English :: en de
Home: www.armenocide.net
Link: http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1915-09-03-DE-002
Source: DE/PA-AA/R14087; R14095
Central register: 1915-A-28019
Embassy register: A53a/1915/5872
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 09/26/1915 p.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: K. No. 90/B. No. 1950
Translated by: Vera Draack (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/03/2012

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


K. No. 90 / B. No. 1950
Aleppo, September 3, 1915
I have received the following information on the Armenian question since sending my last report:

1) With the exception of 6 or 10 men who were saved by coincidence, all the men were killed in the Armenian slaughters in Antioch in the year 1909. Around 7 August they had been put in jail by the government as a preliminary step towards being exiled. The widows and orphans have also not been exempted from deportation and have had to begin the march towards Hama.

There are 6 Armenian villages near Antioch: Kessab on Mount Cassius and five on Djebel Musa, namely Bityas, Habably, Yoghun-oluk, Khider Bey, Kabbusiye. Farmers from these villages who showed themselves near Antioch were put in chains and taken away to the town. Although the inhabitants of Kessab and Kabusiye then presented themselves upon the request to surrender, those of the other four villages fled to the mountains. Two battalions were sent out to catch them, but they have not yet had any success. The terrain is difficult and the troops are not yet trained. In the course of the days, 30 soldiers were wounded, among them eight by shots, which they fired at each other due to clumsiness.

2) On the 19th inst., an Armenian who at that time had run away from the military, taking his weapon with him, shot three men from the armed force during a house search in Urfa, whereupon the mob held a real slaughter of Armenians and Syrians. About 200 men (according to other information even 250 – 320) were killed. The next morning the government was once again in charge of the situation. I have the honour of enclosing a transcript of a letter from Deacon Kuenzler on this matter. The fear he voices in this, that hundreds of Armenian street construction workers on the Plain of Harran were also killed, has been confirmed to me in the meantime as being true by the operators of the Baghdad Railway. The Baghdad Railway on its part has received a report from the station-master in Tell Abiad who was told by gendarmes that at the order of their superior authority (the Kaimmakam from Harran) they shot down the street construction workers.

3) Apart from the Armenians, not only the Nestorians, but also Ancient Syrians (Jacobites), Catholic Syrians (Syrians) and other Christians have also been deported in the eastern provinces. For a longer period of time it has been indicated here that such Christians were also killed. I have asked a European acquaintance of mine who was born here, is a good observer and, because of his occupation, comes into contact with different classes of the population, to inform me in writing of what he has learned about this matter, and I have the honour of enclosing his notes on this matter. According to him, there is a large number of non-Armenian, Christian women who arrived here without their husbands. Almost the only possible conclusion is that the men were killed. In one case, which has been proved, those missing were Greek Catholics.

4) Around 20 August, part of the Young Turk Committee in Aintab, upon hearing a false rumour that an armed hoard of Armenians was marching towards the town, wanted to start a panic and call up a massacre. The more level-headed part of the Committee opposed this and prevented a disaster.

Although this news comes from an Armenian source, the people are reliable and it can be considered as being reliable.

5) Due to a false rumour, on about 20 August the mob in Bab (east of Aleppo) pounced on about 30 Armenian families put up there in tents and wounded 12 people. Only the immediate intervention on the part of the Kaimmakam prevented further misfortune.

The burials of the Armenians who died in Bab are only possible when escorted by gendarmes.

6) On the 13st inst. the government made an announcement that those Armenians who wished to emigrate from Turkey would be permitted to do so if they committed themselves not to return during the war. It was pointed out orally that each individual would require permission from Djemal Pasha to emigrate. Also, no ships were available. The Armenians were convinced that the government was not serious about this announcement and that whoever applied for this permission would possibly incur special persecution through this. Although all the Armenians would emigrate if the practical means of doing so were available, no one dared to request permission, with the exception of a single family whose application I presented to the Vali together with my private recommendation. Three weeks have passed since then and an answer has not yet been forthcoming. Recently a regulation was passed that no one from the area of the 4th Army is allowed to leave without Enver Pasha's permission. Thus, permission to emigrate is, in fact, invalid and only given as a pretence.

7) For a while, the Armenians were deported from here to Hama. I have the honour of enclosing the transcript of an inquiry I addressed to the Imperial Consulate in Damascus, asking what happens to them from Hama onwards. Since then, the railway administration has received the order to send the trains carrying the exiles directly to Rayak, from where they are to be transferred to Damascus. It seems that the area between Damascus and Kerak (south-east of the Dead Sea) has now been determined as the place for relocation, whereby the Armenians will have to remain a certain distance from the Hedjas Railway (probably at least 25 km). At any rate, Kerak has been named as the southernmost point of destination for transportation in the order to the railway administrations.

8) An older, calm Armenian who weighs things up carefully, a Protestant pastor from outside Aleppo who is very involved in the relief organisation for the expellees here, gave me a record of the results of his questioning – which went on for several weeks – on those banned from the Vilayets of Erzurum, Sivas, Diyarbekir and Harput, so far as they were deported to Aleppo, and I respectfully enclose a transcript of this. In this record, only 13000 of the 35 - 40000 banned arrived here; the rest were either killed or abducted. There are no males over the age of 11 among the 13000 who arrived here. The survivors were exposed to inhuman treatment. The pastor always endeavoured to find the most educated and discerning people in the individual groups. Once quieter times have finally returned it will become clear whether or not his account is accurate. Unfortunately at present, in my opinion, there is no reason to see his account as being incorrect, given the numerous pieces of information arriving here from the most various sources and all well-attested, which always result in the same picture.

To illustrate the inhuman treatment described therein, I have the honour of adding that according to information from the deputy chief operating officer of the Baghdad Railway based on statements from two engineers employed in Ras-ul-Ain, a Dutchman and a Luxembourger, a troop of 300 – 400 women arrived naked at the railway station there. According to the same source, other troops were plundered while still in Ras-ul-Ain by Chechen (Circassians) living nearby and by the gendarmes. A woman raped by eight men threw herself on the railway line to end her life. The train was brought to a standstill, whereupon she was then brought to Aleppo by a German engineer.

9) A German official of the Baghdad Railway Construction Company, W. Spieker, whose records on his observations on the other side of the Euphrates River I had the honour of enclosing in my report dated 27 July – K.No. 81 – No. 1645 – had reason to travel to Marasch. I respectfully enclose his record of what he saw and heard on this journey. It follows from this that the Armenians in the Mutesarriflik Marasch, particularly in those parts to the north of the city of the same name, were treated in the same fashion as in the region of the 3rd Army, even though Marasch belongs to the region of Djemal Pasha's army (the 4th Army).

However, Gürüm, mentioned in the record, is located in the Vilayet Sivas, but, for the most part, the march from there to Marasch crosses through the Marasch region.

10) A Polish engineer from the Baghdad Railway who left Mosul on 10 August characterised the stretch to Ras-ul-Ain as follows: deserted villages, occasional smell of corpses and trails of blood in the sand which have not yet been obliterated. It is noticeable that something exceptional has passed through the country.

11) At present, the instructions to the railway administration on the transport of the banned are that one train is to run every day, namely 2 per week from the north-east (Aktsche Küyünli railway station for people from Marasch and Aintab), 2 from the north-west (Katma railway station for people from Alexandrette, Beilan and the coastal strip). These four trains pass through Aleppo. Although the stops at the railway stations last for hours, the passengers are most strictly prevented from entering the town.

Every week, 3 trains leave Aleppo itself with such banned people; they come from the east or have gathered here otherwise due to a lack of organisation of transport. A train is generally made up of 30 – 35 carriages; it is to transport 1500 – 1600 banned who are usually loaded onto freight cars, but also passenger cars whenever these are available. Thus, there are 50 – 55 persons in one wagon. It is a picture of indescribable misery.

I am sending the same report to the Imperial Embassy.


Enclosure 1


Urfa, August 23, 1915

Esteemed Consul,

The daily transport, which led to death, lasted until 19 August. On this day, the police investigated various Armenian houses. In one house they found some Mauser cartridges. Suddenly, upon searching further, the door of a hiding-place opened and three shots cracked out; a policeman, a gendarme and a soldier fell down dead. The others fled and immediately spread the news that all the Muslims should arm themselves because the "Giaur" [the unbelievers] were attacking the Muslims. The mob immediately stormed the Armenians from all sides and a real massacre began; approx. 200 Armenians and Syrians became victims of this, which continued until night fell. The next morning the government again held the reins and the mob had to calm down. It has been quiet since then. But no Armenian shows himself on the street, despite the government's assurance of security. I have heard a rumour that the two … Chalil and Ahmed Bey, of whom I've written to you before, have left. I pray to God that this is true! In Karaköprü, an hour north of Urfa, as well as on the Haran Plain hundreds of Armenians are working in road construction; supposedly, they were all shot during the past few days. But this news has not yet been definitely confirmed. I pray to God that it is not true!

All of us (the German colony) are well, thank God.

[Jakob Kuenzler]

P.S. The shots, which came from the hiding-place were fired by an Armenian who had deserted from the military together with his weapon at that time.

Enclosure 2


Alep le 21 Août 1915

Monsieur le Consul

A Alep il y a une femme Obégi, habitant chez son beau frère Fathallah Obégi, quartier Tibi ; cette femme était avec son mari Yorki Obégi et son beau frère Noury Obégi à Diarbekir. Elle y avait aussi ses quatre frères à elle. Quand les massacres nouveau genre ont commencé à Diarbekir, Noury Obégi avec sa famille s’est caché chez un agha de ses amis. On ne sait pas si l’hospitalité turque est équivalente à l’hospitalité arabe, mais toujours est il qu’on n’en a aucune nouvelle depuis. Yorki Obégi, sa femme, son garçon et sa fille et les quatre frères de sa femme, tous grecs catholiques, ont été envoyé en émigration; à peine sortis de Diarbekir, Yorki Obégi et les quatre jeunes gens, ainsi que les arméniens mals on été séparés des femmes et emmenés dans une autre direction et jamais plus aucune nouvelle n’est parvenue à la femme de son mari et de ses frères. En cours de route on a volé à la femme Obégi ses deux enfants et après des peines inouïs elle a pu retrouver son garçon, mais sa fille agée de 8 à neuf ans est disparue.

A Diarbekir il n’y avait pas seulement des arméniens. Où sont donc les hommes des autres rites? C’est une chose qu’il serait facile de demander au gérant du consulat la bas.

Un officier chrétien ottoman, qui se trouvait à Diarbekir et qui tient à rester anonyme m’a raconté qu’à Diarbekir il n’y avait qu’un seul prêtre grec; où est-il? il a été tué. Il m’a raconté aussi que le commissaire de police de la bas lui a dit qu’un certain exilé, Gabriel, a été massacré; qu’un nommé Atkinson et un autre Pascales qu’il croit être l’un sujet anglais et l’autre russe ont été tué il y a deux mois et le commissaire lui aurait dit qu’il les a tué lui même.

Pour me résumer il y a à Alep une quantité de femmes qui sont répartis dans leurs églises respectives – chaldéenne – grecque, - syrienne etc. qui sont sans leurs maris; où sont donc ces hommes?

Un commerçant musulman de Malatié arrivé ces jours ci à Alep aurait répondu à un de ses amis chrétien d’ici qui lui a exprimé le désir (soi disant) d’aller encaisser quelques dettes à Malatié. „Malheureux, le montant de ces traites est donc plus important que votre vie. Mais il ne reste plus aucun chrétien à Malatié!!“ Le mouvement, s’il a été au début antiarménien, a subitement dégénéré en une révolte antichrétienne. Or il ne fait aucun doute et il serait très facile de s’en convaincre si on voulait faire une enquête sur les lieux ; mais quel es le malheureux chrétien qui pourrait s’en charger?!


Enclosure 3


No. 1806

To the Imperial Consulate in Damascus

Aleppo, August 17, 1915

Since the government decided to have the towns of Marasch, Aintab, Tarsus, Adana, Mersina and the coastal strip of the Vilayet of Aleppo cleared of Armenians the figures for those affected by the deportation within the area of the 4th Army must be estimated at 120000 to 150000; of these, 15000 are in Der-el-Zor and about 10000 are here in Aleppo.

While perhaps 300 to 400 women and children are still arriving here daily from the eastern Vilayets (area of the 3rd Army), those Armenians arriving from Aintab and Marasch by train are sent further to the south without a stop. First we heard that they were to be taken to Damascus and distributed from there in the Hauran area. But in fact, thousands have lately had to leave the train in Hama. It appears that they are to be sent from there to Palmyra.

I would be grateful for a friendly note in case Armenians should come from Hama to Damascus on the road rather than being transported by train. This would correspond to the severity with which Armenians from the east are still often forced to march to Aleppo on foot instead of being transported by train from Ras-ul-Ain or, if they are at one of the stations where they can reach the train, from there. (over 300 kilometres).

I consider it to be impossible that the government is in a position to feed the mass of deportees, while at the same time they are cut off from any possibility of acquiring their keep themselves. Not only the townspeople are helpless in the country; everything is missing for the farmers as well, from shelter to farming tools, livestock and seed corn.


Enclosure 4

Report from an Armenian

Aleppo, August 23, 1915

Of those expelled from the Vilayets of Erzurum, Sivas, Diyarbekir and Harput, 6000 are in Aleppo, 3000 in Hama and the surrounding area, 3000 in Der-el-Zor and 1000 in Ras-ul-Ain, a total of 13000 widows and children. There are no male persons among them above the age of 11. These 13000 widows and children were made to travel back and forth for 2 – 5 months. We have learned from a trustworthy source that the number of people still to come here amounts to 60000.

These widows and children coming from the 4 Vilayets were led up hill and down dale and along the most deserted and worst paths. During the 2 – 5 months, only some of the parties received bread from the government 3 or 4 times. They were completely robbed of their money and their possessions.

35 rich and wealthy families, including widows, were expelled from Bakrmaden in the Vilayet of Diyarbekir, and it took them 15 days to travel from Diyarbekirto Urfa. The officer accompanying them searched all of their clothes and apart from 300 Turkish Lira he also took quite a lot of jewellery from them. During the journey he searched them several times again and left them with nothing.

The third group of those expelled from Harput consisted of 1500 people who took 4 days to reach Arghen. The officer accompanying them told them there that orders had been given that the men should take part in the harvest, gathered together all males over the age of 11 and brought them to a khan. The women and children had to move on. After a 3-hour march he had them stop for a rest in the open while he himself rode back to Arghen and returned to the women and children 7 – 8 hours later towards evening and said to them, "The men have gone to the harvest." The next morning, after they had been marching for two hours, they came to a Kurd village where they made a stop. The accompanying officer said to them there, "Any woman carrying gold or jewellery with her must give it to me immediately. Whoever keeps more than 40 piasters will be shot. The money and jewellery which you give to me now will be returned to you in Diyarbekir." After he had promised them that, the women gave him the largest part of their money and their jewellery. On the 2nd evening the same officer searched the clothes and the bodies of the women and girls; he even took off their trousers and searched for money with his hands and his eyes. The 10 gendarmes who were with this officer molested the women during the entire journey and said to them, "Give your money just to us and not to the officer. We'll give it back to you in Diyarbekir, but the officer wants to keep everything for himself." Having arrived in Diyarbekir, nothing at all was returned to them; they remained in Diyarbekir for one day and had to continue travelling the next night. It was there that young women and girls were kidnapped by officers and gendarmes. As they were leaving Diyarbekir, the officer who had accompanied them there came with some gendarmes and picked out several pretty young girls and boys and left the rest with 6 – 7 gendarmes behind while he himself went off with his prey. On the way to Mardin the gendarmes took the expellees' few possessions, their bit of bread and the few pieces of jewellery they still had. Since the gendarmes accompanying them now knew that the expellees had no more money on them, they tormented them on the 4-day journey from Mardin to Ras-ul-Ain by not giving them any drinking water. They sold many young girls and boys to Kurds and others or gave them away, so that of the 1500 people who had been expelled from Harput only 500 reached Ras-ul-Ain. Approx. 1000 were either left to die or kidnapped or sold along the way, and quite a few were killed. Without exception, all of the women were robbed and several had to take off their trousers no less than 9 times and permit that they be searched and looked at by the different officers and gendarmes accompanying them. Those expelled from Harput had to suffer every conceivable badness and nastiness solely from the officers and gendarmes accompanying them.

The entire population from Mudurga, a village near Erzurum consisting of approx. 2300 people, was expelled. Along the way, the men were separated from the women and the latter were led not along the proper road, but over the mountains and on the entire journey they received 4 times 1 roll from the government. For 2 days they received not a drop of water to drink, although water was available, but rather the women and children, half dying of thirst, were driven further along by the gendarmes. Every day, 30 – 40 women and children were left to die along the way and some of them were shot to death by the gendarmes accompanying them. There is not a single person among the expellees who was not plundered 7 – 10 times. The gendarmes and, with their permission, the Kurds raped the women and girls. Of these 2300, only 4 women, 4 girls and 3 boys arrived in Aleppo in a miserable state.

Although the number of widows and orphans who are in Aleppo, Hama, Der-el-Zor and Ras-ul-Ain, amounts to only 13000, the number of those deported to Aleppo amounted to 35 – 40000 when they left the Vilayets of Erzurum, Sivas, Harput and Diyarbekir. It is clear from the figure mentioned above that 65 per cent were killed within 2 – 5 months or died of hunger and thirst. Among these 65 per cent, 39 % were males over the age of 10 – 11 and 8 % women, 13 % young women and girls and 5 % boys were kidnapped with the approval of the gendarmes. The rest, namely 35 % women and children, arrived in Aleppo. 72 out of every hundred of those who arrived were ill with wormy wounds on their feet. All of the approx. 6000 widows and orphans who are in Aleppo are barefoot, except for 40 or 50. Their footwear was taken by Kurds and Turks with the permission of the gendarmes accompanying them and each individual piece of clothing and bedding was searched several times. It must also be noted that apart from the young women and girls who were kidnapped, 25 per cent of those whose appearance was more or less pleasing were taken to one side by force during the day or night by the gendarmes accompanying them, by Kurds and Turks, and raped; some of those who were more beautiful even by 10 – 15 men, one after the other. In this way, a whole crowd of women and girls were left lying along the way.

It is impossible to provide clothes and beds for all of the 6000 widows and orphans who arrived in Aleppo. During the past few months, the local Armenians and some friends have assisted the 50000 Armenians expelled from the Vilayets of Aleppo and Adana and of Marasch and the surrounding area with money, pieces of clothing, beds, etc., as much as they could, and thus the sources of assistance for the new arrivals are drying up. Every day the poor are given a roll (300 grams); thousands of sick people are given medicine and bandaged. The daily expenditure for the expellees in Aleppo amounts to 50 pounds and this is not enough to keep everyone alive. During these past 10 days from 11 – 21 August, an average of 25 died and the number of dying will multiply.

Postscript: Even up to 2 September the number of daily deaths amounted to an average of 25.

Enclosure 5

Aleppo, September 2, 1915.

From 28 July – 20 August I took a trip to Marash on a matter concerning my farm. In Beshgös, between Aintab and Killis, the people of the village were discussing the fact that deportation of the Armenians was to begin in Aintab the next day. After a while a well-dressed gentleman, by his appearance a Cherkesse, wearing partly civilian and partly officer's clothing, joined the people and inquired, "From which part of the town do people leave, which road, what kind of people; can one get something from these people?" When one of those present asked him if he was a civilian or a member of the military he said, smiling, "Is there a more opportune moment to be a soldier than the present one." When the person concerned then went on to say, "This time Germany taught these infidels, these pigs ("kjauerlar, hynsyrlar") a lesson they won't forget," I could not stop myself from replying that it was dirtying the German name if a person mentioned the German name in a connection such as the one I had just had to hear. On my return journey I learned that the second transport from Aintab had been robbed of everything including the shirts on their backs and, as various sources assured me, this took place with the consent of several government authorities to which the above named gentleman in question apparently must have had connections. I have reported previously on this robbery. The Vali of Aleppo intervened punitively. The Mutesarrif of Aintab has been removed from his office.

3 hours north of Aintab, the Moslem inhabitants of the village of Sam took a girl by force from the transport of deportees from Tshürükkos. The girl was returned against payment of 5 medj.; the deportees, all poor people, raised 3 medj. themselves, while 2 medj. were paid by friends from Aintab. The thief who took the girl came along to Aintab to receive the money.

In Karaböjük, between Aintab and Marasch, I met an Armenian transport, about 40 women and children and 5 – 6 men. About 100 newly conscripted soldiers were marching at a distance of about 200 metres right in front of them. There was a young girl among the women, a teacher, who had been employed by Germans for several years. She had just recovered from a heavy attack of typhus. The soldiers demanded with force to have her and a young woman, whose husband is presently a soldier in Damascus, for the night. It was only due to the Moslem mule drivers, who also stood up for the women, that the soldiers could be restrained to 3 times.

On 6 August, the village of Fundadjak near Marasch and its approx. 3000 inhabitants were shot to pieces. The population, almost all of whom were mule drivers, had often had to transport Armenians in the direction across the Euphrates River during the past 3 months. They had seen the dead in the Euphrates River with their own eyes, had seen how women were sold and raped. "Sew-gülü [sevgili]ölüm (beloved death)," the people of Fundadjak who had come to Marash had said to the Germans when talk turned to former massacres. Then, when about 30 Armenian robbers forced their way into the village and threatened to shoot anyone who wanted to surrender to the government – and actually did shoot some who attempted to flee – the village was forced to oppose the government. In an Armenian school in Marasch I saw over 100 women and children from Fundadjak with arms and legs shot to pieces and all kinds of mutilations, among them 1- and 2-year-old children.

On 13 August, 34 Armenians, people from the villages surrounding Marasch, from Furnus, Schiwilgi, etc., were shot in Marasch, among them 2 twelve-year-old boys. Again on 15 August, 24 people were shot and a further 14 hanged, also people from the villages surrounding Marasch. The 24 men were bound to one another by a heavy chain around their throats and were set up to form a circle (knot); they were shot behind the American College in the presence of the Moslem population. I was an eye witness of how the corpses, still in the throes of death, were left to the mercy of a brutal civilian population who dragged those shot by their hands and feet, and, for the delight of the bystanding Moslem population, the police and the gendarmes continued for half an hour to fire off their guns at the corpses which were, in part, terribly disfigured. Afterwards, the same people marched in front of the German Hospital and shouted, "Yashasin almaniya" (three cheers for Germany). Moslems told me again and again that it was Germany which was having the Armenians exterminated in this manner.

On the way from town to the farm I saw a human head lying on a dung heap at the edge of town, which Turkish boys had set up as a target. In the town of Marasch itself, Armenians were killed daily while I was there by the civil population, their corpses then left lying for days in outlet trenches or elsewhere.

Approximately 2800 deportees from Gürün were robbed in Airan-Punar, 12 hours north-east of Marasch, by 8 robbers who wore the uniforms partly of officers and partly of soldiers. In Qysyl-Getschid, 1½ hours from Airan-Punar, the 8 robbers joined the gendarmes accompanying the transport and spoke with them for quite a while. In Airan-Punar the gendarmes had the people separate: the few men were separate and the women were separate. A part of the women was undressed to the skin and searched for money; 4 women and 2 girls were dragged away during the night and raped; 5 of them returned the next morning. In a narrow pass on Engissek-Dagh the entire transport was completely robbed by Aghdjadarli Kurds, by Nurghakli Kurds, by Setraklik and Helete Turks under the leadership of a Kurd named Tapo, the son of the well-known Kurd in Serajköj, Aghas Hassan Agha; formerly, on the occasion of a journey to Malatia, the latter had openly admitted to a German gentleman and myself, "You are my guests here; an hour's distance from here I am no longer responsible for you; I could even be tempted myself to rob you." About 200 people were killed during this attack; 70 badly wounded had to be left behind, over 50 other wounded were taken away with the transport. In Karaböjük I met the transport of about 2500 people. They are in an indescribably miserable condition. One hour from Karaböjük, 2 men lay along the roadside, one with 2 and the other with 7 stab wounds; further away, 2 exhausted women; furthermore, 4 women, among them a girl of about 13 with a two-day-old baby wrapped in rags in her arms. A man of about 60 who remained lying along the way with a deep wound in his face, one finger long and two fingers wide, tells me that he left Gürun with 13 animals. All of the animals and goods were taken away from him in Airan-Punar and he dragged himself along on foot as far as an hour's march from Karaböjük where he broke down in exhaustion. All of these people were wealthy; the value of the stolen animals, goods and money has been estimated at 8000 Turkish Lira. The exhausted are left lying along the way; the dead can be seen lying on both sides of the road from Karaböjük to Marasch. With the exception of perhaps 30-40 men, I saw no males among the 2500 people in this transport. The men over the age of 15 had been led away before the women and probably killed. These Armenians were deliberately led in a roundabout way and along dangerous roads instead of along the direct road, a 4-day march via Marasch; they had already been on the road for a month. They had to journey without animals, without beds, without food, and receive thin bread (jukhar ekmek) once a day and not enough of that in order to be able to eat their fill once. 400 of these people, Protestants, have meanwhile arrived in Aleppo; 2-3 of them are dying every day. The attack in Airan-Punar was carried out with the consent of the Kaimakam of Albistan, who had let the Armenians pay him 200.00 Turkish Lira and promised the people that he would take care that they arrived safely in Aintab. The Kaimakam of Gürün had let them pay him 1020 Turkish Lira and given them the same assurances. I saw an Armenian teacher who, together with others, had given this amount to the Kaimakam in the club room in Gürün. Near Aintab, several women from this transport were raped during the night by civilians from Aintab. During the attack in Airan-Punar, men and women were bound to trees and burned. Hekkash efendi, a gendarme-sergeant accompanying the transport, stabbed a man who had remained behind with his bayonet. Even while they were departing from Gürün, the Mullahs called the "faithful" to prayer from the roofs of the Christian churches. An eye witness, an Armenian from Marasch, who was employed as a miller in a village near Airan-Punar and fled from there during the attack, told me how he saw 2 brothers fighting near his mill over the spoils, whereby one said, "I killed 40 women for these 4 loads."

A Mohammedan in Marasch named Hadji whom I have known for years told me the following, "All of the mule drivers and I were shut up in a khan near Nissib and the door was locked; several young women from Furnus were raped by the gendarmes accompanying the transport and by civilians."

In the Police Commissioner's office in Aintab a Mohammedan Agha said in my presence to an Armenian, "Several letters were found on so and so; what is your relationship with these people; I've told you so often that you should become a Mohammedan; if you'd listened to me you could have spared yourself all of the trouble to which your people are now exposed."

Kadir Pasha in Marasch said to me, "I know that in the sector of the 3rd Army all of the male population has been killed in accordance with a government order."

On 20 August at 6.00 p.m., it was announced in Marasch at the order of the Vali of Adana that by noon the next day all of the male population over the age of 15 – 5000 men – were to wait outside the town, ready for travel; anyone still in town after noon would be shot without further ado. Everyone knew what this government order meant and we experienced hours of the most dreadful panic. At the last moment, at the recommendation of the extremely benevolent Mutesarrif of Marasch, the Vali's order was changed to permit the men to leave together with their families. Even on 18 August, the Vali of Adana, who had been staying in Marasch at that time, had the ecclesiastic offices called together and assured them that the Armenians in Marasch would not be deported; thus, the first had to leave town without any preparation whatsoever.

With the exception of a 12-year-old boy who threw himself into the water and escaped, the entire Armenian population, 82 people, in the village of Bölveren near Albistan was killed. The boy escaped to Marash.

The inhabitants of a village near Seitun, in which small pox raged, were deported. Those ill with small pox, including people blinded by small pox, were accommodated in khans in Marasch, which were already full of deportees from other villages.

I saw a transport of perhaps 200 people in Marasch, among them various blind people. An approximately 60-year-old mother was holding on to her daughter, lame since birth; in this manner they began their deportation on foot. After marching for an hour, a man remained lying on the ground by the Erkeness Bridge; he was robbed and killed; 4 days later we still saw his corpse lying in a ditch.

Several days ago I visited an acquaintance here in Aleppo. A mother and her child were the guests of the person concerned, deportees from Sivas, the two survivors of a family of 26 which had been deported from Sivas 3 months earlier and arrived here during the past few days.

Near Bash-Punar, north-east of Aintab, opposite the village of Sam, men lay with their heads burned and women, their bodies cut open, for days. A man and a woman had been tied together. Two hours this side of Aintab, an Armenian, about 25 years old, was murdered in a khan situated on the Aintab-Kilis road. The body was propped up in the door of the khan, a cigarette in its mouth, a cigarette behind its ear and its moustache smeared with dung. The following was called out to those passing by, "Look at how this 'hashash' (ruffian) [kachach: deserter, fugitive]can still smoke."

I met 7 Turkish soldiers 5 hours beyond Marasch on my journey here. 6 Armenian girls, 5 of them pupils of the American female teachers' training college and one a teacher from the German orphanage, travelled with me. 20 paces in front of the caravanserai one of the soldiers aimed and fired into the air. Another soldier tore one of the girls her umbrella out of her hand and would certainly have carried out other acts of violence if I had not intervened. When I swung my whip at him they all ran away.

Near Marash, on the way to Tshamostil, a man from the village, a mullah, aimed his rifle at an Armenian accompanying me. It was only because I shouted severely at the mullah and rode towards him that I was able to save the Armenian. On the road, a stretch of 2½ hours, acquaintances of mine saw the bodies of people shot lying unburied for days.

W. Spieker

[The report by Spieker given above has also been published under the title of "From the Records of a German who died in Turkey" in the 2nd issue of the series „Material zur Beurteilung des Schicksals der Armenier im Jahre 1915/16”(Material for the Assessment of the Fate of the Armenians in the Year 1915/16) published by the Committee of the Swiss Relief Organisation 1915 for Armenia which is in the files. Although the report there includes some omissions and modifications, the following reports make it more extensive.]

Of 18000 deportees from Harput and Sivas, 350 people (women and children) arrived in Aleppo, and of 1900 deportees from Erzurum, 11 people – a sick boy, 4 girls and 6 women – arrived in Aleppo. A transport of women and children had to walk the 65-hour distance from Ras-el-Ain to Aleppo along the railway line, even though at that time the wagons used for military transports went back empty. Mohammedan travellers who came on that road report that the roads were impassable due to the many corpses lying unburied on both sides of the road and that their smell of decay was polluting the air. Of those "left over" and not yet deported, 100 to 200 people in Aleppo have died until today as a result of the strain. When the women and children arrive in Aleppo, starving and emaciated to a skeleton, they fall over the food like animals. The inner organs of many of them no longer function properly; after 1 – 2 spoonfuls of food the spoon is laid aside again. The government states that it gives food to the deportees; the transport from Harput mentioned above received bread only once in three months.

Apart from the fact that the government does not take care of the people, it permits everything to be taken from them. A transport of 200 girls and women arrived in Ras-el-Ain completely naked: shoes, shirts, in short: everything had been taken from them and they were left to travel naked for four days under the burning sun – 40 degrees in the shade – mocked at and derided by the soldiers accompanying them. Mr. … said that he, too, had seen a transport of 400 women and children in the same state. When these poor people appealed to the human emotions of the public officials, they received the following reply, "We have been given strict orders by the government to treat you in this manner."

At first, the dead in Aleppo were taken to the cemetery in coffins provided by the Armenian Church. Hamals [carriers.] handled that and were given 2 piastres for each body. When the hamale were no longer able to manage everything on their own, the women took their dead to the cemetery themselves, carrying the small children in their arms and the larger ones on a sack held by 4 women, one at each corner. I saw dead bodies laid across a donkey's back and transported thus to the cemetery. One of my acquaintances saw a body bound to a stick and carried away in this manner by 2 men. Another one saw how an ox cart full of bodies was transported to the cemetery. The two-wheeled cart could not get through the narrow cemetery gate. Without further ado, the servant turned the cart over and emptied it. Then he dragged the bodies by the arms and legs to the grave. At present, 5 – 6 carts are being employed daily to transport the dead to the cemetery. One Sunday in a khan, a so-called hospital, I saw almost 30 bodies lying about in a courtyard about 20 meters wide and 40 meters long. Approximately 20 had already been buried on that day. These 30 corpses lay there until the evening. My wife had them removed after dark by giving 3 hamale one medjidie each. The skin of one corpse stuck to the hamales' hands, showing how far the decaying process had already proceeded. The dying and the severely ill lay among the dead in the burning sun, about 1000 people. The entire scene presented such a terrible picture as I have never seen before, not even in summer in Marasch during the shooting of 24 people that I spoke of earlier. Almost all the people had diarrhea. The dying lay along gutters, which had been dug in the courtyard, their backs toward the gutters so that they could relieve themselves directly into the gutter. Whoever died was moved to one side and another person took his sad place. Often, those considered dead were carried away and still showed signs of life at the grave; they were carried to one side until it was clear that they were dead. A young girl revived to the point where she could be carried back to the town, and a man buried one evening sat on his grave the next morning. Several dead are placed in one grave and he was the last one to be buried; in the dusk only a little dirt had been thrown superficially on top of him. In Tell-Abiad, Mr. … saw open graves with 20 – 30 corpses. The graves were shovelled over when they were full of dead bodies. Mr. … told me the smell of decay made it impossible to go near them, and the deportees had to camp near them. Of the 35 orphans accommodated in one room in Aleppo, 30 died in one week due to a lack of nourishment. Mr. … says that on his journey here he saw bodies everywhere along the road; a Kurd boasted to him that he had killed 14 children.

On Sunday, 12 August 1915, I had to go to the Damascus train station in Aleppo. This gave me the opportunity of seeing how approx. 1000 women and children were loaded into cattle wagons. Here in Germany, livestock is given more space than these poorest of the poor. 90% of these people had death written on their faces. There were people among them who were actually given no time to die. On the previous evening a transport had departed; the next morning 2 dead were found, children in their teens, who had died during loading and left lying there.

On 13 September 1915, a dispatch of the Supreme Commander of the 4th Army, Djemal Pasha, was announced, "With regard to the Armenian transports, all photographs taken by the engineers or other officials of the company responsible for building the Baghdad Railway are to be given to the Military Commissioner's Department of the Baghdad Railway in Aleppo, together with the original plates, within 48 hours. Any violation against this order will be prosecuted by a court martial."

Several times I saw women and children search piles of sweepings for scraps; whatever was found was eaten immediately. I saw children gnawing on raw bones, which they found in corners used at the same time as urinals.

Between Marasch and Aintab the Mohammedan population of a village wanted to distribute water and bread to a transport of about 100 families, but the soldiers accompanying the transport would not permit this. 4/5 of the deportees are women and children; most of the men have been conscripted to the military.

20000 of the deportees sent via Marasch were not allowed to go to Aintab to receive provisions there, although the direct caravan route leads through Aintab.

[The following passages are, with few exceptions, identical with the enclosure in 1915-07-27-DE-001 from "In Ras-ul-Ain at present there are …" to "… everyone here says that".]

Copyright © 1995-2015 Wolfgang & Sigrid Gust (Ed.): www.armenocide.net A Documentation of the Armenian Genocide in World War I. All rights reserved