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Link: http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1915-08-13-DE-001
Source: DE/PA-AA/R14087
Publication: DuA Dok. 137
Central register: 1915-A-25860
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 09/03/1915 p.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: K. No. 86/B. No. 1772
Translated by: Linda Struck (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/22/2012

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


K. No. 86 / B. No. 1772
Aleppo, 13 August 1915

Deacon Kuenzler from Urfa had closed the letter he submitted with his report No. 85, dated 11th inst., with the words, "As an eyewitness, Mr. .. will report to you by word of mouth on the dreadful conditions surrounding the transports of women and children." This witness, an Austrian, whom I have known for exactly two years and whom I personally trust to tell the truth, spent a few weeks’ holiday in a vineyard near Urfa with his wife, but returned prematurely because he could no longer stand seeing the atrocities. At my request he has recorded some of his observations in the report, of which I enclose a copy. Moreover, he became the victim of a very serious robbery attack en route from Urfa to Arab-Pounar, which he was able to ward off as the robbers were not prepared for the fact that he was carrying firearms and because some coachmen, whom the attackers had not noticed, came to his help. It appears that the robbers were lying in wait for a transport of Armenians. The wife of the Austrian is still ill in bed suffering from the effects of the shock.

The representative of the German Oriental Trade and Industrial Company, Carpet Manufacture Urfa, Mr. Franz Eckart, addressed to me the letter dated 5 August, of which I enclose a copy. This letter, as well as the general situation in Urfa, has incited me to write a letter to the Mutesarrif in Urfa recommending to him in particular protection for the Germans in that area, for their persons, for their staff and for conducting their activities.

Just as in similar earlier cases, I have received exact information about a further group which has left Adiaman. Of the 696 that left there, 321 arrived in Aleppo; 206 men and 57 women were murdered, 70 women and girls and 19 boys were kidnapped. There are no details available about the remainder.

One group that arrived here on 12th inst., from Sivas had been on the road for 3 months and was completely exhausted. Some died immediately after their arrival. They had often been refused water en route. Along the Muradsu they were led in circles for 14 days in one place in such a way that during the daytime they had no water at all. I have not been informed how great the number of losses was in this group.

As the local Vali, Beshir Sami Bey, informed me today, the privileges granted to the Catholic Armenians have been revoked again. Everyone without any exception is to be deported. On the other hand, he has declared that he will not tolerate any illegal acts or any influence by non-responsible positions in his Vilayet and will take the strongest possible action against any wrongdoers. Unfortunately, this good will is not preventing the misery that is arising from the lack of organisation and preparation. There is no doubt that also in the Vilayet Aleppo, e.g. on the road from Bab to Membibj, numerous women and children have perished as a result of exhaustion.

I am sending the same report to the Imperial Embassy.


Enclosure 1.


German Oriental Trade and Industrial Company Ltd., Potsdam

Urfa, 5 August 1915.

Some days ago, two young Turks dragged a young woman away from a group of Armenian emigrants on their march along the nearby road to Diyarbekir onto the lower part of my land into a hollow and stripped her of her clothes in order to rape her. Upon hearing the woman’s screams, my children rushed out and fetched the help of three workers who happened to be close by. These released the woman who fled into my house. After a short time the two Turks came to my house with four others and, in the presence of my wife, demanded that I hand over the woman. Upon my wife’s repeated reply of "Germans live here," they moved off, but at the same time continued to threaten us.

Despite my representations to the governor, neither I nor my family nor those workers of mine are safe from further harassment by those Turks. Just this morning again they drove the three workers away from their work in my garden. I am therefore obliged to request the protection of my own government.

Yours faithfully,

[Fr. Eckart]

To the Imperial German Consulate Aleppo

Enclosure 2

Report by an Austrian

Delivered to the German Consulate in Aleppo on 11 August 1915.

Observations concerning the deportations of Armenians in the area around Urfa.

1. These transports consisted only of women, old people and children. There was an absence of agile, robust men. Those groups that had already been on the march for a week or even longer gave a pitiful impression. Many exhausted and ill as a result of the tribulations of the march, limped along dragging children behind them (many babies and pregnant women). Looking at the children, the old and otherwise weak people one could usually observe that they had sore, swollen feet that were wrapped in rags. Most of the deportees had sold their last possessions before they reached Urfa in order to hire transport donkeys in the villages (3 medjidies per day, which was three times higher than the usual price). Other groups still had their travel articles and household gadgets with them as far as Urfa, but these things were taken off them there ... for almost no money at all.

In the Tsharshi even soldiers themselves were selling the belongings of the deportees. Most of those who reached their destination were accommodated in the orphanage where they had to arrange for food themselves. Military guardsmen kept watch around the building. I noticed how a greedy dealer jumped over the garden wall with clothes he had bought and quite obviously paid the guardsman bribe money.

By offering tips, by purchase or friendship it was possible to take possession of women, girls and children from the masses on the march. Later the authorities prohibited this kind of trade; but still appropriation takes place. I saw for myself two women aged 16 and 30 years, who were dragged from the street by Turks and who then told me themselves - when the same day I was a guest of the Turks - they were from Adiaman and had already been on the move for 10 days. The gendarmes had been good to them, fought off a band of Kurd robbers who were lying in wait to seize some women; in the villages they were always given bread and cheese. A daily march lasted 6 - 7 hours; they often had a chance to rest. On the way from Adiaman they had seen naked, murdered women, also mutilated ones, with their breasts cut off; two who were still alive told them they had lagged behind the group, partly because of illness, partly in an effort to flee and were then violated and robbed by the Kurds.

During the transport many people perished. In Urfa, a woman collapsed in front of me. As the policeman was not allowed to remain behind, he demanded some onlookers to go to the police and report the occurrence so that the sick person could be carried away! Another day I found the same woman (30 years old) in another street lying dead in broad daylight on the road in front of the orphanage. I went up to her and saw that her face was already blue. Soldiers were standing guard close by, policemen and civilians were frequenting the square. According to my estimations, the dead woman must have already lain there for several hours. Not until my intervention with the Mutesarrif did I succeed in arranging for the body to be removed within half an hour, although it was with a dung cart.

Outside Urfa (in the direction of Tell Abiad) just before the Urfa Gardens, the body of a 20-24 year-old man lay by the side of the road. No one bothered to bury him. Birds of prey were picking at him.

On the road Urfa-Arab-Pounar, I did not, in fact, see any bodies in the dark, but my coachman, who travels this route regularly, showed me burnt patches at intervals by the side of the road where human bodies had been burned on the spot.

Many a group limps by, screaming in pain—as soon as they see a person, many of these wretched souls fall on their knees and beg for help and salvation or offer their children for adoption. Many die of exhaustion on these marches at 56° Centigrade and without water—anyone who is left behind can be sure of death.

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