1914-06-25-DK-001
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Source: DK/RA-UM/UM, 2-0355, ”Konstantinopel/Istanbul, diplomatisk repræsentation”, ”Noter og indberetninger om den politiske udvikling, 1914-1922”, ”Verdenskrigen. Rapporter fra Smyrna. Nov. 1914-marts 1916”
Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Departure of telegram: 06/25/1914
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 75/No. 6
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 04/01/2012


Konsul i Smyrna (Alfred van der Zee) til Gesandtskabet i Konstantinopel (Carl Ellis Wandel)





No. 75 / No. 6 [report written in English]

[25. juni 1914] Sir,

In continuation of my despatch of the 19th. Inst. I beg further to report as follows:

The bands of Bashibozouks who had gone south of Menemen after looting all the villages on their way attacked Phocea on the night of the 12th. June on three sides and ably assisted by the Cretans who work at the salt depots soon turned it into a shambles.

Quoting from the words of an eye witness "within a quarter of an hour after the assault had begun every boat in the place was full of people trying to get away and when no more boats could be had the inhabitants sought refuge on the little peninsula on which the lighthouse stands. I saw eleven bodies of men and women lying dead on the shore. How many were killed I could not say but trying to get into a house of which the door stood ajar I saw two other dead bodies lying in the entrance hall. Every shop in the place was looted and the goods that could not be carried away were wantonly destroyed."

Although news was received in Smyrna that trouble had broken out at Phocea matters were at first kept secret and it was only two days after that a French steam tug on its way to Makaronia conveyed the news of the disaster.

Seeing a vast number of people gathered on the promontory and making signals of distress the people on the tug put into Phocea took off some 700 half starved wretches and conveyed them to Mitylene [Mytilini/Lesbos].

The authorities in that place then sent boats and transported the remaining 5/6000 Phoceans to that island. At the present day the place is quite abandoned by the Greek element.

Contemporaneously with these murderous attacks upon the towns & villages north of Smyrna a movement to expel the Greek population on the Kara Bournou peninsula was set on foot.

A lot of 600 Mouhadjir families were landed at Kato-Panayia, or to give it its official name Assari-Tchilftlik, who drove the villagers out of their homes and took possession of their houses and goods, leaving the rightful owners to seek food and a roof where best they could.

Another lot were landed at Chesmé and marched to Alatsata the inhabitants of which were forced by government officials to abandon their houses and property in favour of the new comers.

The loss of these poor people will be well understood when it is considered that Alatsata was a town of some 15.000 inhabitants, nine tenths of whom were Greeks and that a single Greek is not to be found there to-day.

The next step was to drive out the people of Chesmé and the usual threats were made with the result that, preferring to leave of their own free will rather than be driven away, out of 13.000 Greeks about thirty men whose business prevents their leaving remain, the rest having sought refuge in Chios or Samos.

As the expulsion from the places above named did not however quite clear the Kara Bournou peninsula and the bay of Smyrna, of the Greek element, the attention of the authorities was then directed to the minor places: Reis-Déré, Ovalik [Aivalik?; Ovacik?], Kilisman, Saip, Vourla, Narli-Déré and Abdullah-Chiftlik.

Here again threats were uttered and as these did not seem to have immediate effect, daily murders and ill-treatment were resorted to. The panic stricken people with the exception of Vourla sought relief by flying [sic] to Long Island where 6500 were collected at one moment, without shelter of any kind and without food. Thanks to the energy of the Russian Consul General, Mr. Kalmykov, who has proved himself a man, some flour and other provisions were sent and finally these victims also were taken off to the Greek islands.

From computations made, between 70-80.000 persons have been expelled. Apart [from] the loss to the people driven out, which amounts to about £ 2.000.000, the loss to the country is irreparable. The inhabitants of the maritime parts of the province were, with the exception of the inhabitants of Aivali, a peaceful and hard working class. This province as is well-known is sparsely populated there are hundreds of miles over which the plough has not passed. There was no necessity therefore to force them out in order to make way for others. To drive them out is to deprive the country of the benefit accruing to it from their work, to reduce the cultivation, to lower the revenue, to increase the price of labour. It is safe to predict that for many years to come this province will feel the disastrous effects of this wretched policy.

To turn now to the mission of the Minister of Interior.

Immediately on his arrival in this province Talaat Bey tried to put a stop to the movement that had been inaugurated under his auspices.

He went from town to town making speeches to the public promising them full redress and perfect security; and while this farce was going on no one dared to go out of his house at night or to his fields by day without being shot at or mercilessly ill-treated.

To give as examples, at Tireh, Eudemish and Baindir the Greeks are openly boycotted and driven back by the bashibozooks when they attempt to go to their tobacco plantations and vines.

At Menemen no Greek who values his life dare go out of the precincts of the town and the same may be told with equal truth of Magnesia, Axar, Soma, and Pergamos. In the Kara Bournou peninsula all the cattle has been lifted by government officials and the robbery has been made in open day and in the presence of Europeans.

To add one more act to this pitiable farce the Imperial Government applied for delegates to show civilized Europe that the work of restitution is sincerely carried on and it is now promenading these gentlemen in motor cars & special trains, giving them good dinners and fine wines, while the victims of its atrocities are begged their bread or living on the charity eked out to them. What these representatives of the Great Powers will have to tell them I know not but, in any case, one thing is absolutely certain, that whatever their report is the tyrannous measures will not cease, though they may be carried on less openly, as the communication of the Grand Vizier to the American Companies here conclusively proves.

In his communication to the Singer Co. at Smyrna the United [States] Consul General Horton says that "he is instructed by his Ambassador to inform it that he has obtained the promise of the Grand Vizier that for two months the Greek employees will not be molested but that at the expiration of that time they must be replaced."

This communique is more eloquent than any words of mine.

I am Your Excellency's most obedient servant,

Alfred van der Zee



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