling
for the safety of the money. They reached our gate in safety, and as
he turned in, Mr. Müller thanked the Kurds for their safe escort.
They laughed and passed on. Some of the young Syrians who guard the
gate report that a few days ago a bunch of Kurds in passing stopped
to talk and said: “We came down here to the plain with the intention
of killing you all, not one of you would have escaped, but (pointing
to the Stars and Stripes over the gate) we don’t dare pass under
that flag!“ Everybody feels that had we not been able to give refuge
to the Christians, there would have been few left to tell the tale;
and so even yet we do not dare to force the people out, and they all
say: “We would rather die here of hunger and disease than take our
chances with the Kurds and Turks.”

Our sick missionaries all seem to be getting along well, and we are
very thankful. The typhoid here in the city is usually light, and
there are few deaths from it, though many from dysentery. Measles
almost disappeared some time ago.

_Thursday, 1st April._

Rabi Nannou of Geogtapa, our best Bible Woman, has died of
pneumonia, after a few days’ illness. For the three months that she
has been a refugee here she has been a fearless and faithful worker,
going out daily for religious meetings to the houses where the
mountaineers have been huddled, looking after the sick, not
hesitating to go to any place where she could help. For several
years she has supported from her small salary her brother’s four
orphan children, and has been to them both father and mother.
Herself unmarried, she has given her means and love unselfishly to
these as if they were her own children. There is no one to fill her
place.

We have started to buy wheat on credit, as our cash is very low and
we are not able to get more money. We have just bought four hundred
bushels from Rabi David of Degala for part of his debt to us. When
he was in prison and fined one thousand tomans to save his head, we
furnished part of the cash and took his note. He can’t pay cash now,
so he is paying in wheat, which we will have ground to give to the
hungry. What credit we can get for bread is for a few days only.
Most of the bakers need the money to carry on their business.

_Friday, 2nd April._

Bertha Shedd, ten years old, has been sick with typhoid for several
days, and now Miss Lamme is beginning; the latter went out to the
hospital about two weeks ago to help there when Miss Coan went down
with it. Dr. Packard, Mrs. Cochran, and Miss Coan are getting well.
Oraham Badel, our financial agent and general assistant in the City
Compound, is very low this morning—just as I was writing he died,
leaving a wife and four little ones.

Several hundred Turkish troops have come into the city, evidently in
retreat, as there are wounded among them. It is not evident from
which direction they came. Last evening one of the Turkish officers
came rushing in here in great distress. He had taken poison by
mistake and came in here to be saved. He was given an emetic, and
his life was saved. They have heard of germs and are very much
afraid of typhoid, and had some corrosive sublimate in a glass for
washing hands. This man saw it and, thinking it was wine or whiskey,
poured it down his throat. He was terribly scared, and after being
relieved of the poison, it was suggested that, as his life had been
saved, he should try to save other lives.

_Sunday, 4th April._

This journal is fast becoming an obituary. At first the hundreds who
died were the poorest and the weakest, but now many from among our
best are going. Yesterday Dr. Daniel Werda, Dr. Packard’s assistant,
died of typhoid. For three days Mrs. McDowell has been in bed with
high fever. It is not evident yet that it is typhoid. Last night our
cook went to bed with typhoid. Miss Schoebel is now trying to make
her comfortable and makes her old mother look after her. All day we
have been trying to get something to eat for the hundreds of sick
who have nothing for Easter. Easter is the Syrian “Great Feast,” and
is to them what Christmas is to us. They say: “The Little Feast
(Christmas) was black, and now the Great Feast is black too.” They
had hoped so much that deliverance might come before the feast. We
have given eggs and soup to about five hundred sick, and before
evening I hope a glass of tea will be given to as many more.
To-morrow we plan to give soup to several hundred more that we
didn’t reach to-day. We don’t use relief money for anything but
bread, and so have only personal funds for the sick—a very little.

_Tuesday, 6th April._

We have dwelt so long in the valley of death with the sick, the
starving, the dying, with the unending procession of little bodies
sewn up in a piece of cloth, friendless corpses carried out on
ladders, with gaping mouths and staring eyes, crude unpainted
coffins, coffins covered with black chintz, the never-ceasing wail,
and eyes of the mourners that are never dried, hands outstretched
for what we cannot give, and now so many of our own number are down.
I felt on Sunday as if I ought to get my own burial clothes ready so
as to make as little trouble as possible when my turn came, for in
these days we all go about our work knowing that any one of us may
be the next to go down. And yet I think our friends would be
surprised to see how cheerful we have kept, and how many occasions
we find for laughing; for ludicrous things do happen. Then, too,
after dwelling so intimately with death for three months, he doesn’t
seem to have so unfriendly an aspect, and the “Other Side” seems
very near and our Pilot close beside us. It is at such times that
one finds out just how much faith in the unseen he has, and just how
much his religion is worth. I find the Rock on which I can anchor in
peace are the words of Christ Himself: “Where I am, there ye may be
also.” “If any man serve Me let him follow Me, and where I am, there
shall also My servant be.” That is enough—to be where He is.
Recently, as I have read sermons or books written for the trying
times of life, I have found them tame and insufficient for the
occasion; our own experiences are so much more intense and go so
much deeper that nothing but the words of God Himself can reach to
the bottom. I have been re-reading Browning’s _Prospice_, but it
doesn’t thrill me as much as it did, for I have something better:
“For I know whom I have believed....” and “I am persuaded that Death
cannot separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our
Lord.”

_Afternoon._

This morning Mrs. McDowell’s rose-spots appeared, and now we know
that she has typhoid or typhus (it was typhoid). Rabi Ister Alamshah
has consented to help in the care of Mrs. McDowell. Miss Schoebel
and I were perfectly willing to nurse her, but it would mean
throwing our work on some other missionary already loaded up. Mr.
McDowell will give up some of his work and help in nursing Mrs.
McDowell. There are now six of our number sick, and it is impossible
not to feel that someone else will go down in a few days unless it
becomes possible to send the crowds away.

_Evening._

To-day Miss Lamme’s rose-spots appeared, so her case is pronounced
typhoid.

                     *     *     *     *     *     *

_Thursday, 3rd June._

Almost two months since I last wrote in my journal. On Sunday, the
11th April, I went to bed with typhoid or typhus, and three days
later Miss Schoebel went down with it also. Rabi Elishua, a teacher
of the Persian Girls’-School, came to nurse me at once. She kept up
for three weeks and saw me through the worst of my sickness; then
she took the disease. Three of the other Seminary teachers in
succession came to care for Miss Schoebel, and each one went down
with the disease in turn. Miss Bridges, of the American Orphanage,
came to help us during the day, and in twelve days went to bed with
typhus. She is just getting about again. All the teachers who helped
to care for us have recovered, though one of the other teachers
died. We were all surprised to find how competent these untrained,
inexperienced girls were as nurses when there were no available
missionaries left to nurse us. We were dependent upon them and got
along finely without any complications. When the last one went down
we knew that she was the last _intelligent_ nurse we should find,
and after that we were dependent upon ignorant village women.

A great many things happened during the two months of our illness
and convalescence. A very large number of our Syrian friends died.
Of our own circle Mrs. McDowell died on the 16th April, and Mrs.
Shedd on the 17th May. We can’t take in yet what their loss will
mean to us when we get to living under normal conditions. Mrs.
Müller attended Miss Schoebel and me for two and a half weeks; then
she took the fever. Her little boy was born in a few days, but only
lived overnight. This is the fourth grave we have out in Dr. Coan’s
orchard by the grape-arbour. It hasn’t been possible to take them to
our cemetery at Seir. This week Mr. Müller went to bed with typhus.
His fever has been high. He is the thirteenth out of eighteen
missionaries to get the fever, besides two of the children, Bertha
Shedd and Ruth Müller. On Monday, Mr. Labaree, with two nurses, Miss
Easton of the Tabriz hospital and Miss Burgess, who had reached
Tabriz on her way to Urmia, arrived. Mr. Labaree had been trying for
weeks to get through, but was unable until the Russian army opened
the way. Yesterday, the 5th June, Dr. Lamme arrived and began work
last evening. One of the hard things during these five long months
was our isolation from the outside world. Of course we knew that our
friends were thinking of and praying for us, but it is a great help
to have the tangible evidence in the shape of these friends and of
letters from many others.

On Sunday, the 24th May, the advanced guard of the Russian army
entered Urmia, and in the afternoon the commander came to call on
our gentlemen. When we learned that the army would not remain, but
were ordered to follow the enemy, there was consternation and great
fear. And when the army moved on, the Moslems immediately began to
annoy and rob the Syrians who had returned to their villages. There
was great fear of a Moslem uprising against the Christians, and
hundreds fled in the direction of Salmas. Finally the Russians left
a small guard of about two hundred men. Three days ago about six
thousand Russian troops, with artillery, came in from the south and
marched through the city. We watched them from our roof, and it was
a goodly sight to us besieged people. We shall try now to empty our
yards of refugees. A few days ago there were still about one
thousand left in our own yards and in one yard adjoining, which we
have been renting for refugees, besides many others in surrounding
yards. The stench in our back yard is almost unbearable. I don’t
know how we can get rid of the smells or disinfect the ground, which
must be soaked for two or three feet, as that yard has been used as
a latrine for hundreds of people for more than five months.

Yesterday two Red Cross nurses, who have come with the Russian army
from Mongolia, asked to be our guests for a few days until the army
moved on in the direction of Erzeroum. They say that from there they
will go to Jerusalem. When travelling they dress like the Cossacks,
but wear their nurses’ costumes in the house.

A few days ago a number of prominent Syrians, who had fled when the
Russians evacuated Urmia, returned, many of them to broken and badly
damaged homes. We had a service of thanksgiving in the church
yesterday, the first time for many months, as it had been occupied
by refugees. Thousands have lived in such terror and want, it is a
wonder that many have not lost their minds. It has seemed sometimes
as if our tears were all dried up and our emotions were dead, we
have seen and felt so much. I suppose it is nature’s way of saving
brain and nerve. When I look at these poor wretched creatures and
little children like skeletons, I find I still have some feelings
left. It is estimated that four thousand people have died from
disease, hunger, and exposure, and about a thousand by violence. The
suffering can never be told, nor is it ended. Hundreds, yes
thousands, are destitute, and even if we empty our yard there is no
one left but the missionaries to save them from starvation, and we
look to America. In the name of all Christians we have tried to
witness for Christianity before this Moslem people. Will the
Christians of America pay the bill?

-----

Footnote 46:

  Note by Miss Platt.—The term Syrian, as used here, applies to the
  Christian nation who speak the Syriac language, and who are
  Nestorians by religious belief. In America they call themselves
  Persian-Assyrians.

Footnote 47:

  Christian quarter of the city, adjoining the mission property.

Footnote 48:

  A _toman_ is about four shillings.


32. URMIA AFTER ITS EVACUATION BY THE TURKS AND KURDS: LETTER DATED
    URMIA, 20th MAY, 1915, FROM MRS. J.P. COCHRAN TO FRIENDS IN THE
    UNITED STATES; COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF
    THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A.

It seems almost too good to be true to think that we are going to
get in touch once more with the outside world, and may be it is.
But, anyway, the Governor says he will send a messenger over to
Tabriz to-morrow to carry letters and perhaps he will get through
safely.

I have no idea what has leaked through to civilisation since we fell
out of the world, but I will give you as much of an account of the
last four months and a half as the brief time allowed before the
messenger goes will permit.

On New Year’s Day we had our usual day of receiving callers in the
city; all our Syrian and some Moslem friends called and things
seemed fairly safe, though we knew we might be on the edge of war,
as there was an army of Turks and Kurds within a day’s march of us.
They were said to be coming on to fight the Russians, who with a
little force, of two thousand, perhaps, were strongly entrenched
here.

The next morning the Russians rose and left in haste, and many of
our Syrian men and others who were known to be their supporters here
left with them. Our teaching force here at the College, our
newspaper and printing press work, and even our city church work was
terribly crippled by the exodus, as it took away some of our best
workers.

The Russians’ departure was the herald for the Kurds to pounce upon
the prey they had so long been held at bay from, and, even before
they arrived, the Moslem neighbours in all the surrounding villages
flew upon the spoil, killing Syrians, running off with their cattle
and household goods and even stripping those who were trying to run
away from them of their money, bundles and any clothes they took a
fancy to. They also carried off women and tried to force Christians
to become Moslems, keeping them safely if they would deny their
faith or repeat the sentence which constituted the acceptance of
Islam. In some cases they were successful in this, though, of
course, many would not and some of them were killed for it.

Then came the rush of the Kurds. They came in hundreds from every
Kurdish quarter, sore against the Christians for having joined
forces with the Russians, who had armed them and drafted them for
military service whether they would or not.

They, being armed, put up a fight and killed a good many Kurds in
the battles at some of the villages, though there were a couple of
thousand Syrians killed too in the villages, before they escaped to
the slender protection offered by six unarmed American men in our
mission compound. Our flag was put up, not only on our own property
here in the city but on all the adjoining block of Christian
property in the city; doors were made or holes in the walls between
all that adjoining property, to bring it under our control, and only
our principal big street-gate was allowed to be opened, all others
being barricaded. There in the city between ten and fifteen
thousand, many thousands of them destitute, congregated and sat
huddled in rooms, a hundred in a room or more, sometimes unable to
lie down at night on account of the crowding.

We had a good deal of money entrusted to us by the people who had to
flee, and as most of it is in silver ten-penny pieces, there being
no paper money in circulation here, they could carry away but
little, and we took charge of large sums without interest, to be
used by us if necessary and repaid when banking was resumed. With
this we began to feed the people. It was the system in the city to
sell bread until noon, and after that to distribute one of the thin
sheets of bread to every one who had nothing to eat and no money to
buy anything. This distribution took a force of about twenty or
thirty men seven hours to get through.

The city church is in the enclosure under the American flag, and it
held three thousand ill-smelling people with their few earthly
possessions remaining to them.

Here at the College we had about two thousand, and as we have few
buildings the housing was a problem.

We had five hundred in the hospital. Our largest ward has only ten
beds in it, and by putting people on the floor between the beds we
could get in about twenty, but in two other large wards that we took
the bedsteads out of, over a hundred apiece sat huddled together on
the floor, without fire or lights, as we could not afford them for
them. We had those who were destitute here; those who had escaped
with their cattle and a sack of flour or some bedding or a carpet we
put over on the other side of the avenue in the College buildings.

I fed those on the hospital side besides attending to the regular
hospital routine, which was heavier on account of the wounded
Christians who were being brought in every day.

My own rooms consist of my dining room and sitting room, in one of
which I have a couch to sleep on, a kitchen and a little room
downstairs for my man.

I reserved one room for myself for living, dining and bedroom
combined, and took in seven of the College boys, students from the
mountains, who are here all the year round and whom I knew pretty
well, to bring their native beds to live in my dining room. Seakhan
had the kitchen full of her people and friends, seven or eight of
them, and Choban took two families into his room downstairs.

The boys helped me by distributing the bread in the hospital and
holding evening prayers in the different rooms in the hospital.

Then we all began to get the typhoid fever. We had some Turkish
soldiers in the hospital with it, and the people were ignorant and
careless, so we had an epidemic of it. We have seven hundred
new-made graves in our compound here at the College, as the result
of it.

I have had it and recovered, and am as strong and well as ever,
though somewhat thinner, fortunately. I had a Syrian trained nurse,
the only one in Urmia, as I was the first missionary to go down with
it, being in the most direct contact with it in the hospital (though
Dr. Packard went down the day after I did). He also recovered. The
little Swiss governess the Coans brought out with them was the first
to die of the foreigners, and then followed the death of Mrs.
McDowell and, this week, my dear Louise Shedd, my best friend here—a
friend of fifteen years’ standing from the time we were together in
charge of the seminary. All my boys went down too, and my favourite
one died—such a simple, sweet Christian boy. Others of the
missionaries who have had it or are having it are Dr. Coan and
Elizabeth, Bertha Shedd and Mrs. Müller. Mrs. Müller gave birth to a
seven months’ baby boy, who lived a day, and then she went on to
have typhoid. Besides these there were Miss Lewis, Miss Schoebel,
Miss Lamme and Mr. Allen.

In the hospital there was a time when the head physician-assistant,
Dr. Daniel (who died of it), the matron, the druggist, all the
nurses, the cook and the bake-woman, the steward and the
washer-women were all down together, and two hundred and fifty
patients to be taken care of. You can imagine, or rather you can’t
begin to imagine, the disorganisation of the place. Elizabeth Coan
took my place at first, and in two weeks was having it. Then Miss
Lamme came to take her place and in two weeks she, too, was on her
back. The Syrian woman who came next to fill the vacancy is still at
it, though I am back at some work, being now safe from infection. My
man had it, but my woman has weathered the gale so far, and after
three months we have to record to-day that for ten days past not one
new case has come down here. One of the boys, Seakhan’s mother and
two of the men in Choban’s room have died of it in my “family.”

In the city it was even worse. It is raging in our big compound,
though from the first they had from ten to forty deaths a day from
cold, privation, illness of one kind and another, and perhaps shock
from fright. In another part of the city, where we have a big school
building for our Moslem boys’-school, three thousand people were
rescued and brought in by Dr. Packard s valiant intervention, when
he rode up to the Kurdish chief in the thick of a fight between
Kurds and the villagers entrenched in Russian trenches and fighting
for their lives, begged the lives of the inhabitants, and after
parleying awhile succeeded in buying the souls of the people in
exchange for their guns. He rode back to the city with them after
the sun had set on a January night, reaching the city about nine
o’clock, their homes being robbed and burned behind them by the
Kurds.

Turkish rule and Kurdish plundering have reduced the inhabitants to
the verge of starvation, and as yet the end is not in sight.

Yesterday the Turks and Kurds arose and departed, and it is supposed
that the Russians are about to return. They are only a day’s journey
distant, having just been successful in a long fight with a Turkish
army that came from Constantinople via Mosul, and after a three
months’ march was cut to pieces by the Russians near Gavilan, a
day’s journey from here. There were twenty thousand or more of them,
well equipped, but the Russians had the advantage of a fortified
position, a knowledge of the lie of the land and perhaps superior
numbers. We don’t know anything definite about that.

We haven’t had a word of war news during 1915 so far, and feel as if
we were in the bottom of a well as far as seeing what is going on
about us is concerned.

No mail has penetrated the veil that hides the world from us, but we
have had a telegram from the American Ambassador in Constantinople
inquiring for our safety, and have sent telegrams saying we had not
been disturbed personally, which is one of the miracles of missions,
by the way. Just now things are very tense here; the Moslem Governor
is doing well in trying to control things, but the Moslems hate the
Christians, so that they are killing some of those who have gone
back to their ruined villages to live.

There is no power of description that can overdraw the picture, that
is and has been before our eyes constantly, of misery and distress.
Instead we have to veil it, for details are too horrible, too
revolting to try to convey to people who are not called upon by God
to go through it. But whatever the end may be for me, I am sure I
can only be thankful God has given me such an unlimited opportunity
for service as these past months have been.

If the Russians come back or the Turks stay away, we shall have a
mail system established again, if there is such a thing going on
across the world nowadays. Since last July we have had little mail
on account of the war, but some did leak through till the 1st
January (1915), since when we have been like Moses when the light
went out.

We are still feeding thousands of people—just enough bread every day
to keep life in their bodies—and have saved the Syrian nation but
have accumulated thirty or forty thousand dollars (six to eight
thousand pounds sterling) of debt, which we don’t know where to find
money to repay. We only know of six thousand dollars (£1,200
sterling) that were telegraphed as relief two or three months ago.
But we hope the Red Cross Society and charitable people in America
will send us money.

We haven’t even been able to get our money from the Board sent to
Tabriz, but even what could be paid on our regular salaries has been
paid out of these borrowed funds. However, when things settle down a
little we can get at that if there are any of us left by that time.

Just now I have regularly one school-boy and often a few others at
my table, as they are all hungry with the hunger that comes after
typhoid and the College fare is reduced to bread and cheese.

The one who eats with me all the time is a boy from the village Dr.
Packard delivered, Geogtapa, and his father was killed and his house
burned and goods carried off or destroyed. Their food supplies were
left, mostly, as the robbers got their fill and could only destroy
the rest. For instance, a cellar had jars of molasses smashed and
into that was thrown their flour, and on that pickles by
jars-full—the big earthen pointed-bottomed jars that household
supplies are all stored in here. Into this pudding were thrown their
books, few in number, perhaps, but all the more valued for that.
Then this boy, because he belongs to a village where soldier guards
have been placed and some degree of safety assured, was told that he
must go home. That was a general rule, and when I learned the state
of things I told him he could eat with me till things cleared up.
Then they have fields and vineyards that can be worked, and he has
older brothers in America and Tiflis who will look after him. He is
about eighteen, the youngest of the family and the only one left at
home. He is only one case out of thousands equally at a loss just
now. He has his room at the College and sleeps over there with other
students.

I hope you have all been kept in safety during these months and will
write to me all about yourselves and the world at large.


33. URMIA: LETTER, DATED URMIA, 25th MAY, 1915, FROM THE REV. Y.M.
    NISAN TO THE REV. F.N. HEAZELL, ORGANISING SECRETARY OF THE
    ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY’S ASSYRIAN MISSION.

The day after the departure of our missionaries from Urmi, that is,
the 3rd January (1915), the Kurds and Turks, and with them a great
number of the Moslems of Urmi, began to raid and kill and to make
captives from a large part of the Christian villages.

The majority of the Christians, to the number of about 25,000, took
refuge in the courtyards of the Americans and French and in our own
premises. Up to the present time there is a large number of the
Syrians in our yard; another portion, we do not know how many, fled
to Russia with the Russian army. The besieged people here were
provided with bread, one portion each per day, by the missionaries;
but many have not escaped death. People died from the following
causes:—(1) From fear; (2) from their bad dwelling places; (3) from
cold; (4) from hunger; (5) from typhoid fever—the dead up to now
from this disease, as far as we can tell, are from 800 to 1,000.
Those who died from the slaughter and raiding of villages numbered
6,000. Many died in the houses of their refuge from the causes
mentioned above. About 2,000 died of those who fled (to Russia),
either on the road or after their arrival there. In our house my
daughter Beatrice died from fright, and, 25 days after Beatrice,
Mrs. Nisan died from grief at the loss of her daughter; also
Michael, nephew of Khan Audishu, my relative, and to-day his wife,
too. Nanajan, my daughter-in-law, and her two sisters are now in bed
with typhoid fever.

One day 48 people were seized in the yard of the French Mission. Mar
Dinkha, bishop of the Old Church, was one of them. As they were
keeping him in prison some days, I tried to buy off Mar Dinkha with
the promise of 50 gold pieces, but they asked 100. I was outwitted
at that time, for as often as I raised my offer they would advance
the price. Then they carried them outside, and when they were bound
arm to arm they were all shot.

Once they went to the village of Gulpashan and demanded a sum of
money; they took money and carried off everything else as well; 45
men who were on the watch were killed that night.

At the beginning of events, the Turks demanded, in the name of the
Persian Government, every kind of weapon for hewing and cutting
(instead of knives); these were all seized in the name of the
Persian Government. Afterwards two Osmanli officers and some
soldiers came to the houses and searched for weapons and men in our
yards, and so to every room and cupboard. Boxes were opened and
examined, and the people were in the greatest fear.

One day afterwards they entered the yard and seized Mar Elia, the
Russian Bishop and Doctor Lokman. After a long imprisonment the
Bishop was ransomed for 6,500 tomans, and the doctor for 2,000
tomans. The Melet Bashi of the French was taken from their yard and
afterwards ransomed for 3,000 tomans. Shamasha Lazar, whose house is
just by the American gate, was seized and bought off for 4,500
tomans. The enemy had one list of 80 names, written by their own
hand, of men who were doomed to be killed, or bought off at a great
price.

Audishu Khan fled from our house to the house of a Moslem friend,
and remained hidden for two months, but by the rogues of the village
and the commander here he was robbed of 27,000 tomans.

One night two Turkish officers with some soldiers descended by means
of a ladder into our yard; they seized Mr. George, our neighbour,
and the brother-in-law of Mr. Comin, who was groom in his house;
also Jawar, our gatekeeper, and Babu our cook and his son; also
Kasha Pilipus, _natir kursi_ of Mar Yohannan, and Asakhan my
servant. At that time, because I had two persons very ill, I was
watching from the balcony of my house so that they might not enter
my rooms. Twice they came beneath the balcony and looked up, and
when they saw me they went away. There is no doubt that the angels
were watching over us and sent these men away.

At first Jawar’s brother and his son were seized, when carrying
bread for him (Jawar). After an imprisonment of two nights and one
day we got them out by paying 68 tomans for the two of them. A
friend of mine worked this for my sake.

The Osmanlis and the Kurds left Urmi two days ago. The Russian army
is now a little way from Urmi. To-day we are very confused and
fearful; they are saying that the Russian army will return. One part
of the Syrians have fled and left Urmi.

One letter previous to this one—I doubt if it has reached you. I
shall be glad if you will let me know quickly what is to be my work
here in the future, because just now I am like a bird without a nest
and without companions. There is no word from Samuel my son, and I
do not know where he is.


34. URMIA: NARRATIVE OF DR. JACOB SARGIS, RECORDED IN A DESPATCH,
    DATED PETROGRAD, 12th FEBRUARY, 1916, FROM THE CORRESPONDENT AT
    PETROGRAD OF THE AMERICAN “ASSOCIATED PRESS.”

Dr. Jacob Sargis, an American Methodist medical missionary, who has
arrived in Petrograd after narrowly escaping death at the hands of
the Turks and Kurds in Urmia, Persian Armenia, asserts that among
the outrages committed against the Christian refugees was the
burning to death of an American doctor named Simon, or Shimmun, as
he was known there. His identity was not further established, but
the story of the outrage, as told by Dr. Sargis, was as follows:

“Dr. Shimmun was in the village of Supurghan when the Turks attacked
that place. He was among those who took refuge on a mountain near
the lake. He was captured and told that since he had been a good
doctor and had helped the wounded, they would not kill him, but that
he must accept the Mohammedan faith. He refused, as almost all
Christians did. They poured oil on him, and, before applying the
torch, they gave him another chance to forsake his religion. Again
he refused, and they set his clothes afire. While he was running in
agony from the flames, the Turks shot him several times. After he
fell to the ground unconscious, they hacked his head off. Mr. Allen,
an American missionary, who went from village to village burying the
victims of this butchery, found the body of Shimmun half eaten by
dogs.

“The Catholic Mission there took 150 Christians of all sects, and
kept them in a small room and tried to save them; but at least 49 of
them, among them one Bishop Dinkha, of the Episcopal Mission, were
bound together one night, taken to Gagin mountain and there shot
down.”

Mr. Sargis was born in Persia, but went to America in 1893, and was
educated there by the assistance of Dr. W.F. Oldham, former Bishop
of India. He is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan and Ohio Medical
University, and was for a time resident physician of the Protestant
hospital at Columbus, Ohio.

Dr. Sargis was doing relief work in Urmia on the 1st January last
year when the Russian army retired from that city, followed by
14,000 refugees from Urmia and a hundred surrounding villages. The
hardships and sufferings endured by those refugees were described in
Associated Press despatches. There were still left in Urmia and the
villages 45,000 persons, chiefly Armenian refugees, when the Turks
and Kurds entered. The latter at once began the work of
exterminating the Christian population. In one town alone,
Gulpashan, in one night, according to Dr. Sargis, 79 men and boys
were tied hand to hand, taken to a hill outside the village and
shot. Their wives and daughters were distributed among the Turks,
Kurds and Persian Mohammedans.

Dr. Sargis’ story continues:

“On the second day after the Turkish officers came, they had a good
many wounded and sick. As soon as they heard that I was an able
physician, they took me, gave me a bodyguard, and put me in charge
of Urmia Hospital. That was how I came to learn most of their
secrets; I helped their wounded and sick. One day there were sixty
men brought from Bashkala, all well-to-do citizens, some of them
noted men of that place. They were used as beasts of burden and
forced to carry rolls of barbed wire into Urmia. The next day they
were all taken to the Castle of Ismayil[49] and every one was shot
or hacked to death.

“About that time Nuri, the governor of Gawar, told me that he had
received word from the Turkish commander to kill all the Armenian
soldiers in the Turkish army. He said that, for my sake, he would
not do it, but that somebody else would. Twenty-nine were killed
about fifteen miles from Urmia, at Karmad. We had eight of them in
the city, fine fellows, some of them educated in Beirout. They had
been disarmed, and one night they took them to the suburbs and shot
them. But one of them, named Aslam[50], escaped. He dropped with the
others, but was not hit. After the butchers left, he made his way to
the Presbyterian mission college. I was notified and asked to take
care of him. I kept him until the Russian army came. He joined, and
is now fighting with them.

“In the First Turkish corps, commanded by Halil Bey, there were
about 400 Armenians. One of them, Gulbenkian, a graduate of Beirout,
told me that they were all doomed to be butchered. When they
appointed me head physician of the hospital, they gave me plenty of
helpers, including seven Christian nurses, six Arabs and one Greek.
Gulbenkian told me that if I did not help them they would be killed.
An Arab doctor, Bahadin Effendi, was appointed to work under my
direction. My Greek nurse warned me that Bahadin had already killed
more than fifty Armenian Christians, and cautioned me to watch him.
One night about ten o’clock, Bahadin sent for me, saying that he was
sick. Fortunately for me, the Greek and two Armenian nurses went
with me. When I reached the hospital, I found that Bahadin was not
sick at all. He said to me: ‘What business have you to disturb me at
this time of the night? Your coming shows that you have some designs
upon my life.’ I told him that it was a mistake, that I had been
told he was sick, and went away. At the bottom of the stairs I was
overtaken by an officer, who said that the doctor had not done with
me. I protested, but was ordered to go back. So I put my trust in
the Lord and went.

“The doctor greeted me with the question: ‘Who gave you permission
to leave the room?’ and continued: ‘You are a prisoner, and you will
never see the light of to-morrow’s sun.’ I told him that I was an
American citizen, and that I was helping the wounded for the sake of
humanity. He cut me off by saying: ‘This is wartime. The top of your
cap is green. That means that you are a descendant of the prophet,
and it will give me pleasure to destroy your life to-night. I must
think how I shall kill you. I could throw you out of the window, but
that would be too quick. I could shoot you, but that also is too
good for you. I shall have to use my sword. You sit down there in
that corner, and these Turkish nurses will sing your funeral before
I begin to cut you up.’

“The Turks began to sing a droning chant and I had no choice but to
sit and listen. My bodyguard, the Greek nurse Theodore and two
Armenian soldiers, the latter my servants, stood outside the door,
and when they heard the chanting they thought it was all over with
me. The Greek, who was a shrewd fellow, told my bodyguard to enter,
and, if he saw me, to say that the patients wanted to see the
doctor. All of a sudden I saw him enter with a lantern. He saluted
the effendi and said: ‘The patients want the doctor.’ I didn’t give
Bahadin a chance to say a word. I was up and out and down in the
street in about two seconds. When I got to the outpost they yelled
from the window to stop me, but they were too late. My bodyguard and
the Armenians and the Greek followed close behind me, and I got
away. I reached home at midnight. My wife and children thought I was
already dead.”

Dr. Sargis turned the tables on the Arab doctor by alleging that he
was insane, and having him put under guard and on a milk diet,
notwithstanding that he was a doctor in Halil Bey’s army.

“Soon after the Russians left Urmia a German machinist, Neumann, who
came in with the Turks, announced himself as German Consul. By his
orders a Christian of the name of Moushi was hanged. Neumann had
promised me to release Moushi, but overnight he sold him to the
Turks for £50. An Englishman named Jonathan George, well known in
Tabriz, a relative of my wife, was whipped on Neumann’s orders. In
the village of Karadjalu a young Christian with a wife and two
children was killed by a Mohammedan. The murderer took the wife and
children, promising to protect them; but while crossing a bridge he
threw the children into the river. At Ardishai 75 women and girls
ran into the sea[51] to escape the Turks. They refused to trust
promises of safety if they came out, and were all shot as they stood
in the water. Eight thousand five hundred died in the vicinity of
Urmia in five months; 1,500 were killed, and the rest died of cold
and hunger.

“During the days of the Turkish occupation it was no unusual sight
to see an old woman carrying the body of her daughter or son to a
place of burial, digging the grave herself or with the aid of other
women.”

-----

Footnote 49:

  Ismael Agha’s Kala. See page 162 below.

Footnote 50:

  Arslan (?).

Footnote 51:

  _i.e._, Lake Urmia.


35. URMIA: EXTRACTS FROM THE ANNUAL REPORT (FOR THE YEAR 1915)
    PRESENTED BY THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT AT URMIA TO THE BOARD OF
    FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A.

A sad case was that of the mother of a girl of twelve who was being
taken away to a life of slavery. The mother protested and tried to
save her child, who was ruthlessly torn from her. As the daughter
was being dragged away the mother made so much trouble for her
oppressors, and clung to them so tenaciously, that they stabbed her
twelve times before she fell, helpless to save her little girl from
her fate. This woman recovered from her wounds. Some people were
shot as they ran, and children that they were carrying were killed
or wounded with them. In some cases men were lined up so that
several could be shot with one bullet, in order not to waste
ammunition on them.

At the height of the epidemic not less than two thousand were sick.
The mortality reached forty-eight daily, and the fact that four
thousand died, besides the one thousand who were killed, will help
to make vivid the terrible conditions that prevailed in our crowded
premises. All ranks have suffered—preachers, teachers, physicians,
etc., as well as the poor—for all had to live in the same unhygienic
surroundings.

One of the most terrible things that came to the notice of the
Medical Department was the treatment of Syrian women and girls by
the Turks, Kurds and local Mohammedans. After the massacre in the
village of ——, almost all the women and girls were outraged, and two
little girls, aged eight and ten, died in the hands of Moslem
villains. A mother said that not a woman or girl above twelve (and
some younger) in the village of —— escaped violation. This is the
usual report from the villages. One man, who exercised a great deal
of authority in the northern part of the Urmia plain, openly boasted
of having ruined eleven Christian girls, two of them under seven
years of age, and he is now permitted to return to his home in peace
and no questions are asked. Several women from eighty to eighty-five
years old have suffered with the younger women. One woman who was
prominent in the work of the Protestant Church in another village
was captured by eighteen men and taken to a solitary place, where
they had provided for themselves food and drink. She was released
the next day and permitted to drag herself away. Later she came to
the city to accuse her outragers, and practically did not get a
hearing from the Government.

There is little to relieve the blackness of this picture. The
Government gave some assistance in the finding and returning of
Christian girls. A few have been brought back by Kurds. In one case
eleven girls and young women, who had been taken away from Geogtapa,
were sent to me by the chief of the Zarza tribe of Kurds. Several
companies have been sent also by the Begzadi Kurds to Targawar.
Since the return of the Russians to Urmia some of the Kurds have
tried to curry favour by returning prisoners that they have held for
months, but quite a number are still held by them, some of them
women who have been married to some of the principal servants of the
chiefs.

It would not be right to close this report of medical work in Urmia
without a word about the native physicians. One of them received a
martyr’s crown early in January in the village of Khanishan. Four
died in the epidemics. One had been a worker for many years in the
plain of Gawar, two days’ journey to the west of Urmia. One of them
was a companion in the attempt to find Karini Agha at the very
beginning of the troubles here that resulted in the rescue of the
people of Geogtapa. One was the assistant in the hospital. He had
been in the hospital since his graduation in 1908, and was a most
faithful and efficient man. During the awful first days of fear,
murder and rapine, it was his hands that dressed and re-dressed most
of the wounded, with the help of medical students. He thought little
of himself and wore himself out until he could not eat, keeping on
at his work for three days after he began to be ill. His life was
given in the noblest self-sacrifice, and many people will remember
him with deep affection. The fourth was one of the refugees in our
yard who, though he was not very active, frequently prescribed for a
number of patients. His wife, who is a graduate in medicine in
America, in spite of the death of her husband and two children, kept
bravely on with her work, trying to relieve some of the suffering.
She had charge of the maternity cases and examined many of the
outraged women and girls after they finally reached us.

The most diabolically cold-blooded of all the massacres was the one
committed above the village of Ismael Agha’s Kala, when some sixty
Syrians of Gawar were butchered by the Kurds at the instigation of
the Turks. These Christians had been used by the Turks to pack
telegraph wire from over the border, and while they were in the city
of Urmia they were kept in close confinement, without food or drink.
On their return, as they reached the valleys between the Urmia and
Baradost plains, they were all stabbed to death, as it was supposed,
but here again, as in two former massacres, a few wounded, bloody
victims succeeded in making their way to our hospital.

_The testimony of the survivors of the massacre at Ismael Agha’s
Kala is confirmed by the following extract from a letter, dated 8th
November, 1915, from the Rev. E.T. Allen of Urmia_:—

Politically, things are in apparently good order. People are easily
frightened and are nervous, but we have good hopes. Yesterday I went
to the Kala of Ismael Agha and from there to Kasha, and some men
went with me up the road to the place where the Gawar men were
murdered by the Turks. It was a gruesome sight—perhaps the worst I
have seen at all. There were seventy-one or two bodies; we could not
tell exactly, because of the conditions. It is about six months
since the murder. Some were in fairly good condition—dried, like a
mummy. Others were torn to pieces by the wild animals. Some had been
daggered in several places, as was evident from the cuts in the
skin. The majority of them had been shot. The ground about was
littered with empty cartridge-cases. It was a long way off from the
Kala, and half-an-hour’s walk from the main road into the most
rugged gorge I have seen for some time. I suppose the Turks thought
no word could get out from there—a secret, solitary, rocky gorge.
How those three wounded men succeeded in getting out and reaching
the city is more of a marvel than I thought it was at the time. The
record of massacre burials now stands as follows:—

At Tcharbash, forty in one grave, among them a bishop. At Gulpashan,
fifty-one in one grave, among them the most innocent persons in the
country; and now, above the Kala of Ismael Agha, seventy in one
grave, among them leading merchants of Gawar.

These one hundred and sixty-one persons, buried by me, came to their
death in the most cruel manner possible, at the hands of regular
Turkish troops in company with Kurds under their command.


36. URMIA, SALMAS AND HAKKIARI: STATEMENT[52] BY MR. PAUL
    SHIMMON[53], PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL “ARARAT,” OF
    LONDON, NOVEMBER, 1915.

Seeing that _Ararat_ is truly a searchlight on all the sufferings of
Eastern Christians, a comforter to the broken-hearted and a fighter
for their rights, I have felt it my duty and privilege to write just
some bare facts of the past and present position of the Syrians in
Urmi (Urmia) and Salmas in Persia, and in the Kurdistan mountains
south of Van. What I will say of Urmi and Salmas applies equally to
the Armenians of the two places, in the latter of which they
predominate.

The Russian troops had been in occupation of Azerbaijan,
north-western Persia, for a number of years, and their presence
meant safety, prosperity and security of person and property both to
Christians and Moslems alike. Under the conditions then prevailing,
the Kurds had been restrained entirely from their occupation of
plunder, and the Turks were deprived of prominence in that part of
Persia which they have coveted for years. The Persians also have
been restless, and their attitude towards the Christians was
somewhat doubtful. On the 2nd January, 1915, it was suddenly known
that the Russian army, consulate and all, were leaving Urmi—and not
that alone, but it was found later that they were withdrawing from
all northern Persia. It came like a thunderbolt, for it had been
positively stated all along to the Christian population that the
Russian army would under no circumstances withdraw from Urmi. Here,
then, in the heart of winter, some 45,000 Christians, from nine to
ten days’ journey from the nearest railway station to the Russian
border, found themselves in a very precarious position. No
conveyances, horses, &c., &c., could be had for love or money.
Roughly speaking, one-third of the people who happened to know of
this withdrawal, through whose villages the army was to pass, left
for Russia. The great majority simply left their homes and walked
out. Some only heard of the withdrawal during the night, and so
could hardly make any provision for the journey. A good number of
people from Tergawar and Mergawar, and outlying districts, who were
already refugees in Urmi—having been plundered on two or three
occasions previously—left with the army. So there was a concourse of
over 10,000 people, mostly women and children, walking in the bitter
cold, scantily provided, sore-footed, wearied, that had to make
their way to the Russian frontier over mountains and along miserable
roads and through swamps. Their cries and shrieks as they walked
were heart-rending. The people of Salmas had left two or three days
earlier and under somewhat better conditions. There was a swamp
between Salmas and Khoi where people actually went knee-deep, where
oxen and buffaloes died of cold, and where there was no real resting
place and provisions could only be procured from a distance of some
ten miles. The agonies of the children were inexpressible. Some
mothers had two or three children to take care of, and they dragged
one along while they carried the other on their shoulders. Many died
on the roadside, many lost their parents, many were left unburied,
many were picked up by the Russian cossacks and were taken to the
Russian Caucasus to be there cared for by Armenians and others. Such
was their plight when they reached Russia, and in some way or
another were provided for in the Syrian and Armenian villages in
Erivan and in Tiflis, where they passed their time till the spring,
when they again wearied of their lives and returned to Urmi and
Salmas in the months of May and June.

About two-thirds of the people who stayed behind at Urmi had the
cruellest of fates. No sooner had the Russian forces withdrawn than
the roads were closely guarded, and no one was permitted to come in
or go out of Urmi for over four months. The Kurds poured in from
every quarter, and the Persian Moslems joined hands with them. They
engulfed the Christian villages; plunder, pillage, massacre and rape
were the order of the day. Every village paid its share. First they
killed the men, then they took the women—those who had not
escaped—and carried them away for themselves or forced them to
become Moslems, and finally they plundered and burned the villages.
In one village 80 were killed, in another 50, in a third 30, and so
the thing went on in varying degrees among the 70 odd villages in
Urmi. About one thousand people were disposed of in this way. In the
meantime all that were able escaped to the city to the American
mission quarters, whose premises were soon filled to suffocation,
and altogether some 20,000 people or more found shelter in the
American and French mission quarters, while some hid themselves
among Moslem friends and landlords. These refugees, in their flight,
were repeatedly robbed on the way by soldiers and officers sent for
their protection, and by civilians as well. Many a woman came
terror-stricken, shrieking, and bleeding, and almost naked; and many
were forced to become Moslems. Some 150 cases or more of these
unfortunate women came under the notice of the American
missionaries, who tried to restore them to their own folk. One woman
had two sons, four and six years of age, who were thrown into a
brook to freeze, while the brute of a mullah set to work to force
their mother. She at last escaped and took away the children alive,
but they died of exposure the next morning.

Thus in the course of a fortnight all the 45,000 Syrians and
Armenians were plundered—not one village escaped. There was no
exception. The village of Iriawa was in the keeping of an Armenian—a
Turkish subject. He, with twelve other Armenian soldiers, was shot,
and the village plundered. Gulpashan was the last to be attacked,
when, on the 1st February, 51 of its elders were taken during the
night to the graveyard and there murdered most horribly and their
brains knocked out. The orgies committed on women and tender girls
can be left only to the imagination. I have known the village from
childhood and all its inhabitants.

The refugees in the French and American mission yards remained there
for over four and a half months, in daily terror and fear of their
lives; the quarters were crowded to suffocation, and no man dared
leave the premises. Seeing that a few houses of Christians were left
in the city which were not plundered, the dozen or less of Turkish
officials, who had control of things, began to fleece the people.
They forced them to pay a fine of 6,600 _tomans_ (a _toman_ is about
one pound sterling[54]), on the pretext that the Christian stores,
offices and shops in the city would be saved from plunder. But no
sooner was this sum extracted through the kindly offices of the
American missionaries than they began to put up to auction and
dispose of all the shops, offices and stores. Not satisfied with
what they had done, they obtained 5,500 _tomans_ as blood money for
Mar Elia, the Syrian Bishop, whom they found in hiding on the roof
of a house, and threatened to kill him unless the money was paid.
Then, again, such prominent men as Shamasha Lazar, Shamasha Babu and
Dr. Isaac Daniel had to pay 3,000, 2,000 and 1,000 _tomans_
respectively to save their lives. Such was the perpetual terror in
which the whole community lived.

Soon disease broke out, typhoid played havoc, and over 4,000 died of
the epidemic alone. There was scarcely any life left in the remnant
of the people when the Russians retook Urmi in May. They were worn
out and so emaciated that one could hardly recognise them. It was
the first time for months that they were able to crawl out of their
filthy winter quarters and to inhale fresh air. The Americans, who
had fed these people all through the winter, now gave the men and
women spades and sickles to return to their villages, and some flour
to start life in their ruined homes. I have seen villages turned to
ashes, where not one window, door or any woodwork was to be found.
Indeed, one day a woman came and said to me: “I have one room out of
seven left on the second storey, but what shall I do? There is not a
single ladder in all the village that I can borrow so as to mount to
it.” What they had left in their “homes,” these people found on
their return to have been eaten by dogs and cats. They have not sown
anything this autumn, nor were they able to do any sowing or
cultivating in the spring. Ninety per cent. of them have absolutely
nothing left, and they sleep on the bare hard earthen floor, with no
bedding or any other protection beyond their ordinary rags. This is
their second winter!

The majority of the Salmas Christians had left for Russia by the
time the Urmi people reached Salmas. But there were some left who
had hidden themselves among kind Moslems here and there. When the
Turks took possession of Salmas, they used every means to find out
the whereabouts and number of all the Christians that had remained
behind, and one night during March last they took some 723 Armenians
and Syrians to the fields in Haftevan and mangled and butchered them
in a most brutal manner. Three days later the Russians retook Salmas
and buried these people in some trenches which they dug for them.
The same fate was awaiting the women, and perhaps worse, but the
advent of the Russians saved them.

The troubles of Mar Shimun’s independent tribes of Tiari, Tkhuma,
&c., in Kurdistan, south of Van, began last June. Mar Shimun’s seat
in the village of Quodshanis was attacked by regular troops and
Kurds, destroyed and plundered. Most of the people escaped to
Salmas. Mar Shimun at the time was in the interior with the main
body of his congregation. A regular Turkish force with artillery and
some 30,000 Kurds, &c., marched on the Christians. The forty
villages of Berwar, those nearest towards Mosul, were destroyed
first, and only some seventeen of them are known to have escaped.
The women of many of the others have been forced to become Moslems.
For forty days the people defended themselves against superior
forces, and that only with flintlocks and antiquated rifles. At
last, unable to withstand the onslaught of modern artillery, with
which the Turks also bombarded the Church of Mar Sawa, the people
withdrew to the interior of the mountains with the Patriarch’s
family in their centre; and here they subsisted on herbs and some
sheep they had taken with them, while many were daily dying of
starvation. Mar Shimun came to Salmas—I had an interview with him
there, and he has sent me to speak for him and his—to effect the
escape of his people, or at least of as many of them as could be
saved. All this happened in the latter part of September, when,
according to the telegram received here from H.B.M. Consul Shipley
at Tabriz, some 25,000 had already arrived, and with them Mar
Shimun, himself as destitute as the rest, while 10,000 more were to
follow. The condition of the remnant, for in all there are over
100,000, is very precarious, but let us hope not hopeless.
Assistance can be sent to them through Mar Shimun and through H.B.M.
Consul Shipley.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Mission and the Armenian (Lord
Mayor’s) Relief Fund have sent £500 and £550 respectively to these
people. I understand that the Lord Mayor’s Fund is telegraphing a
further £500 for the relief of the Christians in Persia, for which I
for one feel infinitely grateful, as it cannot but assuage some of
the terrible suffering that exists.

Let us now survey the whole situation. As over 90 per cent. of the
Christians at Urmi are destitute, and the condition of some 10,000
to 15,000 Armenians and Syrians in Salmas is not much better, we
have at once some 80,000 people and more who must be assisted, if
they are not to starve during the coming winter. In this we are not
taking into account the remnant of Mar Shimun’s people or any
Armenians that might have found their way to Persia, where the
Russians are now in occupation, and where the condition of the
Christians will be, so far as personal safety goes, more hopeful.
The turn events are taking politically in Persia seems also
favourable, but one must never be too confident of the political
situation there.

I am delighted to see such a magnificent spirit of response from all
corners of the world whence Armenians themselves are coming to the
help of their countrymen. We have to cheer each other up in our
misfortunes in every way we can, till God in His own way shall solve
the problem. And with such noble friends as we have in England,
among whom are the Primate, Lord Bryce, and Members of Parliament
like Mr. Aneurin Williams and Mr. T.P. O’Connor, and I am sure in
America as well—people who would do anything for us—let us be
patient and prayerful, hoping for recompense and release from this
tyranny that has had us in its grip ever since Mohammedan rule began
in our country.

-----

Footnote 52:

  For a fuller version of Mr. Shimmon’s statement see p. 577 below.

Footnote 53:

  Mr. Shimmon is a graduate of Columbia University, New York, and
  has been resident at Urmia for the past fourteen years. He was an
  eye-witness of the events he relates; and, after the retreat of
  the Turks and Kurds, he was appointed Commissioner for the
  Baranduz District of Urmia (under the authority of the Russian
  Consul and the Persian Governor) for the restoration of plundered
  Christian property. He has since undertaken a mission to Great
  Britain and the U.S., as the representative of His Beatitude Mar
  Shimun, the head of the Nestorian Church.

Footnote 54:

  1 toman = 10 krans, and its actual value in English money is about
  3_s._ 4_d._—_Editor._


37. HAKKIARI: FURTHER STATEMENT BY MR. PAUL SHIMMON, PUBLISHED IN
    THE “CHURCHMAN” NEWSPAPER, AND SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUED AS A
    PAMPHLET; COMMUNICATED BY MRS. D.S. MARGOLIOUTH, OF OXFORD.

The following is the story of how a Bishop, nay, an Archbishop, at
the risk of his own life, saved 35,000 souls—one-third of his
flock—from the pursuing Kurds and Turks, and from impending
starvation on the heights of the Kurdistan Mountains. He was already
in the zone of safety, where he could well have stayed; but he
turned back, saying: “I am going back to die with my people.” By so
doing, he rescued a multitude of his people from almost certain
massacre.

It will be remembered that the Assyrians (better known in Church
history as the Nestorian or Syrian Christians) dwell on both sides
of the Turco-Persian frontier. The bulk of them live in the very
inaccessible mountains of Kurdistan, east of Mosul, which is in
Mesopotamia, and south of Lake Van; while a goodly number live in
the beautiful plains of Urmia and Salmas in north-western Persia and
in the adjacent country districts bordering on Turkey. Over the
former district Mar Shimun, the Patriarch, is the supreme
ecclesiastical and civil ruler.

Early last June the Turkish forces with irregular Kurds, under the
leadership and direction of the Kaimakam, made an attack on the
court of Mar Shimun in Quodshanis—a Turkish governor making an
attack on peaceful subjects of the Turkish Empire for the simple
reason that they were Christians. Quodshanis is an isolated place.
The Patriarch and members of his court were in the interior with the
main body of his church, so the people of the village could hardly
be expected to make more than a bare resistance. For two days they
fought from within the church, but soon their ammunition was
exhausted, and the women and children were in a desperate position.
At night they set out for the plains of Salmas in Persia, where I
saw them in a most pitiable condition. The Patriarchal house, the
English mission, and the larger part of the place was plundered and
burned. Even the tombs of former Patriarchs were violated.

In the meanwhile a formidable army was being gathered against the
independent dwellers in the valleys of Tkhuma, Tiari, Baz, &c. Both
Turkish regulars and Kurds, it is said, to the extent of some
30,000, made a combined attack on the people who had kept their
independence since Tamerlane and Ghengis Khan had driven them to the
craggy mountains, where in some places they have to carry soil on
their backs to make artificial fields. For the first time in the
life of the people, artillery was brought up to bombard their
ancient and venerable churches, while they themselves made a stout
resistance with flintlocks and ammunition of their own make.

For forty days they carried on an unequal warfare against tremendous
odds, until at last with their families they took refuge on the top
of a high mountain in the Tal country. The Patriarchal family took
shelter in the famous church of Mar Audishu, and the others who had
been able to effect an escape surrounded them, making a big camp.
The Turks and Kurds, after having destroyed the Christian villages
in the valleys below, carrying away the crops and plundering
everything, endeavoured to starve the fugitives out. Near the church
mentioned above there is a small fountain gushing from a rock which
was hardly enough to supply drinking water, and for washing and
bathing they would often steal at nights to the valleys beneath. The
people stayed here for nearly three months, never taking off their
clothes and always on the lookout for an attack by night. The few
sheep that they had taken with them on their flight were almost
eaten up now—they had no salt at all, and soon hunger and sickness
began to make their ravages. There was no necessity to deport this
Christian population. Its mere starvation in the mountains was all
that was needed to make an end of the oldest Apostolic Church in
existence.

In the meantime Mar Shimun, the Patriarch, with a few brave men, had
stolen out by night and made his way to the Russian army operating
in Salmas, Persia. He was received with great distinction, but it
was found out after many precious weeks of delay that it might not
be possible to send any relief for the people in the interior who
were not in the line of march. Later on, the Russians sent their
army to Van, and then Mar Shimun with a few faithful followers and
good rifles—he himself is an excellent shot—set out again for the
interior to reach his flock and his brothers and sisters. They soon
made ready to take the congregation through the valleys and defiles
to the plains of Persia.

The last day of their stay was the saddest of all. On that day
Ishaya, a brother of the Patriarch, died of fever. Mar Shimun,
hearing of his illness, had come over the day before. The enemy was
then very near, and they could hear the sound of the guns in Tkhuma.
Just when the funeral of his brother was to take place, Surma and
Romi, his sisters, and Esther, his sister-in-law, were compelled to
leave the place, lest they should be caught by the enemy. Mar
Shimun, two priests and a few laymen remained behind at this time of
danger to bury Ishaya. The burial service was quickly said and the
body hastily interred, and Mar Shimun hastened after the fleeing
women and children. They were only just in time, for, a few hours
after their departure, the Turks arrived and made straight for the
church, having heard that the Patriarch’s household was there.

I shall not dwell on the horrors of those caught and slain on the
way nor on the many beautiful villages ruined and the women taken
captive, nor on the thousands of others who have met the same fate.
In one district of forty villages, its Bishop said to me, only
seventeen had been able to make an escape, and he knew but very
little of the fearful fate of the rest. I want only to speak of the
living who are anxious to die, but to whom death does not come. They
arrived in Persia at places already ruined; they camped out in the
plain of Salmas (4,000 feet above sea level) sleeping in the fields
with no clothes to cover them at night, clad in the rags which they
have worn for many months, without food or shelter. Some assistance
has gone to them from America and England. Some quilts were bought
to be distributed, one for each family of five persons, to serve as
cover in the bitter cold. Some families have as many as ten members,
indeed one had twenty-eight. These are the people who have been
living on one dollar a month, and to whom flour is served in
quantity barely sufficient to allow each person one small loaf a day
and nothing more. I dare say that even their Bishops and other
clergy are in not much better condition than their flock.

Assistance, however, can now be sent out to them and will reach them
immediately. Urmia and Salmas are now in the zone of safety, where
there are many Russian troops, and these have been very kind to the
suffering Christians. Money is being sent through the American
Consul, the missionaries and the Patriarch, and is at once
distributed to the sufferers. The Rev. Y.M. Nisan, who is still
alive, although he has lost his wife and daughter, is on the
distributing committee. The defeat of the Turks at Erzeroum means
peace and safety of life for all Armenia and Persia. In the latter
country there are over 80,000 destitute, the majority of them
Assyrians, and some Armenians as well. Money is distributed to all
without discrimination.

I have purposely avoided saying anything of the horrors that we have
suffered at Urmia and the agonies we have passed through, simply
because I have felt that the condition of these mountaineers is even
more pitiable. I hope Christian people will be moved at once to make
an effort to save them from the clutches of starvation. The gallant
Patriarch has saved them and brought them out of Turkey, where
relief will get to them. I therefore appeal to all my friends and to
others who may be so disposed to help rescue this ancient Church.


38. REFUGEES FROM THE HAKKIARI DISTRICT: SERIES OF EXTRACTS FROM
    LETTERS BY MEMBERS OF THE AMERICAN MISSION STATION AT URMIA;
    COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE
    PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A.

=(a) Extract from a letter, dated 8th November, 1915, from the Rev.
    E.T. Allen (?).=

As you know, the first attack by the combined force of Turks and
Kurds was made in June and was partially successful. The people were
driven out of their valleys into the high mountains central to
Tiari, Tkhoma, Tai and Baz. In this movement not many lives were
lost, but many villages were destroyed. The hostile forces were for
some reason withdrawn, and for some weeks there was comparative
quiet, broken only by spasmodic attacks by local forces. About three
weeks ago there was another concerted attack made by the Turks and
Kurds on their stronghold in the mountain top, and they were driven
out. Between fifteen and twenty thousand, with great difficulty,
made their escape, part of their road being held by the Kurds. They
came down the Tal and Kon Valleys, followed by the Kurds, and
attempted to turn up the Zab to get out by way of Djoulamerk. They
found the Kurds in force at the Djoulamerk bridge, and were forced
to turn down stream. At the head of Tiari they crossed the Zab and
went up into the hills, which they found deserted by the Kurds, who
had gone to war. They then made their way round behind Djoulamerk,
meeting no hostile force until they reached the ridge between
Quodshanis and the Zab. Here again they found a force of Kurds
waiting for them. They had quite a sharp fight with them and the
Kurds were worsted. From there on they had no more trouble, reaching
Bashkala in safety, and later coming down to Salmas.

These are the people I found in Salmas. They number, according to my
estimate, between fifteen and twenty thousand. Among them are Mar
Shimun and his family and all our helpers, with one or two
exceptions. (Mar Shimun is the Patriarch of the Nestorian Church.)

With reference to those who were left in the mountains, perhaps a
thousand more succeeded in getting through. There are still some
thousands shut up there, and their fate is still uncertain. How many
were killed in this last attack, I have found no one who could give
even an estimate, but undoubtedly the number must be large. This is
in reference to those in Salmas. All the facts cannot be given out,
but this is their case in brief. The mass of them are without
shelter of any kind and also without bedding. They are sleeping on
the bare ground without covering. The rains have begun and the
winter promises to set in early. What all this means to these
thousands who are without shelter, you need not be told.

Since coming down a great many of them have been taken sick with a
peculiar form of bowel trouble, such as the mountaineers have been
having here. Dr. David Yohannan estimates that there are as many as
one thousand cases. The fatality is not as great as might be
expected, but there are a great many deaths. One tribe reported
forty deaths within a week. I have seen the dead lying on the
roadside, and the women carrying their dead, orders to move on
giving them little time to die decently or to be buried with
respect. I gave no relief while there. Along the road they had
gathered up a little grain; the Russians were giving out 1,200
loads, and help was being given on the threshing floor and from door
to door. I have been making a complete list, so that when we are
ready to begin we shall have them classified and shall be able to
handle them. We shall give flour or wheat in weekly allowances. The
cost per head will be about five shahis (1_d._). I shall refrain
from giving as long as I see they can subsist on what they get from
other sources.

Bedding is needed as badly as food. There is not much choice between
dying from hunger or dying from cold. We shall have to supply
several thousand outfits, cost of each about three-and-a-half tomans
(12_s._). You may rest assured that I shall use the utmost caution
in the giving of relief.

There is no further word from those left in the mountains. There is
still hope that some of them may succeed in getting through, but
undoubtedly many will be lost.

=(b) Extract from a letter, of later date, from a missionary.[55]=

About 150 or more of the Mutran’s[56] people came down. Some of the
children were a sight to see for destitution. I had a tableful of
women to breakfast with me the next morning, including one of our
own pupils who was married into the Mutran’s family. They said that
200 Turks had been living off them since a year ago, but that their
flocks had been so multiplied that they were able to sustain the
burden. At last the Turks began sending twenty men every day with
packs on their backs to Mosul, loaded with the spoils of their
houses, so they feared their own end or deportation might be near;
they found a chance to escape one day when their guards were a mile
or two away, and silently stole away with some of their possessions.

=(c) Extract from a letter, of later date, from a missionary.[57]=

Some of the refugees in Salmas had flocks and possessions, but all
were ravaged by disease, so that even if they had work they could
not do it. A boy who was with me found his relatives among the
people. One uncle of his had been living in the barracks. He had
lost his three children one after the other, and then his wife died
and he had no one to care for his affairs but himself. He was so
weak he could not do anything—reduced to skin and bone himself—but
he got a rope and tried to carry the body of his wife on his back to
bury her somewhere. He had not even strength enough to dig her a
grave. There the story ended. The boy said the man broke down and
could not tell any more, and he did not have the heart to ask what
had become of her.

Another of our preachers has lost three of his four children, and
the last was very ill when we saw her. His wife had lost her brother
and two sisters—one of them a pupil in the Fiske Seminary.

-----

Footnote 55:

  Name withheld.

Footnote 56:

  A dignitary of the Nestorian Church, second in rank to the
  Patriarch, Mutran (or Matran) = Metropolitan.

Footnote 57:

  Name withheld.


39. REFUGEES FROM HAKKIARI: LETTER, DATED 26th SEPTEMBER/9th
    OCTOBER, 1915, FROM A RELATIVE OF MAR SHIMUN, THE PATRIARCH;
    COMMUNICATED BY THE REV. F.N. HEAZELL.

I have not written to you for a long time. I think you will know the
reason is that the war with Turkey has stopped the post to Europe.
As you know, during past years there have been difficulties between
the Turks and ourselves, but now the truth of the matter is made
clear. When we saw many Christians of Gawar and Albek killed without
reason, we thought our turn would come. Every kind of warfare
commenced, and since then, for months, we have been fighting in the
mountains; in the end we were not successful, because the Kurds were
helped by the artillery of the Turkish Government. Of course when
our cartridges were exhausted we could not stand before the great
force of Turkish artillery. Then first of all Tiari was destroyed;
we then thought we could flee to the mountains in the hope of
victory, but soon the Turks came to the entrance of Tkhoma and our
hope was destroyed—either we must deliver ourselves to Turkey and be
killed or flee to save ourselves. We did the latter, but even then
half the nation was left behind.

Now we are here in Diliman, Salmas; but the larger part of Tiari and
Tkhoma is conquered. Up to the present time we have no news of those
people; whether they are alive or have been destroyed, we know not.

Many of the refugees who come here are dying of hunger; they have no
bedding, and many men just died on the way here. Would you were here
to see with your own eyes our state; your sympathy would indeed be
aroused. All the houses have been destroyed (also Mar Shimun’s house
and your Mission house in Quodshanis) and burnt and robbed; we are
in rags and hunger and in a strange land. Many of the houses where
you have spent the night as a guest have no bedding, the house of
Malik Ismail, for instance, and the house of Khiyu.

Of all these the condition of the Tkhumnai is the most miserable;
they are quite destitute. If some help is not forthcoming for the
nation all hope of survival is at an end, for three parts will die
of hunger. Our thanks are due to the Russian Consul, who is taking
care to distribute the people among the villages to prevent them
dying of cold, for all are under trees and in fields in the open.

In the course of February, Esther and I and her children went down
to Malik Ismail’s house in Tiari, for we thought it would be safer
there. Then we soon moved from Tchumbar to Dadush, a small village
of Tiari. When the Turkish army drew near that place we fled to the
Church of Mar Audishu of Tal. In each place we were obliged to leave
behind some of our clothes and our bedding; many times we were
hungry; we made our journeys by night, and Esther’s little children
would fall asleep on the road. Three months we stayed in Mar
Audishu, the whole time the fighting drawing nearer. Our brothers
are fighting in Dizan, and there every three or four men are
sleeping together for want of quilts at night. We sleep with our
clothes on, ready to start when it may be necessary. In Mar Audishu
the food was good, but the provision for sleeping and bathing was
bad. Soap there was none; water could be had for drinking and
cooking only. Sometimes we would go down to one of the Tal villages
to wash our clothes and to bathe.

From Quodshanis everything we possessed was carried off and our
house destroyed. A few quilts we brought to Dizan; these we could
not bring away with us because we had no mules, for the Kurds had
carried them off, and I think they will now remain for our
neighbours (the Kurds). Of clothes to wear we had only enough for
the road, but not enough for the cold of the winter. When we came
here, on the road, we saw some women who had never known want
entirely naked; we divided our clothes among them, giving them just
enough to prevent them dying of cold. During all these years our
state has been, glory to God, that only our souls have been
chastened, but finally one thing has befallen us which we can never
forget. I recall the last days that I stood in the Church. I had
gone down to Dizan because Paulus, my brother, was sick and
Ishaya[58] was ill with fever in Mar Audishu. It was at the time
when the guns of the Turks were drawn up before Tkhuma and were
moving forward—then it was he sickened and died. Mar Shimun had
arrived there a little before. Romi[59] and Esther[60] and her
children, at that very time of great sorrow, when they least wished
to leave, had to set out, weeping, with their families. Only Mar
Shimun with two priests and a few men remained in the Church for the
funeral service, for as quickly as they could they had to place the
body of Ishaya in the grave and hasten after their families. Going
quickly on foot they arrived at Darawar, where Malik Ismail was.
Those little children (God bless them) went on foot, without a
servant, accompanied by Romi and Esther. That day, if our families
had delayed in Mar Audishu, they would have been prisoners now in
Turkey. The day after they left, the Turkish army entered the
Church, for they knew we were there. But, thanks be to God, we had
escaped.

Paulus is better, and now our family is with Mar Shimun in Diliman.
Up to the present time we have not hired a house, for we do not know
where we shall settle down. There is a Church here.

Mr. McDowell came from Urmia to see us and they hope to help this
people as much as they can with food and clothing.

Of all the things that were left in our house I am sorrowing most of
all for my English books that have gone. Those of our own language
are hidden; I do not know whether they will be safe or not. I only
left about forty in Dizan.

-----

Footnote 58:

  Youngest dearly loved brother to Surma.

Footnote 59:

  Surma’s sister.

Footnote 60:

  Sister-in-law; her eldest little boy, Theodore, will succeed his
  uncle as Patriarch.


40. REFUGEES FROM HAKKIARI: LETTER, DATED DILIMAN, 1st/14th APRIL,
    1916, FROM SURMA, THE SISTER OF MAR SHIMUN, TO MRS. D.S.
    MARGOLIOUTH, OF OXFORD.

I was very glad to get your sweet letter, for which I was longing
and looking forward, my dearest friend. I know how you loved Ishaya,
and he always asked after you. I wonder if you ever got his letter
that he wrote to you in Syriac.

I wrote to you while at Quodshanis (before the war) but got no
answer; I wondered if you might be away from home. I wonder if Mr.
Wigram and Mr. Heazell got my letters, written since we came to
Diliman; I am afraid you won’t get yours, the address was incorrect.

You most kindly asked after Hormizd. I wish we knew his fate, dear
boy; we have no news of him since the 20th February (5th March),
1915. I asked Mrs. Wigram if she would be able to tell us something
of him by way of Dr. Wigram’s letters; we are most anxiously looking
forward to the answer.

The hospitals which are endowed by great Russia to help the sick are
a great help. Now the people get nursed well, and, of course, the
sickness is growing less. But outside the hospitals, although they
do get help from Russia (recently some clothes, too), England and
America, still their miseries are great, and their living very poor.

I trust and hope you will read the report recently written by Mr.
Paul Shimmon. A copy has been sent to Mr. Heazell. It is all quite
true, and there you will see our nation’s wretchedness. Really,
Russia couldn’t have done more than she has by helping with
hospitals, money and clothes.

Now the Russian Government wants us all to go up to Bashkala—the
people to be provided with oxen and wheat to be able to plough land
for themselves. Of course, Mar Shimun is quite willing to make the
people do what they are ordered, and what is best for them. It
really is a very good thing, but I am much afraid it won’t come to
pass, for two reasons—first, the difficulty of finding enough oxen
and corn, and, secondly, because it is getting too late for sowing.
Soon after Easter Mar Shimun intends to go to Khoi and talk the plan
over with General Tchournazoukov.

I wanted very much to go to England, but Mrs. Wigram wrote to me
that my friends didn’t think it advisable. I don’t understand well
what you say in your letter about directing to me through Mr.
Shipley. If it is anything to help the poor, it is most welcome.

One can’t help longing to read the London _Times_ and the _Church
Times_, especially the Bishop of London’s sermons. What will be the
end? Is the world being refined? Who will endure to the last? We can
only pray for mercy. His will be done. My heart is yearning to hear
that “England has conquered”; pray God it will prove so—although one
does feel for all the young men’s lives, whether friend or foe, no
difference, and for the world’s misery.

Last October David and I went down to Urmia and stayed with dear Mr.
Nisan. His house seemed to me quite desolate with no Beatrice or her
mother, but he was the same, cheering and helping others. His
daughter-in-law Nanajan is very nice, and, with her little dear boy,
she will be a comfort for his old age. Samuel is still in America;
it is rather hard for the young wife. I have twice written to Mr.
Nisan to send service books, which he kindly sent. We often wonder
what our church would have done if it were not for English printing
presses? Nearly all our church books are gone. Mar Shimun has
consecrated little tablets, and nearly every priest in Diliman has
one to celebrate on for the people; it is the same in Urmia and
Khoi.

You will like to hear that David, Zaya, Paul and Ishaya fought most
bravely in Dizan. Twice the Kurds were driven away with twelve
killed, and the third time Paul and Zaya alone with four servants
fought against the foe and saved the little ammunition they had. I
intend to write a report of all that happened (what I saw and heard)
in the mountains. But really I can’t, as long as I am with ten
children playing in the small yard and making as much noise as a
herd of the Kurds, poor little kids. I don’t think you know that
David is father of two boys and four girls, and Romi is mother of
three girls and two boys. Are not they old? The children are as
happy as children ought to be, only they are disappointed at not
having as many new clothes as they used to have at home, and
especially the boys, for they are not going to have any new clothes
for Easter as they had theirs at Christmas, and now it is the girls’
turn for Easter. The market is another difficulty for them—seeing
new toys and sweets (they were free from that in Quodshanis) and
with no money to buy them. However, they get used to it, poor dears.

I teach the four boys for two hours a day; they are promising pupils
if properly taught. The little girls read their alphabet, too.

Romi and Esther have suffered very much under the circumstances. It
was too much for them, although they have gone through it quite
bravely, especially Esther, who was with child all this time, and
during the last days of flight was expecting the child every hour.
However, God was merciful, and the baby girl was born nearly a
fortnight after we arrived in Diliman. She is baptised Helena. I am
rather uneasy about Esther. She is very weak, and after Easter she
will go to Urmia, both to visit her father’s house (the Mutran’s
brother) and see the doctor.

I can’t say it was too much for me; if it were not for certain
reasons I should have been rather enjoying the struggle between the
Kurds and Turks and us. Thank God we are very well at present,
except for being over anxious for our poor nation’s misery. The
living here is very hard for us; we simply have no money for our
ordinary necessities, and at times we have people coming to our door
who can hardly stand on their feet for hunger; how could one turn
them away?

However, all the world is suffering, and so must we and our nation.

Would you kindly tell Mr. Heazell that Mar Shimun got the £50 which
he sent. I never wrote to him that the Mutran was let free by the
Turks and has come to Urmia safely, although quite broken and very
weak.

I rather enjoy the plan of going up to Bashkala after we have lost
our country and home. It will suit us to turn into nomads, like the
Israelites—Mar Shimun for Moses; can’t make David into Aaron, he has
no beard, so dear old Peter for Aaron, with his white beard; I
suppose I must be Miriam, and we must take a tent, too, for
celebration, which we will call the “Assyrian Tabernacle”; and very
likely we shall always be having skirmishes with the Canaanites to
get to our fathers’ land. Wouldn’t you like to come and see us, the
new Israelites?

The houses in Bashkala are all ruined.

Mar Shimun sends his blessing to you and Professor Margoliouth, and
we our best regards.


41. THE NESTORIANS OF THE BOHTAN DISTRICT[61]: LETTER, DATED SALMAS,
    6th MARCH, 1916, FROM THE REV. E.W. McDOWELL, OF THE URMIA
    MISSION STATION, REPORTING INFORMATION BROUGHT BY A YOUNG MAN
    (WITH WHOM MR. McDOWELL WAS PREVIOUSLY ACQUAINTED) WHO HAD
    ESCAPED THE MASSACRE; COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN
    MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A.

There was a general massacre in the Bohtan region, and our helpers,
preachers, teachers and Bible-Women, with their families, fell
victims to it among the rest. The man who brought the word is known
to me personally. This young man tells the story of how, by order of
the Government, the Kurds and Turkish soldiers put the Christians of
all those villages, including Djeziré, to the sword. Among those
slain were Kasha (Pastor) Mattai, pastor of the church in Hassan;
Kasha Elia, one of our oldest and most honoured pastors, recently
working as an evangelist; Kasha Sargis, superannuated; Muallin
Mousa, pastor of our church in Djeziré, and his sixteen-year-old son
Philip. There are three preachers not heard from, and one of them is
probably killed, as his village, Monsoria, was put to the sword;
another, Rabi Ishak, is possibly alive, as there is a report that
his village had been preserved by the influence of a Kurdish agha.
It is to be feared, however, that this agha would not be able to
protect them for long, as from every source comes the word that the
Government threatened such friendly Kurds with punishment if they
did not obey orders. The third man is reported as having fled to
Mosul. Whether he reached there or not is not known. The women and
children who escaped death were carried away captive. Among these
were the families of the above mentioned brethren. The wife and two
daughters of Muallin Mousa, the daughters of Kasha Elia, and Rabi
Hatoun, our Bible-Woman, were all school-girls in Urmia or Mardin.
Kasha Mattai was killed by Kurds in the mountain while fleeing.
Kasha Elia and Kasha Sargis, with other men of the village of Shakh,
were killed by Turkish soldiers who had been stationed in their
village by the Government.

The three villages of Hassan, Shakh and Monsoria were Protestant,
and it is to be feared that they were wiped out, as were all the
other Christian villages of the plain. Many of the women of Monsoria
threw themselves into the river (Tigris) to avoid falling into the
hands of the Kurds. Mar Yohannan and Mar Akha were still safe at the
time my informant fled. The terrible feature about it was that,
after the first slaughter, there were Kurds who tried to save some
of the Christians alive, but the Government would not permit it. My
informant had found refuge with an agha and was working for him,
when a messenger from the Government came with orders to the Kurds
to complete the work or be punished. Word was brought to my
informant in the field, and he with a few others fled to the
mountain and made their way to Van, and so came here. The villagers
of Attil, where we had work also, all escaped to Van. Their Kurdish
agha, who was a warm friend of our preacher and of our work, gave
them warning that he would not be able to protect them, as the
massacre was being pressed by the Government. It was their pastor
who fled to Mosul. His way would take him to Djeziré and Monsoria,
the home of his wife. They may have been killed there. There is no
word about them.

This terrible calamity grieves me more than I can tell you. And more
than those who died, the fate of those carried off into captivity
weighs upon me. I think of them so often—Sarah, Hatoun, Priskilla
and little Nellie and others, young girls whom I knew in the home
almost like my own children. What is their condition? This word of
my informant is confirmed by a woman of Djeziré, who made her escape
also to Van and thence hither. She tells us that Sarah and her two
daughters were released and were last seen on the plain beyond
Djeziré, wandering in a destitute condition.

-----

Footnote 61:

  Before the War, there were three main groups of Nestorians in the
  region between Lake Urmia and the Tigris, each group numbering
  about 30,000 souls. There were the villagers of the Urmia plain,
  the mountaineers of the Zab, and these other plainsmen in the
  Bohtan district, round the confluence of the Bohtan River and the
  Tigris. The present document describes the general massacre of
  many, or perhaps nearly all, the Nestorians of this third group,
  whose chief settlements were at Djeziret-ibn-Omar on the Tigris,
  Mansouria (Monsoria) and Shakh.


42. SECOND EXODUS FROM URMIA: LETTER DATED TABRIZ, 20th AUGUST,
    1915, FROM MR. HUGO A. MÜLLER (TREASURER OF THE AMERICAN MISSION
    STATION AT URMIA); COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS
    OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A.

On Thursday, the 5th August, the rumour spread that the Russian
troops were again to be withdrawn from Urmia. This very naturally
frightened the entire Christian population, and on Thursday evening
all Christians, except those already on the road and those
physically unable to be on the road, were in the streets of the city
and on the roads leading northward from the city, waiting for the
departure of the foot-soldiers, with whom they intended to leave.
Knowing the probable fate of any who might stay behind, we were, of
course, not ready to discourage the people from going. Still, we had
no official word of the anticipated evacuation, and were, therefore,
perplexed as to our own duty. The breaking up of a good proportion
of our missionary work, the removal of the bulk of the relief work
to a different place, and the uncertainty of America’s future
position all contributed to indicate that a portion at least of the
Station should move in case of an evacuation. On Friday morning we
learned that the foot-soldiers had left, and one of our men, on
visiting the Russian Consul, was told that all who were going should
be off by 2 p.m. that day. The Station felt that its force should be
reduced to the minimum, and that at least all women and children
should leave. Very hasty preparations were made. Mr. McDowell, Mr.
Labaree and Dr. Packard volunteered to stay in Urmia, and all the
rest were to leave. When we got on the road, however, we found that
Mrs. Packard and her children and Miss Burgess were not of the
party. Mrs. Packard had decided to brave the Station vote and stay
by her husband, and Miss Burgess stayed to be with Mrs. Packard and
to assist the medical work. The fugitive party, therefore, consisted
of Dr. Shedd and his two daughters, Mr. and Mrs. Allen with their
two sons and one daughter, Dr. and Mrs. Coan, Mrs. Cochran, Miss
Lewis, Miss Lamme, Miss Schoebel, and Mrs. Müller and myself with
our daughter. We went in carriages, using some donkeys and horses
bought the last two hours before our departure.

At the end of our second day’s journey we reached a village, Kudchi,
where we found perhaps 20,000 or 30,000 Syrian refugees, whose
further flight had been arrested by the Russian commanding officer
with the good news that a decisive victory had made the evacuation
of Urmia unnecessary. All were told to go back. Unless the
missionaries would return, however, the natives were unwilling to
trust themselves alone. Nothing was left but for some to return,
especially since this was requested by the officer in command of the
troops there. Dr. Shedd and his daughters, Mrs. Cochran and Dr. and
Mrs. Coan consequently turned back. This gave the crowd heart and
they, too, went back. But the tables were soon turned again, and
before the foot-sore crowd reached the city they were again turned
back with the word that there was fighting with the Kurds on Mount
Seir. The missionaries had reached the city and were there during
the fighting on Mount Seir. It seemed advisable for them to leave
again, as conditions were very uncertain, in spite of the fact that
the Russian Consul with a number of Cossacks had stayed by his post
during all this time. They, that is Dr. Shedd and his two daughters,
and Dr. and Mrs. Coan, left for the second time on Friday the 13th
August. This time Mrs. Cochran stayed behind.

Meanwhile, those of us who had continued on our journey from Kudchi
arrived in Tabriz on Friday the 13th August, after a journey free
from mishaps, but nevertheless wearing for us who were still typhoid
and typhus convalescents. Every one in the party with the exception
of Mrs. Allen and the Allen children had recently had the fever.


43. SECOND EXODUS FROM URMIA: NARRATIVE OF A NESTORIAN VICTIM, THE
    WIFE OF THE REV. DAVID JACOB, OF URMIA, PUBLISHED IN THE
    ARMENIAN JOURNAL “ARARAT” OF LONDON, JANUARY, 1916.

As a native of Urmia and myself a refugee who has fallen into great
trouble, I am writing a few short details about my unfortunate
nation. For centuries as Christians we have been crushed by the
enemies that surround us. Our best looking girls have been forced to
deny their creed; our men have been killed, our homes plundered, and
our property has been robbed.

In all these troubles we lived under the Persian Government, and
obeyed their rules; we have never been untrue to them, or
disobedient. For the past seventy years the only help we have had
has come through the English and American Missions that have been in
Urmia. When the Russians arrived at Urmia it was a delight to us, we
thought our rights would be more clearly established; of course,
things were much better than before; all the country was safer than
it ever had been. This was like a dream for a few years; all of a
sudden, when this terrible war began, we felt almost certain that it
would harm us, although we never dreamed that it would bring us
under such a curse.

In the cold January, when even the beasts do not wish to go out from
their caves, the people were left homeless, bleeding, impoverished
and starving. This all happened when the Russian forces withdrew
from Urmia; very many left their beloved and comfortable homes, and
started with them on an endless journey, which caused the death of
many dear souls from cold and hunger. The rest of the Christians
crowded into the American Mission compounds, with nothing left; here
they were fed on a morsel of bread which came through the kindness
of the Missionaries. There is a great deal to tell of the misery of
the people during the last winter; it was a life too wretched for
humanity. Those that were used to comfortable beds now slept on the
bare ground. For five months of captivity we lived expecting death
every minute, surrounded by sick people who needed help; our little
children died of measles; our young and strong ones could not stand
the terrible epidemics of typhoid and typhus, while the elderly
people could not live such a hard life; they died in the first
weeks, of dysentery. Now the villages were plundered and mostly
burned, a good many people killed, and our little girls and women
wickedly tortured (very many even now have not been found; they were
mercilessly carried into captivity); through all this long time of
anxiety and expectation, during which our time was given to weeping,
we prayed that God would once more save us by sending the Russians
to our rescue.

It was a great relief when we heard that the Russians, for their own
interests, were coming to Urmia once more. After their coming the
people were at liberty, and were able to go out into the country
once more. For three months they tried to live in the villages,
though a very poor and wretched life it was, with everything gone
and most of the buildings burned. In these hard times we were
thankful to the American Missionaries and the Russian Consul who
helped us in settling down. Although at this time we did not do any
evil to our enemies who had treated us so unkindly, we heard them
say that if once more the Russian army should leave Urmia, no
Christian would be safe.

On the 4th August the peasants crowded into the city of Urmia; they
had heard indirectly about the armies leaving. It was a sight that
could not be described. The sick, helpless little children were
terrified. All night and the next day the road that led towards the
Russian border was full of refugees, although the Consul assured us
that he would not leave without warning us; but the fear was so
great that nothing could keep us back.

In the first invasion of Urmia[62] some of those that dwelt inside
the city gates were in more security than the villagers, although
they were fined a great deal and suffered many hardships and losses
of property, and there had been deaths in almost every home; but
this second attack meant that we must leave all and flee. On Friday
morning, with sober face and heavy heart, I left my dear home. I am
grateful to God that until now my home had not been robbed, so that
it was very hard for me to leave its comfort and start out into the
world with no hope of returning again. With many other comrades in
the same plight, we began our dreadful journey. For two families we
had a little cart in which we put a few necessary coverings, a
little bread, and my three little children. It was very hard for us
to leave our property, but life is dearer than all the riches of the
world.

On the way we met all classes of people, the rich and poor were
reduced to the same level; very few had carriages, because our
neighbours would not hire us any, some had horses and donkeys, but
the majority had to walk with great bundles on their backs. We were
quite unused to such a hard journey; some sat on the roadside and
wept from sore feet; it was hard to walk in shoes, and without shoes
the sun burned them until the blood came; dear, innocent children
died on the way; it broke the parents’ hearts to part with them; old
and feeble men and women were left behind; little unlucky babies
were born in the sight of the passers-by; everyone was in need of
help, but no help could be found. We were like the Israelites
scattered in the desert, only they had Moses to conduct them to
Canaan, while we had no one.

The first night we were so tired and exhausted that we stopped in a
place that had very little water, a dry, dusty place; our bed was
the ground, our pillow a stone, the sky our quilt. The little
excited children cried all night; large crowds of people were coming
all night; while some rested and went on, others from behind took
their place. The next day we were so tired and hopeless that we
wished we had died at home and had not started on such an endless
and aimless pilgrimage.

It broke my heart when I met a little girl; her feet were sore and
she could walk no further. She cried, “Oh mother! Oh, God!” The
mother had a heavy load and could not carry the child, the father
was killed, they had no friends. I carried the little girl on my
back for about half-a-mile, but could not any further. It was too
heart-breaking. Why should innocent children suffer so?

Our next stop was a better place; it had splendid, cool water, and
shade; but the people were so many that bread was scarce, starvation
was upon us. A great many were sick by this time and could not move.
This was a Moslem town; they did not like to have us there, but they
could not turn us out on account of the Russian soldiers being near.
There were Christian villages on our way, but by this time they had
all been destroyed. Here we stopped a few days. We heard that the
Cossacks had not left Urmia entirely; they had moved their
headquarters a few miles, so that we had hope that we would not lose
all. From here some of us went to Tabriz, which is a larger city,
and a little safer than other places. Now we are a nation scattered
like the flock without a shepherd, some living here and some there,
a miserable existence. Some have gone back to Urmia; most of them
have found all their crops gone. If we had not left Urmia this
second time, our condition would not be so hard as it is now, the
places near the city having mostly been kept safe by the kindness of
the Russian Consul, who did not leave Urmia; but in the more distant
places the crops and vineyards have all been destroyed. We are more
than grateful to the Americans, who have ransomed our lives from
death by the money that has been spent for us the last winter. We
hope and pray for the victory of the Allies, that through their
kindness the rest of us might live. So far one-third of our nation
has perished, and even we who survive are so broken by the strain we
have suffered that sometimes we are hopeless. Now we are facing a
winter of famine and wretchedness, homes without bedding and
clothes. Of course nobody can supply all our needs. In addition to
our own trouble, our countrymen from Turkey are taking refuge in the
Urmia district, and their condition is worse than ours.

-----

Footnote 62:

  By the Turks and Kurds.


44. URMIA DISTRICT: REPORT ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF RELIEF, COVERING
    THE PERIOD 1st JUNE TO 31st DECEMBER, 1915; COMMUNICATED BY THE
    AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

At the beginning of June, 1915, when the people emerged from our
premises emaciated from sickness and malnutrition and crushed by the
blow that had fallen upon them, they were confronted by a seemingly
hopeless situation. Practically all their household furnishings and
food supplies had been plundered; the same was true of their
domestic animals, on which they depended in large measure for their
subsistence. Their houses were without any doors and windows, and
probably a full third of them had been demolished. They were in
terror about going back to their villages; they feared their Moslem
neighbours, who had despoiled them of their property, outraged their
wives and daughters, and killed many of their relatives; they
feared, too, lest the Russian troops might again withdraw and leave
them to the mercy of their enemies; and they were anxious lest the
missionaries who had sheltered them for the previous months might
forget them when they were out of sight. Everything tended to make
them cling to our Mission compounds or their vicinity. To permit
them to do this was of course out of the question. Our efforts,
however, to scatter them to their village homes formed one of the
most pitiful phases of our relief work. The people had to go, but as
long as they received their bread from our yards they would not; and
so we had no choice but to cut off the food supply, after giving
each family sufficient flour to support them a week. At the same
time, with the help of the newly arrived Russian Consul, pressure
was brought to bear upon the landlords of the Christian villages to
support their tenants until harvest. Some of these could not,
because they themselves had been plundered; others would not, in
spite of Consular pressure; and others promised to give the needed
assistance, but delayed it from day to day with all the ingenuity of
excuse for which the Orient is notorious. The result was that our
yards were thronged daily with hundreds of people clamouring for
food. To give way would have nullified all our efforts to get the
people on to their own feet; and only when it was absolutely clear
that nothing could be gotten from the landlords of any one village
did we assume any degree of support for the people of the village.
Little by little progress was made, and although the villagers were
wretchedly miserable, the approaching harvest made subsistence by
their own effort possible, and virtually all food distribution
ceased for a period of three months.

There was another form of relief, however, that was imperative. In
the vast majority of villages there was not a spade to use in
repairing their houses, in ridding their vineyards of weeds or in
burying their dead, and there was not a scythe or sickle with which
to reap their harvest. The best and surest way to help the people
was to give them these implements, and so for upwards of a month we
virtually subsidised all the blacksmiths of the city in our
endeavour to get these instruments in time for the harvest. When we
closed this department of our relief work, we had distributed 2,661
scythes and sickles and 1,129 spades at a cost of 18,909.90 krans.
(The exchange value of a silver kran is approximately 4½_d._)

By the beginning of August the situation was considerably more
hopeful. The people with Consular help had succeeded in collecting a
good deal of their plundered property, including bedding, household
utensils and a few cattle; the harvest was good, although the
acreage was below the average, and the promise of the vineyards was
excellent. Then fell another blow, what seemed an inexplicable
Providence. Events in another section of the war necessitated orders
for a sudden withdrawal of the Russian troops, and the evacuation
was actually carried out with the exception of a small force which
remained with the Consul on the hills outside the city. With the
going of their protectors the whole Christian population of the
plain, with the exception of some 200 sick and aged who again took
refuge in the Mission yards, fled, some only to the northern edge of
the plain, but many to Salmas and Khoi and even Djoulfa. Fortunately
it was summer time, but even so the misery was intense, and cholera
and want and hardship claimed many victims in those few weeks. Worse
still, much that the people had reclaimed of their stolen property
and gathered from their fields was taken once more by their Moslem
neighbours; and so, after nearly a month of miserable hardship and
uncertainty, the poor Syrians and Armenians returned to their twice
plundered homes. Very little relief, however, was given during the
next few weeks; for from the fields and vineyards much could still
be secured in the way of food.

At this time we calculated that about 10,000 to 15,000 of the
Christian inhabitants would have to be supported during! the winter
months, and we were making our plans accordingly, when a new and
overwhelming burden descended upon us. For months the Syrians of
Kurdistan had been holding their own in their mountain fastnesses,
hoping for succour from the Russians. When this failed and their
enemies increased on every hand, they had to flee—many, many
perishing in the attempt. Some 30,000 of them arrived at last in
Salmas and the neighbourhood in almost absolute destitution. A few
succeeded in bringing a part of their sheep, but most came with
nothing, half-naked, and without any means of livelihood. This army
of wretchedness was halted by the authorities on the plain of Salmas
and on the hills surrounding it, until their location should be
determined upon. Mr. McDowell of our Relief Committee, who has had
years of experience among these people, left at once for Salmas and
grappled with the serious problem of their immediate relief. But for
the assistance given by our Committee there, hundreds of them would
have perished from hunger. As it was, cholera, typhoid and pneumonia
did their worst among a people wasted by hardship, unprotected from
the cold and without shelter. Shortly the streams of suffering
humanity began to pour across the pass that separates the Salmas
from the Urmia plain, and to scatter themselves in the villages of
this section. A few weeks before we had been wondering how the
inhabitants of the plain would find shelter for themselves in their
half-ruined villages; but from the accompanying statistical
report[63] it will be seen that they have made room for nearly
16,000 refugees from other districts. For example, the village of
Geogtapa has doubled its population, having received as many of
these guests as it had inhabitants of its own.

About the middle of October we began to take steps in preparation
for our winter relief work. The first thing was to buy up all
supplies of wheat that we could secure while the price was low—the
lowest for years, for the purchasers were few and the owners anxious
to turn their crops into cash before any more untoward events might
transpire. The wheat thus secured was stored in different parts of
the plain accessible as distributing centres. The doing of this
required quite a force of reliable men, who could act as wheat
buyers and weighers.

The next step was to get accurate lists of the actually destitute in
every village. This was no easy task, for many felt themselves
entitled to assistance who were not wholly destitute, and to
discover who were really in want, among the hundreds of
poverty-stricken, plundered inhabitants of each village, required
both tact and firmness. The task was made doubly hard by the
constant stream of new arrivals from Salmas. On the basis of these
lists tickets were issued for bedding and for food—the two most
crying needs.

For bedding it was decided to issue large wool quilts, large enough
to cover several persons. These we found could be made for three or
three and a half tomans (12_s._) per quilt. Under the efficient
direction of Miss Lewis, and later of Miss Lamme, a quilt factory
was started, which in time employed over a hundred needy women in
carding wool and sewing the quilts. This factory during its three
months’ existence consumed over 84,000 yards of calico, 35,000
pounds of wool, and some 1,500 pounds of cotton, and expended over
18,000 tomans; it taxed the resources of the dry goods merchants to
supply our demand and it quite exhausted the wool supplies of the
city. Our plan was to give only one quilt to four persons, families
of over four to receive two or more according to the number of
members; but after the issue of tickets we found that we could not
possibly supply the need, and so regretfully we had to limit our
giving to one quilt to a family. The inadequacy of this relief was
seen when we began to distribute to the families of mountaineers;
for with them all the brothers and their wives and children form one
family, and it was not uncommon to have families of over 20, one
being as high as 35. But in spite of their inadequacy, the 5,510
quilts issued have saved the lives of many, for literally thousands
were facing the rigours of winter without any bedding whatever.

Our wheat distribution, too, had to be of the most economical
nature. We issued what was supposed to be a two months’ supply at
one time, giving a Russian pood and a half per capita for this
period, that is, about 50 pounds. To the widows and orphans and to
the new comers from the mountains we gave flour instead of wheat,
the actual cost of this assistance in food at current prices being
two and a half shahis per day to a person, or between a half-penny
and three-farthings. But even with this small gratuity, the total
amount given of wheat and flour was 4,000 poods, or about 140,000
pounds, costing about the same as the quilts, that is, about 18,000
tomans.

With these small gifts to individuals amounting in the aggregate to
large figures, and with the similar work that has been done in
Salmas and Khoi, and even for the district of Albek, our funds have
been exhausted, and we are waiting now to see what the generosity of
America will do about it. Had it not been for this generosity, many
would have died of hunger and cold the last two months, for, apart
from what our Committee has done, very little has reached the people
from any other source. We are grateful indeed to acknowledge the
receipt of considerable sums from his Grace the Archbishop of
Canterbury for the Syrian refugees from the mountains, but still the
largest part has come and must come from America. We shall have to
look to our friends in America for their continued aid, if this
unfortunate people, the victims of Mohammedan hate, are to be kept
this winter and established in their homes once more.

-----

Footnote 63:

  Omitted here.


45. AZERBAIJAN: STATEMENT, DATED TIFLIS, 22nd FEBRUARY, 1916, BY MR.
    M. PHILIPS PRICE, WAR CORRESPONDENT FOR VARIOUS BRITISH AND
    AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS ON THE CAUCASIAN FRONT; COMMUNICATED TO
    ANEURIN WILLIAMS, ESQ., M.P., AND PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN
    JOURNAL “ARARAT,” OF LONDON, MARCH, 1916.

In the October of last year I came to Diliman on the plain of Salmas
in north-west Persia. I had been in Urmia during September and had
seen the condition of the Assyrians (mostly Orthodox, Catholic and
Protestant) in the low country round that lake. The American
missionaries of Urmia were doing a great deal, and on the whole the
condition of the country was not so very bad. There was housing
accommodation and a good deal of corn, and it seemed as if the
Americans would keep the situation in hand. But in Salmas there was
a very different state of affairs. At the end of September, 25,000
mountain Nestorians from the Tkhuma, Baz and Tiari regions, who had
been fighting with the Kurds all summer and had had to flee for lack
of ammunition, came pouring into the plain led by their Patriarch,
Mar Shimun, and began to plant themselves down in the orchards and
gardens round the villages. All the villages of the plain were
already occupied, and, as the winter was just setting in, their
condition without housing, food and clothing was desperate. I sent a
message to Mr. Shipley, the British Consul at Tabriz, telling him of
the situation, and he telegraphed to the Archbishop of Canterbury
for financial assistance. Meanwhile relief committees were organised
under the Russian Consul Akimovitch, the Armenian Bishop Nerses, who
lent funds from the Armenians of the Caucasus, and an American
Missionary from Urmia, Mr. McDowell, with funds from America, and
they began to organise relief during November and December. The
method adopted was to distribute to all the refugees, Armenians and
Assyrians alike, a daily allowance of 10 kopecks a day, since
increased to 15 kopecks, and to distribute warm quilts and coats
from materials purchased in the bazaars of Diliman and Khoi. Some
medical detachments of the Russian Red Cross and _Soyus Gorodof_
were sent with medical aid to combat typhus and dysentery, which was
beginning to and still is taking many in toll of the refugees. As
regards the medical side of the relief, I am inclined to doubt the
possibility of making effective provision under the circumstances.
There are not sufficient skilled doctors, and it is impossible to
get drugs through from the Caucasus in sufficient quantity to do
much good.

I did not observe on my return to Salmas after a journey to Van in
November any real improvement in the health of the refugees. Every
day a hundred or more Assyrians and Armenians were dying in the
villages round Diliman, and the same thing is going on now.

It seems to me (and these friends of mine, who have also been there
and have seen the conditions, agree with me), that it is impossible
under the circumstances to combat the disease by medical assistance.
The hardy mountaineers from the headwaters of the Great Zab and
Tigris can best be helped by giving them the means to resist
disease. Once disease has hold of them, no half measures of medical
relief can help. I am therefore strongly of opinion that, if more
relief is sent, it should take the form of money, which should go to
increase the daily allowances of the refugees, enabling them to buy
for themselves, from the Persians of Diliman, food and clothing,
which alone will enable them to resist disease.

The position is now as follows. When I left Diliman for Van at the
end of October, I saw in the regions round Bashkalé another 5,000 or
6,000 Assyrian and a sprinkling of Armenians living in caves of the
rocks or in the open, and feeding on raw grains of wheat, which they
were picking from the ruined corn-fields. On my return in January
most of these were in Salmas, and so I think about 30,000 Assyrian
and Armenian refugees are now there—that is, after deducting 15 per
cent. as loss from disease in the last three months. The Russian and
American relief organisations which are working there of course
stand in need of more money to carry on their work effectively. In
order to save the refugees from starving, doles of money must be
given out to them till next harvest at least. I should certainly
think that the Americans, whose committee is centred in Tabriz,
under the American Consul there, are doing the best work with the
means at their disposal. With the Russian organisation there is more
delay and greater leakage. Relief is being given impartially by the
Americans to Assyrians and Armenians of all denominations. This
cannot always be guaranteed for the Russian organisation.

I would therefore strongly appeal for further help for the
distressed refugees of this ancient Assyrian Church, together with
their brethren of the Armenian Gregorian, Catholic and Protestant
faiths, and should suggest that it be sent to the British Consul at
Tabriz to distribute with the American missionaries in the form of
increased daily allowances for food and clothing.



                                   V.
                     THE REFUGEES IN THE CAUCASUS.


_For two months—June and July, 1915—the Armenians of Van enjoyed an
autonomous national government under Russian protection. But in the
last days of July the Ottoman armies on this front received strong
reinforcements, and were able once more to take the offensive. The
Russian troops began to fall back from Van on the 30th July, and
practically the entire Armenian population of the Vilayet
accompanied them in their retirement._

_The retreat was unexpected. The refugees had few conveyances and
hardly any provisions; and, though their rear was protected against
the descents of the Kurds by the heroic fighting of the Cossacks and
the Armenian Volunteers, the suffering and mortality, during their
flight over almost trackless mountains, was appalling._

_At Etchmiadzin and Erivan, across the Russian frontier, the
Armenian refugees were joined by the stream of Nestorian fugitives
from Urmia, and the total number of Christian exiles in the Caucasus
rose to over a hundred and eighty thousand._

_The Turks only retained their hold on Van for a few weeks, but that
was sufficient for their purpose. They did what they had done at
Bitlis, Moush and Sassoun; and when the Russians returned, they
found that all the inhabitants who had stayed behind had been
massacred, and all the towns and villages burnt to the ground,
including Van itself._

_As soon as security had been re-established, the refugees began to
return, slowly, to build up their ruined homes. But the majority of
them still remained in the Caucasus, where they had arrived in utter
destitution. The Caucasian Armenians rose magnificently to the
occasion. The brunt of the relief work fell upon them, and their
organisation was as admirable as their generosity. They were
subsequently reinforced by aid from London, Boston, and, above all,
from Moscow; but the magnitude of the task was overwhelming, and the
need continued to be very great._


46. THE FLIGHT TO THE CAUCASUS: DESPATCHES TO THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL
    “HORIZON” OF TIFLIS, FROM MR. SAMPSON AROUTIOUNIAN, PRESIDENT OF
    THE ARMENIAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF TIFLIS, WHO WENT IN PERSON TO
    MEET THE REFUGEES.

=(a) Despatch dated Etchmiadzin, 12th August, 1915.=

The road from Igdir to Etchmiadzin (about 30 kilometres) is choked
with groups of sick and destitute refugees. They have now waited
there several days exposed to the full heat of the sun, although
they have passes authorising them to proceed to Etchmiadzin. There
is urgent need for a special body of workers to organise and forward
these refugees.

=(b) Despatch dated Etchmiadzin, 13th August, 1915.=

Between the Turkish frontier and Igdir (the first Russian village),
the whole countryside is filled to overflowing with refugees.
Further on, between Igdir and Etchmiadzin, all the gardens and
vineyards are full of them. At Igdir, the first arrival depot, a
mass of 20,000 has accumulated, and another of 45,000 at
Etchmiadzin; from these two centres they are being distributed in
groups to other districts. At Etchmiadzin a hospital has been
installed, as well as baths and a hospice for the orphans. Between
Igdir and the Turkish frontier there are patrols of horsemen
searching for the children, the sick and other stragglers, and
seeing to the removal of the corpses. About fifty orphans arrive
every day at Igdir; part of them are kept there, the others are sent
on to Etchmiadzin.

The refugees from Van and the surrounding country have traversed the
whole distance on foot. The majority of them are sick and starving,
having been able to take nothing with them at the moment of
departure. In the course of their journey they have not been
attacked except at Bergri-Kala, where a band of Kurds cut the
defenceless column and headed off about 20,000 people at the rear
end of it, whose fate we do not know. As a result of famine and
fatigue, a large number of the refugees have been more or less
severely attacked by various epidemics, especially by dysentery.

The stream flows without ceasing, and it is impossible to estimate
the numbers with any exactitude. At Igdir, with the assistance of
Aram, ex-Governor of the province of Van, and other representatives
of the refugees, we fixed them approximately at the following
figures:

Van district, 203,000; Melashkerd, 60,000, not including those who
reached here at an earlier date. The average mortality amounts to 15
deaths a day at Igdir, and 40 at Etchmiadzin.

The care of all these refugees falls upon the Armenian
organisations, principally upon the Committee of Fraternal
Assistance at Etchmiadzin and the National Committee. The relief
available is utterly inadequate to such boundless misery. The
refugees need food, medical aid and clothing, especially linen and
boots. There is a dearth of travelling kitchens, tents and carts. To
stamp out the contagious diseases, it is indispensable to install
medical stations in all the villages.

=(c) Despatch dated Etchmiadzin, 13th August, 1915.=

Hundreds of thousands of refugees are arriving at Etchmiadzin from
Turkish Armenia. There seems no end to these solid columns moving
forward in a cloud of dust. The majority are women and children,
barefoot, exhausted and starving. Their accounts of the atrocities
committed by the Turks and Kurds reveal indescribable horrors. The
panic which set these poor people in flight came upon them
absolutely unawares; parents lost their children, and children their
parents. A great number of these lost children, without food and
worn out as they were, were unable to keep up and died on the road.
Others have been, picked up by rescue parties, and there are now at
Igdir and Etchmiadzin about 500 of these little motherless
creatures. We make an urgent appeal to all Armenian ladies to come
to the aid of these abandoned little ones.

=(d) Despatch dated Erivan, 21st August, 1915.=

The stream of refugees still flows, but with a slacker current. At
the present moment more than 35,000 of them have accumulated at
Etchmiadzin, and 20,000 at Erivan. In spite of all the zeal
displayed by the Relief Committee of Etchmiadzin, under the
presidency of the Prelate Bagrad, and by the National Committees of
Tiflis and Moscow, with their numerous affiliated Committees, the
situation is extraordinarily harrowing. There is an absolute
shortage of bread, hot food and medical assistance. The majority of
the refugees are ill. At Etchmiadzin and Erivan several hospitals
have been installed, which are providing for about 1,500 sick
people; yet there are still great numbers of the seriously sick
lying out under walls, in open courtyards, or even in the streets.
They are suffering terribly from dysentery. The mortality is
enormous; the day before yesterday they buried 103 people at
Etchmiadzin, and yesterday 80.

At the Etchmiadzin Secondary School, 3,500 children who have lost
their parents are huddled together. They sleep on the floor.
Yesterday evening I visited the building; in the big hall I counted
110 babies lying on the floor absolutely naked; some of them were
sleeping, others were crying. The effect was so harrowing that one
could not restrain one’s tears. The sight was too terrible for me to
stand, and I fled from this hell. But in the courtyard an equally
painful scene awaited me. Under the walls and in the corners there
were refugees lying everywhere. One heard the cries of the sick;
here and there one saw corpses. In front of the monastery gate I
found the lifeless bodies of three children. The women of
Vaharshapat and other places are sewing clothes and preparing
bedding material, but such aid is quite insufficient. Professor
Kishkin, the representative of the “Homo-Russe Society,” has just
arrived from Moscow to inspect the condition of the refugees and
organise all the relief available. He told us that beyond Erivan a
supply station has been established at Arkhta[64], where the
refugees are receiving dry bread, and still there is not enough of
that to go around. Wherever the refugees stop, there is sickness,
but no medical aid. Professor Kishkin gave the necessary orders for
the immediate installation of properly-equipped medical stations
between Etchmiadzin and Aghstafa, and has written to the Central
Committee at Moscow for doctors, travelling kitchens, clothing,
linen, etc.

-----

Footnote 64:

  Nijni Arkha (?).


47. THE FLIGHT TO THE CAUCASUS: DESPATCH FROM THE SPECIAL
    CORRESPONDENT OF THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL “AREV” OF BAKOU.

The immense procession, sinking under its agony and fatigue, forces
itself along and moves forward without respite. The head of the
column came to a standstill some time ago at Igdir; reduced to utter
despair, it is fluctuating aimlessly hither and thither. No pen can
describe what this tragic procession has endured, or what
experiences it has lived through, on its interminable road. The
least detail of them makes the human heart quail, and draws an
unquenchable stream of bitter tears from one’s eyes. In the act of
writing this, my pen trembles in my hand, and I inscribe these lines
with my tears.

Each fraction of the long procession has its individual history, its
especial pangs. It is impossible to describe or record them all.
Here is a mother with her six little children, one on her back, the
second clasped to her breast; the third falls down on the road, and
cries and wails because it cannot drag itself further. The three
others begin to wail in sympathy, and the poor mother stands stock
still, tearless, like a statue, utterly powerless to help.

Here is the road again and a broken cart on it, the sole hope of a
large family. The sick mother has been laid upon it, as well as the
children and the provisions. The father, an elderly man, gazes in
despair at the cart he must abandon. In that moment he lived through
a whole tragedy. But, come what may, they must always move forward.

And here is another mother, quite young and clad in rags. She wraps
her dead baby in a shawl, puts it down out of the traffic, hugs it
for the last time, and goes on her way without looking behind her.

Another scene—a mother once more with little children. She was
carrying two of them in her arms; the third was clinging to her
skirts, weeping and crying to be taken up in her arms like the rest.
Tears were pouring in streams from the young mother’s eyes. She made
a sudden movement, shook off the child who was hanging to her
skirts, left it on the road and walked off quickly, so as not to see
its agony or hear its wailing. From behind rose the cry: “Who has
lost her baby?” The cry reached the mother’s ears, but she stopped
her ears and hurried on.

Here is a whole group of women with white hair, bent double, all of
them, and marching in silence and with bowed heads. Where are they
going? They do not know. They are going wherever the vast procession
carries them.

Oh! these mothers, the mothers of Armenia—are there anywhere in the
world other mothers who have borne the indescribable sufferings
which have fallen upon them?

And so one scene succeeds another, each more fearful than the last.
Often one closes one’s eyes to shut them out. The fact that one is
powerless in the face of such suffering prostrates one’s spirit. The
procession moves forward at a surprising pace, under the imperious
goad of terror. In the rear the Kurds had swarmed down from the
mountains and opened fire on the column of refugees. Strung to the
fullest stretch of anguish and terror, the procession pushes forward
across the lofty mountains and the deep valleys, devoured by thirst
under a burning sun. There are many in that company who curse the
day of their birth.

Now, exhausted by privation and broken by fatigue, the procession
halts at Igdir, floods the streets, fills every corner, and mounts
up along the river bank and into the open fields.


48. MEMORANDUM ON THE CONDITION OF ARMENIAN REFUGEES IN THE CAUCASUS
    AND ORPHANS AT VAN: COMPILED IN THE BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE FROM
    INFORMATION, DATED 9th DECEMBER, 1915, WHICH WAS FURNISHED BY
    MR. STEVENS, BRITISH CONSUL AT BATOUM.

In order to secure reliability in the application of funds collected
in the United Kingdom to the immediate and actual relief of Armenian
refugees who have sought shelter in the Caucasus, it is generally
agreed that remittances should be sent to the “Armenian Central
Relief Committee for Victims of the War” at Tiflis. The President of
the Committee is Mr. Sampson Aroutiounian, and the Treasurer Mr.
G.M. Zurinov. A Special Refugee Committee is working under the ægis
of this body, and is stated to have representatives on the spot
attending to the immediate needs of the refugees. Apart from this,
the Central Committee has Branch Committees in all those principal
towns of Transcaucasia where the Armenian element predominates. They
are all engaged in collecting for relief work.

It is a task of the greatest difficulty, in existing circumstances,
without visiting the localities where refugees are now concentrated
and investigating matters on the spot, to obtain an absolutely
correct description of the extent of the alleged distress amongst
refugees within the Armenian refugee pale. That distress is
acute—indeed, very acute—is, however, universally admitted. No two
opinions differ on this point: suffering everywhere, the outlook
dark and the need for relief work, and above all pecuniary aid,
urgent.

Attention is also called to the urgent necessity for winter
dwellings, fuel, and warm clothing, and to the inadequate staff of
competent doctors, nurses and assistants to deal with the
exceptional amount of illness which exists among the refugees; and,
in general, to the insufficiency of medicines, medical accessories,
equipment, disinfectants, and every other kind of commodity required
for securing a minimum degree of comfort for the refugees.

Sums of Rs. 250,000 (£25,000), Rs. 10,000 (£1,000), and Rs. 700
(£70) have just been remitted to Bakou, Elizavetpol, and Igdir,
respectively, for the maintenance of the refugee lazarettos at those
places.

Rs. 25,000 (£2,500)—a donation by a rich Armenian gentleman named
Mantashev—have recently been spent by the Mayor of Tiflis in
procuring warm bedding, as for instance mattresses, quilts, and
pillow cases, which have been sent to Igdir, Delijan, Novo-Bayazid
and Elizavetpol for the use of refugees.

With the available funds at the disposal of the various
organisations in this country, which are not relatively
proportionate to the heavy expenditure called forth by the urgent
requirements of the refugees from Asia Minor, relief work obviously
cannot be undertaken by them in the needed degree, owing to the very
considerable numbers of fugitives who are finding their way to the
Caucasus from many parts of the Empire, and whose claims on the
moneys belonging to the Societies are as urgent as those of the
Armenian refugees.

The unsatisfactory character of the conditions obtaining in regard
to the question of relieving the refugees has been recognised by the
various Armenian Refugee Committees in the Caucasus, and an
Extraordinary Meeting of the Bakou Branch was convened quite
recently. At this meeting it was decided to endeavour to improve
relief work within as short a period as possible, and several
modifications in the existing system have, it appears, been
recommended. It is reported that the principal feature of the
changes that are to take place is the issue of rations, which in
future are to be partly in kind and partly in the form of a cash
allowance—the latter at the rate of 20 copecks (about 4d.) per adult
and 15 copecks (about 3d.) per child per diem. A further cash
allowance of two roubles per adult per month is to be issued for
rental.

Mr. Papadjanov, Member of the Imperial Duma for the Armenian
constituencies, who is on a special visit to the Caucasus for the
purpose of gaining a close knowledge of conditions on the spot, was
present at the above meeting and has been furnished with full
details in regard to the situation and the working of the several
Relief Committees. He has since visited the Viceroy and is reported
to have proceeded to the districts situated within the refugee pale.
After this visit, he will better be able to form an opinion as to
the needs of the refugees; and, before he returns to Petrograd, in
all probability, a conference of delegates of all the Armenian
Refugee Committees in the Caucasus will be held at Tiflis for the
final discussion of the urgency of the situation.

The funds at the disposal of the Tiflis Central Committee are
apparently exhausted, and Rs. 2,000 (£200) have recently been
advanced by the Tiflis Municipality to meet the immediate
requirements of the refugees. The Provincial Governor has been
requested by the Mayor to give his support to the negotiations which
are in progress for a grant of £1,000 by the State, until further
funds can be raised for the more urgent needs of the refugees.

Meanwhile, it is reported that the Katholikos has received 120 bales
of warm clothing from America, and Mr. Hatisov, Mayor of Tiflis,
another 11 bales of the same kind of wearing apparel from London,
for distribution among the refugees.

A large quantity of warm clothing, a portion of which has recently
been sent from Moscow to the Caucasus and another lot prepared by
the Ladies’ Committee of the Central Refugee Committee, has been
quite recently forwarded to Djoulfa, Diliman and Van for the
refugees. Warm clothing for the use of fugitives has also been sent,
by the Central Committee, to Aghstafa and Alexandropol.

From Van it is announced in the “Kavkazskoyé Slovo” that only about
1,600 Armenians remain there, but that many refugees are returning
from the Caucasus. About 4,000 fugitives are in the country adjacent
to Van. Great difficulty is being experienced in procuring bread and
meat, and all other commodities required for domestic purposes are
unobtainable. Everything has to be brought from Khoi over very bad
roads, the journey occupying five to six days. Motor traffic on the
roads is impossible. In view of the deplorable conditions obtaining
in the town, the establishment of a hospital at Van is strongly
disadvised; in fact, a measure of the kind is stated to be outside
the bounds of possibility. In view of the anti-sanitary condition at
Van, sickness of every kind is prevalent among the orphans of
massacred Armenians, large numbers of whom have now accumulated at
Van and in its district. The children are fatherless and motherless.
They are in a terrible condition. Most of them are starving, and
have become so emaciated that they look more like skeletons than
human beings. All buildings at Van have been destroyed by fire. No
places of refuge exist for the infants. The Field Lazaretto of a
Russian regiment has taken some of these orphans under its care and
protection, and they seek warmth and shelter under the overcoats of
the Russian soldiers.

From subsequent reports which have been received, it appears that
the numbers of refugees from Turkish Asia Minor and the Urmia
district who have taken refuge in the Caucasus are approximately as
follows:—

    (_a_) _In the Government of Elizavetpol_:—2,788 men, 4,031 women
    and 3,853 children of both sexes, or a total of 10,672 souls, of
    whom only 154 are in the town of the same name, the other
    refugees having found accommodation in the villages of the
    province.

    (_b_) _For the Government of Erivan_ the approximate figures
    are:—In the town 17,000, at Alexandropol 7,000, and in the
    villages of the province 76,000 refugees, or a total of 100,000.

    (_c_) Besides the above, 29,000 Nestorian Christians and
    Armenians have taken refuge at _Russian Djoulfa_. They are
    reported to be natives of Salmas and the adjoining districts.

The total number of Armenian and Nestorian refugees in the Caucasus
is therefore about 140,000 men, women and children. The above
figures are, of course, only approximate and subject to correction.

As regards the refugees at Djoulfa, it was decided at a recent
meeting, at which there was present the Nestorian Patriarch Mar
Shimun, to open a central hospital for 50 beds at Diliman, another
for 25 beds at Haftevan, and dispensaries in the neighbourhood of
this latter village.

A sum of £5,000 had been sent to these refugees by the Viceroy of
the Caucasus, and was calculated to suffice till the 18th December.
A further sum of £10,000 a month is required to keep the refugees
supplied with food, while other needs included £8,500 for the supply
of beds and warm clothing, and £1,500 for the equipment and
maintenance of the hospitals and dispensaries at Diliman and
Haftevan. It is feared, however, that the above estimates for
pressing needs at Djoulfa will have to be largely increased in the
event of a further influx of refugees from Bashkala, an eventuality
which is considered probable.


49. MEMORANDUM ON THE CONDITION OF ARMENIAN REFUGEES IN THE
    CAUCASUS: COMPILED IN THE BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE FROM
    INFORMATION, DATED 29th DECEMBER, 1915, WHICH WAS FURNISHED BY
    MR. STEVENS, BRITISH CONSUL AT BATOUM.

Although the considerable sums that have recently been finding their
way to Russia are being applied to the relief of Armenian refugees
in the Caucasus, and the numerous consignments of clothing placed by
various organisations at the disposal of the Relief Committees are
being served out to them, the need of the refugees for further
urgent help is reported to be still very great.

Prince Argoudinsky-Dolgoroukov, the Acting Representative of the
Caucasian Section of the Urban Union, after having visited the
refugee camps at Bambak and Delijan, furnishes the following report
on his tour of inspection:—

Four thousand refugees are concentrated in the 26 villages which he
visited in the districts named above, the more wealthy villages
housing a greater number of fugitives than the less important ones.
He found that, as a rule, two refugees are quartered in each house.
In the whole of this district, excepting at Karakeliss, the refugees
are everywhere gratuitously lodged. The same rations are issued to
the refugees in all the villages; they consist of one-and-a-half
pounds of flour and a cash allowance of five copecks (one penny) per
diem per person. Children under two years old receive no rations or
money allowance; they are, however, very few in number. Most of the
children coming under this denomination have died from hunger, cold
and the other fearful sufferings to which the refugees have been
subjected since last summer.

At Karakeliss all dwellings are in satisfactory condition. In some
of the villages fuel—mainly wood procured in the neighbouring
forests—is served out to the refugees. In this district the latter
possess about 1,000 head of cattle.

The exceedingly well organised Relief Committee of the Karakeliss
Brotherhood is very attentive to the needs of the refugees. Their
registration has been admirably arranged by this Committee. Full
particulars of the refugees, and the relief received, are entered in
the register book kept by the Committee. The latter has two
representatives who periodically visit the refugee villages, attend
to the issue of rations, and inquire into the urgent needs of the
refugees and their other requirements. The Committee further
endeavours to find work for the refugees.

The Committee has recently prepared two hundred stoves and a
quantity of warm clothing for the refugees. They are daily furnished
with boiling water and sugar. An unsatisfactory feature of relief
work at Karakeliss is the difficulty experienced in receiving flour
and money from Alexandropol. At times it takes twenty days to obtain
them. Owing to the short cereal crop of 1915 in the district, no
local flour is procurable; consequently the refugees frequently
remain in a practically starving condition. The Prince Argoudinsky
was surprised to find that no means had yet been devised by which
the transport of flour and the transmission of money over so short a
distance could be accelerated.

The Urban Union maintains a fairly well organised and equipped
hospital for fifty beds at Karakeliss. This establishment, however,
lacks an operating room, a mortuary and a disinfecting camera.

An orphanage managed by the Petrograd Armenian Committee has also
been opened at Karakeliss. It accommodates 170 beds. The premises
are good—well kept and clean. The children belonging to the
orphanage are taught at the Church School at Karakeliss. They are
all well dressed, but do not get sufficient food. This affects their
outward appearance, and the orphans are consequently pale and
somewhat emaciated. Prince Argoudinsky was informed that at times
some of the children would wake up at night and search for remnants
of bread left about during the day.

The Tairov Asylum for Orphans, maintained at the personal expense of
Mrs. U.M. Tairov, impressed the Prince very favourably. The
Orphanage is equipped for 25 orphans belonging to soldiers, and for
25 fatherless and motherless refugees. The children are well
accommodated with plenty of room, in a fine and spacious building.
They are made to work. They tidy up and clean the rooms, wash their
own linen, wash up crockery, pans and utensils, lay the tables,
assist in cooking and perform all other domestic work. They are
taught to read and write, and also various trades. The children sing
in Armenian and Russian to the accompaniment of a piano. They are
well dressed and shod. Their robust and healthy appearance testifies
to good conditions of life, and also points to the fact that Mrs.
Tairov and the whole of the personnel of the establishment put a
good deal of energy into their work, and are much concerned in the
welfare of the children.

The conditions obtaining in the district of Kazakh are not so
satisfactory as they are at Karakeliss. The need for methodical
organisation in supervising relief work and introducing a defined
plan of action is everywhere noticeable.

About 4,500 refugees are concentrated in this locality, viz.:—3,145
Armenians, 805 Nestorians and 550 Armenian orphans. The latter are
accommodated in the Orphanage of Delijan.

Up to the 23rd November last, the above refugees were receiving a
cash allowance of 10 copecks (2d.) per person per diem. On that
date, however, this cash allowance was increased to 15 copecks (3d.)
a day. Until the 20th November the Urban Union maintained feeding
stations at the more important refugee centres, but, to the great
disappointment of the refugees, these stations were then closed, and
victualling was taken over by the police authorities and the village
committees, which continue to perform these duties. The refugees
here receive relief at the rate of 1 lb. 32 zol. (about one English
lb.) of flour, and a cash allowance of 7 copecks (1¼d.) per diem per
person. Fuel is not distributed to all the refugees. Some of the
latter have had warm clothing, supplied by the Armenian Benevolent
Society, served out to them; others have been furnished with iron
stoves.

No special committee which could take over the management of relief
work exists in this district. The Delijan Committee partly performs
the duties which would devolve on such a body. No properly organised
system of administering relief is provided. Very few individual
refugees are unwilling to find employment. The invariable excuse put
forward for refusing work is the absence of proper clothing for
taking on open air work; also, that no food is procurable where work
is offering, in consequence of which the refugees have to starve. Up
to the 2nd December, the refugees were supplied with tea and sugar
by the Urban Union. For some unknown reason, this allowance has
recently been discontinued.

Hospital arrangements are good in this district. The hospital is
maintained out of funds supplied by the Urban Union.

The ground floor of a wing of an unoccupied barrack building has
been adapted to accommodate refugees. The building, although
spacious, is gloomy and dark, and is exceedingly badly ventilated.
The upper floor is temporarily occupied by 123 orphans, who are
cared for by the Armenian Central Committee. The children go about
barefoot.

At Delijan four asylums for children exist. Prince Argoudinsky was
only able to visit one of these establishments. The one inspected by
him is managed by Princess Toumanov, and is maintained out of funds
furnished by the Armenian Benevolent Society. After their dinners,
the children go to school. They look strong and healthy, and their
appearance shows care and kind treatment in every respect. According
to information obtained by Prince Argoudinsky, the other three
asylums at Delijan are likewise well managed and kept.

The relief extended to the refugees at Delijan is only of a
primitive nature; the same remark cannot, however, be applied to the
unsatisfactory conditions obtaining in this connection in the
district of Kazakh. Here the question of housing the refugees is one
of the most painful features of the relief work undertaken. In a
large number of villages in this district, the refugees are mostly
accommodated in derelict sheds and shops—dark, unheated and
overcrowded. For some unaccountable reason warm clothing has not
been issued to them. They do not receive their rations of flour and
cash allowances with regularity, and no Central Organisation to
inquire into their immediate and urgent needs exists on the spot.

The Bakou Refugee Committee has just forwarded several further
consignments of 10,000 quilts, 12,000 mattresses and sacks, 12,000
pillow cases, 600 jackets, 3,000 shirts, 3,000 pairs of drawers; and
the Tiflis Committee, 400 quilts, 4,000 mattresses, 4,000 pillow
cases, 200 jackets, 1,000 shirts and 1,000 pairs of drawers, to the
Governors of Elizavetpol and Erivan, to be served out to the
refugees. The latter Committee has also sent several bales of
clothing to Persia and to Turkish Asia Minor for the refugees, but
according to the newspapers a large proportion of the fugitives are
still in utmost poverty—destitute, to a very great extent, of the
absolute necessities of existence.

Seventy-six railway truck loads of flour, of which 53 were for the
needs of the Armenian Refugees in the Government of Erivan and 23
for the use of those in the Government of Elizavetpol, left Gulevich
in the Northern Caucasus a few days ago. These trucks, under
ordinary conditions, should already have reached their respective
destinations.

Owing to anticipated heavy snow drifts at the Akhta Pass
(Kars-Karakeliss direction), the Zemstvo Union gave orders a few
days ago that all its refugee victualling and provisioning stations
should be moved to Igdir.

According to information obtained by Mr. Sarebey, the Dragoman of
the Vice-Consulate at Van, from the Armenian Bishop of Erivan and
from various other data he has been able to procure on the spot, the
number of Armenian refugees in the Caucasus is 173,038, of whom
105,000 are from the Province of Van; 48,000 from the districts of
Alashkerd, Bayazid and Passin; and 20,038 from Moush, Boulanik, &c.,
&c.

They are housed as follows:—

 Government of Erivan:—

    Town of Erivan                                       18,820

    Villages in the neighbourhood of Erivan              14,680

    Market town of Vaharshapat                            5,360

    Villages of the district of same name                22,730

    Town of Nahichevan                                      271

    District of Nahichevan                                  468

    Igdir                                                 1,028

    Surmalin                                              7,342

    Town of Alexandropol                                  8,450

    Villages in the neighbourhood of Alexandropol        14,121

    Sharori                                                 268

    Town of Novo-Bayazid                                  1,164

    Villages of Novo-Bayazid district                    10,336

                                                            ———  105,038

 Government of Elizavetpol:—

    Town of Elizavetpol                                  12,000

    Villages, district of Elizavetpol                     5,000

    District of Karabagh                                  1,000

                                                            ———   18,000

 Province of Kars:—

    Town of Kars and adjacent villages                   26,000

    Karakeliss                                            4,000

                                                            ———   30,000

 Government of Tiflis:—

    City of Tiflis                                        5,000

    Villages of the district of Tiflis                    3,000

                                                            ———    8,000

 Northern Caucasus (probably the Armenian town of                 12,000
 Nahichevan-on-Don)

                                                                     ———

                       Grand total                               173,038

                                                                     ———

The number of refugees in the Caucasus from Khoi and Salmas is
small, about 1,000. They are housed principally at Nahichevan and a
few at Erivan.

The foregoing figures differ from those obtained from an official
source, which put the number of refugees in the Caucasus, in round
figures, at 140,000. The data now procured by Sarebey, who is on the
spot, originating as they do from Armenian sources and being in
greater detail, are likely to be more correct than the information
then furnished.

Reports received through the newspapers from Colonel Termen state
that the situation at Van has recently improved. It would appear
that 6,000 refugees have returned to the town, which has been
subdivided into four police districts. Strict measures to prevent
further pillage and destruction of property have been introduced at
Van. Ordinary necessaries of life are procurable, although only in
very small quantities. Some threshing machines and four or five
flour mills have resumed work in the district, with the result that
several bakeries have reopened.

All persons, organisations and other bodies in the Caucasus and
elsewhere that have Armenian orphans from Van and its district in
their care, have been requested to furnish particulars to the
Governor of Van in regard to the names, ages, parentage and native
places of the orphans in their charge. Also, where possible,
information is asked for as to any property their deceased parents
may have possessed, in order to enable the authorities to institute
a search for, and appoint guardians to protect, such property.

The spread of disease has been stayed. The town has assumed a
cleaner and more orderly appearance. In some streets the restoration
of buildings has been commenced. Ten or twelve shops and stores have
resumed trade.

The Armenian newspaper _Horizon_ states that the news from Salmas is
very unsatisfactory. Bishop Nerses’ urgent appeal for warm clothing
has hitherto remained unheeded. Only a small quantity of clothing
forwarded by the Tabriz Women’s Committee has reached him, but the
articles sent are like a drop in the ocean. The cold is excessive.


50. REPORT ON THE ACTIVITY OF ARMENIAN REFUGEE RELIEF ORGANISATIONS
    IN THE CAUCASUS AND TURKISH ARMENIA; ENCLOSED IN A DESPATCH (NO.
    1), DATED BATOUM, 3rd JANUARY, 1916, FROM MR. CONSUL STEVENS TO
    THE BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE.

The Armenian organisations in the Caucasus which have been so active
in relieving Christian refugees since the first arrival of the
latter in this country in the early days of July last, still
continue their good work.

The number of victims of the war who took refuge in the Caucasus
from Turkish Armenia and Persia, in roughly estimated figures, is
150,000. The influx of refugees, however, continued for some time
after July. There is, therefore, good reason to believe that the
number of refugees who crossed the Russian border was in excess of
the figures quoted above.

The refugees for the most part settled in the Government of Erivan,
and principally at and about the town of Etchmiadzin. Housing
accommodation for such large numbers could not here be provided, and
the refugees, in the circumstances, had to be accommodated without
cover in yards and open spaces, in the neighbourhood of the
Monastery of Etchmiadzin.

Daily telegrams from Etchmiadzin to the Principal Relief Committee
at Tiflis depicted a truly painful situation, and reported that from
350 to 400 deaths were daily taking place, owing to the destitute
and starving conditions that prevailed amongst the refugees.

At this time relief work was in the hands partly of the “Chief
Caucasian Committee for Succouring Victims of the War,” and partly
in those of the Red Cross Society. Shortly after, several other
public bodies joined in relief work.

The combined efforts of these various organisations had little
effect in improving the situation. The funds at their respective
disposals were small, and quite out of proportion to the enormous
numbers of the refugees, whose ranks kept on swelling, especially
after the heavy fighting that took place last summer on the
Caucasian front.

Meanwhile the insanitary condition of the refugees, in view of the
very hot weather, was daily becoming more and more appalling.
Dysentery, spotted fever, typhoid, measles, diphtheria, and
subsequently cholera, all of which were assuming epidemic form, were
thinning the numbers of the refugees at a very rapid rate; and yet,
despite this alarming situation, the funds necessary to cope
successfully with the deplorable conditions were not forthcoming.

Finally, the Caucasian Section of the All Russia Urban Union, after
a hurried investigation of matters, prepared a rough estimate of the
money needed for the immediate relief of the refugees, and a grant
of Rs. 1,103,250 (£110,325 about) was asked for by the Section from
its Principal Organisation. This money was shortly afterwards
remitted to the Caucasus, and the urgent needs of the hordes of
refugees were then and there met. The temporary measures of relief
adopted gave the Caucasian organisations a short time to think
matters over, and to decide on further action in connection with
relief work.

Accordingly, steps were taken to bring the pressing needs of the
refugees before the public, and, in response to appeals made
throughout the Caucasus, in Russia and abroad, moneys were collected
privately; the Russian Government contributed important sums, and
latterly funds have been flowing in from the United Kingdom and
America. With these moneys relief work is being extended on a wider
scale, and the requirements of the refugees are being more closely
attended to; but the needs of the fugitives are still very great,
and more and more moneys are required.

The necessity for substantial additional sums is, to a great extent,
due to a new series of tasks the Urban Union has taken upon itself
to carry out, together with the heavy responsibilities it has had to
accept in connection with refugee relief work outside the confines
of the Caucasus.

A comparatively large number of refugees have latterly been
returning to their homes, and the Djoulfa-Van and Igdir-Van roads
have had to be placed under the immediate supervision of the
Caucasian Section of the Urban Union. A number of kitchen and
housing stations have had to be opened at various points on these
two routes, which the Union will have to maintain at its own expense
for a considerable period, in view of the increasing tendency among
the refugees to return home, in reliance upon the restoration of
security in their own country.

The organisation of the kitchen and housing stations in the
Djoulfa-Van direction is reported to be proceeding apace under the
guidance of the Representative of the Caucasian Committee of the
Urban Union, and the work is being carried out in complete harmony
with, and according to the directions and indications of, the
military authorities.

The Urban Union has also undertaken to equip and open a hospital for
200 beds for refugees at Van, which it will also maintain at its own
expense.

The duties of the Urban Union do not end here, for it has been
called upon by the Viceregal authority to perform many other
functions connected with refugee relief work; the difficulties they
present have to be faced with as much energy and resource as all the
other duties taken over by this body.

The following is a list of the medical and kitchen stations which
have been opened by the Union and are at present serving the needs
of the refugees in the areas mentioned above:—

                                 I.
                             HOSPITALS.
      1. _At points at which the refugees originally settled._

(_a_) _At Etchmiadzin._—A hospital consisting of several buildings
belonging to the Monastery and to its Academy, which have been
temporarily adapted to accommodate 570 beds for patients of both
sexes and for children.

A cholera ward, No. 5, in which, owing to the disappearance of the
disease, no cases are at present under treatment. The vacant beds of
this ward (70) are now being used for cases of spotted fever.

A flying medical column (consisting of a medical officer, his
assistant and several competent attendants) has been provisionally
formed to attend to those sick refugees who are within the limits of
Monastery territory.

Three miles distant from the Monastery, on the road to the railway
station of Etchmiadzin, a medical quarantine station has been
established. At this point healthy refugees are subjected to a
quarantine of four to five days, before they are allowed to proceed
to the station for the purpose of entraining en route to the
Government of Elizavetpol. On their journey, the refugees are
accompanied by a medical officer and two professional assistants.

(_b_) _At Igdir._—A hospital, in temporarily occupied buildings,
accommodating 100 beds; and, three and a half miles from this point,
at a village named Plour, a hospital for 50 beds.

(_c_) _At Erivan._—A hospital, in private houses provisionally
rented, which provides 200 beds. A quarantine station of a temporary
type has also been opened in connection with this hospital. Two
assistant medical officers are placed in charge of the latter
establishment, and they accompany refugees by rail to their places
of settlement in the Government of Elizavetpol.

(_d_) _At Alexandropol._—A hospital, in premises rented temporarily,
accommodating 200 beds to which an isolation section has been added.

Within the limits of the district of Elizavetpol several stations
have been established with assistant medical officers in charge.

             2. _Along the refugees’ line of advance._

(_a_) _Nijni-Akhti._—A hospital for 50 beds.

Assistant medical officers’ stations at Elenovka and Tchibouhli.

(_b_) _Delijan._—A hospital for 50 beds.

      3. _In places where refugees have more or less settled._

(_a_) _Novo-Bayazid_ (_Erivan_).—A hospital for 50 beds.

(_b_) _Annenfeld._—A hospital for 80 beds.

(_c_) _Kedabek._—A hospital for 50 beds.

The total number of beds provided—including the 70 belonging to the
cholera ward at Etchmiadzin—is 1,450.

NOTE: Funds furnished by the Urban Union are at present being
      employed for adapting a building—ceded to the Military by the
      Katholikos—to the needs of the refugees.

                                II.
                         KITCHEN STATIONS.
            1. _On the railway lines used by refugees._

At the quarantine station near Etchmiadzin and at the stations of
Aghtalia and Annenfeld.

      2. _On the metalled roads (chaussées) used by refugees._

At Parakar, Erivan, Novo-Nikolaievka, Ailar, Suhoi Fontan,
Nijni-Akhti, Elenovka, Tchibouhli, Delijan, Tarsa-Tchai,
Karavan-sarai and Uzuntal.

Bread and hot food are served out to the refugees at these stations.
The refugees are quartered during their stay at these points in
sheds rented for the purpose which are properly roofed.

A separate kitchen station has been opened at Djoulfa out of
funds—Rs. 10,000 (£1,000)—placed by the Urban Union at the disposal
of Bishop Nerses, for the use of Nestorian refugees.

                                III.

With a view to improving the insanitary conditions obtaining in the
refugee settlements, and also the hygiene of the refugees:

         1. _Three disinfecting stations have been opened._

The first of these is now operating at Etchmiadzin. The station
undertakes to disinfect cemeteries, refuse-dumping grounds,
hospitals (in the event of infectious disease), and premises of
every other type, and to operate the disinfecting camera.

The officials of the station perform their duties under the guidance
of a sanitary medical officer.

The second station is at Igdir, and the third at Erivan.

The duties of the latter two stations are identical with those of
the first-named station, and each is worked by a similar personnel.

              2. _Detachment for erecting buildings._

This detachment has to attend to the building of bath and wash
(laundry) houses of a provisional type in the refugee settlements.
It consists of a chief, two assistants, an instructor, two
stove-building masons (petchniks), two fitters, a tin smith, and two
rough carpenters.

The detachment has erected a bath-house (Turkish) and laundry at
Annenfeld, a similar bath-house at Tchibouhli, and a Turkish bath
and laundry at Kedabek.

New work of the same description is in immediate prospect for the
detachment at Delijan, Elenovka, Nijni-Akhti, Igdir, Etchmiadzin and
its neighbourhood, and at Alexandropol. The detachment has also been
ordered to take in hand work connected with the erection of a series
of steam-formaline disinfecting cameras. A camera of this type is in
course of construction at Erivan.

3. Under-garments and warm clothing have been served out in various
places to the refugees. Wearing apparel, as stated above, was
purchased at a cost of Rs. 66,000 (£6,600), out of moneys
contributed by a number of organisations and individuals; and warm
clothing costing Rs. 11,996 (£1,200), assigned by the Principal
Committee of the Urban Union, has also recently been distributed to
the refugees.

Apart from the more or less completed organisation of relief work
described above, necessity has compelled the Urban Union to take
over relief work in Persian territory, and a hospital for 110 beds
is under equipment at Salmas.

Further duties connected with the relief of the refugees will
shortly be taken over by the Urban Union, when it is proposed to
open small hospitals and dispensaries in all refugee settlements.

It is estimated that between 11,000 and 12,000 refugees have
returned to the valley of Alashkerd and to the Vilayet of Van, and
that from 2,000 to 3,000 refugees belonging to the middle classes
have settled in the Governments of Tiflis and Bakou.

The cost to the Union of feeding the refugees is estimated at
between 18 and 19 copecks (4d.) per head per day.

The following are the rations issued to the refugees:—

    Bread, 108 lbs.                Rs. 7·20  }
    Meat, 20 lbs.                    ” 3·00  }
    Rice, 10 lbs.                    ” 1·20  }
    Potatoes, onions, salt, pepper   ” 0·60  }  Rs. 18·08 per 100
    Fuel (wood, peat or coal)        ” 1·70  }  refugees per diem,
    Tea, ⅛ lb.                       ” 0·25  }  or 18·08 copecks
    Sugar, 4½ lbs.                   ” 1·13  }  per head.
    Rental for accommodation         ” 1·00  }
    Administrative expenses          ” 2·00  }

The Government ration is 1½ lbs. per person per day, or an allowance
in cash, in lieu of rations, at the rate of 15 copecks a day or Rs.
4·50 per month. The Government method of sending provisions to
points of distribution is, however, very erratic. Owing to the lack
of railway facilities and to delays in remitting moneys by the
Principal Committee, the refugees dependent on relief from this
source have frequently to go without their bread for days and at
times for weeks.

The following is a list of other organisations engaged in relief
work in this country:—

      The Etchmiadzin Brotherhood;
      The Tiflis Armenian Central Committee;
      The Moscow Armenian Red Cross Committee;
      The Russian Red Cross Society; and
      The Communes of the various villages in which the refugees
      have settled.

_The Etchmiadzin Brotherhood_, under the chairmanship of the
Katholikos, maintains branches of its organisation at Igdir, Erivan,
Alexandropol, Kars, Nahichevan, Novo-Bayazid, and Karakeliss. Relief
work was undertaken by the Brotherhood in March, 1915. Since that
date, apart from the large quantities of clothing, medicines and
other comforts served out to the refugees, a medical detachment has
been organised at Igdir, and, in all, the Brotherhood has spent Rs.
900,000 (£90,000) in relief work. This, in the main, has been
obtained by voluntary contribution from persons of Armenian
nationality all over the world, but especially in the Russian Empire
(at Petrograd, Moscow, Kharkov, &c.). The Brotherhood serves out
with punctual regularity flour rations, money allowances, and
clothing to the refugees. It has all along maintained kitchens at
Igdir, Etchmiadzin, and Alexandropol, as well as hospitals in
various places; has organised a proper system of medical aid; and
has opened refugee orphanages, schools and workshops for the
children. In short, the organisation is thorough, and this is one of
the most important relief societies engaged in work in the Armenian
refugee pale.

_The Tiflis Armenian Central Committee_ has also been carrying out
relief work for nearly ten months. This body maintains its own
hospitals and kitchens, and hitherto has expended Rs. 200,000
(£20,000) in connection with the relief of Armenian refugees settled
in the Government of Erivan. The necessary funds are raised by
voluntary contributions collected from members belonging to Armenian
society in the Caucasus.

_The Moscow Armenian Committee of the Red Cross._—The relief work of
this organisation is confined to the Government of Erivan. The
Committee commenced operations in April last, when four medical and
kitchen stations (viz. at Etchmiadzin and at the villages of Markar,
Ashtarak, and Arzap) were opened. A staff consisting of a medical
officer, two assistants, and several competent attendants and
nurses, besides several sanitary officers and other employees, is
appointed to each of these stations. The organisation affords relief
when and as urgent occasion requires. This Committee has spent Rs.
300,000 (£30,000), all of which has been contributed by the Armenian
colony at Moscow. An orphanage is maintained by the Committee at
Ashtar, together with a school and workshop. The organisation
likewise keeps a flour store and stocks of other provisions at the
last-mentioned place. Refugees are fed by the Society at Markar and
at eight other villages situate in the valley of Alashkerd. The
above remarks apply only to the more important duties that devolve
on the Committee, but it also attends to the needs of the refugees
in many other ways. A hospital at Arzap is also maintained by the
Committee.

In August, 1915, _The All Russia Red Cross Society_ entered the
field of refugee work by opening a medical observation point at
Igdir. The staff here consists of a superintendent, a medical
officer, two assistants, and 19 sanitary officers. In September
last, alone, this body served out 18,598 dinners and 16,775 portions
of tea, and rendered medical aid to 4,652 refugees. In October,
1915, the Red Cross Society daily fed from 850 to 900 refugees in
the district of Igdir. The stations of this Society are well
organised, the staffs strictly disciplined, and their work is
effected with neatness and punctuality. The Society maintains a
dispensary and victualling store at Igdir. The estimated cost of the
dinners and tea served out to the refugees by the Society is between
17 and 18 copecks (3d.) a day per head.

_The Village Communes._—The peasants of each of the villages in
which refugees have been settled have undertaken to accommodate
them, gratuitously, in their houses. In these the refugees find warm
shelter, and are not infrequently fed as well out of the slender
resources at the disposal of their hosts. Whilst seemingly
unimportant, the relief extended to the refugees by the peasantry is
of the greatest value. An accurate idea of this benevolence can only
be formed when all the good deeds of the peasantry are taken into
consideration. Undoubtedly, this aid relieves the contributory
public from responsibilities amounting to several hundreds of
thousands of roubles. In other words, the charitable disposition of
the by no means affluent peasant effects an enormous saving of
money, which under other conditions would have to be provided by the
various organisations.

On the recommendation of Prince A.M. Argoudinsky-Dolgoroukov, who
has recently been on a tour of inspection through the refugee
districts, it has been decided to improve the work of relief by
adopting the following measures:—

1. That the present accommodation at the hospital at Annenfeld be
increased by an additional 30 beds. That the bath-houses in course
of construction at Barsoun and Kedabek be forthwith completed, and a
bath-house built at Tchardahli.

2. That a medical officer, two assistant doctors and two nurses, as
well as another assistant medical officer and three nurses for the
30 additional beds, be immediately appointed to the hospital at
Annenfeld. That all equipment required for the additional 30 beds at
this hospital, and the necessary undergarments and clothing for
outgoing patients, be at once supplied.

3. That should a further evacuation of refugees from Erivan to the
Government of Elizavetpol be ordered by the authorities, additional
warm and roofed-in buildings should be rented at Annenfeld and
Evlakh, and be furnished with some comfort for the refugees, even if
only of a very primitive nature.

4. That kitchens for refugees on the move be opened at Annenfeld,
Evlakh, and Elizavetpol.

5. That small hospitals be opened at the village of Tchaikent in the
district of Elizavetpol, and one each in the districts of Djevanshir
and Shousha.

6. That movable sanitary detachments and kitchens be organised in
the refugees’ districts of settlement.

7. That permanent dispensing stations be established in the colony
of Annenfeld and at the railway station of Evlakh.

8. That the question of the restrictions in force at Elizavetpol and
on the road leading through Annenfeld regarding the passage of
refugees, be at once brought before the notice of the competent
authorities.

9. That the cash allowance to refugees in the Government of
Elizavetpol be brought up to 15 copecks per day per head.

10. That the authorities whom it may concern be requested, when
settling refugees on new lands, to take into consideration the
previous conditions of life of such refugees, and allot to those
coming from highland districts identical localities in this country,
and _vice versa_ in regard to refugees who have been inhabitants of
lowland districts. Further, that in defining the number of refugees
to be temporarily domiciled in villages, the degree of prosperity or
poverty of the villages be taken into consideration.

11. That warm clothing, blankets, bast-shoe leather, iron stoves,
kerosene and (if possible) tea, sugar and soap, if only in small
quantities, be immediately served out to the refugees.

12. That the question of the supply of fuel to the refugees be
brought to the notice of the forestry authorities of the Caucasus.

13. That the question of the supply of flour to the refugees through
the Central Organ, and of the accumulation of stocks of the same
commodity in villages or groups of villages for the winter, be
forthwith decided.

14. That local administrative offices be requested to give the
Committee timely notice of the dates and hours of dispatch of trains
conveying refugees.

15. That the Caucasian Principal Committee be requested to entrust
the Urban Union with the task of feeding refugees on the spot.
Should this prove impossible, to ask that steps be taken to
introduce modifications in the present system of distributing food.

16. That a representative of the Committee be appointed to each of
the localities where refugees have been settled, in order that these
representatives may communicate to the Committee when there is
urgent need of relief in any given locality.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


51. REFUGEES IN THE CAUCASUS: LETTER DATED ERIVAN, 29th DECEMBER,
    1915, FROM REV. S.G. WILSON TO DR. SAMUEL T. DUTTON, SECRETARY
    OF THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

We have just returned from a tour of some of the Armenian villages
where refugees are living, and are ready to report on their
condition from personal observation. In this district or
Governorship of Erivan there are 105,000 Armenian refugees, besides
Nestorians and Yezidis. Of these, 18,000 are in the town of Erivan;
of these, again, many are scattered in the homes of the people and
others gathered in large buildings, orphanages, etc. We visited the
barracks where 420 were living. Room after room was full—in some
rooms 40, in some half the number. The lucky ones were those that
had a plank platform or board floor on which to sleep and sit. Many
of them were in the kitchens and store-rooms on the bare ground.
Most of them had insufficient bedding, and many of them scarcely
any. Some were lying four under one coverlet, head to feet. One man
told us how he sat and shivered in the night till his teeth
chattered. Another man stayed in bed during the daytime because he
had no clothes. One room contained, among others, two Protestant
families from Van; the fathers had both died lately of disease, the
mother of one group was lying sick. Seven or eight was the number of
each household, lying in rags on hay and with scarcely enough cover
for two people. The atmosphere of the rooms was foul in the extreme.
These people were from the city of Van and had lived comfortably.

The condition in the villages is even worse. At Somaghar, 15 miles
from here, we were taken about by the elder of the Protestant
Church. Sad indeed were the sights that we saw. Some, too, were
comforting in a measure. This good man had taken into his household,
already of sufficient size, two women refugees, who were clothed
cleanly and neatly and fed as his own. Many of the Armenian
villagers have taken in and cared for the destitute refugees. Others
have given them the use of their spare rooms, bake-houses, stables
and barns. Fortunate are those who are in the bake-houses, for the
heat in bread baking is a free gift to them, albeit mixed with
smoke. Fortunate, too, those who have stables, for they have
steam-heat from the oxen and buffaloes; for those in the other
store-rooms and out-houses have no stoves or fires. These uplands of
Armenia have a severe winter. The ground is now covered with snow.
Ararat, with its two grand peaks, is always in sight, and but a few
miles away. Cold winds from the Caucasus range blow over the plain.
The sight of these multitudes with neither clothing for day nor
bedding for night is a great draft on our sympathies, and this is
intensified by their pitiful stories. We entered one bake-house. One
young man appeared among 15 women and children. They had been a
prosperous patriarchal family of 36 persons—father, three sons and
their wives and children. Of these, 21 were killed, including all
the men except this young fellow, who threw himself into the arms of
a Kurd and was saved in some freak of mercy. This was a Protestant
family from a village called Perkhous. We saw families of 13 and
16—mothers, daughters, brides and children—with no man among them.
We asked: “Where are your men?”—“They were all killed;” or, “Out of
70 men but one escaped;” or, “We were 100 men in the village, but
only 20 escaped;” or, “There were 450 households in our village, but
20 or 30 men alone escaped.”—“Were the women taken away?”—“Yes, our
pretty girls were carried off.”—“How many?”—“Four out of nine; we
too were stripped naked.” As to the rest of their sufferings and
outrage, they were silent.

We addressed the one surviving man and asked: “How are you here?” He
replied: “I was off as a soldier in the Turkish army. I heard of the
massacres, and by bye-ways through the mountains I returned to find
our village destroyed. I escaped to Russia and found them here.”
Another woman, from Ardjish, near Van, said: “All our men were
collected from the bazaars and taken before the Government. After
dark, we heard the shots which killed them. We fled in the night.”

In the village of _Kourpalou_, with 300 houses, there are 900
refugees. Of these, 300 are from the first exodus of January to
April, 1915, and 600 from the second in July and August. The first
were able to bring with them some of their property; many of the men
came safely. The second was the terrible flight after the massacres;
of these, 40,000 are said to have died of disease after reaching
Russian territory. The condition of the later refugees is most
heart-rending. Let me give a few glances at conditions in Kourpalou.
A woman surrounded by seven or eight persons, with scarcely beds for
all, and rags as their clothes, said: “I escaped by throwing myself
in the mud, a dead child lying over my head. There were 50 in our
household. Nine women and boys were taken captive by the Kurds.” In
a stable the oxen and buffaloes were crowding up close; at their
side a flock of sheep was huddled; the air was stifling. Three
families of 18 persons were crowded at one end, in a space so small
that it seemed impossible for them to lie down. Some had improvised
a couch in the manger. A hammock for a baby was stretched above on
two posts. Of these 18, a blind youth was the only man. In the
bake-house were 27 persons, one youth, one very old man. Six men of
their household had been taken as soldiers, the rest were massacred.
Of the 600 refugees of the second exodus who are in this village,
about 30 are men. Some are escaped soldiers who were in the army
when the atrocities occurred. One had dragged himself out from under
a mass of dead bodies.

Nor did all the women escape death. Women were wantonly slain; those
with child ripped up with swords; the breasts of others cut off.
Some threw themselves and their children into the streams and over
the precipices to escape outrage. One woman lately arrived who was
captured some years ago by a Kurd. She had escaped now. after
killing the Kurd, and brought her two children with her.

_Mouandjik._—Also many refugees. As in all other places, great lack
of clothing and especially of bedding. Twenty-two persons in one
room, two of them men. Mostly sleeping on the ground, with bedding
enough for one-fifth of their number. In another room 10 persons, no
men, 15 of this connection killed, girls carried away, one boy saved
by hiding under skirt of mother; clothes in tatters, bedding
lacking.

_Veri Ailaulou._—This village of 70 houses is sheltering 370
refugees, in wretched condition. Three families of 22 persons are in
one bake-house, one side of which is filled with dried manure. Their
village in Turkey had 70 men, one escaped alive; 4 girls and 3
brides carried off. Another hut contains 4 women and some children,
the remnant of a family of 24. All the men of their village were
killed. They are living in a wretched condition. Bread and water
have been the chief food of these refugees for months past.

We are doing what we can to relieve this distress, supplementing the
work of local and Government committees. Ready-made clothing in any
large quantity is not to be found, nor blankets. Comforters we have
purchased in small quantities. We are organising some sewing circles
and will contract for clothing in Tiflis, where we succeeded in
buying about 7,000 garments. They are hard to find, and transport is
difficult when they are ready, as the army has the first right to
the trucks.

I have not time to tell you of our reception by the Grand Duke
Nicolas and his good wishes for the success and progress of our
relief work, nor of our visit to the Katholikos at Etchmiadzin and
his warm thanks for the sympathy and help of the American people for
his people in their distress. We were entertained by him over-night.
Governors, Bishops and Press have all bidden us God-speed.

Warm clothing and bedding will save many from sickness and death.
The pitiable condition of these wretched people should appeal
strongly to our American people in their comfortable homes and in
the enjoyment of ten thousand blessings.

After organising relief committees here in several places, one or
both of us will return to Tiflis for supplies of clothing and
bedding.


52. REPATRIATION OF REFUGEES: LETTER, DATED ERIVAN (?), MARCH, 1916,
    FROM THE REV. S.G. WILSON; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN
    COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

Events have moved rapidly since I sent my appeal of the 18th
February. In the intervening month the Russian army has made
splendid progress and driven the Turks back many miles beyond
Erzeroum and Van. The capture of Bitlis, Moush and Mamahatoun
(Derdjan) has given assurance to the Government, to the Armenians
and to us all. The return of the refugees to the Van province has
been officially authorized. Men are hastening back even while the
snow is on the ground. The 12,000 already there will soon be 20,000
and 30,000. Reports say: “Men are going in large numbers.”—“Every
day caravans of those returning to the fatherland enter,” via Igdir.
Most of these have returned from the Erivan province to Van. Others,
of whom 500 are women, have settled in Alashkerd. Fifty-three
hundred have gone back from Russian Passin to the Turkish province
of the same name. The Governor of Kars reports that from Olti and
that region refugees are returning to the districts of Erzeroum, and
that many of them are women and children. In Bashkala there are
nearly 3,000 refugees, said to be in great wretchedness and in need
of daily sustenance.

Besides these, numbers are coming forth from their places of
concealment, or from the houses of certain friendly Kurds, or from
their captivity in Moslem harems. These are indeed but hundreds
compared with the thousands who have been massacred or driven into
the wildernesses. But it is a gratification to hear that from
Sassoun 160 men came forth; that in Khnyss there have appeared more
than a thousand new refugees; that in Riza on the Black Sea more
than 200 Armenian children were discovered after the taking of the
town by the Russians; that in Bitlis men, women and children have
come forth in large numbers (2,800); that in Moush nearly 3,000
souls have been freed. Erzeroum seems to have been dealt with most
savagely. Less than 200 Armenians out of 20,000 in the city itself
escaped death or deportation, that is, exile. Of these, thirty were
saved in the house of Mr. Stapleton. The Armenians report that when
the Moslems came and demanded that these girls should be delivered
over to them, Mr. Stapleton replied: “You must kill me before you
can touch them.” Recent reports say that in the villages round
Erzeroum Armenian women and children are appearing, singly and in
groups, and are in the greatest need. Whose heart is not moved with
pity for and desire to preserve these remnants who have escaped from
the greatest destruction! Our opportunity is a wonderful one—to save
the remnant, to aid in the restoration, to prepare for the return of
the 200,000 fugitives now in Persia and the Caucasus.

Our call to help is both general and specific. A specific and
unusual call has reached us from the Russian Governor of Van, Mr.
Alfred Teremin.

Now we have telegraphed to the Governor that we are coming, as we
telegraph to the American Committee of our entrance upon the new
work. Fortunately we have a considerable balance on hand, and we are
going in the faith that America will support us generously. Large
funds will be necessary, to put roofs over the heads of the people,
to supply seed-corn, ploughs, oxen, carts, etc.; to set at work
carpenters, blacksmiths and other artisans; to help the most needy
till harvest time. We shall buy the necessary things here or in
Persia or from the Kurds, and will do our part in assisting the
returning exiles to cultivate their fields, so that harvest may be
abundant. Fortunately the time of spring sowing in the highlands of
Armenia does not close till June, so we have yet time. A letter from
Van says: “The important thing is that material help should be
received quickly. If delayed, it will lose half its value. It is
necessary to hasten. Every day is precious.”



                                  VI.
                          VILAYET OF ERZEROUM.


_The Vilayet of Erzeroum lies due north of Bitlis and Van, and is
likewise a border province. It consists principally of the upper
valleys of the Kara-Su (Western Euphrates) and the Tchorok. The
fortress-city of Erzeroum itself is situated in a plain which
collects the head-waters of the former river; Erzindjan, a place of
almost equal importance, lies further west, about 120 miles down
stream; while Baibourt, in the Tchorok valley, is the most important
place on the high road from Erzeroum to Trebizond. The districts
north of the Kara-Su are as civilised as the rest of Anatolia; but
south of the river, in the great peninsula enclosed by the two arms
of the Euphrates, lies the mountain-mass of Dersim, inhabited by
wild, independent tribes of Kizil-Bashis and Kurds, who played an
active part in the destruction of their Armenian neighbours._

_In the Vilayet of Erzeroum the deportations began at the end of May
and during the first days of June. Reports from a particularly
trustworthy source state that, by the 19th May, more than 15,000
Armenians had been deported from Erzeroum and the neighbouring
villages, and that, by the 25th May, the districts of Erzindjan,
Keghi and Baibourt had also been “devastated by forced emigration.”
Our information concerning Erzeroum itself was at first somewhat
scanty, but since its capture by the Russians it has been visited by
representatives of various relief organisations in the Caucasus, who
have obtained circumstantial accounts of what happened in the city
and the surrounding villages. They report that, out of an Armenian
population estimated at 400,000[65] souls for the Vilayets of
Erzeroum and Bitlis, not more than 8,000-10,000 have survived,—in
other words, that 98 per cent. of the Armenians in these vilayets
have been either deported or massacred._

_We are also particularly well informed with regard to Baibourt and
Erzindjan, and the documents in this section may be noted as a clear
case in which independent testimonies exactly bear one another out._

-----

Footnote 65:

  The author of Doc. 57 estimates them at 300,000 only; but consult
  Annexe D. to the “Historical Summary.”


53. ERZEROUM: RECORD[66] OF AN INTERVIEW BETWEEN THE REV. H.J.
    BUXTON AND THE REV. ROBERT STAPLETON, A MISSIONARY OF THE
    AMERICAN BOARD, RESIDENT AT ERZEROUM FROM BEFORE THE OUTBREAK OF
    WAR UNTIL AFTER THE CAPTURE OF THE CITY BY THE RUSSIANS.[67]

Up to 1914 the population of Erzeroum was between 60,000 and 70,000,
of whom 20,000 were Armenians.

In 1914 Tahsin Bey was Vali of Erzeroum (whom Mr. H.J. Buxton had
met, as Vali of Van, in 1913).

On the outbreak of war with Turkey (November, 1914) the British
Consul, Mr. Monahan, received his passport; the Russian Consul was
ejected; the French Consul was absent. All their servants and
interpreters were Armenians; these were ejected likewise, and were
sent to Kaisaria as prisoners. The three Armenian servants of the
Russian Military Attaché were hanged. The wife of one of these was
sitting up, knitting socks and putting things together for her
husband’s departure, when news came to her, early in the morning,
that he was hanging on the scaffold.

In the spring of 1915 Passelt Pasha was Military Commandant of
Erzeroum, and he suggested that all Armenian soldiers should be
disarmed, withdrawn from combatant service and put on road gangs
(yol tabour). These were men who had been conscripted, and, owing to
the friendly relations between Turks and Armenians in this district
(for the past ten years), had joined readily.

Teachers in the schools were first of all put into hospitals to do
the work of dressers and nurses among the wounded. They were men
with a good education, and did their work with intelligence. Then
came the order that they were to be put on to the road gang, and
they were replaced by totally incompetent men, so the soldiers had
very poor attention in the hospital.

All through this period, up to May, 1915, military service could be
avoided by men of all races and parties upon payment of an exemption
tax of £40 (Turkish).

Even Turks themselves obtained exemption on these terms, and for a
period (of, say, twelve months) the terms were faithfully observed;
but, of course, eventually the need for soldiers made the
authorities come down even upon exempted persons. In any case, this
exemption only applied to military duties, and afforded no shelter
to Armenians in the final crisis.

Stapleton managed to get one Armenian exempted by the payment of
this tax.

_19th May, 1915._

There was a massacre in the country round Khnyss. As the Russians
advanced from the east a large number of Kurds fled in front of
them, bent on vengeance, and carried out a raid on the peasantry
which was quite distinct from the organised massacres later on.

Some of Stapleton’s teachers, boy and girl students, were at Khnyss
on holiday, and perished in this massacre.

_6th June._

The inhabitants of the one hundred villages in the plain of Erzeroum
were sent away by order of the Government at two hours’ notice. The
number of these must have been between 10,000 and 15,000. Of this
number very few returned, and very few reached Erzindjan. A few took
refuge with friendly Kurds (Kizilbashis), but all the rest must have
been killed.

They were escorted by gendarmes, but the people responsible for the
massacres would probably be chettis or Hamidia.

One of the Kurds was charged in court for murder, pillage and
rapine, and he thereupon produced a paper and laid it before them,
saying: “These are my orders for doing it.”

It is not certain who gave these orders, but the presumption is that
they originated with the Government at Constantinople.

About this time definite orders arrived, by which Tahsin Bey was
instructed that all Armenians should be killed. Tahsin refused to
carry this out, and, indeed, all through this time he was reluctant
to maltreat the Armenians, but was overruled by _force majeure_.

_On the 9th June_

he issued an order that the whole civic population were to leave
Erzeroum, and many Turks and Greeks actually did leave (the latter
being hustled out).

The German Consul was now aware of what was coming, and wired
protests to his Ambassador; but he was told to remain quiet, as the
Germans could not interfere with the internal affairs of Turkey.

This is what he said to Stapleton, and his goodwill is borne out by
his evident intention to help the Armenians. It is an established
fact that, in the days following, he used to send bread tied up in
large sacks to the refugees outside the city, conveying these large
supplies in motor cars.

_16th June._

The first company of Armenian deportees left Erzeroum on the 16th
June, having got leave to go to Diyarbekir by Kighi. These were
forty families in all, mostly belonging to the prosperous business
community.

First of all, after starting, all their money was taken from them,
“for safety.” After a short halt, when some alarm was expressed,
they were reassured of the complete security of their journey, and
shortly after resuming their journey (somewhere between Kighi and
Palu) they were surrounded and a massacre took place. Only one man
and forty women and children reached Harpout.

Evidence of this massacre comes from various sources: (1) letters to
Stapleton from women survivors; (2) evidence of Americans who were
living in Harpout at the time of the arrival of the survivors, and
cared for them; (3) evidence of a Greek, who passed the scene of the
massacre shortly after it took place and described it as sickening.

_19th June._

About five hundred Armenian families left Erzeroum, _via_ Baibourt,
for Erzindjan; they were allowed time for preparations—a concession
granted throughout the deportations from the town itself. At
Baibourt there was a halt, and the first party of about 10,000
people was joined by later contingents, bringing the number up to
about 15,000. A guard of gendarmes (up to 400) was provided by the
Vali, and these doubtless took their toll of the Armenians in
various ways, licentiously and avariciously.

The Vali went to Erzindjan to see after their security, and it is
known that about 15,000 reached Erzindjan. Up to this point the
roads were good enough to allow transport by bullock carts (arabas),
but after Erzindjan, instead of being allowed to follow the carriage
road _via_ Sivas, they were turned aside to the route _via_ Kamakh,
Egin and Arabkir, where there were only footpaths. The arabas had,
therefore, to be left behind, and no less than 3,000 vehicles were
brought back to Erzeroum by an Armenian in the transport service,
whom Stapleton met on his return.

At Kamakh, twelve hours from Erzindjan, it is reported that the men
were separated and killed, their bodies being thrown into the river.
Beyond this place letters come from women only, though Stapleton’s
account leads us to suppose that, from among thirty families of
which he has news, ten men survive. Letters from women to Stapleton
do not, of course, give details of what occurred; they only indicate
what happened by such phrases as: “My husband and boy died on the
road.” The destinations reached by these Armenians, as definitely
known to Stapleton in January, 1916, were Mosul, on the east; Rakka,
on the south; Aleppo and Aintab, on the west. The need in these
places has been urgent. German Consuls in Aleppo and Mosul are known
to have assisted in distributing relief funds sent by Stapleton, per
the Agricultural Bank at Constantinople, to Mesopotamia—in all about
£1,000 (Turkish).

Stapleton had previously been able to distribute a sum of about £700
(Turkish), received from America, to poor Armenians before their
departure. This he did in co-operation with the Armenian Bishop.

_November, 1915._

Certain Roman Catholic “lay brothers and sisters” (Armenians),
claiming to be under Austrian protection, were permitted to remain
until November, 1915, when they left Erzeroum in arabas. They were
known to have reached Erzindjan, and probably Constantinople, in
safety, where they were housed in the Austrian schools[68].

From twelve to twenty families of artisans were left to the last, as
they were doing useful work for the Government. Also fifty single
masons, who were building a club-house for the Turks, being
compelled to use gravestones from the Armenians’ cemetery.

_February, 1916._

These masons were sent to Erzindjan, where they were imprisoned for
some days and then brought out and ordered to be shot. Four,
however, escaped by shamming death, and one of them saw Stapleton on
the 16th February and gave an account of what had happened.

The fate of the artisans is thought to have been similar, but we
have no details, except that three families were able to return.

One of those to leave the town in the early days was a photographer.
He would not wait. Ten hours out from Erzeroum he was surrounded by
forty chettis, stripped naked and stoned to death. They mutilated
his body. One child was brained. Of the other children, a girl was
taken away and only escaped many months later when the Russians
came. Very reluctantly she poured out her story to the Stapletons,
from which it appeared that she had been handed round to ten
officers after the murder of her husband and his mother, to be their
sport.

Thirty-five families of Greeks remained in Erzeroum until near the
end. They were then hustled out when the Russian approach was
imminent, the Turks virtually saying to them: “We are suffering. Why
should not you?”

These deportations went on in an almost continuous stream from the
16th June to the 28th July, when the Armenian Bishop left. He is
supposed to have been put to death near Erzindjan.

The part which Stapleton took during these events may now be
described. In addition to what we have already said about his relief
work, he and Mrs. Stapleton sheltered eighteen Armenian girls. It
was by the permission of the Vali that these were allowed to stay
with him, and on only one occasion was his house actually
threatened. This was just on the eve of the Russian arrival, when he
was warned by the German Consul that a plot had been made to burn
down his house and, in the subsequent rush of panic, to seize the
girls. Nothing could have stopped this but the Russian entry, which
took place on the very day for which it was planned. This plot,
however, was an isolated act, and, on the whole, Stapleton speaks
highly of the general conduct of the Turks in Erzeroum itself.

_The Last Days._

On Sunday, the 13th February, the German Consul left. On Monday, the
14th February, the Persian Consul was forced to go with the Turks to
Erzindjan. They maintained that, as he was a representative
accredited to the Government, he must go with them when the
Government moved its headquarters. He went reluctantly, as he was
anxious to look after his fellow-countrymen.

On Monday evening (the 14th February) Stapleton was sent for by the
Vali, and he went, expecting to be told to leave the town. The Vali
said that he and the Turks were leaving on the morrow, but that
Stapleton might remain.

Tahsin Bey requested him to ask the Russian Commander to spare the
population of the city, as, in general, they had had nothing to do
with the deportations.

And that is a fact.

On the 15th, Stapleton was asked by a deputation of all ranks of
Turks in the town to go out (three hours’ distance) and meet the
Russian Commander. He refused to go, but he delivered Tahsin’s
message the following day, when the Russians entered the city.

On the 15th, Turkish troops fired the Armenian episcopal residence
and the market. They also burned schools and arsenals, and looted in
the city.

_Wednesday, the 16th February._

The first Russian to appear was a Cossack with a white apron. He was
accompanied by Russian and Armenian soldiers, who shouted: “We are
Armenians. Are there any here?” Then the Cossack came into
Stapleton’s house, and wrote his name in the book as “the first
Russian to enter Erzeroum.” The house was soon filled, and Stapleton
lent eight beds to Russian officers, and also supplied food.

When the Grand Duke came, a few days later (the 20th), the Russians
asked for another bed; but this was refused.

Mr. H.J. Buxton asked Stapleton: “Was there a good deal of looting
by the Russians?” Stapleton said: “No, I should not say a good deal
of looting. They were very hungry, and the stores were all open;
but, for an invading army, they were quite mild. For the first
twenty-four hours they were very short of food.”

Armenian Volunteers began to search the city for Armenians, and they
did not find very many. Four girls were held by Turks, and these,
together with the eighteen with Stapleton, made the full quota of
twenty-two Armenians in the town.

The appointment by the Russians of an “Old Turk” (a former agent of
Abd-ul-Hamid at Bukarest, who had subsequently been banished by the
Young Turks to Erzeroum) is now giving considerable satisfaction to
the Moslem population.

In August, 1915, the Turkish Government appointed and despatched a
Commission from Constantinople, ostensibly to protect the property
of the deported Armenians. During August this Commission took
possession of, and sold, this property, including valuables left
with Dr. Case (Stapleton’s colleague at that period). Stapleton
asked the police for their authority, and was turned off his own
premises by a high-handed secretary. However, he wired to his
Government, and got the official removed, and from that time he was
treated with respect and was able to exert considerable influence
with the Vali; in fact, he remonstrated with him on the brutal
treatment of the women at the hands of the zaptiehs and Kurds on the
road from Erzeroum.

Stapleton is not a Consul, but a Missionary. To the foreigner a
“Missionary” always means a Government representative; and as
Stapleton was the only American in Erzeroum, he was, _de facto_,
Consul. In many ways he was able to do far more than if he had been
officially a Consul, knowing the ways of the country and exactly how
far he could go, but yet free from official fetters.

-----

Footnote 66:

  Undated.

Footnote 67:

  Mr. Stapleton’s total period of service at Erzeroum is thirteen
  years. For a letter from Mr. Stapleton himself, see Doc. 149, page
  589.—EDITOR.

Footnote 68:

  See Doc. 62


54. ERZEROUM: REPORT, DATED 25th SEPTEMBER, 1915, DRAWN UP BY THE
    AMERICAN CONSUL-GENERAL AT TREBIZOND, AFTER HIS RETURN FROM A
    VISIT TO ERZEROUM; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR
    ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

I left Trebizond on the 12th August on horseback, accompanied by
kavass Ahmed and a katerdji with my travelling outfit, also two
mounted gendarmes furnished by the Governor-General. I reached
Erzeroum about midnight on the 17th August, and was allowed to enter
the city gate only after communicating with the Commandant.

I found the two American families well. The Rev. Robert S.
Stapleton, who is the director of the American Schools and Treasurer
of the Mission Station, is living with his wife and two daughters in
the upper storey of the Boys’ School building. The lower part is
used as a Red Crescent Hospital for lightly wounded or convalescing
soldiers, accommodating on an average about 75 patients. Dr. Case
and wife and two small children were living in the upper part of the
Hospital building, the lower part being used as a Red Crescent
Hospital for about 30 patients. The Girls’ School building, with the
exception of two rooms belonging to the teachers, which are locked
up, is also used by the Red Crescent for lightly wounded soldiers,
accommodating on an average about 200. These three fine buildings
are on the same street, about 100 yards apart. The Red Crescent flag
flies over the three buildings, and on Fridays and holidays the
Turkish flag is also raised over the Girls’ School building, which
is entirely devoted to the Red Crescent work, with the exception of
the two rooms mentioned above. Over the other two buildings, which
are partly occupied by the Americans as residences, the American
flag is hoisted, in addition to the Red Crescent flag, on Sundays
and holidays, and there seems to be no difficulty raised by the
authorities now in regard to the flag question.

I called upon the Governor-General, Tahsin Bey, accompanied by the
Rev. Mr. Stapleton and Dr. Case, and the Bey received us very
cordially. He informed me that he had just received a report from
the military authorities that the Russians, upon evacuating Van, had
destroyed every building in the city, including the American
buildings, in order that the Turkish army should not find shelter
for the winter, and had taken the Americans from Van with them on
their retirement towards Russia. This information I telegraphed to
the Embassy on the 18th August as follows:

“All American buildings reported destroyed by Russians upon their
withdrawal from Van, and Americans now in Russia.”

He also informed me that all the Americans at Bitlis had gone to
Diyarbekir.

The Vali said that, in carrying out the orders to expel the
Armenians from Erzeroum, he had used his best endeavours to protect
them on the road, and had given them fifteen days to dispose of
their goods and make arrangements to leave. They were not prohibited
from selling or disposing of their property, and some families went
away with five or more ox-carts loaded with their household goods
and provisions. The Missionaries confirm this.

Over 900 bales of goods of various kinds were deposited by 150
Armenians in Mr. Stapleton’s house for safe keeping. There are also
about 500 bales in Dr. Case’s house and stable. The value of the
bales is estimated by Mr. Stapleton at from £10,000 to £15,000
(Turkish). He has a good American combination safe belonging to the
Mission in his house, and two safes of English make left by
merchants, which he filled with paper and silver roubles and
jewellery deposited by Armenians, for safe keeping. He gave no
receipts and assumed no responsibility, however. The gold deposited
by Armenians amounted to £5,559 (Turkish), and of this amount £5,000
(Turkish) was sent to Mr. Peet through the Imperial Ottoman Bank in
Erzeroum by telegram. The roubles, however, the Bank refused to
transfer, and so they were left in his safes in the shape received,
namely, tied up in handkerchiefs or made up in small packages.
Afterwards these packages were all opened, and an itemized list was
made of the contents of each package. The paper roubles and
jewellery were then packed into tin boxes and sealed with the
Mission seal and deposited in the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Mr.
Stapleton’s name for safe keeping....

Many policies of insurance in the New York Life Insurance Company
were found in these packages, upon which a separate report will be
made. There were also deeds to house and lands, promissory notes and
other valuable papers, which no doubt have now lost much of their
value.

The Gregorian Armenian Cathedral and the Catholic Armenian Church at
Erzeroum were filled with goods of various kinds which had been
entrusted to the Imperial Ottoman Bank by the Armenians before they
were deported. These goods were entrusted to the Bank, and the keys
are in the possession of the Bank....

The Vali of Erzeroum informed me that he had received instructions
from Constantinople to allow the Protestants and Catholics to remain
where they were for the present. One of Mr. Stapleton’s valuable
teachers, Mr. Yeghishé, was taken some time ago for military
service, and was working upon the roads near Erzeroum. Mr. Stapleton
needed this man as an interpreter, since he himself knows very
little Turkish. The Vali promised me he would give Mr. Yeghishé a
vesika or permit to remain in the city, if his military exemption
taxes were paid. I attended to this matter, and on my way to
Trebizond found Mr. Yeghishé at Ilidja, three hours from Erzeroum,
and delivered to him the vesika, which gave him freedom to return to
Erzeroum and remain there.

I also asked for the return of another Protestant teacher who was
thought to be in Erzindjan, but this the Vali declined to allow,
saying that the order did not permit their return, but simply
allowed them to remain where they were. In case they had already
been sent away he could not recall them.

Mr. Stapleton has twenty Armenians in his house now; four of them
are women and the balance girls. Dr. Case had six Armenians in his
house when he left Erzeroum. Four of these went to Mr. Stapleton,
and one he takes with him to Constantinople, and one he expects to
leave at Marsovan for training in the Hospital. The Vali granted a
special permit for these two girls to travel with Dr. Case, and also
handed to him a letter of appreciation for the work he had done in
his hospital for Turkish officers.

Mr. Stapleton’s relations with the Vali, Tahsin Bey, are good, and
indeed the latter, who was Mutessarif of Pera a few years ago,
impressed me as being a very reasonable man, who desired to do the
right thing and entertain good relations with the Americans....


55. ERZEROUM: ABSTRACT OF A REPORT BY MR. B.H. KHOUNOUNTZ,
    REPRESENTATIVE OF THE “ALL-RUSSIAN URBAN UNION,” ON A VISIT TO
    ERZEROUM AFTER THE RUSSIAN OCCUPATION; PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN
    JOURNAL “HORIZON,” OF TIFLIS, 25th FEBRUARY, 1916.

There are between 80 and 100 Armenians left in Erzeroum—according to
other reports 130—and about 25,000 Turks, who dare not come out of
their houses. The sanitary condition of the city is deplorable. Mr.
Khounountz had interviews with a number of Armenian and foreign
eye-witnesses. He met an Armenian officer who had escaped from the
Turks, who told him of the deportation and massacre of the
Armenians. He said that the attitude of the Turks towards the
Armenians was more or less good at the beginning of the war, but it
was suddenly changed after the Turkish defeat at Sari-Kamysh, as
they laid the blame for this defeat upon the Armenians, though he
could not tell why.

After that, they separated the Armenian soldiers from the Turks as a
dangerous element, and removed them from the fighting line. They put
them on the roads to work as ordinary labourers.

At the same time terror reigned in the city. Mr. Pasdermadjian, a
well-known Armenian, was assassinated, and a number of prominent
young men were hanged or exiled. A number of Armenians were forced
to go to the cemetery and destroy the statue which was erected to
the memory of martyred Russian soldiers in 1829. They were also
forced to open hospitals for the wounded Turkish soldiers at their
own expense.

On the 5/18th April, by an order received from Constantinople, the
Turks held a big meeting in which the hodjas (religious heads)
openly preached massacre, casting the responsibility for the defeat
upon the Armenians. The Armenians appealed to them and implored for
mercy, but in vain. The Vali was rather inclined to spare the
Armenians, but the order from Constantinople had tied his hands.

The deportation of all the Armenians in the Vilayet of Erzeroum
began on the 4th June. It was carried out promptly, and took the
Armenians by surprise. Gendarmes were sent to the Armenian villages
at night, who entered the houses, separated all the men from their
families and deported them. The deportation of the men of
Erzeroum—the city proper—was carried out less cruelly, the Vali
giving them 15 days’ notice.

But as the refugees were escorted by brutal gendarmes and chettis
(bands of robbers) many of them were massacred in a most cruel
manner, and very few of them reached their destination, which was
the district of Kamakh, west of Erzindjan.

According to the officer, the plan of deportation was exactly the
same as in other vilayets. None were spared, not even certain women
teachers—Protestant and Roman Catholic—who were foreign subjects and
had taught in foreign colleges.

Only 15 skilled labourers were left, with their families, as they
were needed for war work. These were massacred before the Turks left
Erzeroum.


56. ERZEROUM: ABSTRACT OF A REPORT BY DR. Y. MINASSIAN, WHO
    ACCOMPANIED MR. KHOUNOUNTZ TO ERZEROUM AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE
    CAUCASIAN SECTION OF THE “ALL-RUSSIAN URBAN UNION”; PUBLISHED IN
    THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL “MSCHAK,” OF TIFLIS, 8th MARCH, 1916.

Dr. Minassian gathered his information from the following sources:
The American Vice-Consul at Erzeroum, Mr. Stapleton; Mrs. Stapleton;
Dr. Case of the American Mission Hospital; an educated Armenian
lady—Zarouhi—from Baibourt, who escaped the massacres by a miracle;
an Armenian soldier who had accepted Islam; an old man from
Erzeroum; and many others.

Before Turkey’s entry into the war, the Young Turks saw that war
between them and Russia was inevitable, so they tried to win the
Armenians over to their side by promising them all kinds of
privileges.

As soon as war was declared, they confiscated everything from the
shops of the Turks, Greeks, Armenians and Syrians, without any
distinction of race or religion. The Armenians lost more than the
other nationalities, as they were the wealthiest commercially.

The Turks asked the Armenians to join with them, but they declined,
saying that if they fought against the Russians they would endanger
the lives of their brothers in Caucasia. This seemed reasonable to
the authorities, and on the surface, at least, they left the
Armenians in peace.

The Armenians performed their civic duties faithfully and opened a
hospital for the Turkish wounded; later on they were forced to open
others.

Everything went smoothly until the first Turkish defeat, which
occurred at Keutag. It was then that the Turks found out that the
Armenian volunteers were fighting side by side with the Russians.
This was announced everywhere and excited the Turks; but no steps
were taken until it was reported that Garo Pasdermadjian, a member
of the Ottoman Parliament and one of the deputies for Erzeroum, was
commanding a body of volunteers in the Russian army. The result was
that Mr. Pasdermadjian’s brother was assassinated. Then Djemal
Effendi from Constantinople, with another Turk, Saifoullah, incited
the people to massacre the Armenians.

The Governor saw that the excitement was growing, so he called a
conference of all the prominent Turks. This was held at Pasha-Kiosk,
and Djemal and Saifoullah took part. These demanded an immediate
massacre, but the Governor requested them to hold their hand until
he could communicate with Constantinople about it.

After this the authorities disarmed and removed all the Armenian
soldiers from Erzeroum, and put them on the roads to work as
unskilled labourers. A number of wealthy Armenians were forced to
destroy the statue which was erected in memory of martyred Russian
soldiers in 1828, and transfer its stones to another place to build
a club-house for the Young Turks. Some could not stand the hard
work, yet could only obtain release from it by paying large sums.

Then the rich Armenians were asked to vacate their homes and to
transform them into hospitals. This was done willingly, and the
Armenians undertook to care for the wounded.

Then an order came to some Armenians to leave their homes and go.
But they begged to remain, and were allowed to do so on payment of
£1,500 (Turkish).

A week later, all the rich and educated men were imprisoned; many of
them died in prison under terrible tortures.

Then it was announced that they would all be deported. When the
Governor was asked where they would be sent, he replied: “To a safe
place, where the mob cannot hurt you.”

The Armenians packed all their valuables and left them at the
American Consulate, the missionary schools, and at the Armenian
Church.

To obviate any possibility of resistance, the villagers were first
deported towards Kamakh, and when the Erzeroum Armenians followed
them they saw heaps of ruins in place of prosperous villages.

The deportation of the Armenians of Baibourt was more terrible. They
were all taken by surprise at midnight.

“Where are you taking us?” they asked. “To a safe place,” was the
reply, “away from the Turks, where the mob cannot massacre you. It
is the duty of the Government to protect its subjects. You will
remain there until peace is re-established.”

The Armenians believed them and followed the gendarmes without
resistance. After they had travelled several miles, they noticed
that the attitude of the guards changed and that they had been
deceived. By and by they were asked to pay fifty pounds, which they
paid. Towards nightfall they asked for two girls. The next day they
asked for five hundred pounds. They had to pay that also. That night
they asked for five girls and took them. Then every day they were
robbed. They lost all their valuables and provisions. The Turkish
villagers stole the best looking girls and boys.

Just before they reached Erzindjan, their outer clothing was taken
away from them and they were left in their underclothes. When they
reached Erzindjan they protested to the Kaimakam. The Kaimakam
promised to accompany them. The next day they started for Kamakh.

After they had travelled a few miles, they were attacked by chettis
from all sides. The Armenians wanted to run back to Erzindjan, but
the gendarmes opened fire on them. Many of them were thus massacred,
and the remainder were driven towards Kamakh.

It was discovered that these chettis had been organised by Djemal
Effendi, and it was by deliberate design that all the refugees were
left in their white underclothes, so that no one could run away or
hide himself.

When the refugees reached a gorge of the Euphrates River they were
attacked again, and many of them were drowned in the river.

Zarouhi—who related the above story—said that the river was filled
with corpses. She also was thrown into the river, but clung to a
rock behind some bushes and remained there until the gendarmes and
chettis had gone away.

Coming out of the river she met a kind Kurdish shepherd, who wrapped
her in a blanket and took her to the house of a Turk who knew her.
The Turk took her to Erzeroum and kept her in his home.

In speaking of the responsibility of the Germans for the massacres
and deportations, Dr. Minassian says that, before the deportation,
the Armenians went to the German Consul and asked his assistance.
His answer was: “I do not want to mix in other people’s affairs,
and I have no authorisation to do so from my Ambassador at
Constantinople.”

The German officers at Erzeroum helped the Turks to organise the
deportation, and also took their share of the booty. Almost every
one of them had kidnapped Armenian girls.

An officer called Schapner, for instance, took with him four girls;
another called Karl, two girls; and so on—there was a long fist of
names which the reporter could not remember.


57. ERZEROUM: STATEMENT BY MR. A.S. SAFRASTIAN, DATED TIFLIS, 15th
    MARCH, 1916.

Since last October, when the Armenian atrocities were disclosed to
the world at large, we had hoped against hope that, in spite of
overwhelming evidence to the contrary, all that was said to have
occurred might not be confirmed; that there might have been outlying
districts in Turkish Armenia where the local Armenians had been
spared the horrors that had accompanied their destruction in areas
situated on the main roads. Unfortunately, now that the entire
provinces of Erzeroum and Bitlis have been cleared of the Turk and
one is able to see for oneself what actually has taken place, one is
simply staggered at the depth and extent of the great crime, and the
unprecedentedly cruel means by which the Armenians were cleared out
of those two provinces, as well as the adjacent districts.

After seeing something with my own eyes in Erzeroum and Van, and
compiling the facts about Bitlis, Moush and Khnyss from Russian
official and other sources, my impression is that, out of the
250,000 Armenians of the Erzeroum and Bitlis Vilayets that remained
under the dominion of the Turk in April, 1915 (exclusive of some
50,000 who saved themselves last summer, either by fighting their
way out or by the advance of the Russians, and are now in
Trans-Caucasia), only some 10,000 can be accounted for since an
estimate was made possible by the death-blow which the Turks
suffered last month. The remaining 240,000 or so have apparently
perished under circumstances of the most extreme violence and
inhumanity of which any human being is capable.

I am now in a position to state that all the accounts of Armenian
atrocities which have been published in Europe and the United States
are not only completely true, but that they represent merely such
facts as have come under the eyes of consular officers or
missionaries of neutral states; whereas the most ghastly and heinous
crimes have been committed in the unfrequented parts of the country,
out of sight of any observer.

The city of Erzeroum, the great military stronghold in Turkish
Armenia, contained some 50,000 inhabitants before the war, of whom
20,000 were Armenians. The so-called plain of Erzeroum, a fertile
alluvial plateau extending north-west of the city, contained some 60
Armenian villages with at least 45,000 inhabitants, almost all of
them belonging to a sturdy race of peasants.

As soon as the European war broke out, the Central Committee of the
Young Turks sent one Boukhar-ed-Din-Shakir-Bey, one of the Committee
leaders, to Erzeroum, to organise the annihilation of the Armenians.
Another, Djemal Effendi, a fanatic of the foulest type, was sent
later on to help him in the work. These two Committee stalwarts sent
from Constantinople were assisted in their fiendish business by two
notorious natives—Edib Hodja and Djafer Bey.

At Erzeroum, as everywhere else, the Armenians in particular were
ruthlessly robbed of most of the goods they possessed under the
cloak of military requisitions. The Turkish defeat at Sarikamysh in
January, 1915, and the exaggerated accounts of the part played by
Armenian Volunteers in that battle, envenomed relations at Erzeroum.
A Turkish officer who returned from Sarikamysh told the Armenian
Bishop Sempad at Erzeroum that they chiefly met Armenians on the
battlefields: “Many of our soldiers were shot by Armenians,” he
said, “and it was the Volunteers who destroyed our villages and
scouting parties.”

Subsequently a campaign of slander and provocation was started by
the Young Turk leaders against the Armenian people. Armenian
soldiers in the Turkish army were disarmed and sent to labour
battalions, and further severe measures were taken to squeeze every
available asset out of the helpless people. A great mass meeting was
held by the Turks on the 18th April just outside the city, in which
the Armenians were publicly denounced as “traitors” and “dangerous
to the Empire” and as supporters of the enemies of Turkey. Strict
orders were issued to all Moslems who were inclined to shield their
Armenian friends that they would be punished as severely as their
protégés if they dared to protect them.

Fully aware of the fate that awaited them, the Armenians of Erzeroum
made desperate appeals to Tahsin Bey, the Vali of the province, for
protection. The latter’s reply was that he could not defy the
instructions sent by the Central Government. The answer of Herr
Anders, the German Consul at Erzeroum, to whom the Armenians
appealed again for protection, seems to have been still more brutal.
He definitely stated that the persecutions levelled by the Turkish
Government and the mob against the Armenians were quite lawful, and
that he could not interfere in the matter.

By an exercise of imagination one may perhaps visualise to some
extent the anguish and agony those poor Armenians suffered during
April and May. Trapped on all sides by the ruthless enemy and
deprived of all means of armed or legal protection, they attempted
to make the best of an unprecedentedly tragic situation. Almost all
the intellectual leaders and teachers were openly done to death in
prison under horrible tortures. Pilos, Atrouni and several others
have never been heard of since their imprisonment. Pasdermadjian, a
leading citizen of the town, was shot dead in the streets. This
reign of terror also prevailed in the villages of the plain.

The capture of Van by the Armenians on the 16th May and the entry of
the Armenian Volunteers, followed by the Russian Army, made a great
impression on the Turkish authorities at Erzeroum. On the same day,
the Armenians of Khnyss and of the neighbouring 38 villages were
butchered almost to a man, and the women and children distributed
among the Kurds. During the recent capture of Khnyss by the
Russians, some 3,000 women and children were rescued in and around
Khnyss. Apparently these represent the remnant of the 22,000
Armenians of the Sandjak of Khnyss.

In the meantime the Russians were advancing towards Melazkerd and
Bitlis, and the Turks deported the Armenian peasants from Melazkerd
and Passin and drove them towards Erzeroum. These half-starved
peasants, exhausted and harried by forced marches, were not allowed
to enter Erzeroum; they were kept out in the rain for seven days.
Their situation became so shocking in May (1915) that even the
German Consul was moved at the spectacle, and took some clothing and
bread in his own car to distribute among “these rebellious
scoundrels.” Later on they were driven towards Erzindjan and drowned
in the Euphrates.

On the 4th June, the first batch of Armenian peasants from the plain
of Erzeroum, amounting to some 15,000 persons, were forced by the
gendarmes to leave their homes and proceed to Mamahatoun, west of
Erzeroum. They were escorted by chetti (Moslem Volunteer) bands
consisting of criminals released from prison since the proclamation
of the Holy War. In the ankle-deep mud and along the rugged roads,
children and weak women fell by the wayside amid the laughter of the
chettis. Every evening a forced tribute was levied upon the
peasants. Gradually they were robbed of everything they
possessed—money, clothing, horses, etc. Girls and women were
distributed among the Turks as they passed through Turkish villages.
A few hours’ distance beyond Mamahatoun, at the entrance of a valley
called the Kamakh gorge, this convoy was “ambushed by unknown
robbers.” The signal was given by a revolver shot, whereupon a
volley of fire was poured upon the Armenians. One of the survivors
of this batch, a lad of 18 whom I saw in Erzeroum, told me that the
shrieks and cries of the women and weeping children under fire were
distracting. Many attempted to escape, but they were fired upon by
their own escort. In two hours’ time the valley had become a vast
cemetery of unburied human bodies. Out of the 15,000 thus disposed
of, a few escaped and reached Erzeroum in the guise of Turkish
peasants.

On the 18th June it was the turn of the city. A fortnight’s
time-limit was given to the Armenians for settling their affairs;
they packed their property in boxes and bales and stored them with
Mr. Stapleton, the head of the American Mission, and in the Armenian
Cathedral. The Governor took £1,000 (Turkish) from them in payment
for a safe-conduct before their departure. A hundred and sixty
leading families were selected first for deportation. They were all
people of means and education. The German officers in Erzeroum
behaved in an outrageous manner towards the Armenian women torn away
from their men. The Germans, in fact, seem to have set the example
of wrenching women from their homes. One Captain Schapner (?) is
said to have forced Miss Tchilingarian, a handsome girl, to follow
him. On her resisting and crying, she was dragged about in the
streets and roughly handled. This worthy German also carried off
Mrs. Sarafian, a young woman educated in Switzerland. Another German
lieutenant, Karl (?), dragged five women to his rooms, and so on.

The convoy of 160 families started out with carriages and some
luggage, and were sent off in the same direction as their
predecessors—towards Mamahatoun and Erzindjan. As they travelled
they were robbed of everything and even stripped of their clothing.
They are reported as having skirted the town of Erzindjan, but
beyond that nothing has since been heard of them.

Bishop Sempad was sent off alone in his own carriage to Erzindjan,
and never heard of again.

In the last week of June, several parties of Erzeroum Armenians were
deported on successive days and most of them massacred on the way,
either by shooting or drowning. One, Madame Zarouhi, an elderly lady
of means, who was thrown into the Euphrates, saved herself by
clinging to a boulder in the river. She succeeded in approaching the
bank and returned to Erzeroum to hide herself in a Turkish friend’s
house. She told Prince Argoutian (Argoutinsky), the representative
of the “All-Russian Urban Union” in Erzeroum, that she shuddered to
recall how hundreds of children were bayoneted by the Turks and
thrown into the Euphrates, and how men and women were stripped
naked, tied together in hundreds, shot and then hurled into the
river. In a loop of the river near Erzindjan, she said, the
thousands of dead bodies created such a barrage that the Euphrates
changed its course for about a hundred yards. Several Armenians of
this last party, however, seem to have survived this dreadful
journey. Recently some of them wrote from Rakka, in northern Syria,
to Mr. Stapleton imploring money and help, as they were in the
direst distress.

After the recent capture of the city by the Russians, there were
some 100 Armenians altogether in Erzeroum and some 25,000 Turks.
Thirty girls and women were protected by Mr. Stapleton in his house.
A certain number of women are gradually being rescued from the Turks
in the city, and perhaps thousands more may be saved, if the
military authorities take the necessary measures and help the
Armenians to discover their own people.

Most of the children converted to Islam are quite used to Moslem
habits; they speak and behave as if they were Turks by birth. They
are now changing these habits again in Armenian hands.

When one stood at the gate called Kars Kapou, the eastern entrance
to the city, and looked at the panorama it presented in March, 1916,
Erzeroum did not seem to have suffered great changes in its general
aspect. But I suffered a rude shock in the interior of the city,
when I saw Armenian houses occupied by Turks still gloating over
their booty, the city deprived of its Armenian element, and the dome
of the Cathedral broken away at its base.

The Armenians of Erzeroum to whom I have talked here about
their prospects are consoling themselves—though it is a poor
consolation—with the thought that thousands of them had left the
city before the war, and that they will all return home and take
possession of their property as soon as the conditions there become
better defined.


58. ERZEROUM: STATEMENT BY THE KURD ALI-AGHAZADÉ FARO, PUBLISHED IN
    THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL “MSCHAK,” 19th DECEMBER, 1915.

Ali-Aghazadé Faro, a Kurd, related to some Armenians of St. Garabed,
who reached Caucasia as refugees, that he had gone to Erzeroum last
September to sell sheep, &c., and to get his share of the booty from
the Armenians if possible. Faro remained in Erzeroum for five or six
days, during which time he did not see a single Armenian. He only
saw Turks sitting in the shops of the Armenians. When he asked how
it was that they were in these shops, some answered that they had
bought them, while others said that they were gifts to them from the
Government.

Faro spent the night in a Turkish house, and asked his host what had
become of the Armenians. The latter replied as follows:—

“It was at the end of May when the Governor asked all the leaders
and prominent Armenians to go to him. He told them that they were
obliged to abandon the city to the enemy, consequently the army
would retreat from the place. Therefore he instructed them to get
ready and join him within twenty-four hours. They had to get ready,
but as all means of transport had been requisitioned, they could
take practically nothing with them. Before the twenty-four hours
were up, they all gathered near the Government Building without
knowing what was impending. Several hundred gendarmes surrounded
them immediately and drove them out of the city towards the west.
They were taken as far as Charuk-Dersim (Doujik). The Kurds of
Dersim had already received their orders. They attacked them and
killed every one. Another batch of Armenians was deported towards
Sivas. They were seen passing through the Kamakh Pass, but what
happened to them afterwards has never been known. A few hundred of
their most beautiful girls were captured by certain Turks, and the
Government was still looking for them.”


59. BAIBOURT: NARRATIVE OF AN ARMENIAN LADY DEPORTED IN THE THIRD
    CONVOY; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND
    SYRIAN RELIEF.

A week before anything was done to Baibourt, the villages all round
had been emptied and their inhabitants had become victims of the
gendarmes and marauding bands. Three days before the starting of the
Armenians from Baibourt, after a week’s imprisonment, Bishop Anania
Hazarabedian was hanged, with seven other notables. After these
hangings, seven or eight other notables were killed in their own
houses for refusing to leave the city. Seventy or eighty other
Armenians, after being beaten in prison, were taken to the woods and
killed. The Armenian population of Baibourt was sent off in three
batches; I was among the third batch. My husband died eight years
ago, leaving me and my eight-year-old daughter and my mother a large
property, so that we were living in comfort. Since mobilization
began, the Ottoman Commandant has been living in my house free of
rent. He told me not to go, but I felt I must share the fate of my
people. I took three horses with me, loaded with provisions. My
daughter had some five-lira pieces round her neck, and I carried
some twenty liras and four diamond rings on my person. All else that
we had was left behind. Our party left on the 1st/ 14th June,
fifteen gendarmes going with us. The party numbered four or five
hundred[69] persons. We had got only two hours away from home when
bands of villagers and brigands in large numbers, with rifles, guns,
axes, etc., surrounded us on the road, and robbed us of all we had.
The gendarmes took my three horses and sold them to Turkish
mouhadjirs, pocketing the money. They took my money and the gold
pieces from my daughter’s neck, also all our food. After this they
separated the men, one by one, and shot them all within six or seven
days—every male above fifteen years old. By my side were killed two
priests, one of them over ninety years of age. The brigands took all
the good-looking women and carried them off on their horses. Very
many women and girls were thus carried off to the mountains, among
them my sister, whose one-year-old baby they threw away; a Turk
picked it up and carried it off, I know not where. My mother walked
till she could walk no farther, and dropped by the roadside on a
mountain top. We found on the road many of those who had been
deported from Baibourt in the previous convoys; some women were
among the killed, with their husbands and sons. We also came across
some old people and little infants still alive but in a pitiful
condition, having shouted their voices away. We were not allowed to
sleep at night in the villages, but lay down outside. Under cover of
the night indescribable deeds were committed by the gendarmes,
brigands and villagers. Many of us died from hunger and strokes of
apoplexy. Others were left by the roadside, too feeble to go on.

One morning we saw fifty or sixty wagons with about thirty Turkish
widows, whose husbands had been killed in the war; and these were
going to Constantinople. One of these women made a sign to one of
the gendarmes to kill a certain Armenian whom she pointed out. The
gendarmes asked her if she did not wish to kill him herself, at
which she said “Why not?” and, drawing a revolver from her pocket,
shot him dead. Every one of these Turkish hanoums had five or six
Armenian girls of ten or under with her. Boys the Turks never wished
to take; they killed them all, of whatever age. These women wanted
to take my daughter, too, but she would not be separated from me.
Finally we were both taken into their wagons on our promising to
become Moslems. As soon as we entered the araba, they began to teach
us how to be Moslems, and changed our names, calling me X. and her
Y.

The worst and most unimaginable horrors were reserved for us at the
banks of the Euphrates[70] and in the Erzindjan plain. The mutilated
bodies of women, girls and little children made everybody shudder.
The brigands were doing all sorts of awful deeds to the women and
girls that were with us, whose cries went up to heaven. At the
Euphrates, the brigands and gendarmes threw into the river all the
remaining children under fifteen years old. Those that could swim
were shot down as they struggled in the water.

After seven days we reached Erzindjan. Not an Armenian was left
alive there. The Turkish women took my daughter and me to the bath,
and there showed us many other women and girls that had accepted
Islam. Between there and Enderessi, the fields and hillsides were
dotted with swollen and blackened corpses that filled and fouled the
air with their stench. On this road we met six women wearing the
feradjé[71] and with children in their arms. But when the gendarmes
lifted their veils, they found that they were men in disguise, so
they shot them. After thirty-two days’ journey we reached our
destination.

-----

Footnote 69:

  “4000-5000”—Doc. 2

Footnote 70:

  _i.e._, the Kara Su.

Footnote 71:

  Moslem veil.


60. BAIBOURT: STATEMENT, REPRODUCED FROM THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL
    “HORIZON,” OF TIFLIS, IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL “GOTCHNAG” OF NEW
    YORK, 18th MARCH, 1916.

On the 15th May, some of the prominent Armenians of
Baibourt—north-west of Erzeroum—Hadji Simon, Hamazasb, Arshag and
Drtad Simavonian, Hagop Aghparian, Vagharshag Lousigian, Garabed
Sarafian, Garabed Duldulian, and the Bishop were arrested. They were
then taken to a place called “Ourbadji Oghlou Déré” and killed. When
the Armenians heard of this they were terrified, but the Government
declared that these were traitors, that they had sent money to the
enemy and tried to persuade the people to revolt—that consequently
they were punished, but that nothing would happen to the other
Armenians. They were, in fact, really left in peace for some time,
but after the retreat from Van Turkish soldiers came and disarmed
them. They were then deported and massacred.

Forty armed young men from the village of Lsounk and 20 from Varvan
escaped to the mountains. They were pursued by regular soldiers and
forced to fight. Both sides lost heavily, and finally 12 of the
Armenians, by the help of Greek villagers, reached Caucasia.


61. BAIBOURT, KEGHI, AND ERZINDJAN: LETTER[72], DATED ERZEROUM, 25th
    MAY/7th JUNE, 1915; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR
    ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

The districts of Erzindjan, Keghi, and Baibourt have been devastated
by forced emigrations. The Armenian population of the city of
Erzeroum has also received categoric orders to leave the city. They
will be deported _en masse_; 160 merchants are already _en route_
with their families. The Government has confiscated their goods. We
have no information about the deported people; they say they will be
sent to Mosul.

-----

Footnote 72:

  Name of author withheld


62. ERZINDJAN: STATEMENT BY TWO RED CROSS NURSES OF DANISH
    NATIONALITY, FORMERLY IN THE SERVICE OF THE GERMAN MILITARY
    MISSION AT ERZEROUM[73]; COMMUNICATED BY A SWISS GENTLEMAN OF
    GENEVA.

In March, 1915, we learnt through an Armenian doctor, who died later
on of typhus, that the Turkish Government was preparing for a
massacre on a grand scale. He begged us to find out from General
Passelt whether the rumour were true. We heard afterwards that the
General (a gallant officer) had his own fears of it, and asked, for
that reason, to be relieved of his post.... We fell sick of typhus
and ... in consequence of a number of changes in the hospital staff
... we were obliged to leave Erzeroum. Through the good offices of
the German Consul at Erzeroum, who also possessed the confidence of
the Armenians, we were engaged by the Red Cross at Erzindjan, and
worked there seven weeks.

At the beginning of June, the head of the Red Cross Mission at
Erzindjan, Staff-Surgeon A., told us that the Armenians had revolted
at Van, that measures had been taken against them which would be put
into general execution, and that the whole Armenian population of
Erzindjan and the neighbourhood would be transported to Mesopotamia,
where it would no longer find itself in a majority. There was,
however, to be no massacre, and measures were to be taken to feed
the exiles and to secure their personal safety by a military escort.
Wagons loaded with arms and bombs were reported, he said, to have
been discovered at Erzindjan, and many arrests were to be made. The
Red Cross staff were forbidden to have any relations with the
exiles, and prohibited any excursions on foot or horseback beyond a
certain radius.

After that, several days’ grace was given to the population of
Erzindjan for the sale of their property, which was naturally
realised at ludicrous prices. In the first week of June,[74] the
first convoy started; the rich people were allowed to hire
carriages. They were to go to Harpout. The three succeeding days,
further deportations followed[75]; many children were taken charge
of by Moslem families; later on, the authorities decided that these
children must go into exile as well.

The families of the Armenians employed in our hospital had to go
with the rest, including a woman who was ill. A protest from Dr.
Neukirch, who was attending her, had no effect except to postpone
her departure two days. A soldier attached to our staff as cobbler
said to Sister B.[76]: “I am now forty-six years old, and yet I am
taken for military service, although I have paid my exemption-tax
regularly every year. I have never done anything against the
Government, and now they are taking from me my whole family, my
seventy-year-old mother, my wife and five children, and I do not
know where they are going.” He was especially affected by the
thought of his little daughter, a year and a half old; “She is so
sweet. She has such pretty eyes”; he wept like a child. The next day
he came back; “I know the truth. They are all dead.” And it was only
too true. Our Turkish cook came to us crying, and told us how the
Kurds had attacked the unhappy convoy at Kamakh Boghaz[77], had
pillaged it completely, and had killed a great number of the exiles.
This must have been the 14th June.

Two young Armenian teachers, educated at the College of Harpout,
whose lives were spared, related that the convoy had been caught
under a cross-fire by the Kurds on the flanks and the Turkish
irregulars in the rear. They had thrown themselves flat on the
ground and pretended to be dead; afterwards they succeeded in
finding their way back to Erzindjan by circuitous paths, bribing
some Kurds whom they met on the way. One of them had with her her
fiancé in woman’s clothes. He had been shielded by a Turkish
class-mate. When they reached Erzindjan a gendarme tried to abduct
the girl and her fiancé interfered. He was killed, and the girls
were carried off to Turkish houses, where they were treated kindly
but had pressure put upon them to change their religion. They
conveyed this news to us through a young doctor who attended some
Armenian patients in our hospital, and was thereby enabled to get
into touch with us; he brought us an appeal from them to take them
with us to Harpout. If only they had poison, they said, they would
poison themselves. They had no information whatever as to the fate
of their companions.

The day after,[78] Friday, the 11th June, a party of regular troops
(belonging to the 86th Cavalry Brigade) were sent out “to keep the
Kurds in order.”

We heard subsequently from these soldiers how the defenceless
Armenians had been massacred to the last one. The butchery had taken
four hours. The women threw themselves on their knees, they had
thrown their children into the Euphrates, and so on.[79] “It was
horrible,” said a nice-looking young soldier; “I could not fire, I
only pretended.” For that matter, we have often heard Turks express
their disapproval and their pity. The soldiers told us that there
were ox-carts all ready to carry the corpses to the river and remove
every trace of the massacre.[80]

Next day there was a regular _battue_ through the cornfields. (The
corn was then standing, and many Armenians had hidden in it.)

From that time on, convoys of exiles were continually arriving, all
on their way to the slaughter; we have no doubt about their fate,
after the unanimous testimony which we have received from many
different quarters. Later, our Greek driver told us that the victims
had their hands tied behind their backs, and were thrown down from
the cliffs into the river. This method was employed when the numbers
were too great to dispose of them in any other fashion. It was also
easier work for the murderers. Sister B. and I, of course, began at
once to think what we could do, and we decided to travel with one of
these convoys to Harpout. We did not know yet that the massacre on
the road had been ordered by the Government, and we also thought
that we could check the brutality of the gendarmes and stave off the
assaults of the Kurds, since we speak Kurdish and have some
influence over the tribesmen.

We then telegraphed to the Consul at Erzeroum, telling him that we
had been dismissed from the hospital, and urging him, in the
interests of Germany, to come to Erzindjan. He wired back:
“Impossible to leave my post. Expect Austrians, who are due to pass
here the 22nd June....”

On the evening of the 17th June, we went out for a walk with Mr. C.,
the druggist of the Red Cross Staff. He was as much horrified as we
were at the cruelties that were being perpetrated, and expressed
himself very plainly on the subject. He also received his dismissal.
On our walk we met a gendarme, who told us that, ten minutes’
distance away, a large convoy of exiles from Baibourt had been
halted. He narrated to us, with appalling vividness, how one by one
the men had been massacred and cast into the depths of the
gorge[81]: “Kezzé, kezzé, geliorlar! (Kill, kill, push them over).”
He told how, at each village, the women had been violated; how he
himself had desired to take a girl, but had been told that already
she was no longer a maid; how children had had their brains battered
out when they cried or hindered the march. “There were the naked
bodies of three girls; I buried them to do a good deed,” was his
concluding remark.

The following morning, at a very early hour, we heard the procession
of exiles passing in front of our house, along the high road leading
in to Erzindjan. We followed them and kept up with them as far as
the town, about an hour’s walk. Mr. G. came with us. It was a very
large gang—only two or three of them men, all the rest women and
children. Many of the women looked demented. They cried out: “Spare
us, we will become Moslems or Germans or whatever you will; only
spare us. We are being taken to Kamakh Boghaz to have our throats
cut,” and they made an expressive gesture. Others kept silence, and
marched patiently on with a few bundles on their backs and their
children in their arms. Others begged us to save their children.
Many Turks arrived on the scene to carry off children and girls,
with or without their parents’ consent. There was no time for
reflection, for the crowd was being moved on continually by the
mounted gendarmes brandishing their whips. On the outskirts of the
town, the road to Kamakh Boghaz branches off from the main highway.
At this point the scene turned into a regular slave market; for our
part, we took a family of six children, from three to fourteen years
old, who clutched hold of us, and another little girl as well. We
entrusted the latter to our Turkish cook, who was on the spot. She
wanted to take the child to the kitchen of Dr. A.’s private house,
and keep her there until we could come to fetch her; but the
doctor’s adjutant, Riza Bey, gave the woman a beating and threw the
child out into the street. Meanwhile, with cries of agony, the gang
of sufferers continued its march, while we returned to the hospital
with our six children. Dr. A. gave us permission to keep them in our
room until we had packed our belongings; they were given food and
soon became calmer. “Now we are saved,” they had cried when we took
them. They refused to let go of our hands. The smallest, the son of
a rich citizen of Baibourt, lay huddled up in his mother’s cloak;
his face was swollen with crying and he seemed inconsolable. Once he
rushed to the window and pointed to a gendarme: “That’s the man who
killed my father.” The children handed over to us their money, 475
piastres (about £4), which their parents had given them with the
idea that perhaps the children, at any rate, would not be shot.

We then rode into the town to obtain permission for these children
to travel with us. We were told that the high authorities were in
session to decide the fate of the convoy which had just arrived.
Nevertheless, Sister B. succeeded in getting word with someone she
knew, who gave her the authorisation to take the children with her,
and offered to give them false names in the passport. This satisfied
us, and, after returning to the hospital, we left the same evening
with baggage and children and all, and installed ourselves in a
hotel at Erzindjan. The Turkish orderlies at the hospital were very
friendly, and said: “You have done a good deed in taking these
children.” We could get nothing but one small room for the eight of
us. During the night there was a frightful knocking at our door, and
we were asked whether there were two German ladies in the room. Then
all became quiet again, to the great relief of our little ones.
Their first question had been, would we prevent them from being made
Mohammedans? And was our cross (the nurses’ Red Cross) the same as
theirs? After that they were comforted. We left them in the room,
and went ourselves to take our tea in the hotel café. We noticed
that some discharged hospital patients of ours, who had always shown
themselves full of gratitude towards us, behaved as if they no
longer recognised us. The proprietor of the hotel began to hold
forth, and everyone listened to what he was saying: “The death of
these women and children has been decreed at Constantinople.” The
Hodja (Turkish priest) of our hospital came in, too, and said to us,
among other things: “If God has no pity on them, why must you have
pity? The Armenians have committed atrocities at Van. That happened
because their religion is _ekzik_ (inferior). The Moslems should not
have followed their example, but should have carried out the
massacre with greater humanity.” We always gave the same answer—that
they ought to discover the guilty and do justice upon them, but that
the massacre of women and children was, and always will remain, a
crime.

Then we went to the Mutessarif himself, with whom we had not
succeeded in obtaining an interview before. The man looked like the
devil incarnate, and his behaviour bore out his appearance. In a
bellowing voice he shouted at us: “Women have no business to meddle
with politics, but ought to respect the Government!” We told him
that we should have acted in precisely the same way if the victims
had been Mohammedans, and that politics had nothing to do with our
conduct. He answered that we had been expelled from the hospital,
and that we should get the same treatment from him; that he would
not stand us, and that he would certainly not permit us to go to
Harpout to fetch our belongings, but would send us to Sivas. Worst
of all, he forbade us to take the children away, and at once sent a
gendarme to carry them off from our room.

On our way back to the hotel we actually met them, but they were
hurried past us so quickly that we had not even a chance to return
them their money. Afterwards we asked Dr. Lindenberg to see that
this money was restored to them; but, to find out where they were,
he had to make enquiries of a Turkish officer, and just at the
moment of our departure, when we had been told that they had already
been killed, and when we had no longer any chance of making a
further search for them, the aforementioned Riza Bey came and asked
us for this money, on the ground that he wanted to return it to the
children! We had already decided to spend it on relieving other
Armenians.

At Erzindjan we were now looked askance at. They would no longer let
us stay at the hotel, but took us to a deserted Armenian house. The
whole of this extensive quarter of the town seemed dead. People came
and went at will to loot the contents of the houses; in some of the
houses families of Moslem refugees were already installed. We had
now a roof over our heads, but no one would go to get us food.
However, we managed to send a note to Dr. A., who kindly allowed us
to return to the hospital. The following day, the Mutessarif sent a
springless baggage cart, in which we were to do the seven days’
journey to Sivas. We gave him to understand that we would not have
this conveyance, and, upon the representations of Dr. A., they sent
us a travelling carriage, with the threat to have us arrested if we
did not start at once. This was on Monday, the 21st June, and we
should have liked to wait for the Austrians, who were due to arrive
on the Tuesday morning, and continue the journey in their company;
but Dr. A. declared that he could no longer give us protection, and
so we started out. Dr. Lindenberg did us the kindness of escorting
us as far as Rifahia[82]. During the first days of our journey we
saw five corpses. One was a woman’s, and still had clothes on; the
others were naked, one of them headless. There were two Turkish
officers on the road with us who were really Armenians, as we were
told by the gendarme attached to us. They preserved their incognito
towards us, and maintained a very great reserve, but always took
care not to get separated from us. On the fourth day they did not
put in an appearance. When we enquired after them, we were given to
understand that the less we concerned ourselves about them the
better it would be for us. On the road, we broke our journey near a
Greek village. A savage-looking man was standing by the roadside. He
began to talk with us, and told us he was stationed there to kill
all the Armenians that passed, and that he had already killed 250.
He explained that they all deserved their fate, for they were all
Anarchists—not Liberals or Socialists, but Anarchists. He told the
gendarmes that he had received orders by telephone to kill our two
travelling companions. So these two men with their Armenian drivers
must have perished there. We could not restrain ourselves from
arguing with this assassin, but when he went off our Greek driver
warned us: “Don’t say a word, if you do ...”—and he made the gesture
of taking aim. The rumour had, in fact, got about that we were
Armenians, which was as good as to say condemned to death.

One day we met a convoy of exiles, who had said good-bye to their
prosperous villages and were at that moment on their way to Kamakh
Boghaz. We had to draw up a long time by the roadside while they
marched past. The scene will never be forgotten by either of us: a
very small number of elderly men, a large number of women—vigorous
figures with energetic features—a crowd of pretty children, some of
them fair and blue-eyed, one little girl smiling at the strangeness
of all she was seeing, but on all the other faces the solemnity of
death. There was no noise; it was all quiet, and they marched along
in an orderly way, the children generally riding on the ox-carts;
and so they passed, some of them greeting us on the way—all these
poor people, who are now standing at the throne of God, and whose
cry goes up before Him. An old woman was made to get down from her
donkey—she could no longer keep the saddle. Was she killed on the
spot? Our hearts had become as cold as ice.

The gendarme attached to us told us then that he had escorted a
convoy of 3,000 women and children to Mamahatoun (near Erzeroum) and
Kamakh Boghaz. “Hep gildi, bildi,” he said: “All gone, all dead.” We
asked him: “Why condemn them to this frightful torment; why not kill
them in their villages?” Answer: “It is best as it is. They ought to
be made to suffer; and, besides, there would be no place left for us
Moslems with all these corpses about. They will make a stench!”

We spent a night at Enderessi, one day’s journey from Shabin
Kara-Hissar. As usual, we had been given for our lodging an empty
Armenian house. On the wall there was a pencil scrawl in Turkish:
“Our dwelling is on the mountains, we have no longer any need of a
roof to cover us; we have already drained the bitter cup of death,
we have no more need of a judge.”

The ground floor rooms of the house were still tenanted by the women
and children. The gendarmes told us that they would be exiled next
morning, but they did not know that yet; they did not know what had
become of the men of the house; they were restless, but not yet
desperate.

Just after I had gone to sleep, I was awakened by shots in our
immediate neighbourhood. The reports followed one another rapidly,
and I distinctly heard the words of command. I realised at once what
was happening, and actually experienced a feeling of relief at the
idea that these poor creatures were now beyond the reach of human
cruelty.

Next morning our people told us that ten Armenians had been
shot—that was the firing that we had heard—and that the Turkish
civilians of the place were now being sent out to chase the
fugitives. Indeed, we saw them starting off on horseback with guns.
At the roadside were two armed men standing under a tree and
dividing between them the clothes of a dead Armenian. We passed a
place covered with clotted blood, though the corpses had been
removed. It was the 250 roadmaking soldiers, of whom our gendarme
had told us.

Once we met a large number of these labourers, who had so far been
allowed to do their work in peace. They had been sorted into three
gangs—Moslems, Greeks and Armenians. There were several officers
with the latter. Our young Hassan exclaimed: “They are all going to
be butchered.” We continued our journey, and the road mounted a
hill. Then our driver pointed with his whip towards the valley, and
we saw that the Armenian gang was being made to stand out of the
highroad. There were about 400 of them, and they were being made to
line up on the edge of a slope. We know what happened after that.

Two days before we reached Sivas, we again saw the same sight. The
soldiers’ bayonets glittered in the sun.

At another place there were ten gendarmes shooting them down, while
Turkish workmen were finishing off the victims with knives and
stones. Here ten Armenians had succeeded in getting away.

Later on, in the Mission Hospital at Sivas, we came across one of
the men who had escaped. He told us that about 100 Armenians had
been slaughtered there. Our informant himself had received a
terrible wound in the nape of the neck and had fainted. Afterwards
he had recovered consciousness and had dragged himself in two days
to Sivas.

Twelve hours’ distance from Sivas, we spent the night in a
government building. For hours a gendarme, sitting in front of our
door, crooned to himself over and over gain: “Ermenleri hep
kesdiler—the Armenians have all been killed!” In the next room they
were talking on the telephone. We made out that they were giving
instructions as to how the Armenians were to be arrested. They were
talking chiefly about a certain Ohannes, whom they had not succeeded
in finding yet.

One night we slept in an Armenian house where the women had just
heard that the men of the family had been condemned to death. It was
frightful to hear their cries of anguish. It was no use our trying
to speak to them. “Cannot your Emperor help us?” they cried. The
gendarme saw the despair on our faces, and said: “Their crying
bothers you; I will forbid them to cry.” However, he let himself be
mollified. He had taken particular pleasure in pointing out to us
all the horrors that we encountered, and he said to young Hassan:
“First we kill the Armenians, then the Greeks, then the Kurds.” He
would certainly have been delighted to add: “And then the
foreigners!” Our Greek driver was the victim of a still more ghastly
joke: “Look, down there in the ditch; there are Greeks there too!”

At last we reached Sivas. We had to wait an hour in front of the
Government Building before the examination of our papers was
completed and we were given permission to go to the Americans.
There, too, all was trouble and sorrow.

On the 1st July we left Sivas and reached Kaisaria on the 4th. We
had been given permission to go to Talas, after depositing our
baggage at the Jesuit School; but when we wanted to go on from
Kaisaria, we were refused leave and taken back to the Jesuit School,
where a gendarme was posted in front of our door. However, the
American Missionaries succeeded in getting us set at liberty.

We then returned to Talas, where we passed several days full of
commotion, for there, as well as at Kaisaria, there were many
arrests being made. The poor Armenians never knew what the morrow
would bring, and then came the terrifying news that all Armenians
had been cleared out of Sivas. What happened there and in the
villages of the surrounding districts will be reported by the
American Mission.

When we discovered that they meant to keep us there—for they had
prevented us from joining the Austrians for the journey—we
telegraphed to the German Embassy, and so obtained permission to
start. There is nothing to tell about this part of our journey,
except that the locusts had in places destroyed all the fruit and
vegetables, so that the Turks are already beginning to have some
experience of the Divine punishment.


63. KAMAKH AND ERZEROUM: STATEMENT[83] PUBLISHED IN THE NEW YORK
    JOURNAL “GOTCHNAG,” 4th SEPTEMBER, 1915.

The Armenian villages of the Kamakh district have been visited with
the most ghastly horrors. The Turks began by perpetrating massacres,
and subsequently deported the survivors to various places—the men in
one direction and the women in another. The houses and property
belonging to the Armenians have been taken possession of by the
Turks and Kurds, who have come to this district as refugees from the
Vilayet of Van.

The Armenian villages in the plain west of Erzeroum have all been
cleared of their inhabitants. After all the men who were physically
fit had been mobilised, the remainder were deported. The Armenian
houses are being handed over to Turkish immigrants. The
Archimandrite Kevork Tourian, Metropolitan of the Armenians of
Trebizond, has been brought to Erzeroum, where he will be tried by
court-martial.

-----

Footnote 73:

  They were at work in the German hospital at Erzeroum from October,
  1914, to April, 1915.—EDITOR.

Footnote 74:

  7th June—_Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift_, November, 1915.

Footnote 75:

  Amounting to about 20,000-25,000 people in all—_Allgemeine
  Missions-Zeitschrift_, November, 1915.

Footnote 76:

  One of the two authors of the present statement, which has been
  drafted in the first person by the other witness, but represents
  the experiences of both. The Editor is in possession of the
  drafter’s name, but does not know the identity of Sister B., Dr.
  A., or Mr. G.—EDITOR.

Footnote 77:

  A defile, 12 hours’ journey from Erzindjan, where the Euphrates
  flows through a narrow gorge between two walls of rock.

Footnote 78:

  _i.e._, after the departure of the last convoy of exiles from
  Erzindjan (10th June), _not_ after the narrators were informed of
  the massacre by their cook and by the two Armenian girls. The
  passages about the cobbler, the cook, and the two girls are
  evidently in parenthesis, and interrupt the sequence of the
  narrative.—EDITOR.

Footnote 79:

  The further details are given in the _Allgemeine
  Missions-Zeitschrift_, November, 1915: “When we exclaimed in
  horror: ‘So you fire on women and children!’ the soldiers
  answered: ‘What could we do? It was our orders.’ One of them
  added: ‘It was a heart-breaking sight. For that matter, I did not
  shoot.’”—EDITOR.

Footnote 80:

  On the evening of the 11th, we saw soldiers returning to town
  laden with loot. We heard from both Turks and Armenians that
  children’s corpses were strewn along the road.

Footnote 81:

  Every day ten or twelve of the men had been killed and thrown into
  the ravines.—_Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift._

Footnote 82:

  This was not the route followed by the convoys of exiles.

Footnote 83:

  Source unspecified.



                                  VII.
                      VILAYET OF MAMOURET-UL-AZIZ.


_This province lies south-west of Erzindjan, where the Kara-Su bends
from west to south and effects its junction with the Mourad-Su, to
form the united stream of the Euphrates. The remnant of the convoys
from the Vilayet of Erzeroum passed through this district on their
way to Mesopotamia, and the Armenian inhabitants of Mamouret-ul-Aziz
itself were sent after them in the first weeks of July._

_The great advance of the Russians in the winter of 1915-6 brought
this province within the immediate war zone, and apparently provoked
a second outburst of persecution. On the 24th February, 1916, the
Paris journal “Le Temps” published the following telegram from Rome:
“According to information that has reached the Vatican, the Turks
have carried fire and sword through the region of Mamouret-ul-Aziz,
killing all the Christians, including the Catholic Armenian Bishop,
Mgr. Ivraklon, who was subjected to prolonged and fearful
tortures.”_

_The name of the town to which most of the documents in this section
relate is, for obvious reasons, withheld._


64. H.: STATEMENT MADE BY MISS DA., A DANISH LADY IN THE SERVICE OF
    THE GERMAN RED CROSS AT H., TO MR. DB. AT BASLE, AND
    COMMUNICATED BY MR. DB. TO LORD BRYCE.

Sister DA. left the German Red Cross Mission at H. in April, 1916,
travelling through Ourfa to Aleppo, and thence by road and railway
across Anatolia to Constantinople. Mr. DB. met her at Basle, on her
way from Constantinople to Denmark, in the house of a mutual friend.

Sister DA. told Mr. DB. that on the 16th March, 1915, the German
Vice-Consul appointed provisionally to Erzeroum (the Consul himself
being interned in Russia) was passing through the town of H.,
accompanied by two German officers, and arranged to dine that
evening with the German Red Cross Staff, after paying his respects
to the Vali. At the hour fixed, only the two officers appeared. They
said that they had called, with the Vice-Consul, upon the Vali, but
that after a time the Vali had shewn signs of being irked by their
presence, and so they had taken their departure, leaving the Vali
and the Vice-Consul together. The company waited for the Vice-Consul
about two hours. He arrived about 9.30 p.m., in a state of great
agitation, and told them at once the purport of his interview. The
Vali had declared to him that the Armenians in Turkey must be, and
were going to be, exterminated. They had grown, he said, in wealth
and numbers until they had become a menace to the ruling Turkish
race; extermination was the only remedy. The Vice-Consul had
expostulated and represented that persecution always increased the
spiritual vitality of a subject race, and on grounds of expediency
was the worst policy for the rulers. “Well, we shall see,” said the
Vali, and closed the conversation.

This incident occurred on the 16th March, 1915, and Mr. DB. points
out that it must have been practically simultaneous with an
interview given by Enver Pasha at Constantinople to the Gregorian
Bishop of Konia in the course of February, 1915, Old Style. In this
interview the Bishop had asked Enver whether he were satisfied with
the conduct of the Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman Army, and Enver
had testified warmly to their energy, courage and loyalty—so warmly,
in fact, that the Bishop at once asked whether he might publish this
testimonial over Enver’s name. Enver readily consented, and the
Gregorian Patriarchate at Constantinople accordingly circulated an
authorised account of the interview to the Armenian, and even to the
Turkish, press.[84] Thus, in the latter part of February, 1915, the
Central Government at Constantinople was advertising its friendly
feelings towards its Armenian subjects, while by the 16th March,
less than a month later, it had given its representative in a remote
province to understand that a general massacre of these same
Armenians was imminent.

To return to Sister DA.’s narrative—she told Mr. DB. that between
February and the beginning of May, 1915, about 400 Armenians had
been arrested and imprisoned at H. They were the young men, the
strong in body and the intellectuals. Most of their kind had been
taken for the Army in the mobilisation of the previous autumn, but
these 400 had been left, and were now thrown into prison instead of
being conscribed.

At the beginning of May, the Vali of H. sent for the head of the
German Protestant Mission Station in the town, and requested him to
tell the Armenians that they must surrender their arms. Otherwise,
he said, the most stringent measures would be taken against them.
The missionaries must persuade them to deliver up the arms quickly.
The head of the Mission Station called a meeting of Armenian
notables, and put to them what the Vali had said. The Armenians
decided to consult with their Turkish fellow-townsmen, and so a
mixed meeting was held of all the Turkish and Armenian notables of
H. At this meeting the Turkish notables urged the Armenians to give
up their arms and promised that, if they did so, they themselves
would guarantee their security, and would see that they suffered
nothing at the Government’s hands.

This promise induced the Armenians to comply. They collected their
arms and presented them to the Vali, but the Vali declared that all
had not been brought. The newest and most dangerous weapons, he
said, had been in the hands of the 400 prisoners. These must be
surrendered also, or the penalties he had threatened would still be
inflicted on the whole Armenian community at H. So the notables went
to the men in prison, and besought them to reveal where their arms
were hidden; all the Gregorian priests went, and the head of the
German Mission Station went with them. The 400 were obstinate at
first, but it was represented to them that, if they refused, they
would be responsible for the destruction of the whole community, and
at last they gave in. They revealed the hiding-places, and the arms
were duly found and delivered up to the Vali.

The Vali immediately had photographs taken of all the arms
collected, and sent them to Constantinople as evidence that an
Armenian revolution was on the point of breaking out at H. He asked
for a free hand to suppress it, and an order came back from
Constantinople that he was to take whatever measures he considered
necessary on the spot.

After that, the 400 young men were conveyed out of the town by night
and never heard of again. Shots were said to have been heard in the
distance.

Three days later, the rest of the Armenian community at H. was
summoned by bugle to assemble before the Government Building, and
then deported. The men were first sent off in one direction, and
later the women and children, on ox-carts, in another. They were
only given a few hours to make their preparations, and Sister DA.
described their consternation as being terrible. They tried to
dispose of their property, which the Turks bought up for practically
nothing. Sewing-machines, for instance, sold for two or three
piastres (4_d._ to 6_d._). The process of deportation was extended
to the whole Vilayet.

The Armenian children in the German Orphanage at H. were sent away
with the rest. “My orders,” said the Vali, “are to deport _all_
Armenians. I cannot make an exception of these.” He announced,
however, that a Government Orphanage was to be established for any
children that remained, and shortly afterwards he called on Sister
DA. and asked her to come and visit it. Sister DA. went with him,
and found about 700 Armenian children in a good building. For every
twelve or fifteen children there was one Armenian nurse, and they
were well clothed and fed. “See what care the Government is taking
of the Armenians,” the Vali said, and she returned home surprised
and pleased; but when she visited the Orphanage again several days
later, there were only thirteen of the 700 children left—the rest
had disappeared. They had been taken, she learnt, to a lake six
hours’ journey by road from the town and drowned. Three hundred
fresh children were subsequently collected at the “Orphanage,” and
Sister DA. believed that they suffered the same fate as their
predecessors. These victims were the residue of the Armenian
children at H. The finest boys and prettiest girls had been picked
out and carried off by the Turks and Kurds of the district, and it
was the remainder, who had been left on the Government’s hands, that
were disposed of in this way.

As soon as the Armenians had been deported from H., convoys of other
exiles began to pass through from the districts further north.
Sister DA. did not see these convoys, because they made a detour
round the town, and she never left the town precincts; but she
talked with many people who did see them, and they gave a terrible
description of their plight. The roads near the town, they said,
were littered with the corpses of those who had died of sickness or
exhaustion, or from the violence of their guards. And these accounts
were confirmed by her own experience last April (1916), on her
journey to Aleppo. On the road to Aleppo from Ourfa she passed
numbers of corpses lightly buried under a layer of soil. The
extremities of the limbs were protruding, and had been gnawed by
dogs. She was told by people she met that unheard-of atrocities had
been committed, and that there were cases of women who had drowned
themselves to escape their tormentors.

It was Sister DA.’s impression that the deportation and massacre of
the Armenians had ruined Turkey economically. The Armenians had been
the only skilled workers in the country, and industry came to a
standstill when they were gone. You could not replace copper vessels
for your household; you could not get your roof re-tiled. The
Government had actually retained a few Armenian artisans—bakers,
masons, &c.—to work for the Army, and whatever work was still done
was done by these and by a few others who had gone over to Islam.
But though the sources of production were cut off, the Turks had not
begun to feel the pinch. Having laid hands on all the property of
the Armenians, they were richer, for the moment, than before. During
the past year bread had been plentiful and cheap, cattle and meat
had been abundant, and there were still enough supplies, she
thought, to last for some time yet. Under these circumstances, the
Turkish peasantry were well content—except for the women, who
resented the absence of their husbands at the war. The dearth of
men, Sister DA. said, was everywhere noticeable. She had been told,
however, that some Kurdish tribes had refused to furnish recruits,
and that the Kizil Bashis of the Dersim had furnished none at all.
The Government had been preparing an expedition against the Kizil
Bashis to extort a toll of conscripts, but the plan had been
thwarted by the Russian advance. In the Turkish villages
agricultural work was being largely carried on by the Armenian women
and children, who had been handed over to the Moslem peasants by the
authorities. Sister DA. saw quantities of them everywhere,
practically in the condition of slaves. They were never allowed to
rest in peace, but were constantly chivied about from one village to
another.

As she came down to Aleppo she found the country under good
cultivation. Great stores of bread had been accumulated for the army
in Mesopotamia. In Anatolia, on the other hand, the fields were
neglected, and she thought that there famine was not far off. But it
was not till she reached Constantinople that she found any present
scarcity. In the provinces only sugar and petrol had been scarce; at
Constantinople all commodities were both scarce and dear.

Sister DA. was told at Constantinople that Turks of all parties were
united in their approval of what was being done to the Armenians,
and that Enver Pasha openly boasted of it as his personal
achievement. Talaat Bey, too, was reported to have remarked, on
receiving the news of Vartkes’[85] assassination: “There is no room
in the Empire for both Armenians and Turks. Either they had to go or
we.”

-----

Footnote 84:

  This incident was communicated to Mr. DB. by DC. Effendi, a
  gentleman who had held high office under the Ottoman Government
  till the outbreak of the War.

Footnote 85:

  Mr. Vartkes was an Armenian deputy in the Ottoman Parliament, who
  was murdered, together with another deputy, Mr. Zohrab, when he
  was being escorted by gendarmes from Aleppo to be court-martialled
  at Diyarbekir (see Docs. 7 and 9).—EDITOR.


65. H.: REPORT, DATED 11th JULY, 1915, FROM A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT
    H.; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND
    SYRIAN RELIEF.

If it were simply a matter of being obliged to leave here to go
somewhere else, it would not be so bad, but everybody knows that it
is a case of going to one’s death. If there was any doubt about it,
it has been removed by the arrival of a number of convoys,
aggregating several thousand people, from Erzeroum and Erzindjan. I
have visited their encampment a number of times, and talked with
some of the people. A more pitiable sight cannot be imagined. They
are, almost without exception, ragged, filthy, hungry and sick. That
is not surprising, in view of the fact that they have been on the
road for nearly two months, with no change of clothing, no chance to
wash, no shelter and little to eat. The Government has been giving
them some scanty rations here. I watched them one time when their
food was brought. Wild animals could not be worse. They rushed upon
the guards who carried the food, and the guards beat them back with
clubs, hitting hard enough to kill them sometimes. To watch them,
one could hardly believe that these people were human beings.

As one walks through the camp, mothers offer their children and beg
one to take them. In fact, the Turks have been taking their choice
of these children and girls for slaves, or worse. In fact, they have
even had their doctors there to examine the more likely girls and
thus secure the best ones.

There are very few men among them, as most of them have been killed
on the road. All tell the same story of having been attacked and
robbed by the Kurds. Most of them were attacked over and over again,
and a great many of them, especially the men, were killed. Women and
children were also killed. Many died, of course, from sickness and
exhaustion on the way, and there have been deaths each day that they
have been here. Several different parties have arrived, and, after
remaining a day or two, have been pushed on with no apparent
destination. Those who have reached here are only a small portion,
however, of those who started. By continuing to drive these people
on in this way, it will be possible to dispose of all of them in a
comparatively short time. Among those with whom I have talked were
three sisters. They had been educated at —— and spoke excellent
English. They said their family was the richest in Erzeroum and
numbered twenty-five when they left; but there were now only
fourteen survivors. The other eleven, including the husband of one
of them and their old grandmother, had been butchered before their
eyes by the Kurds. The oldest male survivor of the family was eight
years of age. When they left Erzeroum, they had money, horses and
personal effects, but they had been robbed of everything, including
even their clothing. They said that some of them had been left
absolutely naked, and others with only a single garment. When they
reached a village, their gendarmes obtained clothes for them from
some of the native women. Another girl with whom I talked is the
daughter of the Protestant pastor of Erzeroum. She said that every
member of her family with her had been killed and that she was left
entirely alone. These and some others are a few survivors of the
better class of people who have been exiled. They are being detained
in an abandoned school-house just outside the town, and no one is
allowed to enter it. They said that they were practically in prison,
although they were allowed to visit a spring just outside the
building. It was there I happened to see them. All the others are
camped in a large open field, with no protection at all from the
sun.

The condition of these people indicates clearly the fate of those
who have left and are about to leave from here. I believe nothing
has been heard from any of them as yet, and probably very little
will be heard. The system that is being followed seems to be to have
bands of Kurds awaiting them on the road, to kill the men
especially, and, incidentally, some of the others. The entire
movement seems to be the most thoroughly organised and effective
massacre this country has ever seen.

Not many men have been spared, however, to accompany those who are
being sent into exile, for a more prompt and sure method has been
used to dispose of them. Several thousand Armenian men have been
arrested during the past few weeks. These have been put in prison,
and each time that several hundred had been gathered up in that way
they were sent away during the night. The first batch were sent away
during the night of the 23rd June. Among them were some of the
professors in the College and other prominent Armenians, including
the Prelate of the Armenian Gregorian Church. There have been
frequent rumours that all of these were killed, and there is little
doubt that they were. All Armenian soldiers have likewise been sent
away in the same manner. They have been arrested and confined in a
building at one end of the town. No distinction has been made
between those who had paid their military exemption-tax and those
who had not. Their money was accepted, and then they were arrested
and sent off with the others. It was said that they were to go
somewhere to work on the roads, but no one had heard from them, and
that is undoubtedly false.

The fate of all the others has been pretty well established by
reliable reports of a similar occurrence on Wednesday, the 7th July.
On the Monday many men were arrested, both at H. and G., and put in
prison. At daybreak on the Tuesday morning they were taken out and
made to march towards an almost uninhabited mountain. There were
about eight hundred in all, and they were roped together in groups
of fourteen each. That afternoon they arrived in a small Kurdish
village, where they were kept overnight in the mosque and other
buildings. During all this time they were without food or water. All
their money and much of their clothing had been taken from them. On
the Wednesday morning they were taken to a valley a few hours
distant, where they were all made to sit down. Then the gendarmes
began shooting them, until they had killed nearly all of them. Some
who had not been killed by bullets were then disposed of with knives
and bayonets. A few succeeded in breaking the rope with which they
were tied to their companions and running away, but most of these
were pursued and killed. A few succeeded in getting away, probably
not more than two or three. Among those who were killed was the
treasurer of the College. Many other estimable men were among the
number. No charge of any kind had ever been made against any of
these men. They were simply arrested and killed as part of the
general plan to dispose of the Armenian race.

Last night several hundred more men, including both men arrested by
the civil authorities and those enrolled as soldiers, were taken in
a different direction and murdered in a similar manner. It is said
that this happened at a place not two hours distant from here. I
shall ride out that way some day when things become a little
quieter, and try to verify it for myself.

The same thing has been done systematically in the villages. A few
weeks ago about three hundred men were gathered together at AT. and
BG., two villages four and five hours distant from here, and then
taken up into the mountains and massacred. This seems to be fully
established. Many women from those villages have been here since and
told about it. There have been rumours of similar occurrences in
other places.

There seems to be a definite plan to dispose of all the Armenian
men; but, after the departure of the families during the first few
days of the enforcement of the order, it was announced that women
and children with no men in the family might remain here for the
present, and many hoped the worst was over. The American
missionaries began considering plans to aid the women and children,
who would be left here with no means of support. It was thought that
perhaps an orphanage could be opened to care for some of the
children, and especially those who had been born in America and then
brought here by their parents, and also those who belonged to
parents who had been connected in some way with the American mission
and schools. There would be plenty of opportunity, although there
might not be sufficient means, to care for children who reached here
with the exiles from other vilayets, and whose parents had died on
the way. I went to see the Vali about this matter yesterday, and was
met with a flat refusal. He said we could aid these people if we
wished to do so, but the Government was establishing orphanages for
the children, and we could not undertake any work of that nature. An
hour after I left the Vali, the announcement was made that all the
Armenians remaining here, including women and children, must leave
on the 13th July.


66. H.: MEMORANDUM[86] FORWARDED BY A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT H. (THE
    AUTHOR OF THE PRECEDING REPORT); COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN
    COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

On the 1st June[87], 3,000 people (mostly women, girls and children)
left H., accompanied by seventy policemen and a certain Turk of
influence, K. Bey. The next day they arrived at AL., safely. Here K.
Bey took 400 liras from the people, “in order to keep it safe till
their arrival at Malatia,” and promised to accompany them, for their
protection, as far as Ourfa; but that same day he ran away with all
the money.

The third day the convoy of exiles reached AM. There the Arabs and
Kurds began to carry off the women and girls, and this went on till
they reached the first railway station at Ras-ul-Ain, on the Bagdad
line. The policemen given to them for their protection incited the
half-savage tribes of the mountains to attack them in order to rob,
kill and violate their women or else carry them away, and they
themselves many times violated the women openly.

The fourth day they arrived at AN., where the policemen killed three
of the prominent men. The ninth day they came to AO., where the
horses, hired and paid for in full for the journey as far as
Malatia, were taken and sent back. So they had again to hire
ox-carts to carry them to Malatia. Here many were left without any
beast of burden, only a few being able to buy donkeys and mules,
which were also stolen in their turn.

At AO., a policeman carried off Mrs. L. and her two daughters and
ran away.

The thirteenth day the caravan was at Malatia, but for one hour
only, for they returned to the village of AP., two hours from
Malatia. Here the policemen deserted them altogether, after taking
from them about 200 liras in toll for the protection they had given
them that far, and the people were left to the mercy of the beastly
Bey (claw-chief) of the Kurds of Aghja-Daghi.

On the fifteenth day they were again toiling on their way through
the steep mountains, when the Kurds rounded up 150 of the men of all
ages from fifteen to ninety years. They took them some distance off
and butchered them; then they came back and began to rob the people.

That day another convoy of exiles (only 300 of whom were men) from
Sivas[88], Egin and Tokat, joined the convoy from H., thus forming a
bigger convoy of 18,000 people in all. They started again on the
seventeenth day, under the so-called protection of another Kurdish
Bey. This Bey called out his people, who attacked the convoy and
plundered them. They carried off five of the prettiest girls and a
few Sisters of Grace from Sivas. At night some more girls were
stolen, but they were returned after being violated. So the journey
began once more, and on the way the pretty girls were carried off
one by one, while the stragglers from the convoy were invariably
killed. On the twenty-fifth day they reached the village of Geulik,
and all the villagers pursued the convoy for a long distance,
tormenting and robbing the exiles. On the thirty-second day they
found themselves at the village of Kiakhta. Here they remained two
days, and again many girls and women were carried off.

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
fezes, clothes and stockings on the banks.

The chief of the neighbouring village took one lira in toll from
each man, as a ransom for not being thrown 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
drawers, 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 towards 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 some still remained who travelled thus naked all the way to the
city of Aleppo. The poor women could hardly walk for shame; they
walked all bent double.

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
mouths and some in their wombs; and when the robbers attacked them
some were clever enough to search for money in those secret places,
and that in a very beastly manner, of course.

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 men and the sick women and children and
burned and killed them all. The remainder were ordered to continue
on their way. In one day’s journey they reached Ras-ul-Ain, where
for two days, for the first time since they started, the Government
gave them bread. The bread was uneatable, but for the three
succeeding days they did not have even that.

Here a Circassian persuaded the wife of the Pastor of Sivas, as well
as some other women, with their children, to go with him to the
station, promising to send them to Aleppo by train. In spite of all
the warnings of their friends, these women followed the man, as they
and their children were no longer capable of finishing the journey
on foot. The man took them in the opposite direction from the
station, explaining that he would borrow money from his friend, near
by, for the tickets; but after a short time he came back to where
the convoy was halted. The women and their children were no more.

The governor of the place demanded three liras for himself and one
lira for the railway ticket from each of them, before he would let
them go by train.

On the seventieth day, when they reached Aleppo, 35 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.

-----

Footnote 86:

  Name of author withheld.

Footnote 87:

  July?—EDITOR.

Footnote 88:

  See Doc. 78.


67. H.: NARRATIVE OF AN ARMENIAN REFUGEE FROM H.; COMMUNICATED TO
    LORD BRYCE BY THE CORRESPONDENT OF THE LONDON “TIMES” AT
    BUKAREST.

Much has been written in the Press about the Armenian massacres, and
especially about the horrors of the wholesale deportations, by which
the Armenians were forcibly removed from their native homes. At the
same time no precise or concrete description has yet been given of
the monstrous excesses of which the Armenian nation has been the
victim. But a young Armenian, an eye-witness who escaped by a
miracle from the atrocious butchery at H., has related to us in all
their appalling detail the events that took place at this town. His
narrative gives a clear idea of the enormity and the ignoble cruelty
of the crime committed, not only at H., but in all the other
provinces of Armenia. We can easily discern from these facts the
criminal tactics of the Young Turkish Government.

“At H.,” says this witness, “the deportation of the Armenians lasted
three months. In June the most prominent members of the
Dashnaktzoutioun Committee were arrested, including Messrs. DE.,
DE., DG., DH., and DJ., as well as various others. They were
subjected to unheard-of tortures, to extract from them supposed
secrets concerning the alleged project of an Armenian revolution. No
result was obtained from this inquisition.

“The Armenian population was simple enough to believe that this
harsh persecution was only directed against the members of the
Dashnaktzoutioun Committee, and it therefore displayed no uneasiness
on its own account. But shortly afterwards the arrests were extended
in scope and began to assume formidable proportions. All the
Armenian young men in the town were arrested and terrorised by
infernal torments. About 13,000 Armenian soldiers, too, who were
serving among the Ottoman troops at H., were stripped of their arms
and transferred to the “Red Palace” at G. They were kept there under
stringent guard, and hunger and thirst were left to do their work
upon them. The friends and relations of the prisoners were
rigorously debarred from any communication with them. A week later
all the prisoners were brought out again and despatched to an
unknown destination, under a strong escort of gendarmerie with fixed
bayonets. They were told that they were going to be transported to
Ourfa, to work on the roads and lines of communication, but when
they reached BP. Han, near BQ. village, they were all shot and their
corpses shovelled into a great trench, which had been specially
prepared for them. The majority of the young Armenians who were
treated in this way were pupils of the American College, the French
College, and the Central Armenian School. Other prisoners were
subsequently led away in the same direction in gangs of five and
shot. Twenty of these unfortunates succeeded by a miracle in
escaping, and have related the details of this awful butchery.

“Next came the turn of the imprisoned members of the
Dashnaktzoutioun Committee; but they had guessed the fate that was
awaiting them and offered a desperate resistance, which ended in
their setting fire to the building in which they were confined,
since they preferred being burnt alive to becoming the prey of
Turkish barbarity. (There were from twenty-five to thirty of these
Dashnakists, but the young refugee was ignorant of their names, with
the exception of those which we have mentioned above.)

“In July all Armenian families of any standing in G. were compelled
to emigrate. The arrests of the young men had been effected at night
time, but the deportation of these wealthy families was carried out
in full daylight.

“These exiles from G. were taken to the villages of AN. and AO. On
their way they were overtaken by a gendarme riding post-haste with
an order from the Vali, which directed the return of a score of
individuals among the party. These individuals were taken a distance
of twenty kilometres and then slaughtered without pity, like cattle,
on the banks of a river and their corpses thrown into the water. As
for the rest, the men were separated from the women and cruelly
murdered by blows of the axe. The women and girls were carried off
by the Kurds and Turks.

“This was followed by the general deportation. The people were
deported in several convoys, and in different directions. These
convoys were massacred openly and without discrimination, some below
the hill of AU., others on the summit of BR. Hill and on Mount BS.

“A few men and women in the service of the Turkish and Kurdish beys
were allowed to live until the end of the harvest. The compulsory
emigration was even forced upon Armenians who had been converts to
Islam since the massacres of 1895. These were deported in October.

“All the professors and schoolmasters were also imprisoned and
subsequently assassinated, at the same time as the young men. Those,
however, who were connected with German institutions were happily
excepted.

“The American Consul did not see fit to intervene in favour of these
unfortunates—not even when they were American citizens. We do not
know the motive of this passive attitude of his.

“Out of a numerous convoy of exiles from Erzeroum and Erzindjan,
nothing but a handful of women and children succeeded in reaching
H., after abandoning on their way many of their number who could no
longer bear up against the misery and starvation. Those who have
reached H. are in an absolutely deplorable condition. They hardly
look like human beings, and roam about the streets seeking for a
morsel of dry bread, until they fall fainting from exhaustion and
are picked up next day half dead by the municipal scavenger carts.
These scenes are repeated daily.

“The massacre of the entire population of the Province of Sivas has
been effected in the same fashion. Everywhere one passes corpses
lying unburied in the open. On my journey I saw heart-rending
incidents—women in their last agony lying on the ground with their
sucklings, already dead, beside them.

“The Turkish and Kurdish villages are full of Armenian women and
girls. Some of the villagers have taken possession of dozens of
them. Eimen, the head of the ‘German Oriental Mission,’ remarks, as
if that completely justified everything, that now the Armenians will
realise for the future the serious consequences of conspiring
against Germany and her Allies. A considerable number of Armenians
from H. and the neighbourhood have taken refuge among the mountains
of Dersim, where the native Kurdish mountaineers have offered them
generous hospitality.”

Another Armenian, who succeeded in escaping from Der-el-Zor, in
Arabia, describes the miseries endured there by the Armenian women.
They are not only suffering from the ravages of disease, but from
the lawlessness of the Arabs, who come again and again to snatch
victims for their bestial lust.


68. MAMOURET-UL-AZIZ: NARRATIVE OF AN ARMENIAN LADY DEPORTED FROM C.
    (A PLACE HALF-AN-HOUR’S DISTANCE FROM H.), DESCRIBING HER
    JOURNEY FROM C. TO RAS-UL-AIN; WRITTEN AFTER HER ESCAPE FROM
    TURKEY, AND DATED ALEXANDRIA, 2nd NOVEMBER, 1915; PUBLISHED IN
    THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL “GOTCHNAG” OF NEW YORK. 8th JANUARY, 1916.

Shortly after last Easter (1915), the Turkish officials searched the
Armenian churches and schools of G., H., C., AQ., AR., AS. and the
surrounding villages, but without finding anything incriminating.
Afterwards they took the keys of these buildings, and filled them
with soldiers. They also searched private houses on the pretence of
looking for arms and ammunition, but they did not find anything.
After that the Town Crier announced that all arms were to be handed
over to the Government, and by this means a number of arms were
collected.

After that, they arrested from the town of C. the following persons:
Professor B., Mr. H. and his brother J., Mr. O. and his son P., Mr.
Q., the brothers R., the brothers S., and T. Effendi, as well as
many others, old and young. They took them to the house of V. Agha,
stripped them one by one and gave them 300 lashes on their backs.
When they fainted, they threw them into a stable and waited until
they had revived, in order to beat them again. The men who performed
these cruel acts consisted of the following Turks: Commissary
(Gendarme) W. Effendi the son of Commissary X., V. Agha, V.’s cousin
Y., Z. Agha, Hadji CA. Bey the son of CB. Effendi, CD., and CE. the
son of V. Agha. Among the Kurds implicated were the son of CF., CG.,
etc. The above-mentioned CF.’s son and another Kurd beat Mr. CH.
until he was half dead.

After beating T. Effendi in H., and tearing out his finger nails and
the flesh of his hands and feet, they put a rope under his arms,
dragged him to C., and threw him into prison. Then they entered his
house, and, on the pretence of searching it, made his wife, who was
in indifferent health, lie on the ground; a soldier sat on her, and
they began to beat her on her feet, asking her where they had hidden
their arms. After a few days her husband died in the prison.

In C. they beat many young men to get their arms, so that they were
obliged to buy arms from the Turks and give them to the
Government[89].

When the Government was convinced that they had no more arms to
surrender, they stopped tormenting them; but after a few days’
interval they took the young men to G., imprisoned them there for a
time, and then deported them in May. Meanwhile the women of C. went
to the German missionary, Dr. U., at G. and begged him to defend
them. Dr. U. came to C. and spoke in a church; he advised the
Armenians to trust the Turks absolutely.

When I was in C. I heard that in H. they had beaten CI. Agha, who
subsequently disappeared.

They plucked out the hair and nails of some of the professors. They
dug out their eyes and branded them with red hot irons, so that some
of them died immediately, and others first lost their reason and
died thereafter.

The Bishop of H., CJ., and other prominent Armenians were imprisoned
and suffered many cruelties.

On Friday, the 2nd July, they deported part of the Armenians of G.
Their destination appeared to be Ourfa _via_ Diyarbekir.

On Saturday, the 3rd July, they deported all Armenians domiciled in
the houses belonging to CL. in A. Street, in the town of G. Again
their destination was supposed to be Ourfa, but _via_ Malatia in
this case.

We ourselves were deported on the 4th July in the direction of Ourfa
_via_ Diyarbekir.

The Town Crier proclaimed that on the following Tuesday those from
B. and C. Streets in the Town of H. would be deported, on Wednesday
the Armenians from AQ., on Thursday those from AR., and so on.

CJ. and two hundred other Armenians were deported ten days before we
were, that is on Wednesday, the 23rd June; we do not know their
destination. Their party started at midnight. Some of them dropped
cards asking for money, and at AT. money was conveyed to them. But
the following Monday, the 28th June, when the Armenian women of AT.
went to the river, they saw some Turkish women washing blood-stained
clothes. The Armenian women took the clothes from the Turkish women
and brought them to the Governor at G. The Governor on hearing this
went to AT. and found that the Bishop and the 200 Armenians had been
killed.

Up to the day we started, the Syrians had not yet been deported, and
the women who had no husbands were also allowed to remain, but later
on CK. Aghassi said that not a single Armenian would be left. After
the Armenians were deported, the Government locked their houses and
sealed them up. The men of CL.’s factory were also deported with
their families. In C. some of the tradesmen were not deported, as,
for example, CM. Agha the son of CN. Agha, the baker CO. and his
family, and the two brothers, CP. and CQ. Aghas, the sons of Q.
Agha. CQ. Agha became a Moslem, while the father was deported with
the Bishop.

All the people of C. started the same day. I think we were about 600
families. We had with us all our cattle and all our property. The
first night we reached AU. and slept that night in the fields. The
next day we passed many corpses heaped together under bridges and on
the road; their blood had collected in pools. Probably these were
the Armenians that were killed with the Bishop, for the corpses were
all those of men. We spent the night near AV. in a valley, and that
night we had to drink water polluted with blood. We promised our
guards money if they took us a better road and gave us clean water.
The third day they again made us travel past corpses, and on
Wednesday we reached A.

The same morning the gendarmes that were accompanying us, W. Effendi
and the other Turkish effendis that were with him, put down their
chairs in front of our han, and sat down. Then they turned to us and
told us that they had received telegrams from H., and that instead
of going to Ourfa some of us would go to Yermag and the rest to
Severeg, so that our journey would thus be shortened. “Only it is
necessary,” they added, “that your men should come and register
themselves at the han at A., and state which way they would like to
go. Thank the Sultan, who has made your journey shorter.” After
these words they all clapped their hands and forced us to do the
same. Our men, being simple-minded, were deceived, and they even
left their hats and coats to go to the han in question. None of
those that went returned. Then the rest of those above 16 years of
age and all the old men were arrested and taken to the same place.
After this the gendarmes beat the women and forced them to continue
their journey. The women said: “We will not go unless our men go
with us. You may kill us if you want to.” But the Turkish officials
told us that our men would follow us in a little while, and forced
the women and children to march on, so they marched on crying and
wailing. After half-an-hour’s journey they made us sit in the
fields, and all the Turkish officers returned to A. except one. The
same day some Arab women (that is, Armenian gipsies) brought us
bread, in spite of the officers’ efforts to prevent them, and when
they heard that we were crying because our men had been killed, they
told us that they had seen them all passing by roped together. Again
we went on under the hot burning sun, still crying. The sixth day
they made us stop in a Kurdish village, where we spent the night.
Next morning we saw that all the gendarmes that had returned to A.
had now rejoined the convoy.

Then Gendarme W. Effendi and the other Turks with him beat us and
forced us under threat of death to give them all our money and
ornaments. They said that, if we did not give them up, they would
violate us and exile us to different places. We were afraid, and
gave them everything we had. Then they gave us back from five
piastres (1Od.) to one medjidia (3s. 2d.) each, at the same time
stating that our money and everything else would be returned to us
at Diyarbekir, and that they had only taken our jewellery and money
for safety.

The ninth day, they took us to the top of a mountain, and the same
Effendi and the other gendarmes searched us all over in a shameful
manner; they took all the silk-stuffs and everything else of value
in our clothes and bedding. Half-an-hour later we reached a Kurdish
village. There I met a Turkish soldier from Malatia, called CR.,
whom I knew. He pitied me, and told me that it was all over with us.
“I would advise you,” he said, “to leave your company and look after
yourself.”

We were already within a short distance of Diyarbekir when two
soldiers came from the Governor, to find out where we had been
during the last nine days. Here the gendarmes that were with us took
away all our cows and cattle; they also kidnapped one woman and two
girls. Outside the walls of Diyarbekir, we had to sit in the burning
sun for 24 hours. That same day a number of Turks came from the city
and kidnapped our little girls. Towards evening again we went on,
still crying; more Turks came to carry off our girls and young
brides, and would not let us even open our mouths to protest. Then
we left all our cattle and everything we had, to save our honour and
our lives. It was already night when the Turks from Diyarbekir
attacked us three times and carried off the girls and young brides
who had fallen behind. After this we lost all sense of time. The
next morning again the gendarmes searched us all over, and then made
us march six hours. During these six hours we found no drinking
water, and many women sank on the way from thirst and hunger. The
third day after that they robbed us, and violated us near a place
where there was water. Some days after, two Turks dressed in white
coats followed us, and, every time they had a chance, carried off
still more of our girls. The wife of CS. Effendi from C. had three
daughters, one of whom was married. A coloured gendarme who was with
us wanted to take these girls. The mother resisted, and was thrown
over a bridge by one of the Turks. The poor woman broke her arm, but
her mule-driver dragged her up again. Again the same Turks threw her
down, with one of her daughters, from the top of the mountain. The
moment the married daughter saw her mother and sister thrown down,
she thrust the baby in her arms upon another woman, ran after them
crying “Mother, mother!” and threw herself down the same precipice.
Some said that one of the Turkish officers went down after them and
finished them off. After that Mrs. CS.’s remaining daughter and I
disguised ourselves, and, each taking a child in our arms, abandoned
everything and walked to Mardin. There our party joined us again. We
stayed there eight days. There was an artificial lake there, and
every night they opened the sluices and flooded the ground, so that
in the panic they might kidnap some of the girls. They also attacked
us every night and kidnapped little children. At last, one evening,
they drove us on again and left us among the mountains. They wounded
a woman because she did not wish to give up her daughter. When they
were going to carry off another girl, I asked CT. Tchaoush, a Mardin
man, to help us. He stopped them at once, and did not let them take
her away. He told us to stay there and not to start until further
notice. The Kurds from the surrounding villages attacked us that
night. CT. Tchaoush, who was in charge of us, immediately went up on
to the heights and harangued them in Kurdish, telling them not to
attack us. We were hungry and thirsty, and had no water to drink.
CT. took some of our vessels and brought us water from a long way
off. The wife of my brother-in-law, the tailor CU., had a baby born
that night. The next morning we started again. CT. left some women
with her and kept an eye on her from a distance. Then he put the
mother and the new-born child on a beast, and brought her to us in
safety. Again we marched six hours without water. Here a Turk
kidnapped the son of the woman who had been thrown down the mountain
side. Finally, in the last stages of hunger and exhaustion, we
reached Viran Shehr. Many had already been left on the road.

We had nothing more to eat until we reached Ras-ul-Ain. A fourth
part of our convoy had already perished of starvation. Just before
reaching Ras-ul-Ain we marched through the whole of one night. We
passed three wells choked with corpses up to the brim. The women
that went before us encountered three wounded women who crawled out
of these wells and asked for bread. These three women went on in our
company towards Ras-ul-Ain. Two of them died on the way, and the
third was sent to Der-el-Zor with the convoy. It was here that CV.,
the sister of CW., a girl about 18 or 19 years old, fell down
because she could not walk any further. Her mother and sister-in-law
kissed her, crying, and left her. We were forced to leave her by
herself, because the soldiers would not let any one stay behind with
her.

We did not see a single Armenian until we reached Ras-ul-Ain. There
we found many deported Armenians who had come from Erzeroum, Egin,
Keghi, and other places. They were all on their way to Der-el-Zor.
At Ras-ul-Ain we suddenly met CX. Agha of H. He had come from Aleppo
to help us. He wanted to save at least a few of the party and take
them to Aleppo. He advised us to go to the house of CY. Bey, a
Circassian, or to the house of his son-in-law, so that he might
convey us into safety from there. At Ras-ul-Ain a great many of the
Armenians found refuge in the houses of some Tchetchens (a tribe
akin to the Circassians), but afterwards the Government removed them
all from the Tchetchens’ houses to deport them to Der-el-Zor. Only
my batch, consisting of forty-one people, were left in the house of
this CY. Bey, and we were safe here because the Bey and his friends
were Government people. The first moment that we saw CX. Agha we
thought we had seen an angel from Heaven, and cried to him: “CX.
Agha, save us.” When the Tchetchens heard his name, they discovered
that he was an Armenian, and immediately attacked him. He was almost
killed, but withstood them by his bravery and address; he told them
that he had been sent there specially by the Government, and turning
immediately to us, he gave us to understand that those who went to
CY. Bey’s house would be saved.

CX. Agha took the next train and returned to Aleppo. He tried every
means to save us, and after fifteen days he came back. The
Circassians (or Tchetchens) endeavoured to force us to become
Moslems, but we answered them: “We will throw ourselves into the
water and die, but we will not become Moslems.” The Tchetchens were
surprised at these words, and said they had never seen people like
this, so zealous for their honour and their religion and so devoted
to each other. CX. Agha found this out and went to the chief of the
Tchetchens; he bribed him, and then, with superb courage, conducted
us to the railway one by one, the station being about two miles from
where we were. It was Saturday evening when we reached Aleppo. Here
for the first time we met some Armenian soldiers, who were almost
crazy with joy when they saw us. We could hardly believe they were
Armenians, until CX. Agha’s father came after dark with some of
these soldiers, carrying no lights, and took us to the Armenian
Church. There they told us that if the Government should discover us
and inquire how we came, we were to tell them that we had travelled
at our own expense. They immediately brought us bread; we had not
eaten anything for twenty-four hours. There were a number of
deported Armenians in the Church; they came from different places
and had been travelling for four months. They were so exhausted that
about forty of them were dying every day. The priest who performed
the ceremony could not drag himself home. From the deported
Armenians in Aleppo we learned that the husbands of many of the
women had been roped together and taken to Sheitan Deressi (Devil’s
Valley)[90], where they were slaughtered with axes and knives. Here
we gave up all hope of seeing our husbands again, being convinced
that they were all killed. We heard that in some places they made
the Armenians dig their own graves before they killed them. An
Armenian soldier from Tchemesh-Getzak told me that the Turks were
killing the Armenians and throwing them into the Euphrates, when six
of them managed to cross the river and get away, after three days’
journey through country littered with corpses.

On Sunday morning I went to see the American Consul at Aleppo, and
asked him to save me, as I was an American citizen. He asked me
where my papers were. I told him they were taken from me on the way;
I told him all the circumstances, and he promised to help me. I went
to him again the next day and told him how my parents were American
citizens, and my husband also, and how my husband had lived in
America for 18 years; I told him he could prove it by asking the
American Consul at H. or even the Washington Government. After five
days had passed, he sent for me and made me tell my story in the
Turkish language. He put my name in his book, and placed me in his
kavass’s house. Then he gave me a passport and sent me to
Alexandretta in the company of some Russian subjects. We stayed
fifteen days in Alexandretta. From there we reached Alexandria on
board the American cruiser “Chester,” on the 22nd September, 1915.

While I was in Ras-ul-Ain, we saw some Armenian girls in the houses
of some Tchetchens. One of them was married to one of the
Tchetchens. They begged us not to forget them if we were ever saved.
J. Agha’s wife and children reached Ras-ul-Ain. A Kurd came and said
to them: “I am from the village of Karer; you come with me, and I
will take you to Karer until the end of the war.” They believed him,
and went to his house. Afterwards CX. Agha tried to save them, but
they had already gone. H. Agha’s wife and three daughters went to
Der-el-Zor.

The Turkish Government did not provide any food for us on the way;
one day only, at Diyarbekir, they gave us one loaf each, and again
for about eight days at Mardin, but the bread was so hard that it
cut our mouths. The son of Prof. B., his married daughter, and his
future daughter-in-law, as well as the wife and two daughters of Mr.
CZ., reached Aleppo in safety. CC. Agha’s daughter and his little
boy were kidnapped by the Turks. Only two of the boys were left with
the mother, who reached Aleppo safely. Besides the gendarmes,
Kurdish irregulars also followed us on the way, to kill those that
were left behind. The clothes of those who underwent this
deportation were all rotted by the end of the journey, and the
exiles themselves had almost lost their reason. When they were given
new clothes they did not know how to put them on, and when their
hair was washed it came off bodily from their scalps.


69. H.: STATEMENT BY THE PRINCIPAL OF THE COLLEGE, DATED 19th JULY,
    1915; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND
    SYRIAN RELIEF.

I shall try to banish from my mind for the time the sense of great
personal sorrow at losing hundreds of my friends here, and also my
sense of utter defeat in being so unable to stop the awful tragedy
or even mitigate to any degree its severity, and compel myself to
give you concisely some of the cold facts of the past months, as
they relate themselves to the College. I do so with the hope that
the possession of these concrete facts may help you to do something
there for the handful of dependants still left to us here.

_Building.s_—Seven of our big buildings are in the hands of the
Government, only one remaining in our hands. The seven buildings in
question are empty, except for twenty guards who are stationed
there. I cannot tell you exactly the amount of loss we have
sustained in money by robberies, breakages and other means, and
there is no sign that the Turks will ever return these buildings to
us.

_Constituency._—Approximately two-thirds of the girl pupils and
six-sevenths of the boys have been taken away to death, exile or
Moslem homes.

_Professors._—Four gone, three left, as follows:—

Professor A.—Served College 35 years; representative of the
Americans with the Government, Protestant “Askabed,” Professor of
Turkish and History. Besides previous trouble, arrested May 1st
without charge; hair of head, moustache and beard pulled out, in
vain effort to secure damaging confessions; starved and hung by arms
for a day and a night, and severely beaten several times; taken out
towards Diyarbekir about June 20th, and murdered in general massacre
on the road.

Professor B.—Served College 33 years, studied at Ann Arbor,
Professor of Mathematics. Arrested about June 5th, and shared Prof.
A.’s fate on the road.

Professor C.—Taken to witness a man beaten almost to death; became
mentally deranged; started with his family about July 5th into exile
under guard, and murdered beyond Malatia. Principal of Preparatory
Department; studied at Princeton; served College 20 years.

Professor D.—Served College 16 years, studied at Edinburgh;
Professor of Mental and Moral Science. Arrested with Prof. A. and
suffered same tortures; also had three finger nails pulled out by
the roots; killed in same massacre.

Professor E.—Served College 25 years. Arrested May 1st; not
tortured, but sick in prison; sent to Red Crescent Hospital, and
after paying large bribes is now free.

Professor F.—Served College for over 15 years, studied in Stuttgart
and Berlin, Professor of Music. Escaped arrest and torture, and thus
far escaped exile and death, because of favour with the Kaimakam
secured by personal services rendered.

Professor G.—Served College about 15 years, studied at Cornell and
Yale (M.S.), Professor of Biology. Arrested about June 5th, beaten
about the hands, body and head with a stick by the Kaimakam himself,
who, when tired, called on all who loved religion and the nation to
continue the beating; after a period of insensibility in a dark
closet, taken to the Red Crescent Hospital with a broken finger and
serious bruises. Now free.

_Instructors, Male._—Four reported killed on the road in various
massacres, whose average term of service is eight years.

Three not heard from, probably killed on the road; average term of
service in the College, four years.

Two sick in the American Hospital.

One elsewhere.

One, engaged in cabinet work for the Kaimakam, free.

One, owner of house occupied by the Kaimakam, free.

_Instructors, Female._—One reported killed in F.; served the College
over 20 years.

One reported taken to a Turkish harem.

Three not heard from.

Four started out as exiles.

Ten free.

_Total Loss._—About seven-eighths of the buildings, three-quarters
of the students, and half the teaching staff.

Of the Armenian people as a whole we may estimate that three-fourths
are gone, and this three-fourths includes the leaders in every walk
of life—merchants, professional men, preachers, bishops and
government officials. And there is no certainty for those who are
just now free. The Vali has said that _all_ must go. It is only
temporary measures, such as bribes or special favours, that have
secured postponement. Since we know the fate to which they go, since
we have seen the pitiable plight of the stragglers who have survived
the journey from Erzindjan and Erzeroum, since we find ourselves
forbidden to aid them except in insignificant ways, and since we are
forbidden to accompany them to aid them on the way, we are the more
eager, if possible, to save those who are left with us.

It seems to us possible that something can be done to save these
few. Permission has recently been obtained through the German
Embassy for those connected with the German Mission, teachers and
their families, orphans and servants, a circle of several hundred,
to remain in G. I therefore beg of you to take what steps are
possible to secure the permission through our Ambassador for the
handful of dependants still with us to remain in H.

If such permission is not secured, we shall probably be called upon
to see the very members of our households dragged off to decorate
the harems of those who have not as yet secured as many girl slaves
as they wish. Nothing can be done locally. The Kaimakam and his
coterie in H. are more powerful here than the Vali, and take
pleasure in flaunting our impotence in our faces.

I have said enough. Our hearts are sick with these sights and
stories of abject terror and suffering. The extermination of the
race seems to be the objective, and the means employed are more
fiendish than could be concocted locally. The orders are from
headquarters, and any reprieve must be from the same source.


70. H.: STATEMENT BY THE PRINCIPAL OF THE COLLEGE, DATED 19th JULY,
    1915, RELATING TO THE DEPORTATION OF ARMENIANS FROM VILLAGES IN
    THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF H.; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE
    FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

From the village of E., 212 individuals set out, of whom 128 (60 per
cent.) reached Aleppo alive; 56 men and 11 women were killed on the
road, 3 girls and 9 boys were sold or kidnapped, and 5 people were
missing.

From the same place another party of 696 people were deported; 321
(46 per cent.) reached Aleppo; 206 men and 57 women were killed en
route; 70 girls and young women and 19 boys were sold; 23 were
missing.

From the village of D. a party of 128 were deported, of whom 32 (25
per cent.) reached Aleppo alive; 24 men and 12 women were killed en
route; 29 girls and young women and 13 boys were sold; and 18 were
missing.


71. H.: LETTER DATED 10th NOVEMBER, 1915, FROM THE PRINCIPAL OF THE
    COLLEGE AT H. TO MR. N. AT CONSTANTINOPLE; COMMUNICATED BY THE
    AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

The difficulty of securing local permission to start out for
America, as well as the scarcity of wagons, has delayed our party
for some days. We have been grateful, in the meantime, that we have
heard from you approving our plans. We hope to start in a day or
two. We do not anticipate the journey with relish, but we feel that
it will be better to go now than to wait. I am apprehensive for
those who stay, though nothing definite threatens citizens of our
country at present.

Following your circulars of information as to the attitude of the
authorities at the capital, we opened our girls’ department two
weeks ago, and planned soon to open the boys’ department also. The
registration of the girls reached about 150, of which number about
one-third are in the kindergarten. More than another third are
boarders, mostly those who have been with us from the time school
closed. There are very few day-pupils above primary age.

Last Thursday afternoon, the 4th November, a raid was suddenly made
on the Armenian population. Men, women and children were arrested
that afternoon in G. and taken to the police station. The next
morning the same thing occurred here in H. Most of those arrested in
H. were women and children, and they were nearly all of them
released the same day, when they showed their papers. In G.,
however, many were kept over a day or two and then sent off on the
road, probably to be butchered as other parties had been. The season
is now so late that it is preposterous to suppose a safe journey to
be possible when the exiles are allowed no preparation whatever. By
far the largest number sent off seem to have been from the villages,
where the people were pretty well cleared out. Estimates run as high
as a thousand for those who were sent off in one night.

The panic resulting from this wholly unexpected raid can hardly be
pictured. Those pupils who were coming to us from outside have
stopped coming pretty largely, and many advise us to close the
school. Those exiles who had managed in various ways to escape from
the convoys and had settled down to normal life, are now plunged in
terror. We have had to guard our gates and walls to prevent the
public from pouring in on us.

During this recent event the Government has turned its attention to
us once more. On Friday the police came, with a sufficient force, to
arrest all the men on our premises. They were polite, but expressed
the belief that we were hiding many. I went with the handful of men
and boys available, and the next day my brother presented those who
were not in evidence that day, and they were all sent back to our
premises safely. The Commandant personally asked the Consul to write
to us and warn us against harbouring any fugitives in our grounds.
We assured him that it had been our settled policy all along to
refuse such requests, and that we had no such persons with us. The
Kaimakam refused to believe that we had no fugitives with us, but I
think he has been persuaded more or less of the truth of this. Two
of our teachers, who live in their own houses off from our compound,
did not appear on Friday before the police. Afterwards, when they
found that the others had been released, they also appeared. They
were then put in prison, where they still remain. One of them, I
hope, will soon be released, but I have fears for the other, because
he was so intimately connected with the former Kaimakam, and there
seems to be evidence against him that he was a tool in securing
bribes for the said Kaimakam—of course under fear of death.

We have had frequent interviews with the Kaimakam and the
Commandant, who is _locum tenens_ for the Vali at present. Both of
them have been courteous, and assure us that there are no further
measures in store for those who have been allowed to stay by order
of the Government. But our faith in such promises has been sadly
shaken this summer. At two different times the Kaimakam has said
that Armenian was no more to be taught in our schools. We have
expressed our desire to make the language of the school English, and
have assured him that we are working to that end.

As I wrote to you, our curriculum has been submitted to the Mearif,
and has been largely approved verbally. We are still in
correspondence over some minor details regarding texts. We shall not
be able to open work for the few boys who are available at the
present, and I confess my deep apprehension lest they and their male
teachers should all be rounded up, to go the same road that their
comrades followed in July.

It is hard for us to leave just at this juncture. Yet there seems no
advantage in our staying compared with the difficulties of leaving
later. We shall try to keep you informed of our curriculum.



                                 VIII.
                  VILAYET OF TREBIZOND, AND SANDJAK OF
                          SHABIN KARA-HISSAR.


_The Vilayet of Trebizond lies between Erzeroum and the Black Sea,
and consists of a long, narrow littoral, shut off from its
hinterland by a wall of mountains on the south. The town of Shabin
Kara-Hissar is situated about seventy miles west of Baibourt, near
the upper course of the Kelkid Irmak._

_The population of this region is very mixed. The substratum is
Lazic (a Caucasian race) and Greek; but advanced guards of the
Kurdish migration have penetrated into the mountains overlooking the
coast, while the towns and ports have been occupied, since the
Ottoman conquest in the fifteenth century, by large colonies of
Armenians and Turks, who lived there peaceably side by side for four
centuries—until June, 1915._

_The deportations began in the last week of that month. Their
nominal destination was the same as that of the convoys from the
Vilayet of Erzeroum, but in this case there seems never to have been
any intention of conducting the Armenians alive to their journey’s
end. At Trebizond, a number of them were herded on to boats and
drowned in the open sea. Such convoys as started by land were
massacred within a day’s journey of the city, and their fate was
shared by the convoys from Kerasond. The Armenians of Shabin
Kara-Hissar took warning, and resisted the Government’s decree.
Troops were sent against them, and every Armenian in the town and
district was put to the sword._


72. TREBIZOND: REPORT FROM A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT TREBIZOND,
    COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN
    RELIEF.

_Passages included between brackets are inserted from the version of
the same document published in the brochure “Quelques Documents sur
le Sort des Armeniens, 1915” (Geneva, 1915)._

On Saturday, the 26th June, the proclamation regarding the
deportation of all Armenians was posted in the streets. On Thursday,
the 1st July, all the streets were guarded by gendarmes with fixed
bayonets, and the work of driving the Armenians from their homes
began. Groups of men, women and children, with loads and bundles on
their backs, were collected in a short cross-street near my
residence, and when a hundred or so had been gathered, they were
driven past my residence on the road toward ——, in the heat and
dust, by gendarmes with fixed bayonets. They were held outside the
city until a group of about 2,000 had been collected, and then sent
on. Three such groups, making about 6,000 altogether, were sent from
here during the first three days; and smaller groups from —— and the
vicinity, sent later, amounted to about 4,000 more.

The weeping and wailing of the women and children was most
heart-rending. Some of these people were from wealthy and refined
circles. Some were accustomed to luxury and ease. There were
clergymen, merchants, bankers, lawyers, mechanics, tailors, and men
from every walk of life. The Governor-General told me that they were
allowed to make arrangements for carriages, but nobody seemed to be
making any arrangements. I know of one wealthy merchant, however,
who paid £15 Turkish (about £13 10s. sterling) for a carriage to
take himself and wife to ——, and when he arrived at the station
where they were being collected, at ——, about ten minutes’ distance
from the city, they were commanded by the gendarmes to leave the
carriage, which was sent back to the city.

The whole Mohammedan population knew that these people were to be
their prey from the beginning, and they were treated as criminals.
In the first place, from the date of the proclamation, the 25th
June, no Armenian was allowed to sell anything, and everybody was
forbidden, under penalty, to buy anything from them. How, then, were
they to provide funds for the journey? For six or eight months there
has been no business whatever in Trebizond, and people have been
eating up their capital. Why should they have been prohibited from
selling rugs or anything they had to sell, to secure the needed
money for the journey? Many persons who had goods which they could
have sold if they had been allowed to do so, were obliged to start
off on foot without funds and with what they could gather up from
their homes and carry on their backs. Such persons naturally soon
became so weak that they fell behind and were bayoneted and thrown
into the river, and their bodies floated down past Trebizond to the
sea, or lodged in the shallow river on rocks, where they remained
for ten or twelve days and putrefied, to the disgust of travellers
who were obliged to pass that way. I have talked with eye-witnesses,
who state that there were many naked bodies to be seen on snags in
the river fifteen days after the affair occurred, and that the smell
was something terrible.

On the 17th July, while I was out on a ride with a German resident,
we came across three Turks digging a grave in the sand for a naked
body which we saw in the river near by. The corpse looked as though
it had been in the water for ten days or more. The Turks said they
had just buried four more further up the river. Another Turk told us
that a body had floated down the river and out into the sea a few
moments before we arrived.

By the 6th July (Tuesday) all the Armenian houses in Trebizond,
about 1,000, had been emptied of their inhabitants and the people
sent off. There was no inquiry as to who were guilty or who were
innocent of any movement against the Government. If a person was an
Armenian, that was sufficient reason for his being treated as a
criminal and deported. At first all were to go except the sick, who
were taken to the municipal hospital until they were well enough to
go. Later, an exception was made for old men and women, pregnant
women, children, those in Government employment and members of the
Roman Catholic Church. Finally it was decided that the old men and
women and the Catholics must go too, and they were sent along
towards the last. A number of lighters have been loaded with people
at different times and sent off towards . It is
generally believed that such persons were drowned. During the early
days, before the deportation commenced, a large caique or lighter
was loaded with men supposed to be members of the Armenian
Committee, and sent off towards . Two days later,  a Russian subject, who had been one of those who
started in the boat, returned overland to Trebizond, badly wounded
about the head and so crazy that he could not make himself
understood. All he could say was “Boom, boom.” He was arrested by
the authorities and taken to the municipal hospital, where he died
the following day. A Turk said that this boat was met not far from
Trebizond by another boat containing gendarmes, who proceeded to
kill all the men and throw them overboard. They thought they had
killed them all, but this Russian, who was big and powerful, was
only wounded and swam ashore unnoticed. A number of such caiques
have left Trebizond loaded with men, and usually they return empty
after a few hours.

Totz, a village about two hours from Trebizond, is inhabited by
Gregorian and Catholic Armenians and Turks. Here, according to a
reliable witness, a wealthy and influential Armenian,  and his two sons were placed one behind the other and
shot through. Forty-five men and women were taken a short distance
from the village into a valley. [91] were first outraged by the officers of
the gendarmerie, and then turned over to the gendarmes to dispose
of. According to this witness, a child was killed by beating its
brains out on a rock. The men were all killed, and not a single
person survived from this batch of forty-five.

The plan to save the children by placing them in schools or
orphanages in Trebizond, under the care of a committee organized and
supported by the Greek Archbishop, of which the Vali was president
and the Archbishop vice-president, with three Mohammedan and three
Christian members, has been abandoned, and the girls are now being
given exclusively to Mohammedan families and thus scattered[92]. The
suppression of the orphanages and the scattering of the children was
a great disappointment to us and to the Greek Archbishop, who had
worked hard for the plan and secured the support of the Vali; but
 the local head of the Committee of Union and
Progress, who was opposed to the plan, succeeded in thwarting it
very quickly. Many of the boys appear to have been sent to ——, to be
distributed among the farmers. The best looking of the older girls,
who were retained as caretakers in these orphanages, are kept in
houses for the pleasure of members of the gang which seems to rule
affairs here. I hear on good authority that a member of the
Committee of Union and Progress here has ten of the handsomest girls
in a house in the central part of the city, for the use of himself
and his friends. Some of the younger girls have been taken into
respectable Mohammedan houses. Several of the former pupils of the
American Mission are now in Mohammedan homes near the Mission, and
have not been visited by  but of course the majority
of them are not so fortunate.

The 1,000 Armenian houses are being emptied of furniture by the
police one after the other. The furniture, bedding and everything of
value is being stored in large buildings about the city. There is no
attempt at classification, and the idea of keeping the property in
“bales under the protection of the Government, to be returned to the
owners on their return,” is simply ridiculous. The goods are piled
in without any attempt at labelling or systematic storage. A crowd
of Turkish women and children follow the police about like a lot of
vultures, and seize anything they can lay their hands on, and when
the more valuable things are carried out of a house by the police,
they rush in and take the balance. I see this performance every day
with my own eyes. I suppose it will take several weeks to empty all
the houses, and then the Armenian shops and stores will be cleared
out. The commission which has this matter in hand is now talking of
selling this great collection of household goods and properties, in
order to pay the debts of the Armenians. The German Consul told me
that he did not believe the Armenians would be permitted to return
to Trebizond, even after the end of the war.



I have just been talking with a young man who has been performing
his military service on the “inshaat tabouri” (construction
regiment), working on the roads out toward Gumushkhané. He told me
that 15 days ago all the Armenians, about 180, were separated from
the other workmen, marched off some distance from the camp and shot.
He heard the report of the rifles and later was one of the number
sent to bury the bodies, which he stated were all naked, having been
stripped of clothing.

A number of bodies of women and children have lately been thrown up
by the sea upon the sandy beach below the walls of the Italian
Monastery here in Trebizond, and were buried by Greek women in the
sand where they were found.

-----

Footnote 89:

  See Docs. 82, 94 and 122.

Footnote 90:

  See Doc. 9, page 21.

Footnote 91:

  “The women.”—_American version._

Footnote 92:

  _The origination of this plan is recorded in an earlier (undated)
  report from the same hand, from which the following sentences are
  a quotation_:—

  “The children attending the American school conducted by ——, also
  those children left with them by persons being deported, have all
  been taken and placed in a school organised by a local committee,
  of which the Vali is president and the Greek Metropolitan
  vice-president. Into this school all the Armenian children,
  females up to fifteen years and males to ten years of age, are
  being placed as soon as the parents are sent off. Children above
  these ages go with their parents.”


73. TREBIZOND: EXTRACTS FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH COMM. G. GORRINI,
    LATE ITALIAN CONSUL-GENERAL AT TREBIZOND[93]. OF ROME, 25th
    AUGUST, 1915.

For over four years I was Consul-General at Trebizond, with
jurisdiction over practically the whole Black Sea littoral, from the
Russo-Turkish frontier to the neighbourhood of Constantinople, and
over five provinces in the interior of Asia Minor (Eastern Anatolia,
Armenia and Kurdistan)—districts chiefly inhabited by Turks,
Armenians and Kurds, with a considerable sprinkling of Persians,
Russians, Greeks and Arabs. For the last ten months, moreover, I had
also been responsible for the protection of the very numerous
Russian subjects and Russian interests, as well as the Greek and
Montenegrin, and also, to some extent, the French, the English, and
the American, with others of minor account....

As for the present internal condition of the Ottoman Empire, I can
only answer for my own district. In my district the present
condition of things is almost desperate. The population is showing
true Moslem resignation in the way it is bearing the existing
situation—the ruin and desolation of individuals and community, the
holocaust of all and everything for a war which no one desired, but
which was forced upon them by Enver Pasha, and which will lead to
the ruin and dismemberment of all that still remains of the Ottoman
Empire. But the Moslem and Christian populations can do nothing
more—they have reached the extreme limit of their effort. The oxygen
is being administered by the Germans, who are trying to prolong the
agony of the dying Empire, but will not be able to perform the
miracle of restoring life to a corpse. Apart from a few lunatics, a
speedy peace, even if it involves the foreign occupation of Ottoman
territory, is the prayer of all. There is no courage for a
rebellion. The Germans and the “Committee of Union and Progress” are
hated and detested by all, but only in the intimacy of the heart and
in confidential conversation, for the Germans and the Committee
constitute the one genuine, solid organisation at present existing
in Turkey—a masterly and most rigorous organisation, which does not
hesitate to use any weapon whatever; an organisation of audacity, of
terror, and of mysterious, ferocious revenge....

As for the Armenians, they were treated differently in the different
vilayets. They were suspect and spied upon everywhere, but they
suffered a real extermination, worse than massacre, in the so-called
“Armenian Vilayets.” There are seven of these, and five of them
(including the most important and most thickly populated) unhappily
for me formed part of my own Consular jurisdiction. These were the
Vilayets of Trebizond, Erzeroum, Van, Bitlis and Sivas.

In my district, from the 24th June onwards, the Armenians were all
“interned”—that is, ejected by force from their various residences
and despatched under the guard of the gendarmerie to distant,
unknown destinations, which for a few will mean the interior of
Mesopotamia, but for four-fifths of them has meant already a death
accompanied by unheard-of cruelties.

The official proclamation of internment came from Constantinople. It
is the work of the Central Government and the “Committee of Union
and Progress.” The local authorities, and indeed the Moslem
population in general, tried to resist, to mitigate it, to make
omissions, to hush it up. But the orders of the Central Government
were categorically confirmed, and all were compelled to resign
themselves and obey.

The Consular Body intervened, and attempted to save at least the
women and children. We did, in fact, secure numerous exemptions, but
these were not subsequently respected, owing to the interference of
the local branch of the “Union and Progress Committee” and to fresh
orders from Constantinople.

It was a real extermination and slaughter of the innocents, an
unheard-of thing, a black page stained with the flagrant violation
of the most sacred rights of humanity, of Christianity, of
nationality. The Armenian Catholics, too, who in the past had always
been respected and excepted from the massacres and persecutions,
were this time treated worse than any—again by the orders of the
Central Government. There were about 14,000 Armenians at
Trebizond—Gregorians, Catholics, and Protestants. They had never
caused disorders or given occasion for collective measures of
police. When I left Trebizond, not a hundred of them remained.

From the 24th June, the date of the publication of the infamous
decree, until the 23rd July, the date of my own departure from
Trebizond, I no longer slept or ate; I was given over to nerves and
nausea, so terrible was the torment of having to look on at the
wholesale execution of these defenceless, innocent creatures.

The passing of the gangs of Armenian exiles beneath the windows and
before the door of the Consulate; their prayers for help, when
neither I nor any other could do anything to answer them; the city
in a state of siege, guarded at every point by 15,000 troops in
complete war equipment, by thousands of police agents, by bands of
volunteers and by the members of the “Committee of Union and
Progress”; the lamentations, the tears, the abandonments, the
imprecations, the many suicides, the instantaneous deaths from sheer
terror, the sudden unhingeing of men’s reason, the conflagrations,
the shooting of victims in the city, the ruthless searches through
the houses and in the countryside; the hundreds of corpses found
every day along the exile road; the young women converted by force
to Islam or exiled like the rest; the children, torn away from their
families or from the Christian schools, and handed over by force to
Moslem families, or else placed by hundreds on board ship in nothing
but their shirts, and then capsized and drowned in the Black Sea and
the River Deyirmen Deré—these are my last ineffaceable memories of
Trebizond, memories which still, at a month’s distance, torment my
soul and almost drive me frantic. When one has had to look on for a
whole month at such horrors, at such protracted tortures, with
absolutely no power of acting as one longed to act, the question
naturally and spontaneously suggests itself, whether all the
cannibals and all the wild beasts in the world have not left their
hiding places and retreats, left the virgin forests of Africa, Asia,
America and Oceania, to make their rendezvous at Stamboul. I should
prefer to close our interview at this point, with the solemn
asseveration that this black page in Turkey’s history calls for the
most uncompromising reproach and for the vengeance of all
Christendom. If they knew all the things that I know, all that I
have had to see with my eyes and hear with my ears, all Christian
powers that are still neutral would be impelled to rise up against
Turkey and cry anathema against her inhuman Government and her
ferocious “Committee of Union and Progress,” and they would extend
the responsibility to Turkey’s Allies, who tolerate or even shield
with their strong arm these execrable crimes, which have not their
equal in history, either modern or ancient. Shame, horror and
disgrace!


74. TREBIZOND: NARRATIVE OF THE MONTENEGRIN KAVASS OF THE LOCAL
    BRANCH OF THE OTTOMAN BANK, PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL
    “AREV” OF ALEXANDRIA, 2nd OCTOBER, 1915.

The Kavass of the Local Branch of the Ottoman Bank at Trebizond, a
Montenegrin, who left Trebizond in Signor Gorrini’s company[94] and
is at the present moment in Cairo, has made the following statement
to Mr. Malezian, Secretary of the General Armenian Union of
Benevolence:—

“The very evening of the day on which the order arrived from
Constantinople, they threw into the sea about forty of the
intellectuals and the members of political parties, saying to them:
‘You are to be sent into exile by the sea route.’

“At the present moment there is not a single Armenian left at
Trebizond except two employees of the Ottoman Bank, who will also be
deported as soon as other persons arrive from Constantinople to take
their place.

“Children have been converted to Islam and handed over to Mohammedan
families. Those who cry and do not keep quiet have their throats
cut.

“After the Armenians had gone, their houses were confiscated.

“The whole thing was organized by the members of the Committee of
Union and Progress.

“The exiles were not allowed to take with them either money or
clothes or provisions. Five hundred Armenian soldiers were disarmed,
and then deported and massacred on the road. As for the other
exiles, they must have been massacred without exception, for the
news received from Djevizlik (a village six hours from Trebizond, on
the one and only road leading to Gumushkhané) makes it certain that
the exiles were seen passing that place in batches, while beyond
Djevizlik no one has seen them pass. At the same time, the river
Yel-Deyirmeni brought down every day to the sea a number of corpses,
mutilated and absolutely naked, the women with their breasts cut
off.”

-----

Footnote 93:

  Signor Gorrini left Trebizond on the 23rd July, 1915, in the
  interval between the Italian declarations of war against
  Austria-Hungary and against Turkey. He hired an open motor-launch
  with a Lazic skipper and crew, and took with him two servants and
  the Montenegrin Kavass of the local branch of the Ottoman Bank.
  The coastwise voyage from Trebizond to Constantinople took seven
  days and nights. They touched at Kerasond, Samsoun, Sinope,
  Ineboli, Kidros, Zonguldak, Zacharia, Chilé and Faro d’Anatolia,
  without landing, however, at any of these places. From
  Constantinople Signor Gorrini travelled via Dedeagatch and Palermo
  to Rome, where he gave this interview to the representative of “Il
  Messaggero.”

Footnote 94:

  “I hired the motor launch for myself and three members of my
  household, one of them a Montenegrin kavass who was under our
  protection.—_The Italian Consul, Signor Gorrini, in the interview
  published in the Rome journal “Il Messaggero,” 25th August, 1915._


75. KERASOND (KIRESOUN), TREBIZOND AND SHABIN KARA-HISSAR: EVIDENCE
    COLLECTED BY AN ARMENIAN GENTLEMAN FROM EYE-WITNESSES NOW IN
    ROUMANIA; COMMUNICATED BY THE CORRESPONDENT OF THE LONDON
    “TIMES” AT BUKAREST.

_Kerasond._—Much has been written lately about the Armenian
massacres in Turkey, but it is only now that we are receiving more
precise and detailed information, from eye-witnesses who, by some
means or other, have escaped the scene of the most horrible
atrocities ever known in this world.

The atrocities of Kerasond are described by a prominent Greek of
that town, who succeeded in obtaining a passage on board a Greek
ship bound for Roumania with a cargo of nuts. On her voyage across
the Black Sea, this ship was met by two Russian torpedo boats, which
took on board the crew and this gentleman among them, sank the ship,
transported the crew to Sevastopol, and there set them free. This
gentleman had been an eye-witness of all that happened in Kerasond,
and he describes the atrocities as follows:—

“It is impossible to express in words the humiliations and
atrocities that the Armenians of Kerasond have had to undergo. One
morning the Government announced, through the public crier, that
every male Armenian, old or young, must immediately go to the
Government Building, where an important communication was to be made
to them. Those who neglected to comply with this order were
threatened with imprisonment. The Armenians obeyed, as there was no
alternative in a town where they were in minority; but as soon as
they had arrived at the Government Building, they were surrounded by
hundreds of gendarmes and driven straight to prison. At mid-day
their families, seeing that nobody returned, collected together and
went in a body to the Government Building. They demanded that their
husbands should be set free. The gendarmes replied with the bayonet,
and dispersed the crowd, while those who still insisted in their
protest were sent to join their husbands in prison. That night was
passed by the poor Armenians in the prison, while all night long
their families mourned and wept. I visited several Armenian
neighbours and tried to calm them, but they were all convinced that
they would never see their people again, as they had guessed
latterly, from the attitude of the Turks, that some plot was being
prepared against them. Next morning the prisoners were told that
they were to be exiled to Kara-Hissar (a town inland from Kerasond)
and that they were only to take with them provisions for five days.
Their wives were notified of this, and in the afternoon, under the
escort of hundreds of gendarmes, they were marched out of the prison
on to the road leading to Kara-Hissar, and divided up into several
separate batches. Several days passed, and then a few telegrams
reached various families, signed by their husbands or brothers and
announcing that they had arrived in safety at Kara-Hissar. But
unfortunately these telegrams were merely forged by the Government
in order to calm down those left behind, who had not yet ceased to
demand the return of their dear ones. Their true fate was very
different. A fortnight later, I met a friend who told me that he had
given protection to a young Armenian who had escaped from the party
of Armenians that were sent to Kara-Hissar, and that this young man
gave horrible descriptions of their experiences. I went to see this
young man at my friend’s house. He was an honest business man in the
town, so that I do not question for a moment the honesty of his
declaration in the present case, which he made to the following
effect:—

“Our party consisted of 350 men, mostly young fellows. The next day
after our departure from Kerasond, we reached a spot on the banks of
the River Kara Su. It was lunch time, and the gendarmes ordered us
to stop and eat. We had just begun to do so when guns were fired on
us from all sides, and I saw many fall dead. I was wounded myself in
the arm and collapsed on my side from the pain. The firing
continued, and I fainted. I only recovered consciousness to find
myself in the river with hundreds of dead bodies floating round me.
My wound did not prevent me from swimming, so that I struggled out
of the river, and at night-fall walked back to the town. I was
afraid to go to my family, so I asked shelter of my friend here; but
as my prolonged presence may bring him harm, I am going home
to-night.”

In fact, the Government had announced that any Turk or Greek giving
protection to an Armenian would be punished with death. So that
night the young man went to his house; but he was soon found out,
and under the pretext of sending him to hospital for his wound they
took him away and he has never been heard of since.

This was the end of the male population. The women were dealt with
in the same fashion. They were likewise herded by force into the
prison, and marched under escort in batches along the same road
leading to Kara-Hissar. They were not massacred, but treated with
extreme brutality and forced to walk for long hours, so that many
died of exhaustion, and many others committed suicide by throwing
themselves into the river with their children in their arms. Some
went mad through inability to endure the brutalities and
humiliations inflicted on them by the gendarmes and by the Turkish
villagers they met on the way. The small children under three years
of age were allowed to be carried along by their mothers, but the
children between the ages of three and fifteen, both girls and boys,
were all distributed among Mohammedan families, with instructions to
convert them to Islam. The Armenians’ houses were sealed with the
Government’s seal, but it is clear that they were first stripped of
their furniture and placed at the disposal of Turkish immigrants.
This is the tragic history of the extermination of the 3,000
Armenians of Kerasond.

One old Armenian only escaped death by embracing the Mohammedan
religion; but that only served to save his own life, as his son and
wife were sent off with the rest.

Kara-Hissar is a town three days inland from Kerasond, Kerasond
being its port. The Armenian population of this city, guessing the
intentions of the Turks, took up their arms and fled into the
mountains surrounding the town. The gendarmes and soldiers sent in
their pursuit had several encounters with them, but they failed
every time to drive them out of their mountain positions. In my
opinion their positions are good and can resist attacks, but their
supply of food may soon come to an end, and in their isolation they
may starve, if no help reaches them[95].

_Trebizond._—During the last massacres (1896) Trebizond suffered the
most, and this time also it has been the scene of the most fiendish
atrocities. These are described by a young Armenian girl who was an
eye-witness of them. She was saved through the protection of the
late Italian Consul at Trebizond, who was allowed to leave in a
motor boat for Constantinople[96], whence he went to Italy and sent
this girl to some relatives of hers in Roumania. She gives the
following account of her experiences:—

“In the morning my father, a Russian subject, was summoned by a
gendarme and taken away to the Government Building. A few hours
passed, and my mother went to find out what had happened to him. She
did not return either, and, being thus left alone in the house, I
went to our neighbour, the Italian Consul, and asked for his
protection. He immediately disguised me as a servant girl in the
Consulate. Every day I used to see hundreds of Armenians, men and
women in separate batches, passing our house under escort—mothers
carrying their children on one arm and a package of provisions on
the other. That was all they were allowed to take. The Kavass of the
Consulate used to come in every day and report to the Consul all
that was going on in the town. Business was at a standstill, all the
shops were closed, and you met nothing in the streets but Armenians
escorted by gendarmes. Many young girls were forced to marry
Mohammedans. All the children were collected and distributed to
Turkish families to be brought up, as Mohammedans. Several leading
Armenians committed suicide by throwing themselves down from the
windows of their houses. All the Armenians who were Russian subjects
(there were forty-five of them) were put on board a sailing ship
bound for Kerasond, but on the way they were thrown into the sea and
shot at by the gendarmes sent with them. This we verified later on,
when the Consul was allowed to leave Trebizond in a motor boat, in
which I accompanied him as servant girl. On the way a sailor on the
launch, in answer to a question from the Consul, said that he had
refused to take those forty-five Russian subjects in his sailing
boat because he knew what fate was marked out for them on the way;
and, in fact, when we arrived at Kerasond, we discovered that not
only had those forty-five people never arrived (though they were put
on board the boat under the pretext that they were to be exiled to
the districts inland from Kerasond), but that not a single Armenian
was left in the town itself. We were told the same thing all along
the coast—at Tireboli, Ordou, Samsoun, Ineboli, etc.[97] The wife of
the late Secretary of the British Consulate at Trebizond (himself a
British subject) was forced to marry a Turk; the rest of the
family—the Secretary, his brothers, his uncles, etc., who were all
British subjects too—were exiled to the interior of the country, and
nothing has been heard of them since. Many women have offered to
become Mohammedans but have been refused. Only one family in
Tireboli, called A., obtained leave to remain by turning
Mohammedan.”

This is confirmed by a telegram received lately by a gentleman in
Constantinople, who has business connections with the family in
question. The telegram was signed “A. Zadé Mehmed Sirry.”

The plan of the Government has been the same everywhere—to convert
the children to Islam, and to march the male and female population
under escort into the interior of the country, until the last of
them has dropped dead with exhaustion. As to their houses, the
furniture was distributed among the officers and soldiers. Pianos,
side-boards, and other objects too luxurious for soldiers’ houses
were sold by auction, where the best buyers, in many districts, were
Jews, who considered the price of 50 piastres too high for a piano,
and tried to buy them at 10-15 piastres. The houses thus emptied
were given over to Turkish immigrants or paupers. The copper kitchen
utensils, and, in fact, everything made of copper, were carefully
packed, and sent, by different means, to Constantinople, where the
Germans were anxiously waiting for them as their share of the
plunder.

It is only in Constantinople and Smyrna that the Armenians have not
been exiled; but that does not mean that they there escape their
share of the general misfortune. Most of the leading Armenians
there, including doctors, deputies, wholesale merchants,
journalists, etc., were exiled to the interior, and nothing has been
heard of them since. The requisitioning officer takes away anything
he finds in an Armenian shop, and many have thus been reduced to
closing their shops, having nothing left to sell. Only one man among
those deported from Constantinople was brought back, having
consented to become a Mohammedan. This is Mr. B. of the B. Bros.
firm, the largest export and import business in Constantinople. He
has been forced to pay £5,000 for the building of a Mosque in
Kaisaria, to build a Turkish school in Constantinople, to wear a
turban, and to pray seven times a day, as a proof of his sincere
devotion to his new religion.

-----

Footnote 95:

  This was written before it was known that the Armenians of
  Kara-Hissar had been overwhelmed by force and massacred to the
  last woman and child, with their bishop at their head.—EDITOR.

Footnote 96:

  “I hired the motor launch for myself and three members of my
  household”.—_Signor Gorrini in the Rome journal “Il Messaggero,”
  25th August, 1915._

Footnote 97:

  “Of the 200 Armenian families at Ordou, 160 have embraced Islam,
  under pressure of threats and violence. Of the 400 Armenian
  families at Kerasond, 200 have embraced Islam to escape
  persecution; the rest have been deported.”—_New York Journal
  “Gotchnag,” 28th August, 1915._


76. TREBIZOND AND ERZEROUM: DESPATCH FROM THE CORRESPONDENT OF THE
    LONDON “TIMES” AT BUKAREST, DATED BUKAREST, 18th MAY, AND
    PUBLISHED ON THE 22nd MAY, 1916.

Since the entry of the Russian troops into Trebizond it has become
possible to lift the veil of mystery that has hitherto shrouded the
fate of the Armenian population in this prosperous port. The troops
on their arrival found all the Armenian houses plundered and for the
most part in ruins. Doors, windows, shutters, and all woodwork had
been carried away. There was no opposition on the part of the
authorities.

The deportation of the Armenians, which began in June, was carried
out here, as elsewhere, in accordance with instructions from
Constantinople. The leading families were the first to suffer. Some
300[98] of these received the order to prepare for emigration and
purchased a number of wagons for the transport of their property,
but four days after their departure all the wagons were brought back
to the town. The emigrants had been massacred and their property
plundered.

Other groups, each of several hundred families, followed. This
process went on for some time, but eventually new methods were
adopted. The police entered the houses of the remaining Armenians,
forcibly expelled them, drove them through the streets, and locked
up the houses. The whole Armenian population of Trebizond, numbering
some 10,000 souls, was thus exterminated. It is hoped, however, that
some hundreds of persons may yet be found hidden in the villages in
the neighbourhood.

At Erzeroum, where the Armenian population was considerably greater,
being estimated at 35,000, practically the same programme was
carried out. The proceedings, which began in the middle of May, were
inaugurated by the arrest and imprisonment of 400 young Armenians.

Many families, after being expelled from their houses, were kept
waiting for several days in the streets before being taken to their
fate. At the entrance to the town the processions of exiles
encountered tax-gatherers, who insisted on the payment of arrears of
taxation, although the unfortunate people had left all their
property behind them. Only a few artisans, who were required to work
for the Army, were allowed to remain in the town. By the beginning
of August the whole Armenian population had disappeared from
Erzeroum. Only the Bishop remained. On the 5th August two police
officers appeared at his house and communicated the order for
departure. The Bishop had taken precautions to secure some horses
for the transport of his effects, but these were now stolen. He
tried to purchase others, but at the last moment he was informed
that he was not allowed to take anything with him. He was then
removed to an unknown destination.

German officers stationed in the town and the German Consul
manifested open approval of these proceedings. Among the spoils
which fell to the Turks were several Armenian girls, and a share in
this living booty was conceded to the Germans.

-----

Footnote 98:

  Including Muggerditch Zarmanian, a contractor employed by the
  Ottoman Army.—_Information furnished to the writer by Armenian
  refugees in Roumania._



                                  IX.
               SIVAS: THE CITY AND PARTS OF THE VILAYET.


_The Vilayet of Sivas lies immediately to the west of the Vilayet of
Erzeroum. It includes the upper basins of two rivers—the Kizil Irmak
(Halys), on the banks of which the City of Sivas itself is situated,
and the Yeshil Irmak, further towards the north-west and nearer the
Black Sea coast._

_The province is less mountainous and much richer than its eastern
neighbours. Agriculture is flourishing, the nomad shepherd is
comparatively rare, and there are a number of populous towns, with
the beginnings of local manufactures._

_The peasant population is predominantly Turkish, interspersed with
important Greek enclaves, which have held their own from the first
Seljuk invasions to the present day; but there are also a number of
Armenian villages, and the Armenians constitute—or constituted
before June, 1915—-about half the population of the towns. The
rising trade and industry was almost entirely the product of these
Armenians’ initiative, and they themselves had risen with it in
education and civilisation, till in all essentials they were on a
level with the corresponding commercial and professional classes in
Western Europe._

_This peaceful, progressive community was entirely uprooted by the
Deportation Decree. The villages were cleared in June; the City of
Sivas suffered its first deportation on the 5th July._


77. SIVAS: LETTER FROM A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT SIVAS, DATED 13th JULY,
    1915; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND
    SYRIAN RELIEF.

To begin with the all-important fact, which may have reached you by
now, the Armenians of the interior are being deported in the
direction of Mosul. At the time we left Sivas, two-thirds of them
had gone from the city, including all our Protestants, our teachers
and pupils, and all our side of the city. Those left were the orphan
girls and teachers and a few boarding girls, three nurses and two
orderlies in the hospital, D. Effendi and his family and a few women
servants. According to my best knowledge and opinion, with the
exception of Armenian soldiers and prisoners (all of whose families
have been sent) and a very few exceptions in the case of people who,
for various reasons, were necessary to the Government, all Armenians
are gone from Sivas. According to what I consider good authority, I
believe it to be true that the entire Armenian population from
Erzeroum to (and including) Gemerek, near Kaisaria, and from Samsoun
to (and including) Harpout has been deported. There is also a
movement in the central field which had not become general yet when
I left, but will doubtless become so later. More than 100,000 Greeks
from the Marmora and Mediterranean coast have been deported.

We heard many rumours of massacres, but I have no evidence on the
subject. To my knowledge, no general massacres have occurred in the
Sivas Vilayet. Not a few men have been killed in one way and
another.

This general movement against Armenians began months ago in arrests
for alleged revolutionary activity and in searches for guns and
bombs. In Sivas the winter passed rather quietly, and it was late
spring before much was done. About two months ago a general
endeavour was made to imprison all leading Armenians, and within a
week more than 1,000 were arrested. I estimate the whole number of
Sivas men in prison to be between 1,500 and 2,000. The only person
taken from our circle was H. Effendi, who was taken by name the
first day—not, we think, as from us, but as a resident in the city.
Strict orders were given not to molest us or our people, though all
our efforts to do anything for H. Effendi failed. Up to the time of
our departure from Sivas these men had been in prison a month. They
were well, and as comfortable as could be expected in a Turkish
prison; but no examinations had been held, no charges made, and no
one knew what was to be done. The Vali assured me again and again
that they would be released and sent with their families; but this
was not done for at least ten days after the deportation was begun,
and I have no confidence that it will be done at all. We could not
believe that this outrage would really take place, but when, on
Monday, hundreds of families were loaded on to ox-carts and sent
off, and our Protestant people were told that they were to start on
Wednesday, Miss Graffam said she was going to try to go with them,
and in this she succeeded. She bought a spring wagon, a common
wagon, eight ox-carts and six donkeys, so that our pupils and
teachers went by their own conveyance. The Government furnished on
an average an ox-cart to a family, but how far they went that way
and how soon they were obliged to walk we do not know.

The advice of the Vali was that the orphans should remain for the
present, and we have no idea what they will do to them in the end.
This was one of our motives in getting to Constantinople. I
represented to our friends there the fear we had that, after all the
others were gone, these girls might be forcibly taken from us and
put into Turkish families. I talked with Mr. N. about the
possibility of bringing them all out of the country. Mr. Morgenthau
promised to have strict orders sent to Sivas for their protection. I
presume you will hear from Mr. N. on the subject, if his letter gets
through. At the time we left Sivas the orphanage circle (female) was
complete with the exception of Miss O., who went with the
Protestants. I think they deemed it wise to keep as few teachers as
necessary. Miss P. and Miss Q. expect to go with them if they go,
and take care of them if they remain. We understand that, since we
left, the orphans have been moved up to the college building with
the ladies; probably the old building is vacant, and very likely
sealed by the Government to ensure its safety. The Y.’s are probably
sleeping in our house and going to the city for hospital work in the
daytime.

The only men besides Dr. Y. are G., our kavass, D. Effendi and two
or three orderlies in the hospital, of whom you will remember only
our old teacher, Z. Effendi, of Divrig. All the Protestants except
R. the Greek and his family, most of the boarders (boys and girls)
and all our teachers excepting H. Effendi, who was in prison, and
K., who is with us, went on the road together on Wednesday
afternoon, the 7th July. Six or eight of the larger boys ran away a
day or two before, and we got no word from them. S. Effendi and T.
Effendi went with their families, and the others—U., V., W. and
X.—went the same day.

After we had seen thousands of people start out, and especially
after ours had actually gone, we came to the conclusion that if
anything could be done to stop this terrible crime, which impresses
us as ten times worse than any massacre, it would be done in
Constantinople. Our work in Sivas seemed to be terminated, at least
for the present, and our furlough was due; so it was decided that
Dr. Y., because of his knowledge of Turkish and his medical work,
should remain, and that the rest of us should go. We had been
getting neither letters nor telegrams for some time, and I did not
believe that those we sent arrived. In Constantinople we found that
the whole plan of deportation originated from the Central
Government, and that no pressure from the Embassies had been able to
effect anything. Mr. N. felt that the most we could do now was to
work for raising relief funds for the Armenians, and, in view of the
uncertainty of travel from Constantinople to the border, he was
anxious for us to get out of the country as soon as possible. So we
started at once on receiving our passports.

We believe there is imminent danger of many of these people (whom we
estimate for the Sivas, Erzeroum and Harpout Vilayets to be 600,000)
starving to death on the road. They took food for a few days, but
did not dare take much money with them, as, if they did so, it is
doubtful whether they would be allowed to keep it. From Mr. N. we
understood that the Rockefeller Foundation people are in Geneva or
Berne, and we hope that everything possible will be done to make
them recommend relief appropriations at once. Mr. N. and our
Ambassador promised to do what they could, and gave me some hope
that some relief funds might be sent to Harpout at once. It is
questionable whether relief work will even be allowed, but it ought
to be undertaken if possible. We shall do all we can in the United
States, with the aid of the American Missions Board....

I started out from Sivas with several hundred addresses of people to
whom we promised to give word about their friends. Then there was my
own list of some 700 names of my constituency that I brought, but we
were obliged to leave them all in Constantinople. It was impossible
to carry out of Turkey a single address or a scrap of writing of any
kind. I bought an empty account book, and started a new travelling
expense account after crossing the border.

We met on the road near Talas the people of two villages journeying
on foot with less than a donkey to a family, no food or bedding,
hardly any men, and many of the women barefooted and carrying
children. A case in Sivas worthy of notice was that of T. Effendi’s
sister. Her husband had worked in our hospital as a soldier nurse
for many months. She contracted typhus, and was brought to our
hospital. Her mother, a woman of sixty to seventy, got up from a
sick-bed to go and take care of their seven children, the oldest of
whom was about twelve. A few days before the deportation, the
husband was imprisoned and exiled without examination or fault. When
the quarter in which they lived went off, the mother got out of bed
in the hospital and was put on an ox-cart to go with her children.


78. SIVAS: LETTER[99] WRITTEN FROM MALATIA BY MISS MARY L. GRAFFAM,
    PRINCIPAL OF THE GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL AT SIVAS, TO A CORRESPONDENT
    AT CONSTANTINOPLE; REPRINTED FROM THE BOSTON “MISSIONARY
    HERALD,” DECEMBER, 1915.

When we were ready to leave Sivas, the Government gave forty-five
ox-carts for the Protestant townspeople and eighty horses, but none
at all for our pupils and teachers; so we bought ten ox-carts, two
horse arabas, and five or six donkeys, and started out. In the
company were all our teachers in the college, about twenty boys from
the college and about thirty of the girls’-school. It was as a
special favour to the Sivas people, who had not done anything
revolutionary, that the Vali allowed the men who were not yet in
prison to go with their families.

The first night we were so tired that we just ate a piece of bread
and slept on the ground wherever we could find a place to spread a
_yorgan_ (blanket). It was after dark when we stopped, anyway. We
were so near Sivas that the gendarmes protected us, and no special
harm was done; but the second night we began to see what was before
us. The gendarmes would go ahead and have long conversations with
the villagers, and then stand back and let them rob and trouble the
people until we all began to scream, and then they would come and
drive them away. _Yorgans_ and rugs, and all such things,
disappeared by the dozen, and donkeys were sure to be lost. Many had
brought cows; but from the first day those were carried off, one by
one, until not a single one remained.

We got accustomed to being robbed, but the third day a new fear took
possession of us, and that was that the men were to be separated
from us at Kangal. We passed there at noon and, apart from fear,
nothing special happened. Our teacher from Mandjaluk was there, with
his mother and sisters. They had left the village with the rest of
the women and children, and when they saw that the men were being
taken off to be killed the teacher fled to another village, four
hours away, where he was found by the police and brought safely with
his family to Kangal, because the tchaoush who had taken them from
Mandjaluk wanted his sister. I found them confined in one room. I
went to the Kaimakam and got an order for them all to come with us.

At Kangal some Armenians had become Mohammedans, and had not left
the village, but the others were all gone. The night before we had
spent at Kazi Mahara, which was empty. They said that a valley near
there was full of corpses. At Kangal we also began to see exiles
from Tokat. The sight was one to strike horror to any heart; they
were a company of old women, who had been robbed of absolutely
everything. At Tokat the Government had first imprisoned the men,
and from the prison had taken them on the road. The preacher’s wife
was in the company, and told us the story. After the men had gone,
they arrested the old women and the older brides, perhaps about
thirty or thirty-five years old. There were very few young women or
children. All the younger women and children were left in Tokat.
Badvelli Avedis has seven children; one was with our schoolgirls and
the other six remained in Tokat, without father or mother to look
after them. For three days these Tokat people had been without food,
and after that had lived on the Sivas company, who had not yet lost
much.

When we looked at them we could not imagine that even the sprinkling
of men that were with us would be allowed to remain. We did not long
remain in doubt; the next day we heard that a special kaimakam had
come to Hassan Tchelebi to separate the men, and it was with terror
in our hearts that we passed through that village about noon. But we
encamped and ate our supper in peace, and even began to think that
perhaps it was not so, when the Mudir came round with gendarmes and
began to collect the men, saying that the Kaimakam wanted to write
their names and that they would be back soon.

The night passed, and only one man came back to tell the story of
how every man was compelled to give up all his money, and all were
taken to prison. The next morning they collected the men who had
escaped the night before and extorted forty-five liras from our
company, on the promise that they would give us gendarmes to protect
us. One “company” is supposed to be from 1,000 to 3,000 persons.
Ours was perhaps 2,000, and the greatest number of gendarmes would
be five or six. In addition to these they sewed a red rag on the arm
of a Kurdish villager and gave him a gun, and he had the right to
rob and bully us all he pleased.

Broken-hearted, the women continued their journey. Our boys were not
touched, and two of our teachers being small escaped, and will be a
great help as long as they can stay with the company. The Mudir said
that the men had gone back to Sivas; the villagers whom we saw all
declared that all those men were killed at once. The question of
what becomes of the men who are taken out of the prisons and of
those who are taken from the convoy is a profound mystery. I have
talked with many Turks, and I cannot make up my mind what to
believe.

As soon as the men left us, the Turkish drivers began to rob the
women, saying: “You are all going to be thrown into the Tokma Su, so
you might as well give your things to us, and then we will stay by
you and try to protect you.” Every Turkish woman that we met said
the same thing. The worst were the gendarmes, who really did more or
less bad things. One of our schoolgirls was carried off by the Kurds
twice, but her companions made so much fuss that she was brought
back. I was on the run all the time from one end of the company to
the other. These robbing, murdering Kurds are certainly the
best-looking men I have seen in this country. They steal your goods,
but not everything. They do not take your bread or your stick.

As we approached the bridge over the Tokma Su, it was certainly a
fearful sight. As far as the eye could see over the plain was this
slow-moving line of ox-carts. For hours there was not a drop of
water on the road, and the sun poured down its very hottest. As we
went on we began to see the dead from yesterday’s company, and the
weak began to fall by the way. The Kurds working in the fields made
attacks continually, and we were half-distracted. I piled as many as
I could on our wagons, and our pupils, both boys and girls, worked
like heroes. One girl took a baby from its dead mother and carried
it until evening. Another carried a dying woman until she died. We
bought water from the Kurds, not minding the beating that the boys
were sure to get with it. I counted forty-nine deaths, but there
must have been many more. One naked body of a woman was covered with
bruises. I saw the Kurds robbing the bodies of those not yet
entirely dead. I walked, or, rather, ran, back and forth until we
could see the bridge.

The hills on each side were white with Kurds, who were throwing
stones on the Armenians, who were slowly wending their way to the
bridge. I ran ahead and stood on the bridge in the midst of a crowd
of Kurds, until I was used up. I did not see anyone thrown into the
water, but they said, and I believe it, that a certain Elmas, who
has done handwork for me for years, was thrown over the bridge by a
Kurd. Our Badvelli’s wife was riding on a horse with a baby in her
arms, and a Kurd took hold of her to throw her over, when another
Kurd said: “She has a baby in her arms,” and they let her go. After
crossing the bridge, we found all the Sivas people who had left
before us waiting by the river, as well as companies from Samsoun,
Amasia and other places.

The police for the first time began to interfere with me here, and
it was evident that something was decided about me. The next morning
after we arrived at this bridge, they wanted me to go to Malatia;
but I insisted that I had permission to stay with the Armenians.
During the day, however, they said that the Mutessarif had ordered
me to come to Malatia, and that the others were going to Kiakhta.
Soon after we heard that they were going to Ourfa, there to build
villages and cities, &c.

In Malatia I went at once to the commandant, a captain who they say
has made a fortune out of these exiles. I told him how I had gone to
Erzeroum last winter, and how we pitied these women and children and
wished to help them, and finally he sent me to the Mutessarif. The
latter is a Kurd, apparently anxious to do the right thing; but he
has been sick most of the time since he came, and the “beys” here
have had things more or less their own way, and certainly horrors
have been committed. I suggested that they should telegraph to Sivas
and understand that I had permission to go with these exiles all the
way, and the answer is said to have come from Sivas that I am not to
go beyond here.

My friends here are very glad to have me with them, for they have a
very difficult problem on their hands and are nearly crazy with the
horrors they have been through here. The Mutessarif and other
officials here and at Sivas have read me orders from Constantinople
again and again to the effect that the lives of these exiles are to
be protected, and from their actions I should judge that they must
have received such orders; but they certainly have murdered a great
many in every city. Here there were great trenches dug by the
soldiers for drilling purposes. Now these trenches are all filled
up, and our friends saw carts going back from the city by night. A
man I know told me that when he was out to inspect some work he was
having done, he saw a dead body which had evidently been pulled out
of one of these trenches, probably by dogs. He gave word to the
Government, with the result that his two servants, who were with
him, were sent for by under-officers, saying that the Pasha wanted
them, and they were murdered. The Beledia Reis here says that every
male over ten years old is being murdered, that not one is to live,
and no woman over fifteen. The truth seems to be somewhere between
these two extremes.

My greatest object in going with these exiles was to help them to
get started there. Many have relatives in all sorts of places, to
whom I could write; and I could, in my own estimation, be a channel
by which aid could get to them. I am not criticising the Government.
Most of the higher officials are at their wit’s end to stop these
abuses and carry out the orders which they have received; but this
is a flood, and it carries everything before it.

I have tried to write only what I have seen and know to be true. The
reports and possibilities are very many, but the exact truth that we
know, at best, calls for our most earnest prayer and effort. God has
come very near to many during these days.


79. EXTRACTS FROM A LETTER, DATED MASSACHUSETTS, 29th AUGUST, 1915,
    FROM ANOTHER FOREIGN RESIDENT AT SIVAS TO MR. G.H. PAELIAN.

You may be surprised to get a letter from me from America, and I am
surprised myself that I am really here. It is seven years and our
time for a furlough; but as there was no one to leave the College
with, and the children were small, we decided to wait a year or two.
But when they deported the Armenians and left us without work and
without friends, we decided to come home and get our vacation and be
ready to go wherever we could after the war.

You will want to know about Sivas and about your family in
particular. In general, the Sivas Armenians are gone, but there were
a few exceptions when we came away—the Swiss Orphanage, the
Sanasarian School, the people in prison (1,500 of the best men), and
the Armenians in the army who were employed in making roads,
building houses, tailoring, shoe-making, &c., for the army. Then
there are Dr. A. and Dr. B., the C.’s, a few tent-makers and people
who were necessary to the Turks, a few nurses in our hospital, and
D., our druggist.

The others were all deported on ox-carts on the 5th July and the
succeeding ten days. In general, there was one ox-cart to a family,
and they could take whatever they wished to on that. The Vali
allowed the Protestants all to go on the same day, although they
were scattered all over the city, and the others were sent by
quarters. Our teachers and boarding pupils went with the
Protestants.

E. and her children went with the Protestants too. I bought a cow
for her, and gave it to her and another woman who could take care of
it. I thought that F. must have milk. I did not get down in time to
see them off, but Miss Graffam went with them to help what she
could.

The morning after they started out, we sent G. on horseback to see
how they were. They had spent one night without any accident,
although they had not slept much.

All our teachers went except H., who was in prison. We do not know
why they imprisoned him, but we think some enemy of the family must
have told some lies about them, because they imprisoned his brother,
too, and J. We tried every way to get him out, but it was of no use.

Have you heard that he is engaged to K., a girl who has been in our
family a great deal? She was a teacher in the girls’-school, studied
one year in Smyrna, and then taught one year more. She usually
spends the summer in our family, and was to do the same this year.
When the Armenians were deported, the Vali allowed us to keep three
girls as servants, and, as she was to be with us, we kept her with
two others who were already with us, and we brought the three to
America with us, saving these three from the general deportation.

Since coming to America and hearing about what happened in other
places, it seems that the deportation from Sivas was very humane,
but at best it was awful. I cannot describe the sadness of having
all our friends taken away from us in one day and not knowing where
they were going or whether we should see them again. The College was
full of boys, teachers, carpenters, servants, &c. The L.’s, &c.,
were camping. In a single day they went, and only our family was
left, with G. We were not afraid; we did not care what happened.

Now we do not know what has become of them, or what has become of
the prisoners or the soldiers.


80. SIVAS: NARRATIVE OF A NATURALISED OTTOMAN SUBJECT, DATED NEW
    YORK CITY, 10th MARCH, 1916; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN
    COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

When the majority of the Armenian people were exiled from Sivas, I
was in Talas, but when I heard what had happened I started back at
once, thinking of course that my relations would also be sent away,
and wishing to accompany them. It was with great difficulty that I
obtained permission from the officials in Kaisaria to go back; they
claimed that the road was very dangerous, and that it would be
impossible for a woman alone to travel over it. Finally, the head
official of the Military Transport, who was living in Sivas and had
taken possession of Dr. AB.’s house there, telegraphed to Kaisaria
that I might travel under the protection of the Menzel, and I
started with two officers who were in a wagon behind me and who
warned me that I must keep close to them, as the road was very
dangerous. The road until we reached Sharkishla, two days’ journey
from Kaisaria, was very quiet, and we met almost no one. At
Sharkishla the plain was black with exiles from different parts of
Anatolia; they had been waiting there for about a week and new
recruits were coming in every day. At that time they did not seem
very unhappy. The weather was beautiful, the plain was covered with
trees, and many of the wealthy people had tents and wagons, while
there were a great many boys and men in the party.

Later, when they reached Malatia, or even before, the men were
separated from them, their wagons and goods were taken from them,
and they were only allowed to take what they could carry on their
backs over the narrow mountain pass through which they went. I know
this because Miss Graffam met these same people later on, while she
was on the road with the Sivas people. I was not very near them, but
I could see them from the han window. The handji, an Armenian, told
me he was sure they were all to be killed, and the officers told me
the next day that they had visited them at night, and that the men
were to be killed; they said they were sorry for the women and
children, but one of them added: “This is what happens to people
that want a kingdom of their own.”

I had a few unpleasant experiences on the road, but I will not stop
to tell them. I found my relations safe, and the Vali had told them
they might stay—I believe because of the influence of some powerful
Turkish friends they have in Constantinople, who had telegraphed to
the Vali to save Dr. AB. and his wife. The prisons at that time were
filled with our Sivas men—several thousand; these men we visited
every day, taking food to some of them and trying to cheer up the
others. Their wives and children had gone with the exiles, and it
was pretty hard work to be brave when they did not know their fate,
but it was surprising how really brave they were. Some of the
gaolers were very brutal men, and would be as disagreeable as
possible to us, but others were polite and willing to let us see the
prisoners, even allowing selected ones to come into the yard and
talk with us. About a month later these men were taken out in
batches of a hundred at night; they were told that they were to be
taken to the railway near Angora to work on it; the rich men were
allowed to hire wagons from Turks, at a big price, to travel in.
They were all taken very early in the morning, several hours before
daylight, and they were seen, those on foot, to go over the mountain
into the valley, where we are pretty sure they were killed, as the
soldiers returned with clothes, and the wagons always came back
three or four hours later filled with clothes. The soldiers,
moreover, described how many of the men met their fate, some
bravely, some otherwise, and we think they spoke the truth, for they
told of men we knew intimately, and who would have been apt to do
and say just what they said they did, in the face of death. It was
hard to see so many of our fine young men go off in this way, and
many of them had no idea they were going to their death. Some of
them took money with them, thinking they might meet their wives and
children. When they heard that Miss Graffam was returning, they were
so anxious to see her and hear of their families. Most of them were
gone when she got back, but she was allowed to go into the prison
and tell those that were left something about the journey she had
made. They were thankful to hear that their wives and children were
still alive, as they had heard they had all been massacred a few
days’ distance from Sivas. Miss Graffam said that although they were
robbed on the road and almost everything they had was taken from
them, still the girls and women were not outraged or treated badly
as far as Malatia. After that, we heard from boys that had escaped
from the party and come back to Sivas that many of the girls were
carried off by the Kurds a few days after Miss Graffam left them.

After all our Sivas men had been taken from the prisons, other men
kept coming in from other cities and towns like Angora and Yozgad.
They were kept in prison for a few days and then taken out as our
men had been. We were not permitted to see these men. Many of them
when they reached Sivas were in carriages. We heard that they, too,
were killed in the mountains, and that Sivas was being called the
“Great Slaughter House.” The last of our young men that remained in
prison were three young doctors. One of them, Dr. AC., had been
educated by Mrs. AD.; he had been brought up in the Orphanage at X.,
and was a splendid young man, full of enthusiasm for his work, which
was in the military hospital. Another of the three was the son of a
wealthy Divrig family, who had been educated in Germany and had many
strong German friends among the high German officials in
Constantinople, who either would not or could not do anything to
save him. They were executed while I was in Constantinople. I had
taken with me letters to a high German official from Dr. AE., asking
him to save them; and later Miss Graffam telegraphed to me that they
were in great danger, and begged me to do all I could to save
them—to go to the Germans. I did so, but was told they had gone to
Enver Pasha before, and that he would do nothing for them.

About thirty or forty families in Sivas, all of them wealthy, had
become Moslems, having the promise that, if they did so, their lives
and property would be safe. A few weeks later, all of them, with the
exception of two or three merchants, were told they had to go, and,
as soon as they left, their property was confiscated by the
Government. The Vali’s family doctor, an Armenian, was told that he
was to stay, and he asked if that meant he was to become a Moslem.
The Vali said: “No, I am tired of these people becoming Moslems.”

At two different times our orphanage children were ordered out; both
times Dr. Y. went to the Vali and begged that they might stay,
telling him how small many of them were, only three or four years
old, and how they would certainly die on the road, for at that time
even ox-carts could not be found. He seemed to be touched and said
they might. There seemed always to be friction between the police
and the Vali; he would give permission for them to stay and the
police would come and say they were to go; several of the police
officers came to the older girls and teachers, and asked them to
become their wives and stay, saying that they would be carried off
on the road anyway, and that they might as well accept them and
remain. Many hundreds of little girls were being brought back to
Sivas before I left; some were being placed in Moslem families and
some in empty houses. We were not allowed to see them. Many of the
Turkish officers had seized one or two of these little girls and
were planning to take them on to Constantinople with them. Some of
our orphanage teachers were able to interview some of the older
girls that were brought back from Kara-Hissar (one of the places
where the Armenians tried to defend themselves). These girls tell
horrible tales of what they saw there. A great many of these girls
were being married to Turks; the Turks were saying they were not
forcing them; they wanted them to become their wives willingly. A
number of women and children who had been in hiding were also
beginning to come out of hiding when I left, and the Missionaries
were taking them into the orphanage and the hospital, trying to save
them.

Several Armenian soldiers from the Samsoun region had also fled to
the hospital for protection; they had started with their regiments
from Samsoun, and the Armenians, who numbered a thousand or more,
had been attacked by the guards and the majority killed or left for
dead. The men that came to Dr. Y. had been among those left for
dead; one of them had a horrible wound across the back of his neck,
where he had been cut by an axe; they usually used axes, saying they
did not want to waste powder and shot on them. Some others came from
a lonely barracks on the Marsovan road, where they and their
comrades, all Armenians (soldiers), had been shut up for three days
without food or water. Finally a young Turkish officer heard the
noise as he passed, and came and let them out. These men said that
they were put in this building towards evening. They were tied
together by threes and called out in succession. Those that went out
never returned, and they found that they were being butchered with
axes. One of the men succeeded in untying the cord that he and his
two companions were tied with; they closed and barricaded the door,
and when the soldiers, who were only a few in number (Turkish),
found that they could not get in, they fastened it on the outside so
that the Armenians should not get out. They were afraid, indeed, to
go out even after the Turkish soldiers had left, until this officer
appeared and sent them on to Sivas; he said that the men that did
these things would be punished, but they were not. We believed that
they were allowed to do pretty much as they pleased with the
Armenians, and so, when they happened to be brutal, they did this
kind of thing, with the result that many of the Armenians that had
gone through it had become nervous wrecks. Dr. Y. had seen and
talked with a number of these men, and I also saw those who had fled
to the hospital.

In Tokat the girls, small and large, were left in the houses alone.
The daughter of the Badvelli there managed to send a letter to her
uncle, who was a nurse in our hospital (a soldier), saying that she
and her four little sisters were in the house alone and had nothing
to live on, and that the city was full of girls in the same
condition; up till that time, which was a month after their parents
had left them, they had not been injured by the Turks. A Turk
brought the letter.

On the 1st October, when I left Sivas to go up to Constantinople, I
had some difficulty in getting permission to start, as the Vali was
away. I had to wait until he returned. He said he would see that I
got as far as Talas safely, and he told me which places to stop at;
but because of some trouble with the driver, I was unable to stop at
the hans he told me to stop at, and the first night the han was
filled with Armenians who were being deported from X., both men and
women. They were wealthy people who had become Moslems. My driver
told me that they had not become true Moslems and for that reason
were being sent away. The soldiers with them were very evil-looking
men. I noticed that they had many beautiful rugs and carpets in
their wagons. In the next room there were some Turks who were
talking of the killing of the Armenians; however, nothing happened
to them that night. The second night I had to stop at a han which
had been very prosperous a few months before, but was now half
wrecked and deserted. It was dark and we could not go on, and we
found that the son and brother of the former handji had become
Moslems, and that the Government had allowed them to take charge of
the han on condition that they turned over all the money they made
to the Government. These two men were in the most pitiable condition
from fear, and they both told me horrible tales of how the men of
Gemerek had been killed; this han was outside the town of Gemerek.
They said they had hidden in the mountains for three weeks until
driven out by starvation, and then had given themselves up to the
Government and become Moslems, but they added: “We are only Moslems
with our mouths, but Christians in our hearts.” Still, they were
very fearful, and not at all sure that they would not be killed
later. In the village of Gemerek, they said, most of the girls had
been forced into marriage with the Turks, and many of the old women
had been killed and the rest deported. I had seen them on my way to
Sivas going out, so I knew this to be true. The next night I heard
two hodjas talking, under my window, of a terrible massacre of the
Armenians that had just taken place in the mountains; they seemed to
be very sorry about it and spoke of it with horror; they did not
know, of course, that I was listening. When I reached Talas, the
people had almost all gone from there and from Kaisaria. The
Kaisaria Protestants, or at least a number of Protestant families,
were sent out to Talas and given houses there, while the Talas
Protestants were sent to neighbouring villages; but their condition
was much better than that of any of the Armenian people in our Sivas
region. The Girls’-School was filled with girls from Kaisaria, most
of them the daughters of wealthy Gregorian and Catholic families.
The Kaisaria people had been allowed to leave their daughters
behind. While I was there, a woman and two men arrived from one of
the Kaisaria out-stations and told of the terrible massacre of the
whole village. First the little boys up to ten were taken outside
the village and killed. There were only a few men in the village, so
the women dressed as men and held the village against the Kurds and
Turks for three weeks, keeping them off with stones; they had fled
to the hills. These people said that the Turks used to call to them
to come down and become Moslems and their lives would be spared;
this they refused to do. Later, the village Turks were reinforced by
the soldiers from Kaisaria, who shot them down, only these three
people escaping. They had been weeks reaching Talas, having to hide
by day and travel very slowly at night for fear of being caught.
This village had many of our Protestant people, and among those
killed was the mother of one of the teachers and the wife of
another. We heard that all the villages in that region were treated
in this way, instead of being deported. While in Talas I had a
telegram from Sivas asking me to wait for a professor of the
Sanasarian College, who was coming from Sivas with his wife and
little boy. The Vali had given them permission to go on to
Constantinople; he had been educated in Vienna and his wife in this
country; they were very fine people. I waited several days and they
did not come. I found that they had left Sivas as they planned and
disappeared between Sivas and Talas—they have never been heard from.
I know a number of people that disappeared in just this way on that
road, after the Vali had given them permission to travel and the
promise of a safe escort.

The rest of the way from Kaisaria to the railway I went under the
protection of the Military Transportation Company. I passed through
many deserted towns, but saw no dead bodies on the road, only one
between Sivas and Talas. On the railway we passed truck-load after
truck-load of Armenians—exiles being sent into the interior. All
were in cattle-trucks, huddled together like animals. We met these
trucks every day; often they were shunted on the siding. All along
the Konia plain were tens of thousands of people; some had tents,
many of them had nothing. The weather at that time was warm, so they
were not suffering specially from the cold. Later, while in
Constantinople, we heard that these people on the Konia plain were
being sent into the interior and not allowed to take any food with
them, so that they would die quickly.

On the train, in the compartment with me, was the wife of the
Mutessarif of Erzindjan. She had several Armenian girls with her—one
of them in the compartment with us to wait on her children. She was
kind to this child, who was only about nine years old, but she
treated her like a little slave. She told another Turkish woman that
her parents had been sent away and she had taken her from the
streets. The Armenians in Constantinople had not been deported, only
the men who were suspected of revolutionary tendencies, but there is
great suffering among them for lack of food, and they need work.
Professor —— told me, the week before I left, that the Turks in
Constantinople were saying: “The Armenians from Constantinople must
go,” and that great pressure was being brought to bear upon them by
the Turks to become Moslems and stay. We had a number of Armenian
young women employed in the Red Cross work, and they all showed a
most beautiful Christian spirit, were always kind and gentle to the
soldiers, and never showed in any way that they felt any bitterness
toward them. Several of them had come from the interior and had
relatives that had been deported; one of them was from Trebizond,
where there had been that terrible massacre of children, and her
little baby of seven months was, she fears, among them. This young
woman went into exile with her husband, and lost everything and
everyone in Trebizond. She was a most beautiful Christian, and was
loved and respected by the people that worked with her.


81. SIVAS: THE ADVENTURES OF MURAD; NARRATED BY “S.H.S.,” IN THE
    JOURNAL “THE NEW ARMENIA,” OF NEW YORK, 1st MARCH, 1916.

In December, 1914, Murad was peacefully at work in his native
village of Govdoun. Then he was apprised of the troubles brewing in
the city of Sivas, the capital of the Vilayet. He hastened there to
find the Armenians panic-stricken. All the Armenians of military
age, as well as all the prominent Armenian business men, had been
imprisoned on the pretext that the bread supplied to the Turkish
soldiers was poisoned by the Armenian bakers. The Armenian
physicians in the city went to the military commander and protested
against this outrage, offering to prove that the accusation was
false. As the military commander was not on good terms with the
Vali, he ordered some of the bread to be brought, and the physicians
ate it before him without any bad results. Then he ordered the
prisoners to be released. However, matters grew steadily worse,
persecution increased, and spread finally to the surrounding
villages.

Murad, with a group of brave Armenians, resisted the outrages of the
Turkish Government for several months, until he was obliged to take
refuge in the mountains. In March, 1915, Turkish soldiers were sent
to capture Murad and his band, but they were defeated and repulsed.
The Armenians fought their way slowly over the mountains in a
continual guerilla warfare. The Government became so exasperated
that it placed a price on Murad’s head.

Murad was stricken with typhus as a result of the privations and
hardships the band endured, and his comrades had to carry him from
snow-clad mountain to mountain, and from cave to cave, in order to
save him from capture. At Mount Sachar Murad and his comrades were
surrounded by three hundred Turkish cavalrymen, but they succeeded
in escaping to an Armenian village in Khantzart. The peasants nursed
Murad, and said: “Remain here, and we will die by hundreds to
protect you.” Murad did not wish to expose them to danger. When he
heard that the Turkish cavalry were approaching, he requested his
comrades to remove him to the mountains.

In the milder weather of May, Murad began to recover. A company of
Turkish cavalrymen renewed the search for the little band of
Armenian warriors. Murad and his seven men opened fire upon the
Turks, wounding several of them. The Turks beat a hasty retreat, but
returned soon with reinforcements. These also were put to flight by
the Armenians. Murad then withdrew from the mountain and travelled
for some days through the woods and valleys.

Because of the extraordinary prowess of the Armenians, it was
rumoured that Murad had a thousand men with him. The Vali of Sivas
determined to capture him at any cost. At a place called
Telouk-Khaina a hundred Turkish infantry advanced upon Murad’s army
of eight, but Murad decided to save his ammunition, and retreated.
Near Tedjir a Turkish regiment with seven guns advanced to give
battle to the supposed Armenian army, but the Armenians again used
discretion. Murad’s men had armed themselves well at the beginning,
and replenished their stock of ammunition constantly from the
soldiers whom they killed. They frequently found on the slain Kurds
and Turks jewelry and other ornaments that had belonged to Armenian
women, and Murad still has in his possession some of these jewels.

After numerous victorious encounters and skirmishes with the Turks,
Murad turned toward Samsoun, in the autumn of 1915. His band had
been increased by seven Armenians and three Greeks. Having reached
the village of Tchamulan, not far from Samsoun, they were welcomed
by a prominent Greek named Constantine. The Turks had burned and
destroyed all the boats owned by Constantine, who was also subjected
to other persecutions. Defying the Turks, he harboured the eighteen
rebels in his house, and defended them. One day three hundred
Turkish soldiers surrounded the Greek’s house and opened fire. The
besieged band so successfully defended itself that the enemy could
not approach the house. Every new attack was repulsed successfully,
and many of the Turks were killed. In the evening the siege was
raised and the enemy withdrew. Murad and his comrades, together with
Constantine and his family, evacuated their stronghold and proceeded
toward Samsoun.

The party finally reached the woods of Hodjadagh, near the Black
Sea. There they remained in hiding, and sent scouts to reconnoitre
the country and find a way of escape. Having replenished their stock
of food and ammunition, the brave warriors hastened one night to the
sea coast. They found there a Turkish sailing vessel at anchor, and
captured it with its Turkish crew of five. They loaded the vessel
with their supplies and set sail, taking with them the Turkish crew
to man the boat.

After eight days and nights on the Black Sea, their water supply was
exhausted and they were compelled to make bread with sea-water.
Meanwhile they suffered terribly from thirst. The vessel passed
Samsoun and Kerasond, and approached Riza. While they were still
about three or four hours’ distance from the Russian coast, two
Turkish motor-boats were seen pursuing. The Turks had learned of
Murad’s escape and had dispatched a force to capture him at sea. The
Turks opened fire on the rebels. The Armenian sharpshooters replied
effectively. The motor-boats turned back after many of the soldiers
had been killed. In Murad’s party brave Yegho was killed, and one of
the Greeks wounded.

A heavy storm arose, and the superstitious Turkish sailors begged
that the body of Yegho might be thrown into the sea, because they
feared that the boat would be wrecked if the corpse remained on
board. The vessel finally reached Batoum, and the party landed
safely on Russian soil. Murad buried Yegho and then went to Tiflis,
where he joined the other Armenian Volunteers.


82. SIVAS: RECORD OF AN INTERVIEW GIVEN BY THE REFUGEE MURAD TO MR.
    A.S. SAFRASTIAN AT TIFLIS.

Once more the curtain drawn over the heinous details of Armenian
massacres in Asia Minor is raised by that well-known fighter, Murad
of Sivas, the Armenian leader of the province. Starting from
Sharkishla, some twenty miles south-west of Sivas, with a small
force, he opened his way to Divrig, lying about sixty miles
south-east of Sivas; and after a great number of encounters with
regular Turkish troops, he eventually entrenched himself on the
heights of Yaldiz Dagh, north-east of Sivas, where, surrounded by
large numbers of the enemy, he kept up desperate fighting for eight
days. Most of his comrades were killed in this unequal combat. He
himself, however, succeeded in breaking through the Turkish lines
and emerged on the coast, somewhere near Samsoun. Here he forced
some Turkish boatmen to set sail in the direction of Batoum. On the
voyage, his boat was chased by Turkish motor launches and fired on,
and in this encounter one of his comrades was killed by a bullet. He
has just reached here to throw more light upon the horrors which
have been committed in the Vilayet of Sivas and in parts of Harpout
and Western Dersim.

For about twenty years Murad (a brother-in-arms of Andranik, the
organiser of the present volunteer regiments) has been in the front
ranks of the Armenian movement as a leading fighter, and the
circumstances of his struggle since last March, and the story of his
adventurous escape to Russia when all was over, would fill volumes.
He has come to tell the outside world the news that, of 160,000
Armenians inhabiting the province of Sivas, there remain now, or,
rather, remained a month ago, when he left, some 10,000, who have
either been spared as useful artisans toiling in the labour
battalions and the prisons, or were old people left in their homes.
The remaining 150,000 souls have either been massacred outright or
deported to the area bounded by the right bank of the Euphrates and
Northern Mesopotamia.

The story which Murad gave me reveals once more the thorough
organisation of these massacres by an overmastering hand, and the
ruthless processes by which the details were carried out. Anybody
listening to Murad, who had been cut off from the rest of the world
for eight months, would at once have thought it to be the story of
the massacres at Bitlis or one of the other places, there is such a
striking resemblance of detail in the work of destruction.

The persecutions began with the outbreak of the Turkish war. The
Armenians of Sivas did all they could to help the Red Crescent work
of the Turkish army, either by personal service or contributions.
Notwithstanding all these efforts, the Armenian element in
particular was unscrupulously robbed under the cloak of military
requisitions. In the meantime, the Turks of Sivas did not conceal
their intention of settling old scores with the Armenians, who had
applied to Europe for reforms.

The storm broke over the question of Armenian deserters from the
Turkish army and the disarming of civilian Armenians. The Divisional
Commander of Sivas had ordered that able-bodied men above
thirty-three years of age and liable to service should get a permit
from the military authorities for temporary exemption from entering
the field; whereas Muamer Pasha, the Vali of Sivas, looked upon such
a step as a sign of Armenian disloyalty. During December and January
most Armenian soldiers in the Turkish service were either disarmed
and sent to the labour battalions, or were imprisoned as
‘suspicious’ characters. The treatment they received in the army was
of a most unenviable kind. A Holy War had been proclaimed by the
Caliph, and the fate of the Infidels was in the Moslems’ hands. To
mention an instance: on an unfounded charge of desertion six
Armenians were hanged in Gurin, three of them being brothers, who
were absolutely innocent.

For disarming the Armenians, the Turks employed the most fiendish
methods. The order for delivering up all arms in the possession of
civilians was nominally universal, but in fact it was directed
against the Armenians. In Khourakhon, a village near Sivas, one man
(Harutune) was actually shod like a horse, one (Muggerdich) was
castrated, and another (Puzant) was done to death by putting a
red-hot iron crown on his head. Under threats of such tortures many
Armenians were compelled to buy arms and give them up to the
authorities. The tragi-comical part of the whole business was that
the Turkish officials entrusted with the mission of collecting arms
were themselves selling them to Armenians at a good profit[100]. The
object of these infamous proceedings seems to have been the wish of
the Turkish Government to place the Armenians in the category of
rebels, and accuse them of having hidden arms in spite of official
warnings.

Then, again, with a view to striking terror among the Armenians,
four or five of the leading men in every town or village were
mysteriously shot, while most of the Government officials of
Armenian nationality were dismissed without any reason. Nishan
Effendi, the sub-governor of Kotchesur[101] (Province of Sivas), a
man of good record, was peremptorily dismissed from his post with
many others.

Towards the end of January last (1915), Odabashian Vartabed (the
Armenian bishop-elect of Sivas) was proceeding to his post from
Angora, when he was attacked on the way and killed in his carriage.
It has now been proved beyond doubt that the plot was hatched with
the cognisance of Muamer Pasha, the Governor, as among the murderers
were Mahil Effendi of Zara, his aide-de-camp, Tcherkess Kior Kassim,
his chief hangman, and two others.

During the course of February, Armenian soldiers on active service
and Armenian bakers were accused by the authorities of having
poisoned the soldiers’ bread and food. The subsequent medical
inquiry instituted by Turkish and Greek doctors easily proved the
baselessness of so gross a charge.

The billeting of Turkish soldiers upon Armenians throughout the
province, and their uninterrupted movement from one front to the
other[102], Sivas being on the main road between Angora and
Erzeroum, caused indescribable suffering to the defenceless
population. Like famished wolves, the Turkish soldiers ate up
everything they saw, and took everything they could lay hands on. In
Ketcheurd, an Armenian village east of Sivas, the women were
horribly outraged by the soldiers, six of the best-looking of them
being so atrociously treated that they succumbed before the very
eyes of their tormentors; and this is only a typical example.

Another incident of a quite impersonal character greatly embittered
the relations between the Armenians and the Turks. About 1,700
Russian prisoners of war, captured by the Turks in February, were
brought to Sivas in a deplorable condition. The Russian soldiers of
Moslem origin had already been released at Erzeroum, most of the
Armenians had been killed, and the Russians were stripped of their
clothing. On their way to Sivas they were grossly insulted, spat on
by every Moslem passer-by, and whipped by their escort into quicker
march. Half their number reached Sivas almost naked, covered with
filthy rags, their feet swollen and in some cases with their
sheepskin coats glued to their sore bodies. In face of such an
outrageous treatment of these Russian prisoners, the Armenians of
Sivas provided them with medical help and various comforts. This
trivial manifestation of humane feeling displayed by the Armenians,
however, caused great resentment among the Moslems. In spite of all
such efforts, only some sixty Russians survived out of the
contingent of 1,700 prisoners. The Turks picked quarrels with the
Armenians when the latter tried to bury the Russian dead.

In the last days of March, Murad and other Armenian leaders were
asked by the Vali of Sivas to attend a meeting for the deliberation
of some important questions. Murad had, however, been privately
informed by some Turkish friends that there was a plot against him
and his comrades, so he very naturally failed to comply with the
Vali’s request. The consequence of this was that the relatives of
these men were subjected to shameful treatment at the hands of the
Turks. Nevertheless, the Armenians throughout Sivas, Erzindjan,
Harpout,

Tchemesh-Getzak and the other districts thought it wise to endure
these persecutions, so as not to give any grounds for harsher
measures. Fresh contingents of troops were sent to each village in
April to collect an imaginary number of arms, and such arms were
provided for the authorities in the manner already described.
Courts-martial were set up in many places and people were summarily
tried and sentenced. Hovhannes Poladian, Vahan Vartanian, Murad of
Khourakhon and twelve other leaders were shot. Men belonging to the
_Dashnaktzoutioun_ and the _Huntchak_ parties were subjected to 110
strokes each. These terrorising methods were carried out in thorough
earnest in Oulash, Sharkishla, Kotchan, Gemerek, Gurin, Derenda,
Divrig, and other districts.

More dreadful days for the Armenians began in June. On the
assumption that every Armenian soldier was a deserter, and that his
people at home had secreted numberless arms, the Turks never relaxed
their policy of squeezing out of the Armenians every _piastre_ they
could get by employing the most brutal means. Towards the end of
June and the beginning of July, massacres on a far vaster scale were
carried out in various parts of the area referred to. The methods
pursued in these massacres were precisely the same as everywhere
else in Armenia. The men were separated from their women, and the
latter driven in a south-easterly direction. The able-bodied men
were first imprisoned and then massacred in small batches under
blood-curdling circumstances. For the space of two weeks, Murad
thinks, 5,000 Armenians were daily disposed of in the various
districts of the province. At Maltepé, a village an hour’s ride east
of Sivas, some twenty Armenian officials in the Government service
were hacked to pieces with pointed and spiked hatchets. At Duzasar,
another Armenian village near Sivas, 32 Armenians were done to death
in the same manner.

At Habesh, near Zara, east of Sivas, 3,800 Armenians of the
neighbourhood were poleaxed, stoned or bayoneted in a fiendish
manner. In Khorsan, the headman of the village, named Nigoghos, was
hanged upside down on the Boghaz bridge near the village. At Gotni,
another village with 120 Armenian families, Turkish bashi-bazouks,
mostly released convicts organised into “Chetti” bands, gloried in
the achievement of having killed every male above twelve and
outraged every woman above the same age.

At Herag, a village near Sivas, the men were killed, the young women
carried away and about 600 children detained by the Vali, perhaps to
be converted to Islam. The women of Malatia were stripped naked and
driven out from their homes, amid the gibes and jeers of the Moslem
rabble; many young women actually went mad, others resorted to
hideously painful means to put an end to their lives. At Niksar,
north of Sivas, most of the young women were distributed among the
Turks, and the remainder were deported to the south.

During his wanderings Murad happened to see that only 300 children
and old people were left in the town of Tchar-Shamba, near the
coast, where there was a large, prosperous colony before. The young
people of both sexes had been either killed, abducted or deported
from their homes; no child above ten years of age remained among the
survivors.

In the territory extending from Amasia, north-west of Sivas, to
Erzindjan and Harpout, the Armenian element has been reduced to the
same condition. In certain centres like Arabkir, Tchemesh-Getzak,
etc., some families escaped persecution by adopting Islam.

About 15,000 Armenians of Erzindjan and the surrounding district
were for the most part drowned in the Euphrates near the Kamakh
gorge; the Armenians of Baibourt are also reported to have suffered
the same fate in the river Kara-Su, a tributary of the Euphrates.
With the exception of some thirty Armenian families at Samsoun, all
Persian subjects, and a few other families spared here and there,
Murad states that all along the Black Sea coast the industrious
Armenian element has been uprooted from its homes and its property
distributed among local or immigrant Moslems.

In the town of Sivas itself, which comprised some 25,000 Armenians,
many of the important inhabitants have either been killed or
deported to the deserts. There remain now some 120 Armenian families
in the town, consisting mainly of children and elderly folk.

Amid this general scene of unopposed slaughter and destruction,
however, there are brave deeds to record and stories of death faced
heroically by both men and women.

The Armenians of Duzasar, Gavra, Khorsan, Khantzod, &c., all places
in the Province of Sivas, made every possible sacrifice with a view
to preventing an inter-racial outbreak in the early stages of the
war; but when they were convinced that the attitude of passive
resistance they had adopted did not avail in any way, they took up
arms, and, supported by their compatriots of Gurin, Gemerek, Divrig,
Ketch-Magara, Mandjaluk and other places, fought for days against
the Moslem soldiers and bands and repaid the enemy in their own
coin.

The Armenians of Shabin Kara-Hissar and Amasia, exasperated at the
unaccountable savagery of the Turks, took to reprisals. They burnt
down the Moslem quarters and the Government Buildings in their
respective towns and temporarily drove the Turks from them. Later,
however, they were overwhelmed by large Turkish forces, and died
fighting to the last.

Sirpouhi and Santukht, two young women of Ketcheurd, a village east
of Sivas, who were being led off to the harem by Turks, threw
themselves into the river Halys, and were drowned with their infants
in their arms. Mdlle. Sirpouhi, the nineteen-year-old daughter of
Garabed Tufenkjian of Herag, a graduate of the American College of
Marsovan, was offered the choice of saving herself by embracing
Islam and marrying a Turk. Sirpouhi retorted that it was an outrage
to murder her father and then make her a proposal of marriage. She
would have nothing to do with a godless and a murderous people;
whereupon she, and seventeen other Armenian girls who had refused
conversion, were shamefully ill-treated and afterwards killed near
Tchamli-Bel gorge.

The rich Shahinian family of Sivas, father, sons and one daughter,
the fourteen-year-old Khanum, escaped the authorities, who wanted to
capture them, and fought for four hours at the entrance of a narrow
mountain pass against considerable odds. They were all killed,
however, when they ran short of their cartridges.

I could prolong the story of these acts of desperate bravery on the
one side and of murderous frenzy on the other. The grim reality of
these horrible crimes was forcibly brought home to me when, in the
course of my interview with Murad, some girls and young men,
Armenians of Sivas, who were anxious to hear something of the dear
ones they had left before the war, came to see Murad. They inquired
about their relatives and friends, and Murad told them how and when
they had been killed or deported. The percentage of murders, at any
rate in the cases inquired into on this occasion, was much higher
than that of the deportations. One of the girls present, on being
told that everyone she had inquired about had been killed, was
terribly overcome; yet she succeeded in suppressing her strong
emotion, and nerved herself to take a solemn oath of remembrance,
which was shared by all present.



                                   X.
                          SANDJAK OF KAISARIA.


_The Sandjak of Kaisaria is an outlying sub-division of the Vilayet
of Angora. It lies under the shadow of the Erdjies Dagh (Mount
Argaios), and bestrides the course of the Kizil Irmak immediately
below Sivas._

_We have comparatively little testimony concerning the occurrences
in this district, but the documents contained in this section show
in sufficient outline what happened at Kaisaria itself, as well as
at Everek and K., the only other centres of importance._


83. KAISARIA: STATEMENT BY A TRAVELLER[103] FROM KAISARIA, PUBLISHED
    IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL “BALKANIAN MAMOUL,” OF ROUSTCHOUK.

The Armenians of the Kaisaria district, with the exception of Talas,
have been deported. At the end of July the Government issued the
following manifesto to the Armenians of Talas and Kaisaria:—

“(i) All the Armenians are to leave in batches of 1,000—the men,
separated from the women, in one direction and the women in another.

“(ii) No one is to take with him more than 200 piastres (£1 13_s._
4_d._). If, after examination, anyone proves to have more than this,
he will be brought before a Council of War.

“(iii) No one has the right to sell his property, etc.[104]”

After urgent petitions this latter condition was modified as
follows:—

“Anyone who has no ready money is authorised to sell property up to
a maximum of 300 piastres.”

Up till now more than 80 persons have been hanged at Kaisaria,
including doctors and other notables such as Hampartsoum and
Boyadjian Mourad of the Huntchakist Party.

The relations of the victims themselves were compelled to take down
the corpses from the gallows.

Only the women and girls were permitted to go over to Islam. When
the Governor was petitioned to allow the infants to be entrusted to
charitable Moslem families, to save them from dying on the journey,
he replied:—

“I will not leave here so much as the odour of the Armenians; go
away into the deserts of Arabia and dump your Armenia there.”

-----

Footnote 99:

  Date unspecified.

Footnote 100:

  See Docs. 68, 94, and 122.

Footnote 101:

  Kotch Hissar.

Footnote 102:

  As the Russian fleet had blockaded the Black Sea ports and
  transport by water was difficult, the Turks appear to have been
  using the Anatolian Railway to Angora, the terminus of the line,
  for their communications, proceeding thence to Erzeroum through
  Sivas by horse and camel.—[Note by the interviewer.]

Footnote 103:

  Name withheld.

Footnote 104:

  For other versions of the official proclamation see Doc. 120 and
  Annexe C. to the “Historical Summary.”


84. EVEREK: STATEMENT[105] PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL
    “GOTCHNAG,” OF NEW YORK, 28th AUGUST, 1915.

At Everek a bomb explosion was the signal for a terrible persecution
of the Armenians. The German who narrates this adds that the
Governor of Everek was a good man, and was therefore relieved of his
duties and replaced by a Circassian of violent character. There had
been numerous arrests and atrocities in this district. After that,
the wholesale deportations were begun.

-----

Footnote 105:

  Source unspecified.


85. K.: LETTER FROM A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT K., DATED 16th NOVEMBER,
    1915; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND
    SYRIAN RELIEF.

I wish to confirm my telegram in Turkish dated the 12th November,
stating that the authorities had begun to send away our Armenian
teachers, and that we did not understand the reason for this.

I must now add to this that all our Armenian teachers have been
deported, having left for the south by wagon yesterday. Two of them
had been started in another direction last week, but were brought
back to go south. One of these, however, had become insane from
fright, and is left temporarily in our hands. It is doubtful whether
he can recover under present conditions.

Our local Mudir gives us assurances that our school and pupils will
not be interfered with, and we are going on as best we can, loading
most of the extra work on to ourselves and our Greek teachers.
Children of Armenian parents who have changed their faith are
leaving, but so far others remain. What to do with children left on
our hands without support is a serious problem.

The head of the orphanage at J. has left also, and I understand that
the institution is in a very precarious, chaotic condition. What the
outcome will be I do not know.

The members of our Armenian circle are well, but the long-drawn-out
nervous strain is telling on some. Routine school work has not been
stopped for an hour, and goes on quietly, as if nothing whatever
were happening about us. But to accomplish this, some quick
shifts have had to be made, and, as our Turkish friends say,
“Idaré-i-maslahat.”



                                  XI.
                             THE TOWN OF X.


_We are better informed as to what happened in this town than in
regard to any other place where the Ottoman Government’s design
against the Armenians was put into execution. The documents relating
to it, contained in this section, are so full of personal detail
that it has been necessary, in consideration for the safety of those
concerned, to conceal the town’s identity, though in this case, as
in others, it is almost impossible to disguise it effectively to
anyone acquainted with Asiatic Turkey._

_The people of X. were a very typical Armenian urban community, and
the story of their destruction represents, in its main features,
what happened to innumerable other Armenian communities throughout
the Ottoman Empire. The only peculiar feature at X. was the extent
to which forcible conversion was attempted by the local authorities.
It may also be noted that here, as at Trebizond, there was no
intention of forwarding the exiles to their nominal destination. The
convoys were butchered_ en masse _as soon as they reached the next
town on the road._


86. X.: NARRATIVE OF THE PRINCIPAL OF THE COLLEGE AT X.,
    COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN
    RELIEF.

The trouble for the Armenians began, as for all other nationalities,
with the collection of soldiers. The Government swept off all men
possible for military service. Hundreds of the bread-winners marched
away, leaving their wives and children without means of support. In
many cases, the last bit of money was given to fit out the departing
soldier, leaving the family in a pitifully destitute condition. A
number of Armenians were quite well off and paid their military
exemption fee. A much larger number escaped in one way and another,
so there were more Armenians than Turks left in the city after the
soldiers had gone. This made the Government suspicious and fearful.
The discovery of Armenian plots against the Government in other
places added to this feeling.

The special Armenian troubles began in the beginning of May. In the
middle of the night, about twenty of the leading men of the national
Armenian political parties were gathered up and sent to where they
have been imprisoned ever since. In June the Government began
looking for weapons. Some of the Armenians were seized, and, by
torture, the confession was extracted that a large number of arms
were in the hands of different Armenians. A second inquisition
began. The bastinado was used frequently, as well as fire torture
(in some cases eyes are said to have been put out). Many guns were
delivered up, but not all. The people were afraid that, if they gave
up their arms, they would be massacred as in 1895. Arms had been
brought in after the declaration of the Constitution with the
permission of the Government, and were for self-defence only. The
torture continued, and under its influence one fact after another
leaked out. Under the nervous strain and physical suffering, many
things were said which had no foundation in fact. Those inflicting
the torture would tell the victim what they expected him to confess,
and then beat him until he did it. The college mechanic had
constructed an iron “shot” for the athletic games, and was beaten
terribly in an effort to fasten the making of bombs on to the
college. Some bombs were discovered in the Armenian cemetery, which
aroused the fury of the Turks to white heat. It should be said that
it is very probable that these bombs had been buried there in the
days of Abd-ul-Hamid.

On Saturday, the 26th June, about 1 p.m., the gendarmes went through
the town gathering up all the Armenian men they could find—old and
young, rich and poor, sick and well. In some cases houses were
broken into, and sick men dragged from their beds. They were
imprisoned in the barracks, and during the next few days were sent
off towards Y. in batches of from thirty to one hundred and fifty.
They were sent on foot, and many were robbed of shoes and other
articles of clothing. Some were in chains. The first batch reached
Y. and sent word from various places. (It is said that this was a
scheme of the Government in order to encourage the rest. None of the
rest have been heard from. Various reports have been circulated, the
only one generally accepted being that they were killed. One Greek
driver reported seeing the mound under which they were buried.
Another man, in touch with the Government, in answer to a direct
question, admitted that the men had been killed.)

Through the intervention of a Turk, the college was able to free
those of its teachers already taken, and obtain a stay of
proceedings against all its teachers and employees, by the payment
of the sum of 275 Turkish liras. Later, this same Turk said that he
believed that he could obtain the permanent exemption of the entire
college group by the payment of a further sum of 300 liras. The
money was promised, but after some negotiations, which showed that
no definite assurance of exemption would be forthcoming, the matter
was dropped.

Following the sending of the batches of Armenians in the direction
of Y., criers went through the streets of the town announcing that
all male Armenians between the ages of fifteen and seventy were to
report at the barracks. The announcement further stated that their
refusal to obey would result in their being killed and their houses
being burned. The Armenian priests went from house to house,
advising the people to obey this announcement. Those reporting at
the barracks were sent away in batches, the result being that within
a few days practically all the Armenian men were removed from the
city.

On the 3rd or 4th July, the order was issued that the women and
children should be ready to leave on the following Wednesday. The
people were informed that one ox-cart was to be provided by the
Government for each house, and that they could carry only one day’s
food supply, a few piastres, and a small bundle of clothing. The
people made preparation for carrying out these orders by selling
whatever household possessions they could in the streets. Articles
were sold at less than 10 per cent. of their usual value, and Turks
from the neighbouring villages filled the streets, hunting for
bargains. In some places these Turks took articles by force, but the
Government punished all such cases when detected.

On the 5th July, before the order for the expulsion of the women was
carried out, one of our staff went to the Government to protest
against the execution of this order in the name of humanity. He was
told that this order did not originate with the local officials, but
that the orders had come from those higher up not to leave a single
Armenian in the city. The commandant, however, promised to leave the
college to the last, and gave permission for all people connected
with the American institutions to move into the college compound.
This they did, and at one time over three hundred Armenians were
living on the college premises.

The population had been ordered to be ready to start on Wednesday.
But on Tuesday, about 3.30 a.m., the ox-carts appeared at the doors
of the first district to be removed, and the people were ordered to
start at once. Some were dragged from their beds without even
sufficient clothing. All the morning the ox-carts creaked out of the
town, laden with women and children and, here and there, a man who
had escaped the previous deportations. The women and girls all wore
the Turkish costume, that their faces might not be exposed to the
gaze of drivers and gendarmes—a brutal lot of men brought in from
other regions. In many cases the husbands and brothers of these same
women were away in the army, fighting for the Turkish Government.

The panic in the city was terrible. The people felt that the
Government was determined to exterminate the Armenian race, and they
were powerless to resist. The people were sure that the men were
being killed and the women kidnapped. Many of the convicts in the
prison had been released, and the mountains round X. were full of
bands of outlaws. It was feared that the women and children were
taken some distance from the city and left to the mercy of these
men. However that may be, there are provable cases of the kidnapping
of attractive young girls by the Turkish officials of X. One Moslem
reported that a gendarme had offered to sell him two girls for a
medjidia.[106] The women believed that they were going to worse than
death, and many carried poison in their pockets to use if necessary.
Some carried picks and shovels to bury those they knew would die by
the wayside. During this reign of terror, notice was given that
escape was easy—that anyone who accepted Islam would be allowed to
remain safely at home. The offices of the lawyers who recorded
applications were crowded with people petitioning to become
Mohammedans. Many did it for the sake of their women and children,
feeling that it would be a matter of only a few weeks before relief
would come.

This deportation continued at intervals for about two weeks. It is
estimated that, out of about 12,000 Armenians in X., only a few
hundred were left. Even those who offered to accept Islam were sent
away. At the time of writing, no definite word has been heard any of
these batches. (One Greek driver reported that, at a little village
a few hours from X., the few men were separated from the women,
beaten and chained, and sent on in a separate batch. A Turkish
driver reported seeing the convoy two days journey from X. The
people were so covered with dust that features were scarcely
distinguishable.) Even if the lives of these exiles are being
protected, it is a question how many will be able to endure the
hardships of the journey over the hot, dusty hills, with no
protection from the sun, with poor food and little water, and the
ever-present fear of death, or some worse fate.

Most of the Armenians in the X. district were absolutely hopeless.
Many said that it was worse than a massacre. No one knew what was
coming, but all felt that it was the end. Even the pastors and
leaders could offer no word of encouragement or hope. Many began to
doubt even the existence of God. Under the severe strain many
individuals became demented, some of them permanently. There were
also some examples of the greatest heroism and faith, and some
started out on the journey courageously and calmly, saying in
farewell: “Pray for us. We shall not see you again in this world,
but sometime we shall meet again.”

-----

Footnote 106:

  About 3_s._ 2_d._


87. X.: ADDRESS DELIVERED IN AMERICA, 13th DECEMBER, 1915, BY A
    PROFESSOR FROM THE COLLEGE AT X.; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN
    COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

On the 1st June of this year (1915), the town in Asiatic Turkey from
which I come had a population of 25,000, half of which was Armenian
and the other half Turkish. When I left X. on the 18th August, the
12,000 Armenians, who comprised the Armenian half of the city’s
population, had either been driven into exile or done to death. What
happened to the Armenians of X. is but a specimen of what has
happened to these poor people in every other city of Asia Minor and
Armenia.

Over fifty years ago, the American Board of Commissioners for
Foreign Missions established a mission station at X., which during
the intervening years had grown into an important religious,
educational and medical centre. We had there a boys’ college with
425 students, nearly all of whom were boarders, who came from all
parts of Asia Minor, from the Balkan States and from Russia. We also
had a girls’ boarding school with 276 pupils enrolled. Besides these
we had a large hospital, which had recently been newly equipped at
great expense. Here the American physician and the Armenian nurses,
in addition to the ordinary large work of the hospital, were caring
for sick soldiers of the Ottoman Army under the auspices of the
American Red Cross Society. About half the constituency of these
three institutions was Armenian. More than half the teachers and
professors in the schools and nearly all the nurses of the hospital
belonged to that same race, which all through the Christian
centuries has been the vanguard of Christian civilisation on the
frontiers of Christendom against the heathen and Mohammedan hosts of
Asia, and which has been the first to respond to and co-operate with
modern missionary effort in the Near East.

Now there remains not a single Armenian teacher or pupil in our
mission college at X., out of the more than 200 who were there
before the war began. All have been sent away by the order of the
highest Government authorities, into exile or to death. With
unspeakable brutality, the innocent young women teachers and pupils
of the girls’ school, who were remaining in the school for the
summer vacation on account of the difficulties of travelling to
their homes, were carried off by the Turkish gendarmes under
Government orders; but with equal heroism and courage the American
principal of the girls’ school rescued 41 of them from death, or a
condition worse than that, after nearly a month’s pursuit over rough
and dangerous roads.

With insensate cruelty and wickedness, the young women nurses of the
hospital, who were risking their lives in nursing soldiers of the
Turkish Army sick with the deadly typhus fever, were driven away by
the gendarmes just like the rest of their unfortunate sisters. The
American physician in charge of our hospital begged the Turkish
officers in charge of the deportation to spare the nurses who were
serving their own soldiers. These officers declared that they were
ordered by their superiors to make no exceptions whatsoever; but,
because the doctor begged so hard, four out of the dozen nurses
would be allowed to remain temporarily and continue their work of
mercy. That left the doctor to perform the heart-rending task of
selecting those who should go and those who should remain. It was
like casting pearls before swine when he made them draw lots to
decide their fate. Some of the best and most experienced nurses drew
lots to go. One who held a diploma from one of the leading London
hospitals, who was a pioneer in the nurses’ profession in Asia
Minor, and who was known as the Florence Nightingale of Armenia, was
taken away with the young women of the girls’ school. She was not
rescued with the 41 fortunate ones. Though great in soul, she was
lame and not comely in form, and on this account she has probably
been allowed to perish by the way instead of being reserved for a
life of shame.

It is now my purpose to show you, as best I can, by narrating facts
out of my recent experience at X. in connection with these events,
how the work of this great mission station in Asia Minor, a work in
which I have been engaged as a missionary for ten years, a work in
which hundreds of our American people have a deep and personal
interest, and in which they have invested hundreds of thousands of
dollars of their hard-earned money and the life work of a score of
devoted missionaries, was suddenly and brutally interrupted by the
Turkish Government on the 10th and 12th August of this year. You
will see, incidentally, how this work of destruction illustrates the
deep laid and carefully executed plans of the Turkish Government for
the assassination and annihilation of the Armenian people. You will
see how that Government scorned and flouted all the efforts of the
missionaries and of the diplomatic representatives of our Government
to save the lives and the honour of innocent women and girls. You
will also see how it is possible for Christian men and women to bear
faithful witness to their faith in this twentieth Christian century
in a persecution not less in intensity, and greater in magnitude,
than any that was ever inflicted on the early Christian martyrs by
the most cruel of the pagan Roman emperors. It may astonish you to
hear it, but it is true nevertheless, that there are living in the
world to-day men who are the equals of Nero in cruelty.

On my way from X. to Constantinople,[107] I saw at least 50,000
people, three-fourths of whom were women and children, who had been
torn from their homes and all their earthly possessions, and driven
into the fields along the railway line without any shelter or any
adequate means of subsistence, hungry, sick and perishing, awaiting
the conveniences of the railway traffic to be crowded like sheep
into the goods trucks, to be carried away eastward to die in the
deserts, if they did not perish or disappear in Turkish harems on
the way. I saw hundreds of mothers whose hearts were being broken by
the cries of their hungry children, whom they had no hope of being
able to succour or to save. The officials of the German railway were
co-operating with the corrupt officials of the Turkish Government to
extort all the money they could from this doleful throng. The 50,000
whom I saw represented but a brief section of the procession which
has been passing along that way for months.[108] A very moderate
estimate of the number of people who have perished in this way
places the figure at 500,000; and still they go on!

I have received the farewell kiss and parting embrace of men,
cultured Christian gentlemen, some of whom held university degrees
from our best American institutions in this country, men with whom I
have co-operated and at whose side I have laboured for ten years in
the work of education in that land, while at their side stood brutal
gendarmes, sent there by the highest authorities of the Government
to drive them away with their wives and children from their homes,
from their work, and from all the associations which they held most
dear, into exile or to death, and some of them to a condition worse
than either. We had no better friends in this world than those
people were. To part with them under such circumstances was harder
than I can say, and yet but few tears were shed on either side. Our
feelings were too deep for idle tears! I have often seen pictures of
the early Christian martyrs crouching together in the arena of the
Coliseum, expecting at any moment to be torn in pieces by the hungry
lions which were being turned loose upon them, while the eager
spectators were watching from their safe seats, and waiting to be
amused by that spectacle. And I had supposed that such cruelties and
such amusements were impossible in this twentieth Christian century.
But I was mistaken. I have seen 62 Armenian women and girls, between
the ages of 15 and 25, huddled together in the rooms of the
principal of our American girls’ school at X., while outside were
waiting men more cruel than beasts, ready to carry them off; and
these men were demanding, backed by the highest authorities of the
Government, that we should deliver these defenceless girls into
their brutal hands, for them to do with them what they would. I had
supposed that there was no man in the world to-day who could be
amused by such a spectacle as that. In this, too, I was mistaken,
for when the wife of our American Ambassador at Constantinople made
a personal appeal to Talaat Bey, the Minister of the Interior in the
Turkish Cabinet—the man who more than anyone else has devised and
executed this deportation of the Armenians, and who has boasted that
he has been able to destroy more Armenians in 30 days than
Abd-ul-Hamid was able to destroy in 30 years—when she made an appeal
to this Turkish Minister, begging him to stop this cruel persecution
of Armenian women and girls, the only answer she got from him was:
“All this amuses us!”

I will now narrate some of the more important events leading up to
this climax.

We were surprised on the morning of the last Wednesday in
April to learn that the professor of Armenian in our college
had been arrested during the previous night along with a
number[109] of the other leading Armenians of the city. We
found upon inquiry that all these men were or had been members
of one or the other of the Armenian nationalist societies, the
Hunchakists or the Dashnakists[110]. These societies had a
legal existence under the Turkish Government. They had up till
quite recently been on good terms with the Government of the
Young Turks. They co-operated with the party of Union and
Progress in overthrowing the tyranny of Abd-ul-Hamid in 1908.
They desired to co-operate with the Turks in establishing an
enlightened constitutional Government in Turkey. But recently,
when the policy of destroying the Armenians was determined
upon, it seems that the Government thought it advisable to hit
the leading members of the Armenian nationalist societies
first. A number of the prominent members of these societies
were hanged in Constantinople. Those arrested in our city were
held in prison for a few days. Then they were sent to the
capital of the province, where they were tortured and exposed
to the contagion of typhus fever. Within six weeks of their
arrest, their families received notice through the Government
officials that not any of them remained alive. The wife of our
professor was a cultured young woman, who had taught for years
in our girls’ school. She was left a widow with one child, a
little girl. She remained alone in her home, but not for long;
for, some weeks after, when all the people were deported from
her quarter of the city, she was carried away along with the
rest. I saw her, dressed in the costume of a Turkish woman,
leading her little girl by the hand as she passed by our
college gate on the morning she was driven out, with hundreds
of other women and children, on to the roads, to be captured
or to die.

During the month of May, the Government was active in enlisting into
the Army the Armenian young men whom they had not already enrolled.
The majority of them were already serving under the colours, having
been called out in the early months of the war. Some of our Armenian
students had already been advanced to the position of officers in
the Turkish Army because of their superior education and
intelligence. Those who remained were now being called out and sent
away. Some, who could afford it, paid the exemption tax of £44
(Turkish—about £40 sterling), and remained at home. Those who went
with these last contingents, as a rule, were not allowed to bear
arms, but were forced to do menial labour, such as building roads
and carrying baggage, most of the horses and donkeys which had been
requisitioned from the poor people in the early months of the war
having died from rough usage or neglect.

In the month of June the Government repeatedly published an edict,
by criers in the streets, ordering all the people to give up their
weapons of every kind to the police. It was not at all strange that
the Armenians should possess some weapons. It was the custom of the
country, because of the insecurity of life and property there, for
all who could afford it to possess some means of self-defence. It
was obvious that this order was intended only for the Armenians, as
they alone were compelled to obey it, whereas their Mohammedan
neighbours, who possessed at least as many weapons as they did, were
not compelled to obey it. This fact aroused the suspicions of the
Armenians, because they remembered that on previous occasions, when
the Turks contemplated a massacre of Armenians, they began by
disarming them. Many Armenians hesitated on this account to give up
their arms, and none of them would have done so if they had
suspected what plans the Turks had in store for them. However, the
Government took special pains on this occasion to reassure the
Armenians, promising them protection and security if they would give
up their arms. They were told that they could prove their loyalty
only by obeying the order, and they were threatened with the
severest punishment if they should refuse. In spite of many
misgivings, most of the Armenians gave up their arms; and some of
them, to prove their loyalty, actually assisted the Government in
disarming their own people. Only a very few held out against the
order and hid their weapons in their houses or in their gardens.
Persons suspected of doing this were arrested and taken to the
Government Building, where they were subjected to the cruellest
forms of torture. Usually they were bound and bastinadoed until they
became unconscious. Boiling water was often poured on the soles of
the feet, to increase the pain of the bastinadoing. The victim was
usually ordered to confess that he was guilty of conspiracy against
the Government. Often he was ordered to implicate others; and to
escape the terrible pain of the torture they would say almost
anything they were told to say. These declarations made under
torture were used as evidence against others. At least two men of
our city died under this torture. Two of our own employees were
subjected to it, the one a gate-keeper and the other a blacksmith,
who did general repair work about our premises. I saw two gendarmes
leading this man out of our front gate one afternoon in June. They
took him to the Government Building. There they bound him, and four
brutal men stuffed his mouth with filth and beat him with rods all
over the body until he became unconscious. As soon as he regained
consciousness, they repeated the process. Apparently their intention
was to kill him by torture, and they would have done so if it had
not been for the timely intervention of a friendly gendarme, a
Circassian, who had been in our employment and who knew the Armenian
who was being tortured. He intervened and rescued the man from his
tormentors, and carried him home on his own back after it was dark
enough to escape observation. He was saved, but not for long. When
he had recovered, a month after[111], he was carried away, with his
wife and two small children, in the general deportation. We learned
afterwards that the occasion for this man’s torture was that he was
seen casting a 16-pound shot, which we had ordered him to make for
our college field-day sports this year. The man who saw him reported
to the police that he had been making bombs!

After having weakened the Armenians to the extent of having sent
most of the young men into the Army, and of having terrorised the
rest, one night, toward the end of June,[112] suddenly, without any
warning, the houses of almost all the Armenians who still remained
in the city were forcibly entered by the police and gendarmes. The
men were arrested and held as prisoners in the soldiers’ barracks at
one side of the city. The whole number amounted to 1,213. Two more
of our leading Armenian professors were arrested on this
occasion.[113] After being held a few days, a very few, by paying
very large sums of money[114] as bribes to the officials, were
allowed to become Mohammedans, and were let out, to be sent away in
a few days in the opposite direction to the rest. The rest were told
that they were to be sent away into exile to Mosul, in the deserts
of Mesopotamia, six or seven hundred miles away.

Now the Government did not intend that any of these men should reach
that destination. Its purpose was extermination, not simply
deportation. While they were still held in the barracks, the
commander of gendarmerie, who had the business of their deportation
in charge, called at the mission compound, and talked freely about
the deportation of the Armenians in the presence of all the American
men in our station. He said that not one out of a thousand would
ever reach Mosul, and that if any of them did arrive there they
could not survive, because of the hostility of the nomads in those
regions, and because of the impossibility of gaining a livelihood
there when deprived of all their resources, as these Armenians had
been. “Orada Christiyanliq olmaz” was the Turkish expression which
he used, which means: “Over there Christianity is impossible.” The
Government’s purpose was to get rid of Christianity in the Ottoman
Empire by getting rid of the Christians. The mayor of our city told
our American Consular Agent[115] that the Government intended first
to get rid of the Armenians, and then of the Greeks, and finally of
the foreigners, and so to have Turkey for the Turks. Enver Pasha
said the same thing to our Ambassador. These 1,213 men of whom I
spoke, after being held for a few days, were bound together in small
batches of five or six men each and sent off at night, in companies
of from 50 to 150, under the escort of gendarmes. Some 15 miles from
the city[116] they were set upon by the gendarmes and by bandits
called _chettis_, and cruelly murdered with axes. These _chettis_
were criminals who had been turned loose from the prisons of
Constantinople and the cities of the interior, and set upon the
roads for the express purpose of preying upon the Armenians, as they
were being driven along the roads. One of the gendarmes who helped
to drive these 1,213 men away, boasted to our French teacher that he
had killed 50 Armenians with his own hands, and had obtained from
their persons £150 Turkish. The chief of the police at X. stated
that none of these 1,213 men remained alive. Our Consular Agent
visited the scene of this slaughter in August,[117] and brought back
with him Turkish “nufus teskeriés,” or identification papers, taken
from the bodies of the victims. I personally saw these papers. They
were all besmeared with blood.[118]

The motive which the Government claimed for all these cruelties was
military necessity. They said that the Armenians were a disloyal
element in the population, which it was necessary to weaken in order
that they might not hit them in the back while they were engaged in
war with the foreign foe. This was only a pretext. The real motive
was a compound of religious fanaticism, jealousy, greed for loot and
bestial lust. This was evident from what followed. If their motive
had been to weaken the Armenians in order to protect themselves from
attack, they had succeeded in doing this in a most thorough manner.
The Armenians were now quite helpless. All the strong men had been
sent into the Army, or killed, or sent into exile. All that now
remained were the women and children and old men. But when the
Government had reduced the Armenians to this helpless state, they
decided to exterminate the rest. Criers were sent through the
streets[119] announcing to the people that all the Armenians were to
be deported. Not a single person with an Armenian name, whether rich
or poor, old or young, sick or well, male or female, was to be left
in the city. They were to have three days to prepare to go.

This announcement produced great consternation among the people.
They came in great numbers to the mission compound, begging us to
advise them what to do, bringing their money, jewels and other
valuables and asking us to keep them for them. Some of them offered
to give us their children, knowing that it would be impossible to
keep them alive on that terrible journey. The promise of three days
was not kept. The very next morning, the local police with gendarmes
well armed with Mauser rifles began to enter the Armenian houses,
drive the women and children into the streets, and lock the doors of
their homes behind them and seal them with the Government’s seal,
thus dispossessing them of all their worldly possessions. They then
assigned four or five persons to each of the ox-carts which they had
brought with them to send the people away with. The carts were not
intended to carry the people. They had to walk beside them. The
carts were for carrying a pillow and a single bed-covering for each
person. When they had gotten from five hundred to a thousand persons
ready in this manner, they were set moving, a doleful procession,
driven by gendarmes along the roads toward the east. Morning after
morning, during the month of July, we saw groups of this kind pass
by the college compound, the women carrying their babies in their
arms and leading their little children by the hand, without anything
left in this world, starting on a hopeless journey of a thousand
miles into the wilderness, to die miserably or to be captured by
Turks. By the end of July the city had been emptied in this manner
of its 12,000 Armenian inhabitants. Only the Armenians in the
mission compound remained. Fearing for their safety, we had tried to
get into communication with Constantinople. All our telegrams for
this purpose were intercepted by the Government. When we complained
to the Governor that he was cutting us off from communication with
our Ambassador, he frankly informed us that we would not be allowed
to communicate with our Ambassador. This had a sinister meaning to
us. It was a threat not only against the Armenians in our compound,
but also against us. The Governor had declared consistently from the
beginning that he would deport all the Armenians in our compound as
soon as it suited his convenience. All channels of communication
having failed, we sent off to Constantinople one of our Greek
tutors, and following him one of our English tutors, to carry
information of our situation to our Ambassador in Constantinople.
They reported the Governor’s threats to Mr. Morgenthau. He promptly
visited Talaat Bey, the Minister of the Interior, and Enver Pasha,
the Minister of War, and obtained from both these men their
unqualified assurance that they would send orders to the local
authorities at X. ordering them to exempt the Armenians in our
schools and hospital from the general deportation. He sent repeated
telegrams to this effect to our Consular Agent, whom he had ordered
to come to X. to look after our interests. In this matter these
ministers seem to have told a direct lie to our Ambassador, or else
their subordinate officers refused to obey their orders, in which
case the country would have been in a state of anarchy. But there
was no sign of any anarchy in all these transactions and dealings
with the Armenians. There were no mob outbreaks. Everything seemed
to be under perfect control and to be carried through with military
precision. When our Consular Agent showed the telegram from our
Ambassador to the local Governor, he stated that he had received the
exact contrary orders, and that furthermore he knew that he would
not receive any other orders. Our Consular Agent, desiring to make a
full report on the situation to the Ambassador, left for his post at
L. on the 9th August.

The next morning, the 10th August, there appeared at the front gate
of our mission compound the chief of the police of the city, with
the local police force and a company of gendarmes and ox-carts. They
demanded that we should admit them to the compound and should order
the Armenians in our premises to come out and get ready to leave.
The President of the college reminded them of the assurances we had
received from Constantinople, and said that we could not allow them
to enter our premises with our consent. If they wished to enter,
they would have to use force and accept the responsibility therefor.
They replied that if we dared to resist their authority in any way,
we would be hanged just like any Ottoman subject. The Capitulations
had now all been abolished, and we no longer had any rights or
special privileges. They hesitated, however, to use force for a
time, and sent one of their number to the Governor, asking for
instructions. We also sent our doctor at the same time to do what he
could in our behalf. They met in the Governor’s office. The
policeman reported to the Governor that the Americans were resisting
their authority. The Governor gave orders to enter the premises by
force and take out all the Armenians. They gathered up a squad of
some 25 more gendarmes, and returned and entered the compound by
force. They drove their ox-carts in and unyoked their oxen. It was a
group of nomads coming to destroy a more civilised community. The
gendarmes entered the college buildings and our own American
residences, and drove out at the end of their rifles all the
Armenians they could find. Our professors with their families were
taking refuge in our houses. In the college buildings were the
Armenian servants and employees connected with the institutions.
They drove out all these, with our own personal servants, some of
them young Armenian women, and assigned them to ox-carts just as
they had done to the people of the city in the days before. They
collected 71 people on our college premises in this way. When they
were ready to go, we took our last sad farewell of these people with
whom we had worked for years, and among whom were some of the best
friends we had in the world. They had no adequate food supply. We
reminded the Governor of their needs, and he promised to detain them
over-night at the Armenian monastery two miles out of the city, in
order that a food supply might be got ready. The college bakery was
kept busy over-night baking hard tack. Early in the morning a
wagon-load was taken to the monastery, but it was found that the
Governor had not kept his word. The professors and their families
had been hurried on as fast as possible. They had not been allowed
to stop at the monastery. They had been driven on without food. We
have never heard anything about that party from our college compound
from that day to this, except from some of the gendarmes who took
them away. They said that the men had been separated from the women
out on the road, taken to one side and killed. The women had been
sent on, to be disposed of as those who went before had been.

Two days after, on the 12th August, the chief of the police, with
the local police force and a few gendarmes, came to the mission
compound again and demanded the young women of the girls’ school.
The whole forenoon was spent by the missionaries in arguing with the
police, and in trying to prevent them from taking the young women
away. The Principal at one time thought it would be better to have
them all shot in the school garden than to give them into the hands
of those brutal men. When further resistance proved useless, the
girls were prepared for the journey with food, clothing and money.
Their American principal[120] tried to get permission to go with
them. This was denied at first. Afterwards she was allowed to go as
far as Y., the first day’s journey. Fourteen wagons bore away the 62
young women from the school compound at two o’clock in the afternoon
of the 12th August. Some beastly looking gendarmes were escorting
them. At the edge of the city the procession was halted. While they
waited, the Governor sent for the President of the college to come
out and witness what was done, in order, as he said, that he might
see that no undue pressure was brought to bear upon these young
women to change their faith. The police asked each of the young
women whether they would deny their faith and become Mohammedans, to
save themselves from that terrible journey. All 62 refused. Two
miles out on the road the same thing was repeated. All refused
again. The first night they reached Y., and were kept in a field by
the city over-night. The next morning the American principal
furnished them with an extra supply of food and money, and then the
Governor of Y. ordered her to leave the girls and return home. She
arrived back at X. on the evening of the 13th August very sad,
expecting never to see any of her girls again. After four days she
was granted permission to visit the Governor of the Province at Z.,
hoping she might be able to persuade him to order the return of her
girls. She caught up with the party just this side of Z. She found
that 21 of the 62 girls had been carried away and lost—41 still
remained. These she was allowed to take to the compound of the
American school in Z.[121] While they were waiting there, she
succeeded in persuading the Governor to allow her to take the 41
remaining girls back to X. The party arrived back there on the 6th
September, after nearly a month’s absence on the road. Thus these
brutal men were cheated out of some of their choicest prey. These 41
girls were all that were left of the city’s 12,000 Armenian
inhabitants who had not been exiled or killed or compelled to turn
Mohammedan. What happened at X. is but a specimen of what happened
to every other town in Asia Minor.[122]

Now the question arises—What do we think about all this, and how do
we feel? We all know what we think and how we feel. But the more
practical question—What are we going to do about it?—is more
difficult to answer. Most of these people are beyond our help. But
small groups such as I have described still remain in some of our
mission stations, which are accessible to help through our Board.
Many have escaped to Russia, where they are accessible to help
through the Armenian Relief Committee. These poor people deserve our
help.

_The Preliminary Report by the same author contains certain passages
not included in the preceding Address, which give additional
information and are therefore appended here._

(_a_) The nervous strain and mental agony which our people had to
endure during the month of July was terrible. They were hanging
suspended between the hope that the American Ambassador would be
able to do something for them and the fear that they might at any
time have to suffer the terrible fate of those that had gone on
before them. This dread of what might befall his wife and daughter
made one of our professors temporarily insane. All were tormented
with the terrible temptation to save themselves by denying their
faith. They reasoned with themselves that they could profess Islam
with the mental reservation that, as soon as the storm was over,
they would again outwardly profess their loyalty to their true
faith. About fifty members of the Protestant church and congregation
yielded to this temptation, as did also a larger number of the
Gregorians. Merely declaring their wish to become Mohammedans by no
means insured their safety. Only the rich and powerful, and those
few whom the Governor thought he could use to advantage, were
accepted upon the payment of large sums of money. He was said, on
good authority, to have enriched himself by £20,000 (Turkish) in
this way. Many who professed Islam and paid money were deported, but
usually in the opposite direction and with the understanding that
they might return to their homes after a time. Some of these new
recruits to Islam seemed to have their characters completely
undermined. In order to show their loyalty to their new faith, they
assisted the persecutors of their own people. One of our students,
the son of the richest man in the city, who became a Mohammedan,
stood at our gate on the day that the professors and students were
deported and actually informed the gendarmes that one of the young
men who had been his fellow student was missing. They went back and
found him.

(_b_) On the 11th August, a Turkish doctor, who was the medical
instructor for the Vilayet of Z., called on us and stated that he
did not approve of the deportation of women and children, and that
he would try to save three Armenian girls by taking them with him to
Constantinople. One of the teachers of the girls’ school, a nurse
from the hospital and a pupil of the girls’ school, whose home was
in Constantinople, ventured to accept his offer. They prepared
themselves for the journey by dressing themselves in Turkish women’s
costumes, so as not to attract any attention along the road. On the
first night of their journey, this doctor tried to force these three
young women to become Mohammedans and enter the houses of his
friends. He persisted in his arguments through the whole of the
first night, but they stood firm, and then he declared that he would
send them back to X., and give them into the possession of the
Turkish officials there who desired them. The next morning he sent
them back under the charge of his servant. On the road back to X.
they met the convoy carrying away the girls from the girls’ school,
and made themselves known by crying out to Miss A., who went to
their assistance, and learned what had befallen them during the
night. They begged Miss A. to get their release, in order that they
might go off into exile with the rest of the girls and teachers; and
the young men who had them in charge delivered them over into Miss
A.’s charge, she signing a receipt that she had received them. They
declared that even exile and the terrible things that might befall
them by the way seemed like heaven to them after the experiences
they had gone through the previous night. I tried for a month to get
permission to bring the teacher in this party with us to America
before she was carried away, but even the efforts of the American
Ambassador on her behalf were unavailing.

_The following passage is taken from the letter (dated 1st/14th
October, 1915, and written by an acquaintance who interviewed the
author of the preceding Address at Athens) which has been quoted
already in a preceding footnote._

Two families accepted Mohammedanism at the beginning. One was the
family of Professor B. with his three grown-up daughters, who were
immediately required to marry Turks; the other was the family of Mr.
C., a notable of the town. Both families were Protestants. The
authorities allowed D.’s family to remain at X., as they wanted D.
to take photographs of the bombs and guns found in the possession of
the “rebels”—all such guns and bombs having been specially placed by
the authorities to be photographed. D. found life unbearable as a
Christian and also accepted Mohammedanism after some time.
Professors E. and F., both of whose mothers are Germans, from the
German colony of M., near Y., were rescued by the German colonists,
and remained with them up to the time my friend (the author of the
preceding Address) left X. The Kaimakam of X. said that they had
only escaped for the moment, and that he would get at them, too, in
the end.

Two Turks of X. were hanged for sheltering or offering to shelter
some Armenian friends of theirs.

-----

Footnote 107:

  The witness started from X. on the 18th August.—_Preliminary
  Report dated 7th October, 1915, from the witness’ hand._

Footnote 108:

  “At Mirkedjia alone, the station-master told us there were 30,000
  exiles. Many were weak from hunger, others almost dead.”—_P.R._

Footnote 109:

  “Twenty-five.”—_P.R._

Footnote 110:

  “This Professor had relinquished his association with this society
  before entering our employment.”—_P.R._

Footnote 111:

  “He remained unconscious for a day, and could not walk for a
  month.”—_P.R._

Footnote 112:

  “The 26th June.”—_P.R._

Footnote 113:

  “Professors E. and FF.”—_P.R._

Footnote 114:

  “£275 Turkish, in all.”—_P.R._

Footnote 115:

  “Mr. AL.”—_P.R._

Footnote 116:

  “On the road to W.”—_P.R._

Footnote 117:

  “A German farmer reported to our Consular Agent that he had seen
  50 Armenian corpses in a well, and long trenches on the mountain
  side where other victims had been buried.”—_P.R._

Footnote 118:

  _The author of the present address gave further particulars of
  these men’s fate to an acquaintance who interviewed him at Athens
  on his way from Turkey to the United States. This gentleman is the
  author of the letter dated Athens, 8th/21st July, Doc. 8 of this
  collection. The information he obtained from his interview with
  the author of the present document is presented in a subsequent
  letter, dated Athens, 1st/14th October, 1915, from which the
  following paragraph is taken_:—

  “The Kavass of the College, a Circassian, who was ordered to
  accompany the deported Armenians, returned a day or two afterwards
  and told how these 1,200 men or more were roped together in rows
  of five, and were marched towards Y. On each side rode zaptiehs
  with fixed bayonets. Those who could not walk were flogged, and
  finally, when any one of the five in a batch could walk no
  further, the whole five would be made to fall out of the
  procession and several zaptiehs would remain with them, who, after
  ten or twenty minutes, would rejoin the column with the ghost of
  butchery shining in their eyes. Somewhat more than half the
  prisoners reached Y. On their arrival at that town a fire broke
  out in the Armenian quarter, and the Turks began looting and
  massacring the women of Y., while the newly arrived prisoners were
  accused of being the incendiaries, and were all led out of the
  town to a place already prepared. Here the prisoners were halted
  and led in successive batches of five to what appeared to be
  tents. Groans were heard from within, and the prisoners outside,
  realising what was happening, tried to break through the cordon.
  But they were bound hand to hand, and when one or two in any batch
  had been shot, the survivors could only trail the corpses along
  with them until they gave up the effort in exhaustion. They were
  all picked up afterwards and carried off to be butchered. They
  were butchered with axes.”

Footnote 119:

  “On the 2nd July.”—_P.R._

Footnote 120:

  “Miss A.”—_P.R._

Footnote 121:

  “At Z. the servants were separated from the teachers and pupils
  and sent southwards towards V.”—_P.R._

Footnote 122:

  “The town of L. was similarly emptied of its Armenian population;
  also Y., BT. and U.”—_P.R._


88. X.: STATEMENT BY MISS AA., A FOREIGN TRAVELLER IN TURKEY;
    COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN
    RELIEF.

The feud between the Armenians and the Turks is of very long
standing. The Armenian nation is the only one of all the peoples
conquered by the Turkish nation which has not yielded to the demand
of the Turkish Government that they should give up their religion
and become Mohammedans. When the relations between the two nations
became settled after their many wars, the Armenians were given much
religious freedom, but with that freedom came also many oppressive
measures which have been very hard to bear. The Armenian, through
all the centuries, has been exempt from military service. In place
of that, each male member of the Armenian families paid a small
poll-tax. This freedom from military service gave the young men an
opportunity to engage in trade.

The nation is a nation of great traders. They travel easily and are
keen in every financial relation. As a result, when the young Turks
came back from their military service they found in all the large
cities that the young Armenians had seized all the opportunities in
trade. The soldiers have always felt that they had the right to loot
these unfortunate persons, and this has been most systematically
done for centuries.

When _Huriet_[123] came in, the privilege of military service was
given to the Armenians, and it was announced in many public meetings
that the fraternity between Armenians and Turks was to be complete.

Before this time, the Armenians had not been allowed to carry arms,
but the Committee of Union and Progress advised them to carry
personal arms, as the Turks had done for many years. There have been
among the Armenians what have been called “National Societies.”
These societies have been more or less revolutionary and nihilistic
in character, but they have also been very useful in promoting the
advancement and education of the Armenian people, and since _Huriet_
their revolutionary propaganda has been very much lessened. But it
was these societies that furnished arms for the men who could afford
to pay for them, and it is claimed by the Turkish Government that
they also hid in various cities bombs and reserve arms, which were
to be used against the Turkish Government when opportunity arose.

In many cities such bombs have been found hidden. It is very
difficult to find absolute evidence for the truth of political
statements made by any party in Turkey, but it is true that these
revolutionary societies had, in certain centres, hidden bombs for
the defence of the people. Whether their plans included definite
insurrection or not, I do not know; if so, they were most
inadequate.

The history of the Armenians in Turkey has not merely consisted in
exposure to great financial losses, but, at intervals of about 20
years, the Turks have risen against them in greater or lesser
massacres. In the border towns, their daughters have been carried
away; their flocks have been at the mercy of the Kurds; their houses
have been taken by any powerful Sheikh who wished to do so, and they
have never been allowed justice in the courts.

With this history behind them, it is not astonishing that they had
no faith in the promises of fraternity from the party of Union and
Progress, and their arms could easily be explained as being a means
of protection against Turkish attack, should a massacre arise.

When Turkey entered this war, the Armenians were conscripted with
the Turks, but a large number of the people had money with which to
pay the £40 which would exempt them from military service. In X.,
out of the 5,000 soldiers that were sent off, 4,000 were Turks and
1,000 Armenians, while the proportion of Turks and Armenians in the
population of the place is about even. It meant, of course, that
many more Armenian men were left in the place than Turks. The Turks
claimed that this was a menace to the safety of the city and also of
the country. They began to oppress the Armenians by requisitioning
from them large quantities of cloth, for clothing the Army, and
food. Their stores were practically emptied of everything that could
be used by the Army. Horses, wagons, donkeys were all taken, and no
money was paid; a promissory paper was given, but no one valued it.

About eight months after the beginning of the war, a notice was
served on all Armenians that they must give up their arms. The
reason for this was stated to be that there were so many more
Armenians than Turks left in the country and that the nation was
known to be revolutionary. This political difficulty was being
anticipated by the Government, which was in no condition to meet an
inter-racial revolution.

At other times, just before a massacre, arms had been demanded from
the Armenians, and so when this order was given great fear took
possession of the people. The Government promised in public and
private that no harm should come to the Armenians, and that this was
only a war measure and a legitimate protection to the nation. The
Armenians, however, gave up their arms very reluctantly and very
slowly.

But suddenly one night a batch of about 20 men were arrested and
sent, after a day or two’s imprisonment, to Z., the seat of the Vali
for the whole province. This was immediately followed by the
imprisonment of other leaders among the Armenians of the city. These
men were tortured cruelly. Meanwhile what was going on in X. was
being duplicated in all other cities. I saw some of the men who had
been released, after they had been exhausted by torture. They had
been thrown into a dungeon and kept without food, then beaten on
their backs and the soles of their feet, and, when the flesh was
sensitive, hot water had been poured on them and they had been
beaten again—all this in order to make them reveal the whereabouts
of the hidden arms. When they would not tell, they were made to
kneel and their arms and feet were bound together; their mouths were
filled with manure and all kinds of indignities were poured upon
them. Some died under the process; many went mad. Eyes and nails
were torn out. Some were let go, whether they had confessed anything
that satisfied the Government or not, but many others disappeared
entirely. This sort of inquisition went on until late in June.

Some bombs were found in a field, and it is claimed that they had
been hidden in the houses in the city and then, in fear, transferred
to this field, where the Government soon afterwards found them.

The Missionaries approached the Government, asking that a Committee
from the different Armenian communities—Catholic, Gregorian and
Protestant—might be formed, to collect arms. The Government gave
permission for this, and promised again that no trouble should be
given to the Armenians if they gave up their arms. The Government
told the Committee how many rifles ought to be delivered from that
city, and claimed to know who had most of them. Representatives of
the Committee spoke to the people in the churches, and promised that
if they would deliver their arms to them their names would not be
given to the Government. The requisite number of rifles were soon
collected, but, almost immediately, the order for deportation was
given.

First the men were taken, usually from their homes at night, and
imprisoned in empty barracks. About 400 men were taken the first
time. The next morning their families were notified that they were
to be deported, and that, if they wished, they could furnish them
with food and clothing. So the women got together their supplies and
carried them to their husbands, hoping that they were providing for
their needs on a long journey. They sold everything they could lay
their hands on, and provided money for the men. After a few days the
men were sent away. They were sent at night, bound in fours, about
50 a night. The barracks were continually filled with recruits from
the city. I do not know what became of these men, but I do know
that, within six hours of the city, there are long ditches and deep
wells filled with the bodies of Armenians. Their clothing was taken
from them, as well as those supplies that the women had so
pathetically prepared, and all their money.

Officers of the Government have told our friends that the official
figure for the number of men killed at X. is over 1,300. People like
to tell stories in Turkey, and it may be that this is not true.

On the 4th July the deportation order for the women came. It had
been hoped that they would be allowed to remain. At the same time,
it was publicly announced that people could save themselves if they
would become Mohammedans. Large numbers, it is said 1,000 families,
put in petitions to the Government. Only a small number of these
petitions were accepted; the rest of the women and children were
rapidly sent away.

Ox-carts were provided, and in some cases wagons, by the Government,
but the people had to pay the carriage hire; if not, they had to
walk. Some people could get donkeys, but, of course, the poor went
on foot. It was difficult to get wagons and carts, and so the people
were not all sent out at once. The Government scheduled the houses
of those who were to go in each company, and gave them notice two or
three days beforehand.

Sometimes they were taken in batches of from three to four hundred
up to a monastery, about an hour from the city. Here they were
imprisoned, and the Turkish men and women went to take away the
women and girls who could be persuaded to become Turks and live in
their harems. This was said to be the only way to save their lives,
for they were all assured over and over again that, if they were not
killed by the gendarmes or the wild villagers, they would die from
the privations of the journey.

The missionaries in X. were allowed to bring to their premises those
people who belonged to their institutions, the families of
professors and servants, and many girls who had been students in the
school. It was vacation, and, although a Summer school had been open
to other boarders who could not get home because of the war, most of
the city pupils who were in their own homes were allowed to enrol
themselves as boarders.

The Government soon said that they must clear the premises. Some of
the professors were arrested and imprisoned, but, by a money
arrangement with the Government, their Armenian friends were able to
secure them their release. It was soon learned that the Armenian
people in the town were beginning to offer large sums of money for
their protection and for permission to remain. These offers were
accepted. The women gave their jewels to the wives of the Government
officers, and obtained promises that they should not be sent away,
although in every case they were obliged to become Moslems. The
missionaries tried in every possible way to persuade the Government
to allow their people, about 350 in all, to remain upon their
premises. The American Embassy in Constantinople secured permission
from the Ministries of War and the Interior for these people to be
protected. But these authorisations were not recognised by the local
Government, and, on the 10th August, the professors and servants
were sent away on ox-carts—about 173 in all. The nurses in the
hospital and the sickest of the patients, together with the people
in the Girls’ School, were not taken at this time, but they were
taken on the 12th August. The professors and servants travelled
together as far as W., about a week’s journey with ox-carts, over
the mountains. Here the men were bound together, shoulder to
shoulder, in batches of four and marched away. Their wives
sorrowfully went on alone. As these women reached the high mountain
pass of AZ., the Circassians rushed upon them and robbed them of
coats and bedding, as well as of all the gold they could lay their
hands on.

These people and all those who went from X., and indeed from the
whole Vilayet of Z., travelled east as far as the village of V. Here
whatever means of conveyance they had travelled with was taken away
and they were obliged to find some substitute. Wagoners placed
exorbitant prices on their wagons. Ox-cart drivers quadrupled their
prices, and many people were unable to find any way, except to go on
foot. They were then driven eastward to Kirk Göz, a small village
about six hours from Malatia, on the bank of the River Euphrates.

There again their conveyances were taken away, and they could not
cross the river without paying large sums of money. Many, many died
here, and it is said that many were thrown into the river. From this
point they went south over the Taurus mountains, and word has been
received from a few at Surudj and Aleppo....

(_A portion of this document has been omitted here, and printed
separately as Doc. 96_)

went out from Constantinople to all the vilayets stopping further
deportation of Armenians, but yet the deportation has been
continuing ever since. Only four weeks before I left X., a company
of young Armenian brides with their little boys, all of whom had
become Mohammedans, were sent away. The order had come privately,
not to the Governor but to the police, that women who had boys, no
matter if they were babies in arms, should be deported with their
children. Of that category there were perhaps three or four hundred
in the city, and about 60 wagon-loads were chosen out at this time
to go. No warning was given to the people beforehand; the ox-carts
were simply driven to their doors in the morning. They had made no
preparation, and the women, especially mothers-in-law (who have a
good deal of influence in this country) were very angry. They went
to the Governor and said: “See! We have given our pearl necklaces to
your wife in order to save our lives; we paid one hundred liras to
be saved; we have become Mohammedans. We have sold our souls and
have given our money, and now you take our lives. We will not go.”
One woman stood up on her cart and shouted all the Mohammedan
prayers she had learned, to prove that she was a Mohammedan. It was
a time of general frenzy. But they grabbed the women—bound them to
the carts in many instances—and took them to the Armenian monastery.
There they were imprisoned, but after much petitioning they finally
got permission to send a representative from each family to the city
to prepare food and get money for their journey. They sold their
personal effects and in this way provided for themselves. This whole
batch was killed in the mountains, on the other side of the plain
from the city. Their birth certificates were found, and the burial
had been so badly done that the bodies of little children were left
on the ground, and the arms and legs of the corpses in the ditches
protruded. Stories of this kind can, of course, be duplicated in all
parts of the country, but I am only telling the things I can
personally vouch for.

Many stories of wonderful bravery are told of the people who went
away. In Samsoun, one of the most prominent Protestants of the place
was not allowed to go with the crowd that was first sent out. The
Governor came to him, and said to him: “You are a man, a real man;
we do not want you to be lost. Now just say that you will be a Turk,
and your life and that of your family will be saved.” The man
replied: “But I cannot say I believe a thing of which I am not
convinced. I do not believe the Mohammedan religion; you must
educate me.” So they sent their teachers to him, and every few days
would send in an official and ask him: “Now, are you not convinced?”
Thus two weeks went by and finally the officials’ patience wore out,
for the man continually said: “No, I cannot see what you see, and I
cannot accept what I cannot understand.” So the ox-carts came to the
door and took the family away. The wife was a delicate lady, and the
two beautiful daughters well educated. They were offered homes in
harems, but said: “No, we cannot deny our Lord. We will go with our
father.”

From this city the whole Protestant community went together, led
bravely by the Pastor. We heard from them near Shar-Kishla, but
their men had all been taken away and the women robbed terribly.

In a mountain village there was a girl who made herself famous.
Here, as everywhere else, the men were taken out at night and
pitifully killed. Then the women and children were sent in a crowd,
but a large number of young girls and brides were kept behind. This
girl, who had been a pupil in the school at X., was sent before the
Governor, the Judge and the Council together, and they said to her:
“Your father is dead, your brothers are dead, and all your other
relatives are gone, but we have kept you because we do not wish to
make you suffer. Now just be a good Turkish girl, and you shall be
married to a Turkish officer and be comfortable and happy.” It is
said that she looked quietly into their faces and replied: “My
father is not dead, my brothers are not dead; it is true you have
killed them, but they live in Heaven. I shall live with them. I can
never do this if I am unfaithful to my conscience. As for marrying,
I have been taught that a woman must never marry a man unless she
loves him. This is a part of our religion. How can I love a man who
comes from a nation that has so recently killed my friends? I should
neither be a good Christian girl nor a good Turkish girl if I did
so. Do with me what you wish.” They sent her away, with the few
other brave ones, into the hopeless land. Stories of this kind can
also be duplicated.

The number of Armenians in Turkey was variously estimated at from
one and a half millions to two and a half millions. Most people who
know this country well, think that not over five hundred thousand
are now left. This, however, may be too small an estimate, for there
are thousands left in the various cities who have become
Mohammedans. But this “turning” is recognised by both Christians and
Mohammedans as a temporary thing. There are also many in hiding,
especially in Greek villages and in the mountain districts. In
previous years, after massacres, people have sprung up from most
unexpected quarters, and I expect that this will be the case again.
Those who were left, however, have been more thoroughly stripped of
all worldly possessions than has ever been the case before. The best
houses are immediately occupied by Turkish officials. Furniture has
been taken to furnish officers’ houses and Government buildings. The
disposal of the rest of the property varies in different places.

In X., the best furniture is being stored in the Gregorian churches,
to be disposed of by the Commission appointed by the Government.
However, almost everything that is valuable is gradually
disappearing. The more common things are thrown into an empty square
and auctioned or sold for a song.

X. is a city of weavers, and all the equipment for the looms was in
the public square when I came away, and was ruined by rain and mud.

Whatever may be said about the revolutionary intentions of the
Armenian people, a rebellious nation is not executed by its
government, but is fought in fair fight, and those of us who have
loved the Turks and believed that they would, in the end, work out a
government that could be respected, grieve almost more over this
great failure of theirs than over the suffering of their unfortunate
subjects.

-----

Footnote 123:

  The Constitution of 1908.—EDITOR.


89. NARRATIVE OF MISS AA., A FOREIGN TRAVELLER IN ASIATIC TURKEY,
    DESCRIBING A JOURNEY FROM X. TO Z., 10th AUGUST TO 6th
    SEPTEMBER, 1915; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR
    ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.

The delay of our party in Constantinople was hard to bear there, but
the circumstances found on our arrival at X. were so distressing as
to make the delay heart-breaking. All the Armenian college
people—professors, teachers, servants and their families, with many
from the hospital—had gone on the 10th August. We arrived on the
evening of the 11th, and the next morning the Government officers
had wagons driven on to the premises for the girls in the A.G.S. The
order was peremptory. Of course the Kaimakam was visited, but no
change in the order could be obtained. The Principal and I finally
went and asked that Miss A. and I might be allowed to accompany the
girls. This was refused, but finally a paper was given allowing us
to precede or follow them by an hour.

There were at this time 74 Armenians in the school. The children in
the deaf school with two caretakers were allowed to remain in their
building, and the two old ladies, Miss AG. and Miss AH., who had
been connected with the school during all its fifty years of life,
were also allowed to stay. (There had been some 135 people in the
school for several weeks, but they had many of them gone to other
cities for safety, or, in the case of girls, had gone with their
mothers into exile.)

The company that left the premises consisted of 62 people—7 trained
nurses, 6 teachers, 3 dressmakers, 15 servants or members of their
families, and 31 students. One of the only two trained teachers in
the Ottoman Empire for teaching vocal speech to the deaf, was there.
Perhaps the best trained native nurse in Anatolia was there. One of
the few good music teachers in the country was there. The Armenian
nurse who had gone in the winter to take care of the soldiers sick
with typhus was there. The Presidents of the City Y.W.C.A. and of
the student Y.W.C.A., the advisory officer, and four members of the
cabinet were in the company. It was indeed too precious a group to
be swept into the mälström of wretchedness that makes up the
unending procession of the “exiled” in Anatolia. (It is said that
91,000 have passed south through Harpout, and that 250,000 is the
number that must pass south over the mountains from Malatia.)

Just before Miss A. and I left the house, an urgent order came to
the Principal, summoning him to the outskirts of the city. The
Kaimakam wished him to be present when the official invitation was
given to the girls to become Mohammedans. The invitation was
politely given to each girl individually, and no force was used;
but, an hour further on, another officer was sent to urge them again
and to tell them of the inevitable death that awaited them in a very
short time if they did not yield; then the wagon drivers began their
work, telling continually of the horrors that lay before them. This
was only the beginning of the pressure brought to bear upon them.
The girls say that no day passed in which at least three formal
representations were not made. Men of all types, even the most
disgusting, were brought to them to urge them to “turn.” Whenever
the officers presented the matter, they were always asked if they
did not want to take “a new name.” This is entirely different from
the former custom of the Turks when enforcing their religion.
Formerly all have been asked simply to affirm their belief in one
God. This “New Name” makes one shudder, when one connects it with
the Revelation. The party was most splendidly protected physically
on all their journey, for, in accordance with the promises, the
greatest care had been taken in choosing the gendarmes and their
sleeping places; but in spite of this care on the part of the
Government, several nights were spent in their wagons, so vile were
the threats made to them if they should descend. However, they
reached AW.-han (one day’s journey beyond AX.) without any change in
their number. There they were kept two nights and days, and every
effort was made to terrorise them. One girl finally gave up the
fight and consented to become the wife of an officer from Y. Here,
also, the servants with their families and the older nurse, Miss K.,
were separated from the others and sent on via V., while the girls
and teachers were sent on to Z. The girls say that the reason for
this was the belief that the older ones in the party influenced the
younger not to “turn.” However, the men were finally convinced of
the uselessness of their efforts when one of the younger and
prettiest girls spoke up for herself and said: “No one can mix in my
decisions; I will not turn, and it is I myself that say it.”

The Principal decided to accompany Miss A. and me to Y. This was a
great blessing to us. We passed the long line of fourteen wagons on
the plain, and hastened on to find the Mutessarif Pasha if possible
that night. This, however, proved impossible, and we were obliged to
content ourselves with peering out of our han window at the line of
wagons slowly winding through the streets of the city in the dusk to
a camping place outside the town. The police of the city immediately
called on us, and refused to accept our travelling papers, saying
that they knew no Kaimakam’s orders—that they only recognised the
police. We were not received by the Pasha early, and so were
blocked; but we were given permission to go to the girls with food
and money. The night had been a frightful one, and it seemed as if
we could never let them go alone, but orders soon drove them out and
they bravely started off. It was a heart-breaking experience to all
of us. We hastened back to the city for permission to follow them.
The Pasha was very stiff, and would not admit that the Government
needed any assistance in looking after its children. We soon saw
that it was useless to do anything but send a complimentary telegram
to the Vali, asking him to keep our pupils under his personal
protection.

We came back to X. and for four days worked to get more satisfactory
travelling papers, but were finally obliged to start off with only a
note from the police saying that no papers were needed for
travelling within the bounds of the same vilayet, except in the case
of suspects. In Y. our papers were again refused, but we had written
to the Mutessarif the nicest note we could get translated into
Turkish, asking his help in securing an opportunity for us to visit
the Vali in Z. Twenty-four hours went by, and then we heard that a
town meeting had been called and a negative decision made to our
request. We decided that that word must never officially reach us.
We started for the Pasha’s office, but he had gone to his harem.
Here we followed him. We found his wife a real woman, with great
sympathy for our desire to save our girls from the terrors of
deportation, and the Pasha in his home was a transformed man. He
promised to get us to the Vali if possible, and in due time this
promise was made good. The police succeeded in putting enough
obstacles in our way to keep us in the city another night, and so
our people were six days ahead of us when we started from Y. The
last annoyance was a peremptory command to sleep in a certain han.
This we refused to do because of its inconvenience, and so we stayed
in a han in the heart of the city, only a short distance from the
recently burned district. We do not know why we were not wanted
there, but the sickening odour that came into our windows till late
into the night, the words which dropped from groups of men passing
under our windows, and the five slowly fading fresh fire-spots on
the ruins of the buildings, said to have been set on fire by the
“turned” Armenians of the city, make me morally certain that a
ghastly revenge had been taken that night.

Our guard was ready betimes in the morning. Our wagoner—a great
Turkish thug—was on our side and ready to make time. The Pasha’s
paper assured the greatest courtesy at every police station, and
with rising hope we started off. But hope fades in the face of the
great sight of these deported people, and we soon felt that in all
human reason our request must be fruitless. We passed that first day
two great processions of the exiles, all villagers from the
mountains of BU. A few were riding in ox-carts, but the great
majority were on foot. The dust was suffocating, and the poor things
all carried great burdens—sometimes little children, often cradles
with babies in them, always sacks of supplies. All we could do was
to hold out a little money to them. We tried most often to give to
the old or to young girls. They were often too much frightened or
dazed to come to our carriage and take it, but our great husky
driver would shout out: “Do not fear, these will help you.” Then
they would come, but their fear only too plainly told of their
experience. I must, however, witness to the fact that we did not see
any sign of anything but patience and even kindness on the part of
the gendarmes walking with these crowds. The general impression
gotten everywhere is that orders are carried out, only orders, and
that even the cruelties are well organised. Very few men were in the
parties, but there were some. These people had been on the road more
than three weeks.

We reached a lonely unfinished han three hours beyond AY. Here we
found our first company of “turned” Armenians. They were from the
town of L., and were going they knew not where. We met many after
this; they are a little more comfortable than the Christians, and
their men are with them, but they have been robbed like the others,
and are full of uncertain fear of what may be coming to them, and
also of remorse because their denial of what is really precious to
them has brought them so little. We only stopped in AX. to send
telegrams and get the story of that city. The men here, as
everywhere else, had been rounded up first and sent off bound in
fours, in gangs of from forty to fifty, in various directions from
the city—to death, as all believe. In every city the citizens all
believe this to be the fate of all men; all the gendarmes and
arabadjis say it is, but all the officers deny it, saying that they
send the men in this way because they have no gendarmes to handle
the situation in any other way. They take all money and weapons
(even razors) from them for the same reason. In AX. the women were
also imprisoned and sent out without any preparation for the
journey. The AX. people say that the AZ. Pass is the place where all
the worst things happen, and we can well believe it. At BA. it
looked ugly, and although it was quiet enough except for the coarse
voices of the terrible-looking officers that were sitting about, you
felt that things were wrong. A little bride and a slim young girl
sidled up to our wagon to talk. In reply to our talk they told us
that they were “busy taking care of the babies.” We asked what
babies, and they said: “O, those the effendis stop here; the mothers
nurse them and then go.” We asked if there were many, and were told
that every house was full. We were watched too closely to make calls
possible. Afterwards we found an officer ready to talk, who said:
“We take them off after a while and kill them. What can we do? The
mothers cannot take them, and the Government cannot take care of
them for ever.” That night we stopped in another lonely place with a
lot of new Turks in it. We were glad to help the sick, both among
them and in the Circassian village near by, though I have no doubt
the Circassians belonged to the bands who rob the exiles so
frequently on this mountain. In the early morning, as we climbed the
AZ. Pass, we passed a great camp of exiles. We decided that we
needed to save the horses, so we walked up the steep ascent. We knew
that our own girls were not far ahead, and wondered if our
professors were here. They were not, but the company proved to be
from BC., and the pastor and people were there. As we walked by, we
saw ahead of us the girl teacher who has so self-sacrificingly
worked there these many years. We had prepared packages of money to
give away, and as she threw her arms about us with a brave quiver of
her chin and a look of agony never to be forgotten, we hid upon her
person a bag of money and told her to use it for all. There was no
opportunity for talk except to learn that the men were still with
the party. At the top of the mountain, when we changed our guard, I
went into the kitchen to buy milk and talk. It was evident that we
had not been allowed to come up the night before, although we had
pleaded for it. Forty prisoners had been there, and they had been
taken off to the tents just the other side of the mountain in the
night and disposed of in some way. We wondered if it could have been
our own professors and workers. We learned later that they (our
people) had been separated from their wives at W. a few days before,
and that the women had been robbed on this mountain only forty-eight
hours before.

We reached AW.-han about nine that morning—only the second morning
from Y.—and went immediately into the town for news, though we were
apparently only interested in the famous rug-industry of the place.
While I was discussing this interesting industry with a man, a woman
told Miss A. to hurry to the deserted factory—that our girls were
there and in danger. My man had already proposed to take us there.
We found no rugs and no girls. The former had been confiscated by
the Government, and the latter had gone only two hours before toward
Z., five hours away. A friend turned up in the street, who told us
that the girls had had a hard time here and that we had better go
directly to the Kaimakam. This we did. He told us a made-up story,
but said that the girls would lunch at BD.-han and that we could
overtake them if we would hurry. We hurried! When we rounded the
last turn of the road we saw the most beautiful sight I ever expect
to see—every window full of dark heads and waving handkerchiefs. The
Kaimakam had telephoned that they might wait for their teachers. He
was the man who had tried so hard to get a girl, and to whom our
small maiden had made her confession of faith! (When you are in the
Government it is just as well not to let your left hand know what
your right doeth.) After a few words with the girls, we hastened on
to the city, reaching there about two hours before the girls. Just
as we reached the city, we said to the gendarme with us: “Why should
not these girls stay with us at the American School while we wait
for the Vali’s decision?” He gave rather a non-committal reply, but
we were scarcely settled with our friends when this man turned up,
saying: “There has been a mistake; I got the permission for the
girls to come here, but they have been taken to a Turkish boarding
school.” A visit to the Turkish school soon straightened this out,
though for a while we feared our misunderstanding would be a fatal
one for our cause. The Vali’s sister is greatly interested in this
school, which has been established for Armenian girls left in
villages whose adult inhabitants had been sent on “sefkyat.” The
authorities thought our girls a new relay, and were a little
disgusted that it was not so. One of the humorous experiences of the
journey occurred before the girls were allowed to leave. In the dim
light they were lined up to meet the commissioner of education, who
wished to say a few words to them. They dressed like Turkish girls
on the journey in white sheets, and were a weird sight in the long
hall; but when the commissioner told them that they had no need to
leave that fine place and go with foreigners, and asked them if they
would not rather change their names and stay there, there came so
emphatic a “Khyar, Effendim” from the long line, that they were
immediately proved to be very lively ghosts. The Vali was away from
the city attending to a Kurdish revolution in the villages, and this
affair gave a very providential opportunity for a call on his
sister, to apologise for the seeming lack of appreciation of her
hospitality on the part of our students. She was stiff and angry,
but we ended the best of friends, I saying that I wished she and all
the world were Christian, and she avowing that she wished me a
Mohammedan, and each of us declaring that we were going to use our
best efforts to bring about our desires.

As soon as the Vali returned, we called, and after a very pleasant
talk on every subject but the one in hand, we handed him our formal
petition for the return of the girls. He immediately granted it,
inviting us not to hurry away, but to enjoy the hospitality of his
city as long as possible. We concluded that it was better not to
hasten, for we wanted an opportunity to present another petition for
our professors, and to talk to him about relief for the suffering in
his country. The second call was not so pleasant as the first, for
the idea of his country needing any help from foreign nations under
any circumstances was an absurdity. We told him that no country
could live to itself in this age of reciprocity, and that in time of
great trouble, whether caused by nature or by war, friendship was
shown as much by accepting help as by giving it; that our country
could only in these sad days offer to help the warring nations, and
that it was doing it indiscriminately. He warmed a little, but said
that at present there was no need and that he had not such matters
in charge.

We only left our petition for the return of our other friends, and
took leave after he had assured us that our journey should be
facilitated in every way. This was done. He himself was on the
telephone at the AZ. Pass to hear from our own lips the assurance
that we were passing that dangerous place in comfort. We came in
comfort, and this fact only emphasised the suffering of those we met
always going in the other direction. Our driver one day voiced the
thought of our hearts: “Who will give the Arzu Hal for these?” The
road all along the way was marked by dead and decaying animals, and
though we did not personally see human bodies, we were told of their
presence under bridges and in ravines, and frequent groups of
vultures gave silent witness. There were many feeble and dying in
the processions we met, for the weather was very hot. In Y. we
called on the Pasha and his family and the gendarmerie chief, and
were very politely received and earnestly congratulated. But in the
early morning, when Miss A. and I went up town to get some necessary
supplies for the journey, six men hung on gallows in the streets and
one old man was saying: “Why, that is my son!” So near are joy and
agony in the world, and especially in this land. They were deserters
from the Army.

Our findings, in regard to what we have witnessed, are as follows:—

I. The Armenians have been deported practically universally from
these six vilayets. Many of them have been killed by order of the
Government and many have died by the way, but many also are enduring
months of travel, and are approaching the borders of the great
Arabian desert, where help must be gotten to them. A large plan of
relief is absolutely necessary. It must emanate from the capital and
there receive authority.

II. Orders given from Constantinople are often made void by other
private orders; so anything that is promised must be written, and
put in the hands of the people authorised to carry it out in
co-operation with the Government. Only official seals will be
recognised.

III. The orders about Protestants are only partially acknowledged by
a few authorities, and in most cases all Protestants have either
gone into exile or have been terrorized into becoming Mohammedans.
Some order providing for relief for them, either where they are this
winter or after they return to their plundered homes, is necessary
if any real help is to be given them.

IV. Permission for the recantation of the recently “turned”
Protestants would be of the greatest help to the country, for their
condition is most pitiable. They are neither one thing nor the
other, and are afraid to engage in any real business, for all they
possessed is soon required of them in bribes by different officers.

V. Bribe-taking has been enormous in some places, notably in X.;
many have paid 2,000 liras to save their lives and then been sent
into exile practically without a para.

VI. Forcible Mohammedanizing has been universal, in the assurance
that death on the road is the only available alternative. Many, for
the sake of trying to save wife and children a little while, have so
changed their faith. The best of the Turks, however, only emphasise
the national side of this change and not the religious.

VII. The Turkish houses are full of Christian children, girls and
women. They are usually early registered Mohammedans and an Imam
comes and teaches them some of the prayers. After a while their
“nufus” teskeriés are called for and a Turkish one given in their
place, and so their nationality is lost.

VIII.—_Omitted by the Editor._

IX. What has become of the men is a profound mystery, but I am
increasingly certain that the large majority of them have been
killed. The soldiers are still most of them alive, I believe, though
all say that in the end they will also be killed. I talked with one
who had managed to crawl to the Z. hospital wounded. He was one of
ten men who had escaped, when all the rest of their company of 200
had been sh