1916-01-31-DE-001
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Source: DE/PA-AA/R14090
Publication: DuA Dok. 234 (gk.)
Central register: 1916-A-04546
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 02/18/1916 p.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: K. No. 15/No. 285
Translated by: Robert Berridge (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/22/2012


From the Consul in Aleppo (Roessler) to the Reichskanzler (Bethmann Hollweg)

Report



K. No. 15 / No. 285
Aleppo, 31 January 1916

Your Excellency, I respectfully enclose a copy of a letter from Deacon Kuenzler in Urfa. It transpires from the letter that the remaining Armenians in Urfa have, due to the pressure of their circumstances, converted to Islam, among them Dr. Armenak Abuhayatian, a doctor at the German Orient Mission hospital, as well as the orphans gathered together by the Turks.

I have reported to the Imperial Embassy elsewhere concerning the ensuing arrest of the doctor, despite his conversion. From the letter it emerges that he was completely uninvolved in the protests of the inhabitants.

The forced conversions to Islam were also brought to our notice from other places a few weeks ago. In Kaisaria, the command was given to deport the Armenians to Sivas. This deportation meant their death. Possibly in order to save them, the Mutesarrif publicly announced that those who converted to Islam would be spared. Many converted. A number of Protestant and Catholic clerics refused to be converted. By means unknown to myself, it came about that they were deported not to Sivas but to Erigli, whereby the danger on the roads was less. They arrived in Tarsus after confronting various dangers and met by chance Baron von Kress on his journey with Djemal Pasha to Constantinople. He introduced them to the Pasha, who gave them a safe passage to Aleppo and later allocated their place of residence as partly Damascus and partly Jerusalem. The news originates from them. Amongst them is the Protestant preacher Wahram Tahmissian, who is now in Damascus.

An identical report is being sent to the Imperial Embassy in Constantinople.


Roessler


Enclosure

Copy

Urfa, 17 January 1916

Dear Consul,

You expect quite rightly a few lines from me again concerning the occurences in our hospital.

A week ago yesterday our doctor, who is still in convalescence, was suddenly arrested by the police. An hour later the same thing happened to the pharmacist´s assistant, Hosep, now known under his Moslem name of Jussuf. As I saw that, instead of returning from the police station, both were thrown into prison, I went to the Governor whereby I discovered that the warrant for his arrest was issued not in Urfa, but apparently in Aleppo. On the following morning I then sent the telegram to you. During the week I found out who was behind the latest appalling incidents. For quite a while we had a military superior here called G., who is now in Aleppo and who gave the order. All of Urfa was outraged about the arrest of the pair and, as everyone can witness, were totally uninvolved in the revolution. G. is just a daredevil. If he had perhaps known that our doctor was called now Arif Effendi and that, in the meantime, the entire native male personnel had become Moslem, then he would probably not have issued the order. This action on the part of our male cleaning personnel made me very sad, by the way. I had done my best, with their consent. If they had been registered as Syrian Protestants, we would have satisfied the requirements of the alleged order that no Armenian was allowed to remain in Urfa. It turned out later that they had registered themselves as Moslems. Strength of character is a weakness, especially of our doctor, who is left to face this unwelcome turn of events. It is, indeed, not certain if they will be accepted by the Moslem religious community. But most likely they will, because the orphans, who were rounded up at the order of the former Colonel (General) Fakhri ed din Pasha, who is now staying here, have all recently been converted to Islam, including the house mothers.

I have heard that the doctor has been sentenced. I do not know the length of sentence.


[Jakob Kuenzler]

[Note Rosenberg, 24 February]


The Imperial Ambassador in Pera had submitted a protest to the Turkish government, due to the forced conversions of the Armenians, before the receipt of this report. Halil Bey categorically denied any forced conversions. It can be assumed that Count Metternich, who knows about the report from Consul Roessler, will again submit a protest with the Porte on his own initiative when the time is appropriate.

Therefore, put to the files for the present.



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