1916-01-03-DE-001
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Link: http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1916-01-03-DE-001
Source: DE/PA-AA/R14090
Publication: DuA Dok. 182 [nur Anlage 4] (gk.)
Central register: 1916-A-02889
Embassy register: A53a/1916/0284
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 02/01/1916 a.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 10/.
Translated by: Linda Struck (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/22/2012


From the Consul in Aleppo (Roessler) to the Ambassador in Extraordinary Mission in Constantinople (Wolff-Metternich)

Report



No. 10
Aleppo, 3 January 1916

5 Enclosures.

Enclosed your Excellency should please find, for your esteemed attention and with the request to kindly forward a copy to the Chancellor, a report which has only just reached me dated 8 November of last year, in which the Imperial Vice Consul Hoffmann from Alexandrette describes the deportation of the Armenians. Moreover, I am in agreement with the main points of this report.


Roessler

[Note by Wolff-Metternich, 28 January 1916]


No 41/6 Enclosures

Only one copy each of enclosures 1, 2, 5 is attached.

Presented to his Excellency the Chancellor, Herr von Bethmann Hollweg, after perusal.


Enclosure 1

Imperial Consulate

BN. 944


Alexandrette, 8 November 1915

I have the honour of reporting to the Imperial Embassy in the following on the situation regarding the deportation of the Armenians during the month of October, based on observations I was able to make during my presence in Aleppo while deputising for the Imperial Consul Roessler.

During the month of October, the deportation of the Armenians reached a stage which affords an overview on the probable further course of events.

Due to the difficulty of surveying the area and the vastness of it, across which the persecution of the Armenian population is spread, it is only possible to judge the actual events for the most part based on certain final results, from which one can draw conclusions as to what has gone on and is still going on behind the scenes.

Thanks to its central position, Aleppo is still the focal point of the deportation of the Armenians and, therefore, a particularly suitable location for gaining an overall picture of the occurrences.

1. Extension of the deportations.

At the end of October the evictions had spread to the Armenian population of the whole of Anatolia, as far as the outskirts of Constantinople and Smyrna. The only ones who were not affected were the citizens of Constantinople (from whence, however, numerous ”suspicious” persons appear to have been deported), of Smyrna and of Aleppo. The Armenian population of Aleppo seem to owe the fact that they are still here mainly to the resistance of those local circles who would suffer great financial losses if they disappeared.

For the time being, those who remain are partly - and it seems only the very smallest part - the families of Armenian soldiers, who are otherwise without any male protection. Cases where they have already been deported are excused by explaining that all Armenian soldiers deserted. But this claim is quite impossible, especially to such an extent, and has actually been proven wrong.

The employees of the Baghdad Railway and the Baghdad Railway Building Company have been spared so far, but I do not know whether this also applies to those of the Anatolian Railway.

It was intended to remove the Protestant and Catholic Armenians - although the latter are only partly of Armenian race – from the coastal areas only. Moreover, they were supposed to be allowed to choose a place to settle further inland. But this has remained theory only. Those Protestants and Catholics who have arrived in Aleppo are being sent on, just like the orthodox Armenians, although the order for their exception has not been revoked.

Up until today, staff and orphans of the German institutions in Marasch were spared from deportation and, as it seems, also those in Harunie (Vilayet Adana) and Beirut. Those in Urfa were not exempted. There is no reliable news about the institutions in north-eastern Anatolia. Despite consular efforts, Armenian teachers at German schools (Adana, assistant helpers newly arrived in Aleppo) and other persons, whose exemption had been petitioned by the Consulates on the grounds of urgent German interests. The way in which the Turkish side dealt with this bore no sign whatsoever of the fact that Germany currently has a special relationship with Turkey.

No exemption has been granted for American institutions.

So much concerning the question as to who has been deported.

2. Massacre.

It can be regarded as an established fact that in the actual Armenian Vilayets - quite apart from the war zone near Van - the deportation has been accompanied by the massacre of the adult male Armenians, but also partly of the whole population of Armenian towns and villages.

The statements made by the survivors of such deported convoys are concordant with each other in such a way that a prior agreement to this effect is out of the question. The worst seems to have happened in the Vilayet Diarbekir, of which the Vali Reschid Bey, according to verbal reports made to me by the Imperial Vice-Consul Holstein (Mosul) during his short visit to Aleppo in October, has declared publicly that he will tolerate no Christian in his Vilayet. The government (in this case in Mosul) has tried in vain to deny this statement. According to Vice-Consul Holstein’s personal knowledge, gained during his journey from Mosul to Aleppo, the people have been exhorted by gendarme patrols from Diarbekir and Mardin to ”finish off” the Armenians.


The credibility of the narratives by the survivors is supported by the fact that many, even most of the convoys coming from those areas were lacking men or older boys. More recently there have been attempts from a certain side to put forward the explanation that men and boys were only missing because they had fled into the mountains with their weapons. This admission, however, - and please note that this is exactly what is involved here - contradicts the well-known strong family sense amongst the Armenians. Whenever the men fled in large numbers into the mountains, such as in the area around Suedije [Suediye, meaning the Mussa Dagh]. by the coast, they took the women and children with them. I know of cases where Armenian soldiers, having deserted, did not flee into the mountains, but headed straight for their families so that they could be deported with them, although they already knew what deportation entailed for them. In a few actual cases of armed rebellion against the deportation - in Fundadjak and Urfa - the rebels barricaded themselves in, together with their wives and children.

3. Method of deportation.

The deportations from the actual Armenian Vilayets were usually carried out in such a brutal manner that only the wretched remains of a mountain people who were known to be strong and healthy actually arrived at the collection camps (Aleppo, Mosul, Tell-Abiad, Rass-el-Ain etc.). The accounts of the survivors of the agonies of the week- and month-long journey, of the plundering, the violation, abduction and sale of women, girls and boys by the accompanying guards and local inhabitants are made credible by the obvious condition of the survivors in Aleppo. Accounts related by irreproachable European eye-witnesses on their observations along the deportation routes corroborate these accounts. To the material passed on by the Imperial Consulate in Aleppo may be added a further report from a reliable source, whereby one must remember that the actual scenes of the occurrences described in the speech are, at pres-ent, practically inaccessible to Europeans.


As already reported before, the authorities have become aware of the bad impression that these miserable convoys make on the people of Aleppo and have re-routed them away from the town.
It has been reported earlier that some of the more attractive girls and women had been sold by the accompanying gendarmes and officers to the local Kurds. According to observations made by Vice-Consul Holstein, the price for a woman in the area through which he had travelled was anything up to 5 piasters (95 German pfennigs).

It can be assumed that the authorities are not in agreement with this latter method of deportation of women and girls. However, many things contradict this assumption, for example the case of the two petitions from the Baghdad Railway Building Company, of which I take liberty of including photographs I have taken (Enclosures 1 and 2).


There can be no doubt as to the fates of these four sisters who, as a result of the above orders, were separated from their families and deported without any male protection. I have searched in vain for an explanation to justify these orders. Anyone who knows about family life and morality in Turkey, will not be able to free himself of the feeling of witnessing an outrage, of being astounded at the recklessness with which the Turkish authorities issue orders of this kind in answer to petitions by a German company.

4. Collection camps.

The nearest destination up to now for the deportees arriving from the north and north-east were the stations Tell-Abiad, Rass-el-Ain and (for Aintab and Marasch) Aktsche-Koejuenli on the Baghdad Railway, then Aleppo. According to reports by the government, at the end of October about 20000 people were accommodated in Aleppo; only a few of them were in individual homes (at their own expense), the largest part in caravansaries (”khans”) or in open field camps on the outskirts of the town. The convoys arriving from Central, North and West Anatolia are streaming into the collection camp near Ma’mureh (alongside the Baghdad Railway in the Vilayet Adana) and on to the one in Katma (48 kms to the north-west of Aleppo by the Baghdad Railway). By the end of October, according to official government reports, about 40000 deportees had collected there.

The government is providing no shelter whatsoever for these collection camps. The more wealthy among the deportees have a small tent with them, the poorer ones are having to make do with improvised roofs made of mats, bedding, etc.. In the way of provisions, the government supplies 100 drams of flour (= 320 grams) per day and per head, but only irregularly. Fuel for fires is not supplied; as there are no woods near the collection camps dry thistles are usually the only type of fuel available. As far as health is concerned, there are no facilities whatsoever. In particular, there are no latrine contrivances at all, not even the most primitive. There is not even a hole in the ground provided for this purpose. For the 40000 people near Katma, one single source provides water, but those living closest to it are preventing others from getting to it.

The conditions that prevail in these collection camps are shown in the enclosed report by a consular clerk concerning a visit which he happened to make in an official capacity to the collection camp at Tel-Abiad.[ Encl. . 3]

Because of the circumstances that have developed in the city of Aleppo itself and in particular in the densely populated districts, may I humbly refer to the petition, submitted to the Reichs-kanzler2 [ Encl. . 4] by the teachers at the German Secondary School in Aleppo, a copy of which is again enclosed. I have persuaded myself of the correctness of the conditions described therein. The enclosed photographs [Encl. . 5] (not published in this documentation). only give a faint idea of this hellhole which the authorities use as a dumping ground for the sick, but also to accommodate the healthy and which is situated next to three schools and several churches and close to a well-frequented bazaar in a densely populated area of the city, 10 minutes from government headquarters and just as near to the municipal administrative offices, 5 minutes from the next police station and 7 minutes from the offices of military communications and supplies.

The number of deaths among the deportees in Aleppo increased during the month of October from 120 to 200 a day. Since the middle of the month, typhoid fever has spread rapidly. Three of the teachers who signed the above mentioned petition have already been infected.

The occupants of the camp near Katma were transported by rail up till the end of September, but since then by road to the collective camps on the outskirts of Aleppo. It is also to this same place that those who had installed themselves in Aleppo are gradually being brought while, at the same time, the deportation is being undertaken from there.

5. Further transport.

For the past few months, the deportees are being transported from the collection camps around Aleppo on to the places intended for their ”resettlement”.

At the beginning of the deportations, i.e. 2 - 4 months ago, the nearer points in Syria, such as Hama, Homs, Bab, Damascus, served as destinations. However, since the beginning of October - expressly stipulated in a poster displayed on walls in Aleppo - only the stations Rakka and Der-es-Zor by the Euphrates, as well as the western Hauran (Kerak), and only very recently Ras-el-Ain (last station of the Baghdad Railway in the direction of Mosul) are being allowed as destination points. According to estimates made by a senior official in the Vilayet Aleppo, by the middle of October about 300000 persons had been sent on towards the south and south-east for the purpose of ”resettlement”.

At the beginning, the evacuation of these people was effected by train wherever possible, and then without. But towards the end of October, in view of the dangers to the general public caused by the delay in removing the Armenians from Aleppo, it was decided to use the train again, the preferred destination now being Rass-el-Ain. Parallel to this, there are continuous caravans of deportees to the other destinations mentioned. For transport they are partly using their own carts, but also camels, one only for every one or two families. This usually means that a large proportion of the baggage has to be left behind and most members of the family have to go on foot. During the last few days of October, the government has appeared to deport to nearer places too, in order to ensure a faster cleansing of Aleppo. Also it is said that Muslim land-owners have been allocated a number of deportees for resettlement. It seems that no rules and regulations whatsoever have been expressly specified, but rather the spontaneous ideas and moods of the individual officials responsible seem to be determining factors.

Up to now, no consideration has been made for the profession or talents of the individual deportees. Recently it seems that this is causing the military authorities problems, because in many places there is a noticeable lack of certain categories of craftsmen and skilled workers. From what we hear, in the future craftsmen are to be resettled in places where they are needed. But, according to my experience so far, I consider it out of question that this rule will be applied consistently. The same will happen with this exception as with all the other exceptions.

The route to be covered on foot or with animals is such that further deaths of deportees are unavoidable. To achieve this, it is not even necessary to ensure - as the Armenians are claiming - that the deportees are intentionally led along caravan routes which are not the usual ones with regular watering places.

Once at the destinations for resettlement - i.e. usually: Rakka, Der-es-Zor, Kerak, Mosul (approached from Rass-el-Ain) - the deportees are left to their own devices (according to statements made by the senior Vilayet official mentioned above). As this source tells us, there is a lack of means and officials for ensuring proper resettlement. It was therefore unavoidable that all the deportees perished. Despite its undoubtedly good intentions, the government did not fare any better with the Muslim refugees, in particular after the last war.

In this respect, there is not much difference between the deportation of the Armenians and their extermination. Their own leaders estimate the number of dead by the end of October as being at least 600000, basing their figures on the individual reports of arriving convoys.

Whether the extermination of the Armenians was actually planned by the central authorities, is a question that cannot be answered. Eyub Bey, the former commissioner for the deportations in Aleppo (and who still holds a responsible position there today) is well-known for the statement with which he rejected expenditures for the use of orphans: You still do not understand what we want: we want to obliterate the Armenian name for good and all.

That this is the intention of the executioners, is easy to recognise by their methods of implementation. Indeed, a few days ago in Aleppo, a female Armenian deportee was accused of murdering her child. She had thrown her child into the Euphrates. But with this, the authorities did not elicit anything more than cynical derision. At least they did not succeed in conveying the impression that they were fearfully anxious to save the lives of the deportees.

So much on the real conditions surrounding the deportation of the Armenians in October.

I beg you to allow me to offer some observations about this state of affairs:

1. The political and military reasons, which were put forward to justify the deportation of the Armenians, are well-known. The fact that in and around Van, i.e. in the war zone, the Armenians, by way of treason, switched to the side of the enemy, is not surprising after all that had preceded; I suppose this development had been anticipated by the Turkish authorities. It is also a known fact that some of the Kurds were supporting the enemy. I do not dare to pass judgement on the meaning and the dimensions of the uncovering in Constantinople of the threads of a supposed conspiracy. It does not appear that the Armenians of Anatolia are directly implicated. Rather, the latter’s deportation on the one hand, effected by the Turkish government (the detailed explanation of 4 June of this year published in the 9 June issue of the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung) and, on the other, by a certain German party (as reported by the Imperial Resident Minister Baron Max von Oppenheim to the Foreign Office on 29 August of this year) is being justified by referring to a particular seditious activity.

For obvious reasons, verifying these accusations is very difficult. At least the one or other element can still be scrutinised. I will depict the charges made about Alexandrette as an example.

There is a passage in the detailed government report dated 4 June that was mentioned previously: ”Other Armenians have been brought by the English authorities from Cyprus to the area around Alexandrette. Amongst them were Toros, Oglu, Agop, on whom papers were found which prove without any doubt their criminal intent. These people have, amongst other things, caused trains to derail. On the other hand, the commanding officers of the English-French forces have contacted Armenians in the areas of Adana, Doertjol, Jumurtalik, Alexandrette and other coastal regions and incited them to revolt.”

The core of truth that is behind this official proclamation - of which I have only just become aware - is that one Armenian (Torosoglu Agop), who is said to have been set down on land near Doertjol by the English cruiser ”Doris”, was arrested there and found to be in possession of 40 allegedly English pounds. Everything else is embellishment. Neither were several Armenians involved, nor were revealing documents found on the named person, nor have Armenians caused trains to derail. The only derailment that took place was arranged by the cruiser ”Doris” itself. Finally, it is incorrect that there were any other connections at all between commanding officers of enemy warships (land assault forces are out of the question) and Armenians in the identified places in the Bay of Alexandrette. As far as the mentioned spy, Torosoglu Agop, is concerned, he is said to have confessed before a court-martial in Adana and subsequently been hanged. However, what evidentiary value this conclusion of the court-martial has, is demonstrated by the fact that in the course of the same proceedings, the former dragoman of this Imperial Consulate, Balit, as an accomplice of Agop and allegedly accused by him, was arrested and sentenced to death without any further evidence or hearing; he barely escaped being hanged through the intervention of the Imperial representatives, until he was finally acquitted in Constantinople. Although I myself have not heard of any court proceedings in Turkey which were more frivolous than these, there are certain signs that Fachri Pasha, the Deputy Commander of the 4th Army, who is known to be one of the brains behind the scheme of harshness against the Armenians, is still convinced today of Balit's guilt.

In his reports mentioned above, Baron Max von Oppenheim states, ”During a brief enemy landing, which led to the destruction of the railway line of Alexandrette, without doubt spying and other services took place.”

I have never heard this accusation, not even from the Turkish Muslim side, although the case is known to me in full detail. At least it cannot be based on facts, despite its alleged indisputableness, and probability does speak against it. If an English warship lands at night at a roadstead where English warships have been lying for months before the outbreak of war, and unscrews a few rails 30 m from the shore, resulting in the derailment of a night train, then the ship does not need any Armenian spies and locksmiths to do so. The ”rich funds”, of which the report relates as having been found on the spy (i.e., Torosoglu Agop), amount, according to Turkish accounts, to 40 pounds - as already mentioned these were supposedly English pounds - i.e., a sum which could not have been unusual in the rich town of Doertjol, where it is customary to carry one's fortune around in one’s belt. ”Traces of a militarily organised plot”, as the report goes on to describe, were neither discovered in Alexandrette nor in Doertjol. In Alexandrette, a very thorough massive search of houses uncovered neither weapons nor any other incriminating documents. According to reports, however, some arms were found in Doertjol. But this was not surprising since the inhabitants of this area had been able to defend themselves only with weapons during the so-called Adana massacre in 1909 during which they were in danger of being butchered by their Muslim neighbours.

The purpose of all this is to actually rectify the charges made against the Armenians, insofar as they involve the district that is within my jurisdiction and as such can be controlled by me. To draw conclusions about the value of the other charges will have to remain a matter of interpretation.

Apart from the case of Van and its adjacent zone, particular caution is called for relative to the charge of a ”militarily organised plot”. Certain local insurrectionary movements cannot be treated as proof of such. For example, the fact that the revolt in Seitun cannot be singled out as a case of a conspiracy of that kind, is clearly evinced in the reports of the Imperial Consulate in Aleppo. Also the anger of the inhabitants of Fundadjak in August and that in Urfa in October was probably, as one would put it, ”militarily organised”, but locally restricted. It did not shape up as a by-product of a planned conspiracy, but developed on the spot spontaneously due to the threat of deportation. The uprising of the Armenians in the region of Suedije (to the south of Alexandrette) was, according to the descriptions even on the part of the Turkish military, not a conspiracy but, according to a Turkish admission, a spontaneous uprising, which was due mainly to the tactlessness of the Kaymakam of Latakije in the proclamation of the order for deportation. The recovery of the revolutionaries from Suedije by French warships was also not a long-planned act. This is apparent from the circumstances and the opinions of well-informed Turks.

How easily these kinds of events can be distorted by reference to ”unquestionable facts” is shown in the case of the machine guns of Urfa. On the grounds of a testimony which he regarded as being first-rate beyond doubt, Baron Max von Oppenheim, in my presence, treated the use of machine guns (Russian?) by the insurgent Armenians in Urfa as proven and pursued threads to Van and Russia. Count Wolfskeel, on the other hand, who had taken part in the repression of the insurgency, dismissed the story of the machine guns as a tale belonging to a fairytale world.

2. It is quite a different matter when the deportation of the Armenians is justified with the fear that the Armenians could join up with the enemy in case of an enemy landing such as in Van. This fear is without doubt justified, even if it refers not only to the Armenians, but also to the other Christian segments of the Turkish population and even many Muslims, as the case of the Kurds of the Bederhan faction and certain significant Arabian tribes in Iraq and Arabia goes to prove. In any case, it is obvious that this can only be used to justify the evacuation of the endangered areas, i.e. in particular the coastal areas and those along the military supply and communication routes, but not the total expulsion of the Armenians.

3. One probably arrives nearest to the truth when one admits, without attaching too much importance to the charges levelled against the Armenians, that the Turkish government recognised a welcome opportunity in the treason of the Armenians in Van, to once and for all crush to insignificance the politically and - from the Muslim-Turkish point of view - economically equally onerous Armenian element of the population during the singularly favourable opportunity afforded by the current war. (I am, of course, aware that with this remark I am telling the Imperial Embassy nothing new. I am just adding it for the sake of the completeness of my report.)

4. Also it becomes obvious that this whole thing is mainly Turkey’s own business, unless one wishes to embrace, whether genuine or hypocritical, the sentimentality of the British and the Americans.

Therefore, it is up to the Turkish government to decide how it is to handle those economic concerns relating to the deportation of the Armenians.

By this I do not mean the one-time, although heavy, losses which the creditors of the deportees are suffering and for which no-one who is familiar with the circumstances is seriously expecting any compensation from that famous liquidation law of 13. Eylul 331. Instead, I mean the permanent damage which this sparsely populated empire is suffering through the sudden disappearance of several hundreds of thousands of workers who are capable of gainful employment.

If every Armenian, as one occasionally hears and reads on the German side, were essentially an usurer and nothing else, then, of course, there would be no question of such a loss for the empire. In reality the hundreds of thousands of employable Armenians - whose total number on Turkish soil is estimated at being two million - are industrious and skilled craftsmen and energetic, hard-working and enterprising farmers. These facts are often overlooked by those who are eager to criticise them. And particularly the Armenians from mountainous regions, who mostly live off the land, without completely denying certain ugly traits attributed to the Armenian race, such as egoism, ungratefulness and unscrupulousness, are a much more pleasant type of people than the merchant Armenians in the cities who are known throughout the world. Physically healthy, fertile, mentally active and industrious, they are too valuable an asset to the economic development of this backward country not to leave behind them a long-marked gap amongst the Muslim population which is sparse, mentally awkward, economically lethargic and in many cases already degenerated due to syphilis and other diseases. Much slighter losses of agricultural workers - e.g. the absence of the harvesters on the Greek islands during the Turkish-Italian war in the Vilayet Aidin - have had very undesirable consequences in the better cultivated areas of Turkey, as the sparseness of the population there has been chronic for many years.

Will the Muslim-Turkish people, towards whose economic build-up the deportation of the Armenians admittedly was supposed to contribute, with their mental and economic backwardness be in a position to take over such a great inheritance which has fallen upon them so unexpectedly and for which take-over they are unprepared?

According to reports from Turkish friends, the Turks are not oblivious to the great economic losses they are suffering as a result of the annihilation of the Armenians and to the difficulty of replacing them with Muslims, but they consider a more gradual and peaceful way to be impossible, because in any form of peaceful competition, the economically less talented and unqualified would then soon become dead-beat. My Turkish friends are hoping, therefore, that this serious operation on the body of the Turkish economy will finally bring about a recuperation of the empire in the Muslim-Turkish interest.

In order to share this hope, one needs to adopt an optimistic attitude towards the capacity of the Muslim Turks for developing their economic relations and towards the resolve and capability of the government as far as economic discipline is concerned, an attitude which still appears to me to be hovering in mid-air without any props. Nevertheless, Turkey may perhaps also experience the rise of an Enver Pasha in its economy. In the meantime, according to reports, the Jews in Aleppo are trying to fill the gaps left by the Armenians. The Christian Syrians will be the next to follow.

5. As far as the question of the attitude of Germany to the deportations is concerned, I would like to take the liberty of commenting as follows on the basis of observations I made in Aleppo and locally:

Regarding the damage suffered by German creditors and the German export industries (dealing with such things as colour pigments), Germany is not in any substantial way at a greater disadvantage than any other foreign countries. In my accounts above I have touched upon the fact that the Turks did not give the slightest consideration for such German interests.

On the other hand, it is a well-known fact that enemy and neutral foreign voices in parliament and the press are assigning a special role to Germany as an accomplice, if not as an instigator. It will not be easy to say what damage to German interests will result from this.

There can be no doubt that in this country itself, the non-Armenian Christian - both foreign and indigenous - population, which has witnessed the deportations, is convinced of Germany’s complicity and its complete indifference to the atrocities, which, with very few exceptions, people detest. For all their aversion to the Armenians, judging by confirmed reports, one can see in this the by-product of the same attitude which was evident in the ”Belgian atrocities”. In other words, the Armenian atrocities and the ”Belgian atrocities” are used alternately; because we have not prevented the Armenian ones, they believe in our role in the Belgian ones and vice versa. It can be expected that after a peace agreement, the choir of returning enemy rivals will intensify this attitude to the best of their ability. I can imagine no more effective material for agitation in this issue than the following scene: on the one side Germany, the powerful ally of the Turks, that, unmoved, lets hundreds of thousands of women and children be sent out into the desert to die, and on the other side, the French warships which (near Suedije) pick up and bring to safety 6000 of these wretched people who already believed themselves doomed to meet their deaths and wished to die at least with weapons in their hands. The consequences for the reputation of the German name in Christian circles in Turkey are quite clear.

The Muslims are also accepting this same argument of German consent. But the large majority, provided they think at all, seem to be thankful to us for allowing this radical ”operation”.

But on the other hand, also according to reports from reliable people, all kinds of Muslim voices can be heard condemning the atrocious acts, particularly those against women and children, as a sin against the commandments of Islam. These opinions are particularly apparent amongst the Arab Muslims. It is a well-known fact that their own Turks and what they do seem to them a priori to be disagreeable and inferior.


Unfortunately, according to statements made to me by Vice-Consul Holstein and other reliable persons, the Muslims also seem to have found our tolerance natural, partly because we ”would not have acted any differently in Belgium”.

Finally, the Armenians themselves are, of course, generally convinced of our complicity, even of our instigation. Even where in exceptional cases it is clear and recognised that our attitude of allowing is not the same as approval, but rather the regrettable result of sensitive political relations, the Germans are still viewed as a complicit party because they had given the Armenian people a false sense of security. A calm-thinking Armenian clergyman (Protestant) once said to me, ”We were willing to remain loyal. Until the deportations began. If we had started at that point to resist the beginning extermination of our people, we would have been in command of the situation and not doomed to ruination as we are today. But all our German friends in Marasch, Haruniye, Urfa, Malatia and Ma’muret-ul-Aziz urgently advised us to submit ourselves and then nothing would happen to us. Believing in them, we followed that advice and the fact that we relied on the German influence proved catastrophic for us.”

If the deportation of the Armenians would really lead to their total annihilation, then these Armenian opinions would be irrelevant. But, even if the deportations continue for several months, a considerable fraction of the Armenians will still remain, whether by virtue of the fact that due to the toughness of the race, a number of them may manage to pull through all the dangers life presents to them, or due to the versatility of the Armenian intelligence, through which they may find ways and means to save themselves, or because they are spared from deportation at all, such as the above-mentioned railway employees, the population of the above-mentioned cities, and individual rich people in other towns (e.g. Adana). In particular, the most influential elements will most likely survive deportation. The same applies to the approx. 25000 Armenians who, according to Armenian reports, have converted to Islam in the north-eastern Vilayets in order to save themselves, also servants and children picked up in the streets, etc..

All these people will, of course, be deeply embittered towards Germany, even those who owe their lives to our intervention (railway employees), as gratitude is said to be an unknown trait of the Armenian character.

They will be joined by the numerous non-Armenians who have suffered losses through the deportation of the Armenians or have even been ruined altogether.

Both will reinforce the choir of our opponents in Turkey after the declaration of peace and will thereby find fertile ground in all parts of the population that have suffered economic losses during the war - and who did not - or have lost relatives. For surely it is not necessary to point out that no professed ideal can counterbalance this suffering for the largest, including the Muslim, proportion of the population.

6. As fruitless as the besmirching of the good German name due to the deportation of the Armenians is, practically speaking, it depends on whether it will end up producing economical or political disadvantages.

As far as the future economic work of Germany in Turkey is concerned, she will still have to continue working with the non-Muslim elements, and that preferably. The idea that she could rely on the Muslims for support, e.g. in trade - as I heard being preached recently in Aleppo by a certain German side - even if the consulates worked together with all their might to bring the Muslim element up to a trading status will probably remain a utopia for a long time to come. Germany will have to continue managing trade and shipping with foreign and local Jews and Christians, including the remaining Armenians.

Fortunately, it can be regarded as out of the question that these trading elements of Turkey, perhaps with the exception of a few (foreigners), will be held back by their personal feelings towards the Germans from seeking their advantages in the exchange of trade with Germany. Even the Armenians will put tangible financial advantage ahead of their feelings.

The more the Turkification of Turkey makes real progress, over and beyond pure outward appearances, and the influence of hostile foreigners and rajas thereby abates, naturally the fewer will be the attendant political drawbacks. In this respect there seems to be some hope for the time being.

For the recruiting work of those Germans still living in Turkey, which will continue to be essential, the deportation of the Armenians will remain an embarrassing hardship, especially in terms of that deportation’s repercussions on the other accusations against the German army and people, even more embarrassing insofar as these people will often have to refrain, for political reasons, from expressing the truth and their opinions on the matter. And they will find the effect of this embarrassing issue particularly disturbing when they give up their bowling-club seclusion and begin to cultivate contact with other influential circles of the population, as they now earnestly must do in order to expand the scope of German influence.


Hoffmann

Enclosure 2


[Photographs of petitions by the Building Dept. of the Baghdad Railway, begging the exemption from deportation of a foreman and a baker, together with the members of their families, as well as answers from the military commissioner to the effect that the girls of a marrying age are not to be exempted.]




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