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, art 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 breadwinners 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.(105) 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 from 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 and dusty hills, with no protection from the sun, with poor food, 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."
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,(106) 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.(107) 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(108) 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(109). 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, a., 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(110), 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,(111) 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.(112) After being held a few days, a very few, by paying very large sums of money(113) 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(114) 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(115) 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,(116) and brought back with him Turkish " nufus teskeriÈs," or identification papers, taken from the bodies of the victims. I personally saw these papers. They were all besmeared with blood.(117)
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(118) 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 interest.. 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 oxcarts. 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 overnight 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(119) 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.(120) 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.(121)
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 E, 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.
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(122) 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 along 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.)
It is generally understood that, on the 29th August, an order 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.
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 staffed 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 fire 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 ban 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 noncommittal 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 shot by the gendarmes in a defile of the mountains.
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.
On the 14th instant I started again for X., and I returned from there on the 24th.
On the 10th instant, that is, immediately after my departure, the Turkish Government carried away, in 31 ox-carts, part of the Armenians of the College and the Hospital.
These gentlemen had been instructed by me not to allow these people to start voluntarily, and as you will see stated in the Principal's letter, they were taken by force. Besides, 63 persons were taken from the Girls' School.
As stated in the Principal's letter, the lawyer of the College said that these people could perhaps be released if a sum of two or three hundred pounds (Turkish) were given to the Kaimakam and the Gendarmerie Commander. But as I could not approve such proceedings on the part of the College, I sent you a telegram on the 13th instant, reporting on the actions of the authorities at X.
It seems that the Kaimakam, the Gendarmerie Commander and the Beledié-Reis could not agree on the sharing of the sum, so that the Kaimakam dared not accept the money from the Americans, and meanwhile the girls were sent away.
The conversion of these girls to Islam was attempted, but as they refused to change their religion, they were sent towards Y. Miss AA., Miss A., and the Principal went with them to Y. There they were not allowed to enter the city, and had to camp in the open air.
The Americans were forbidden by the Mutessarif to go further than Y., on the pretext that the vessikas which they had taken at X. were without value. They came back to X. I told them that they could have asked the Kaimakam for a vessika for Z., stating that they had to work for the American Mission at that place. On the 16th instant this was tried, but the Kaimakam did not believe the reason given, and he said that only the Mutessarif of Y. could decide about that departure. Miss AA. and Miss A. then started again for Y., on the 16th instant.
At Y. they could not at first manage to see the Mutessarif, so they called at his harem, where he came later. They succeeded in obtaining from him the promise that he would ask the Vali of Z. for that permission. Thus was the journey finally permitted.
Miss AA. and Miss A. will arrive at Z. at the same time as the 63 girls, and they will try to obtain from the Vali permission to accompany them.
These girls are accompanied by a servant from the College, and inform telegraphically of their arrival in each place.
I doubt whether Miss AA. and Miss A. will ever succeed in obtaining that permission from the Vali, because these girls are all from 12 to 18 years old, and they will assuredly be distributed among the Turkish families of Z., Malatia, etc.
Only 52 persons are left in the College and the Hospital. I gave a list of their names to the Kaimakam, requesting him to deliver them vessikas so that they may not be troubled. The Kaimakam. sent that list to the Vali of Z., and he told me before I left that these people would in any case be allowed to stay. I am convinced, however, that the contrary will happen, because this is a European institution, and life is made very hard for these people. They were all ready to be sent away on the 18th or 19th instant, but my presence prevented that action. I telegraphed requesting permission for the remaining Armenians to keep their positions, because. otherwise Dr. BB. would be obliged to close the hospital, because he cannot do without an apothecary or without nurses.
My opinion is that, owing to the Government's proceedings, no foreign mission will now be able to carry on its work in Turkey, because they cannot do without the Christian element. . . .
There still remain in X. a few more Armenians who are hiding themselves, and also those who have embraced Islam, but these will assuredly be deported after they have taken all that they possess.
I called on the Kaimakam the last day, and he was very kind to me. I went also to M. I know from a reliable source that nothing disagreeable happened to the Armenians from L. on the way to. Y. The Mutessarif was very kind, and gave the gendarmes strict instructions, threatening them with severe punishment in case the Armenians were ill-treated. He even asked the Commander of Gendarmerie, Latif Bey, to accompany them to BH. The latter was very kind to the Armenians, and these are very grateful both to him and to the Mutessarif.
At Y., the women were separated from the men, and the latter were bound in groups of five and carried away at night, no one knows where.
Near Y. there is a well which must contain from fifty to sixty corpses ; heaps of torn clothes, fezes and papers were found near there. Part of these papers were gathered up. Not far from Y. there must also be a common grave for about 400 corpses.
A person of standing(123), who has been travelling in the interior, gave me confidentially the following details on the subject :
(1) Samsoun, Amasia and Marsovan. ---people-all reached Amasia. Then all the men were taken, bound, and some of them killed, between Amasia, Tokat and Tourchal. All those who reached Tokat were directed towards Tchiftlik or Gishgisha and murdered. The women and children were taken in ox-carts to Sharkishla ; then they were sent to Malatia, and finally thrown into the Kirk Göz or Euphrates.
(2) Tokal.---The same thing as above, with the difference that all pretty women and all children were taken off to Turkish houses.
(3) Erbaa, Niksar, Messoudia.---The men were bound during the night, and then part of them were thrown into the river Kelkid. The others were murdered near Tokat. The women and children were deported via Sharkishla and Malatia---same fate as in No. 1.
(4) Sharkishla, Gemerek, Azizia, Tehoroum, Derenda---all sent on foot to Malatia, same fate.
(5) Sivas, Divrik, Kangal---in ox-carts to Kangal, then all. on foot to Malatia, men murdered en route, same fate.
(6) Egin, Arabkir, Keban, Harpout, Malalia---same fate.
(7) Karahissar, Sou-Shehr, Zara, Tchavik---all murdered.
(8) Erzindjan, Kamakh---part murdered, the rest thrown into the Euphrates.
Bands of Kurds from Dersim are at work in Malatia. All Armenians have been killed, according to my informant. I believe that all the men have been killed, but that the women and children have been distributed among the Turkish families of the interior. Not one Armenian is to be seen.
I wanted very much to go to M. and Y., so as to see myself what was happening, but the Kaimakam had his eye on me. I do not know that one can believe everything one is told., and it seems rather curious that none of my friends from the interior have reported these things to me.
91. X. (P) : NARRATIVE OF A FOREIGN RESIDENT OF GERMAN NATIONALITY(124); COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF.
I was called to a house one day where I saw a sheet which originated from the prison, and which was being sent to the wash. This sheet was covered with blood, and running in long streams. I was also shown clothes which were drenched and exceedingly dirty. It was a puzzle to me what they could possibly have done to the prisoners, but I got to the bottom of the matter by the help of two very reliable persons who witnessed part of it themselves.
The prisoner is put in a room (just as was done in the time of the Romans), and gendarmes standing in twos at both sides and two at the end of the room administer bastinadoes, each in their turn, as long as they have enough force in them. In Roman times forty strokes were administered at the very most; in this place, however, 200, 300, 500, even 800 strokes are administered. The foot swells up and then bursts open, owing to the number of the blows, and thus the blood spurts out. The prisoner is then carried back into prison and brought to bed by the rest of the prisoners---this explains the bloody sheet. The prisoners who become unconscious after these blows are revived by having cold water thrown on their heads, and that accounts for the wet and dirty clothes. On the next day, or, more exactly, during the night, as all ill-treatments are carried on at night in-----, as well as in -------, the whole bastinadoing is repeated again, in spite of the swollen feet and the wounds. I was then in ------, but in that prison there were also no less than thirty prisoners, who all had their feet in such a state that they began to burn, and had to be amputated, or had actually already been taken off. Equally revolting tortures have been inflicted in-------, and also by --------the cruel Mutessarif in -------. A young man was beaten to death within the space of five minutes.
Apart from the bastinadoing, other methods were employed as well, such as putting hot irons on the chest. A smith, who was suspected of having forged the shells of the bombs, was let go only after his toes had been burned off with sulphur (called kezab). I have seen the wounds.
Four weeks ago we received news that the Kaimakam of ------had had ten to eighteen people shot in a district between------ and ------. Shortly after this had happened, an order was promulgated with respect to the Christians of -------, in which they were all commanded to leave the place within three-quarters of an hour. Among them were several women who gave birth to children on the way, and threw them, in their desperation, into the water. Many men were recalled, and it is impossible, to say how many were secretly murdered, or how many will still be butchered.
I wish to state that the inhabitants of ------ are so terribly ignorant that I really never saw the like, and I therefore feel convinced that not one single person had ever dreamt of opposing the authorities. Neither from the Turks nor from the Christians have I ever heard that one of these people had ever rebelled during the four months in question, and it is the Kaimakam. alone who says so in order to excuse his deeds. And yet the Kaimakam always declares: "No one dares oppose me." When I ventured to protest to the Kaimakam in all friendliness against the bloody sheets, he replied as follows : "If the law and the Sultan were to forbid it, I would carry out these measures in spite of everything, and do as I please."
In three weeks ago, when I was engaged in getting ready to go off, I noticed two gendarmes riding in the direction of the mountains with an inhabitant of ------ who had been expelled and then recalled. They (the gendarmes) returned without the man and declared, as their excuse, that the man had escaped, which is, of course, out of the question, as the man's feet were completely swollen and he was on a mule, while the gendarmes were on horseback.
The German consul at Aleppo estimates the number of individuals deported to be 30,000. Five thousand people were deported to the unhealthy spot of Sultania, in the Konia district. The Government served out some bread during the first few days. When the bread was finished and they received no more, the misery was heart-rending. According to Mr. ------, ------- the rich were also deported to Sultania, and shared their bread with the poor as long as their money lasted, which was not very long, of course. Mr.------- begged the Vali for permission to supply the people with bread, but he replied that the Government attended to this, and that the people did not want any.
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.
I received your letter only yesterday. I am very glad you were in London and not in Turkey. They have been terrible days, filled with terrible events. The experiences I have had during the last six to eight months are terrible indeed. Not that I had much to suffer in person, but I suffered by witnessing the sufferings of others.
I am sending you some printed material that may interest you.
The short of it is that all the Armenians of X. have been "deported" (sefk oloundou)---the official word. The destination was Mosul, Der-el-Zor---sometimes Bagdad was mentioned. The very first to be arrested were twenty-five members of the Executive of Hunchak(125) . . . They were sent to Z. They all either died of typhus or were put to death, and it was the same with AJ. and AK. and some fifty others---all sent to Z. and finished off there. Then all the men found in the streets were arrested ; many were taken out of their beds at night. These were professedly sent to Y. It is certain that they were all killed at a distance of three to four hours from X., on the W. road. I cannot give you a list ; here are some of the names(126) . . . .the number was officially stated as 1,215.
Then they sent away the women and children, including some old men like AW. Before the ox-carts left the town, some girls were picked out and sent to harems---M.'s daughter, a pretty girl just graduated in June ; N.'s daughter, etc., etc. The women were distributed to the villagers ; many would perish on the way, and perhaps some might reach Syria.
Dr. LZ., of Adana, told me the other day that many from U., T. and X. had passed through Adana. Some of the women of X. came to his home. Unfortunately he could not remember the name of anyone. Some were graduates of the American schools. They said that the men had been killed on the way; many had died of hunger, disease or exposure. They had no money. It took them three months to go from X. to Adana. They were to go on to Aleppo---then Mosul !
When they were all imprisoned at X., then the wealthy and the wise began to consult together and find means of escape. First of all, Mr. O. declared in favour of conversion to Mohammedanism as the only way of salvation. He influenced many and persuaded them to follow him. It was not so easy to persuade the officials. P., Mr. Q.'s man, our graduate, said to me: "We have lost all---our religion and our money too (Hem dinimizden oldouk, hemdé paramizdan)." He said that everyone gave large, very large sums, hundreds of pounds. Someone is said to have given £2,000. All this went into the pocket of the Kaimakam and the Commandant of the gendarmes. These two men had in their hands the people's lives, property and everything else. Many applied to become Mohammedans, but were not accepted. I saw the Kaimakam, Kadi, Mufti, etc., all sitting and examining whole piles of petitions. Perhaps some thirty to forty from among them were accepted, to mention a few names(127) all with their families.
X. had more converts than other places. O. told me that it was through his influence that this success was obtained. He was on good terms with the Kaimakam. If one wanted to stay in Turkey, he told me, one had to become a Moslem. He approved my decision to leave the place. A prominent official said to B.: "In these parts you will hear no more 'Kal' Iméra' or 'Pari Louis'." (128)
Your brothers, I am sorry to say, are among those who were sent away. What happened to them, who knows ? I suppose there is no hope for them, especially considering the name they bear. K. was intimate with the Kaimakam and the Commandant, as their wives had been in the Hospital; but when they found out that she was a relative of yours, they began to behave differently. She was sent away with the girls of the girls' school ; Miss A. went with them as far as Z. ; they were 63 in all ; 23 have been sent on, chiefly servants ; 40 girls came back to X., and are now in the girls' school, J.'s daughter among them. Before the girls were taken, the Kaimakam asked each one, in the presence of the Principal of the College, whether they wanted to become Mohammedans and stay, or go. They all replied that they would go. Only Miss H. became a Mohammedan, and went to live with G. Professors E. and FF. had been arrested with other Armenians, but in the name of all the teachers some £250-£300 were presented to the officials, and so they were let free---the officials said they were to go with the last batch.
Meanwhile, word was sent to Constantinople, and Ambassador Morgenthau secured a promise from Talaat that the College people would not be touched. But the Kaimakam declared to the Principal that no such order had reached X.
The Principal refused to deliver up anyone from the College premises; but the gendarmes came and broke down the big gate, and any other door that was barred, and took away all the Armenians----FF., GG., J., HH., and JJ. According to the testimony of the gendarmes, they all marched with their families for three or four hours, and then the men were separated and killed, while the women were sent on. Not a word came from any one of them.
When the girls were being sent on, Miss AA. managed to get promises for two of the inmates, Miss AG. and Miss All., to stay on at the school, so they stayed. But the promise said "For a time." AX. and AY., the cook and steward of the College, were also allowed to remain, and four nurses were left in the hospital. All the rest ---servants, nurses and patients---were taken. The two druggists of the hospital, AZ. and AI., had to become Mohammedans, and are still working with Dr. BB. All the shops and houses were seized by the Government---in one word, confiscated.
The priests were among the first to be sent off. A Turk described how KK. was killed. They stripped him of all his clothes, excepting his underclothing. With his hands bound behind his back, he knelt, with his son beside him, and they finished him off with axes, while he was praying. The same description was given of the execution of LL.---how they took off his head by hacking down into his shoulders with axes and carving the head out like a bust.
The missionaries had written on behalf of Mrs. MM. to Constantinople, so it was through Mr. Morgenthau that special orders were sent for her. After the troubles began, she stayed in the Hospital. I left X. on the 2nd August. I was detained eighteen days in the town of S., because I came from X. and was a Protestant. The difficulty was in the word "Protestant," which was taken as equivalent to Armenian. How could there be a Protestant of my nationality ? At last the Vali was persuaded that there could be other than Armenian Protestants, and permitted me to go to Constantinople. I lost thirteen days in Constantinople over the same point. At last I got my papers through the American Ambassador, or rather Consul---perhaps both. It is a long story; some day I might relate it in full. Many others of my nationality were in Constantinople trying to get passports, but they did not succeed. I am very glad I got away from Turkey ......
I left everything I had in X. It was no use attempting to sell the things, neither could we take them with us. But I do not regret that---even should they be lost for good---when I stop to think of what happened to my friends and colleagues. I cannot believe that it is real. How glad I am that I escaped from that hellish scene! My only fear now is about my people---relations and friends in S. and elsewhere. I am afraid that they will persecute my nationality also.
The Armenian Church <at X> was sealed up and guarded by soldiers. The Protestant Church was just finished and ready to be used. We might not enter it for prayer, not even once. Someone said that O. had promised to bear the expense of adding the minarets to it. Of course, he may have said it to save his own position . . . . .
All the Catholics and Gregorians of S. were carried off. By that time I was in Constantinople. The men, it is said, were killed; of the women, those that had become Moslems were allowed to stay, the rest were sent on to Mesopotamia. Mosul is their ultimate destination.
You will find hardly an Armenian left in Trebizond, Ordou. Samsoun, or the districts of Marsovan, Köprü, Amasia, Tokat, Sivas, Harpout---excepting just a few who became Moslems, The vilayets of Harpout and Sivas, it seems, had the worst treatment, but I cannot say---it was bad everywhere. Again, the Protestants were left alone at S. and R. ; they were likewise spared in the towns of Kaisaria and Talas, but not in the surrounding villages . . . . .
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.
Under the pretext of transportation for political reasons, the Young Turks are carrying out a well-planned, systematic process of extermination. Beginning in April, they imprisoned the leaders and many other prominent people in X. In order to exact confession they used all sorts of torture, only to be paralleled in the records of Mediaevalisrn and the Inquisition. I saw people unable to walk brought on donkeys to Dr. BB. for treatment of their wounds and sores that they got from torturing and beating. GG., a strong young man, an employee of the College, was beaten so terribly that he was unable to walk for weeks. I saw him moaning in bed.(129)
I heard from the lips of Professors FF. and E., as well as from many others, our graduates, etc., of the terrible condition of those imprisoned in a subterranean place under the barrack in X. People were literally packed there---the air suffocating. Happily they were kept there only for a short time ; but unhappily they were taken away from there in groups and put to death, at a distance of three or four hours from X. This was openly confessed by the Turks to many Greeks. I heard it from a Greek gendarme who was compelled to take part in the killing. Axes were used for killing them. The condemned were stripped of all but their underclothing and led to the brink of a great ditch. There they knelt with their hands bound behind their backs, and were despatched by axe-blows on the head---as the scene was described by an eye-witness to Mr. NN., the representative of the Greek bishop in X. The Armenian priests were killed likewise. One of them, KK., was killed in the attitude of prayer---praying with his son beside him.
Women, children and old men were carried away on ox-carts. The sight was tragic(130). Women of good family were dressed like peasants and driven away on ox-carts, accompanied by wild, savage-looking gendarmes and Turkish drivers. On one cart I saw the aged mother, wife, sister and two-year-old daughter of Mr. OO., one of our teachers(131). As they passed by our door they bade us good-bye. The old mother, waving her hand upward, said to us, "Pray for us," and so they went on. The little child was smiling. On one cart there was a woman expecting childbirth. Miss K., a nurse in the Hospital, saw her as she was driven past the Hospital windows. She begged the gendarmes to let her stay in the Hospital until she was delivered, and they let her. She was delivered within a few days. Others, however, were not so fortunate and were carried mercilessly along.
I left X. on the 3rd August, accompanied by Pastor CC. with his wife and niece(132); Mr. DD. of our College, with his wife, mother and daughter; and Mrs. MM. with her four daughters. The first family travelled by the permission---officially given---of the authorities at X. The other two had a special permit from the Minister of War, Enver Pasha. Mr. DD. was an American subject.
Two days short of S., near the village RR., we were stopped by a gendarme. Standing near him were several men with axes in their hands. He asked me whether there were any Armenians in our company. He said all Armenians had to go back---anyone of my own nationality could go on. I tried to reason with, him and pressed the point that they travelled by the special order of Enver Pasha. He replied that "he could not read, so he had to carry out the orders given him." In a few minutes 56 men came up, on horseback and armed. One of them could read. They repeated the same order---"All Armenians back."
All the arabadjis---Turks, all of them-pleaded hard with the man(133). They all said: "These are all others and not Armenians. They had already finished off the Armenians in X. before we started." There was only one Armenian family in the group, they said, and they had the order of Enver Pasha. The document was presented to the leader, EE. He read it aloud. Then I told him that I was from S., and that I had a friend, a medical doctor, in military service in S. I described him and gave his name to the leader. It so happened that he knew my friend and regarded him with much esteem, so when he heard this he laughed and shook hands with me, and begged me to take his compliments to my friend, adding: " Excuse us, this gendarme made a mistake in stopping you. Go on." The whole party went on. We were told afterwards that this leader was a well-known criminal robber, and that the whole group were chettis---bandits---armed by the order of the Government and let loose to harry the Armenians. During this scene of anxiety, Mr. CC. and Mr. DD. were perspiring the cold sweat of agony. Mrs. MM. was in a tremor.
In one carriage there were a son and a daughter of Mr. AB., pastor in the city of BO.
The very day that we reached S., Friday, the Armenians of the place were being arrested. Their documentary permits for travel were taken from our companions and never returned to them. They were told by the Police that they had inquired from Constantinople about them and were awaiting orders. Mr. DD. and Mr. CC. called on the Chief (Mudir) of the Police in S., and had interviews, but to no effect. The Mudir questioned DD. on his citizenship ; how was it possible for a man born in Turkey to become an American subject ? Three days after our arrival, CC. and DD. were taken away at night from the hotel, and sent off with other leading Armenians of S. in carriages---hands tied. They were sent along the road towards TT. and T. Carriages were hired for a distance of four hours, as far as a lake four hours' journey from S. The driver who took our friends, a man from X. who had driven Mrs. MM. to S., told me that "those men were finished off on the way " ; he was not allowed to see the dead, but the zaptieh told him. He was sure that all those sent off were robbed on the way !
Peasants told my friend---a medical man in the military hospital at S.---that places near their villages, close to the scene of our incident with the chettis, were all blood-stained.
The drivers said they wished they had never seen the like of what they saw. One Albanian in A. boasted in the café of how he had killed 50 Armenians.
The railway stations between S. and Isnik were full of women, children and men---Armenians driven from their homes and waiting for an opportunity to enter the train. They were conveyed in goods trains---packed in like sheep. It was a pitiful, heartbreaking sight.
It seems that there was a prohibition against speaking to them. Near Isnik, in one of the wagons, I saw AC., a man from X. employed in the school at AD. I ventured to call his name as our train passed by, but could not attract his attention. Immediately the Turk near me asked me whether I was an Armenian. There was no Armenian in our train.
Turkish soldiers from T. and its villages told me at W., on our way to S., that all the villages in their region were emptied---all the men killed. I asked them about the women; "God alone knows," was their reply.
I saw a carriage (araba) loaded with spades, shovels, etc., in front of the police headquarters In S. They were all covered up, but one could distinguish then what they were. Then a policeman started to ride off. During the loading, people were not allowed to look on. As I was passing by at that moment, and dared to glance in that direction, I was given a terrible blow by the police officer.
The Kaimakam and the commandant of the gendarmes at X. told me repeatedly that they were only tools ; they had to carry out the orders given them. No Armenian is to be left. Old or young, blind or lame, or disabled---all had to go away, without any exception being granted.(134)
The Vali of S. was dismissed from office for refusing to carry out the orders. A new Vali, an inexperienced young man, was sent to take his place, who carried out the order strictly and harshly.
The Roman Catholic Armenians of S.----some 3,000 families--were all deported.
Mrs. CC., Mrs. DD. and Mrs. MM. were still in S., residing in the Protestant church building, when I left S. on the 26th August. They tried to see the Vali, but were not allowed, and their papers and permits were not given back to them. Mrs. MM. pleaded hard with my wife that we should take with us at least one of her daughters. There were similar petitions from many others, but it was impossible to do anything. We ourselves were under suspicion and liable to suffer, and it is a wonder how we escaped. It is due to the grace of God and to the kindly help of the American Embassy and Consulate in Constantinople.
94. X. : NARRATIVE OF MISS CC., COMMUNICATED BY HER TO A SWISS GENTLEMAN AT GENEVA DURING HER PASSAGE THROUGH SWITZERLAND IN DECEMBER, 1915.
It was on the 29th April that the Turkish Government began to arrest the leading Armenians at X.
Mr. OO., Professor of Armenian, was sent to Z. with sixteen other Professors ; they suffered fiendish atrocities. Their hair was plucked out by the roots; they were burned with red hot irons ; they were sprinkled with boiling water; they were flogged daily; some of them died in prison. Mr. OO. himself had his eyes gouged out, and was then hanged.
At X., the arrests continued, and the Armenians were flogged to make them confess to pretended revolutionary preparations. The surrender of a definite number of rifles were demanded of them ; some of them bought rifles from the Turks in order to be able to deliver them up to the Government. They were tortured to make them bring in their arms(135).
The Turkish villagers were paid to flog the Armenians, because the Turkish townspeople of X. might possibly have taken pity on them.
PR, the college blacksmith, was so terribly beaten that a month later he was still unable to walk. Another was shod with horse-shoes. At Y., Mr. AD. (brother-in-law of the pastor AE, who suffered martyrdom at Sivas twenty-one years ago) had his finger-nails torn out for refusing to accept Islam. "How," he had answered, "can I abandon the Christ whom I have preached for twenty years?"
The search for rifles lasted several weeks. In the Armenian cemetery the Turks found several bombs, buried there since 1908 and now absolutely rusty and unusable.
By the end of June, all the men were in the prisons, barracks or cellars. The women, who went to visit their husbands and bring them clothes and food, were beaten and driven off by the gendarmes.
After several days' imprisonment, those who had promised to embrace Islam were released, as well as those who had paid very large sums of money. Mr. AR, a colporteur, had been willing to embrace Islam, but his wife refused to recognise his apostasy and declared that she would go into exile with the rest of the people, so he went with his wife and was killed.
The remainder were sent in batches out of the town and killed on the road. The Turks told their Armenian friends what was happening, and promised them the same fate.
No sooner were all the men disposed of, than they began to deport the women and children and even the sick; the ox-carts kept passing day and night. A Turk, the landlord of our house, told us that he had watched this procession, covered with dust and tortured by the heat and lack of water, and that he had said to himself that they would all be dead before they reached their destination. A woman who got back to X. by accepting conversion, after being on the road about ten days, gave an account of their heart-rending condition. Even mothers abandoned their children or handed them over to the Kurds ; the Kurds for that matter took them by force and violated the girls, some of whom were carried off for their harems. After several days' journey, the carts turned back and the exiles had to proceed on foot.
Those connected with the American college gave the Turkish officers large sums to procure their exemption, but this brought them nothing but a postponement of their cruel fate. Meanwhile, the efforts of the American Embassy obtained for Professor DD. permission to go to Constantinople with his, wife and eight-months old baby, as well as his old mother, and my own family was permitted to leave for Smyrna. After several days' travelling by carriage, we all arrived at S. There my father and mother were arrested, as well as Professor DD.
Everything we could do to get them released was in vain. It was impossible to learn anything about their fate. The Mudir said: "They have reached their destination safe and sound."(136)
Several days later all Armenians, with the exception of a few Protestant ladies, were cleared out of S.
Later, some of the missionaries from X. passed through S. and found us there in the desperate state we were in. They told the American Embassy as soon as they reached Constantinople, and that is how we obtained permission to proceed to Constantinople.
Here it took us three months to obtain a passport for America.
At X. several families made up their minds to take poison. Mr. GG. was imprisoned. He apostatized and returned home and his wife fainted at the sight of him. Professor B. accepted Islam, and became head of the printing works. R, E., and the photographer D. have all three apostatized to Islam. There was no revolutionary movement. Frightful atrocities occurred. There was a dark underground cellar into which the Armenians were crowded, one on the top of the other. One right one of them cried out in his sleep : "Escape," and the other prisoners began to shout as well. Then the guards were given the order to fire into the living mass, but they showed some human feeling and fired against the wall.
XII. The City of Angora
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