1916-01-27-DE-001
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Source: DE/PA-AA/R14090
Central register: 1916-A-02892
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 02/01/1916 a.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 37
Translated by: Vera Draack (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 03/23/2012


From the Ambassador in Extraordinary Mission in Constantinople (Wolff-Metternich) to the Reichskanzler (Bethmann Hollweg)

Report



No. 37
Pera, 27 January 1916
Your Excellency, I have the honour of presenting the transcript of a letter that Dr. Straubinger wrote to Member of Parliament Erzberger on 18 January in which, among other things, Dr. Straubinger makes recommendations for organising aid for the Armenians and proposes that a church collection be carried out.

I consider a church collection to be pointless, because the Turkish authorities would not permit the money collected to be used to assist the Armenians.


P. Metternich

Enclosure


Transcript.

Pera (St. Anton), 18 January 1916

[Straubinger reports on the situation of the Christians in Turkey in general and particularly that of the Catholics. He reports the following on the Armenians:]

4) The Armenian Question: Although the Catholic Armenians, on instructions from their bishops and contrary to their orthodox countrymen, were not involved in the attempts to achieve national independence, they were still dragged into the misfortune which befell the orthodox members of their race. Until now, they have lost 11 out of 15 dioceses, while 2 are presently in gravest danger (Marash and Aleppo) and have only half their former size. The remaining 2 (Constantinople and Brussa) are weakened. The fate which befell the Catholic Armenians through no fault of their own, as it also did a part of the Catholic Syrians and Chaldeans, was massacre and deportation, whereby it must be noted that there is very little difference between deportation with all of its consequences and massacre.

The goods of the deportees and the massacred fall under the law of liquidation that, when it is applied everywhere, will completely rob the misfortunate of their home.

Aspired Target: Assistance programmes for the Armenians in the places where they are now living, particularly for the Catholic Armenians, as the American missionaries and the "German Christian Charity-Organisation in Armenia" mainly care for the orthodox and Protestant Armenians.

Previously achieved: Support of the Armenians in Aleppo using the money transferred from Cologne; furthermore, support of the Catholic Armenian Patriarchate, which is in an extremely precarious situation, for which letter of thanks will soon arrive.

Recommendations: Everything we have done so far is merely a drop in the ocean. We require several hundred thousand marks to ease only the worst needs. A church collection should be carried out, as was done in Poland, but the money should be advanced to us now (perhaps cash from the missions). Without money we cannot carry out anything, nothing at all. The money must come quickly, very quickly. Otherwise much will be destroyed that could still be saved at present.

The charity organisation for the Armenians in general and the Catholic Armenians in particular must be a German organisation so that the ridiculous rumours about us and our emperor (as if His Majesty were the creator of this misfortune) will finally cease.

I recommend setting up 4 aid centres: Aleppo, Marash, Angora, Konia. The Borromean nuns should be responsible for the aid programme in Aleppo, while one of the priests sent as curators should go to Marash, as they have a parish there. In times of peace, there were over 5,000 Catholic Armenians in Marash; it is the seat of the American missionaries and in the coming weeks a Protestant pastor will be sent there from Germany. Dr. David, who is presently in Angora, or one of the men here can take care of Angora and Konia. There is no legal means of approaching the Armenians placed in the deportee camps, but it cannot be excluded that a change will take place here.



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