(An illustrated weekly journal of current events)
OCTOBER 4, 1916
The most recent development in the Armenian situation consists in the publication in this country of documents written by German agents of the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief Work. German missionaries have long been operating in and about Aleppo, on Asia Minor. They and the German Ambassador at Constantinople sympathize with the American endeavor to save the remnant of the American race, forced by Germany's ally, Turkey, to flee from the Armenian territory northwest of Aleppo. The American Board's statement is as follows:
Workers of the American Board in Constantinople speak in the highest terms of the aid they are receiving from German missionaries in central and eastern Turkey in giving out food and clothing to the wretched people in that section. The American Consul at Damascus estimates that five hundred thousand people have been pushed into the vilayets of Aleppo and Damascus. The majority are women and children. They are slowly dying of starvation. The Consul appealed to the treasurer of the Board, Mr. w. w. Peet, in Constantinople asking if a central relief deport could be established near Damascus. Mr. Peet writes his home office in Boston: "Our co-operation with the German missionaries for work in Aleppo has proved so helpful and satisfactory that I am desirous of making a like arrangement for Damascus in answer to this call. I therefore applied to the German Embassy to ask their assistance in securing workers for a Damascus deport. I have not yet had a reply to my application, but the Embassy has telegraphed their Consul and missionaries in that locality, asking that they assist us in this work."
Here are some details of the German reports:
In every tent there are sick and dying. Any one who cannot manage to get a piece of bread by begging eats grass raw and without salt. Many hundreds of the sick are without any tent and covering, in the open, under a glowing sun. I saw desperate ones throw themselves in grave trenches and beg grave-diggers to bury them.
At another place there is no grass; the locusts have consumed everything. The people were gathering locusts and eating them raw. Others were looking for roots of grasses. They catch stray dogs and like savages pounce upon dead animals, whose flesh they eat eagerly without cooking.
In Aleppo a German missionary reports housing as many boys and girls as possible, but with the menace always at hand of the Turkish Government's claim of a full right to dispose of children. In Der-Zor, near by, while a former Turkish officer had brought together several hundreds of children and cared for them, the first act of his successor was to end many deported people farther south, "where they must die of starvation and misery. . . All those in need of help have been sent away from Der-Zor. How many we do not yet know, but it is said six thousand were sent southward on foot from Sepka."
These accounts are noteworthy, first of all, because they are German, and therefore not the product of bias against Germany; and second, because they confirm the accounts of American missionaries. The situation is as bad as it can be. Unless we can secure entrance of food supplies into the regions affected, with distributors and with liberty to reach the distressed peoples with relief at the earliest moment, a large section of the Armenian race and of the Syrians involved many perish. The American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, with Dr. Lames L. Barton, of the American Board, as chairman, announces from its office at 70 Fifth Avenue, New York City, that it has collected something short of $1,200,000. In the distribution part has gone to Constantinople for uses throughout Asia Minor, part to Tiflis for the refugees in the Russian Caucasus, part to Persia for refugee Armenians and Syrians there, part to Beirut, and part to Egypt. The Committee is trying to secure a general response to the appeal for Armenian and Syrian relief issued by President Wilson. It is combining with the Red Cross in its appeal. In Syria it will work with and under the Red Cross, which has, we are glad to say, at last obtained formal permission from the Turkish Government to enter that region. It now remains to secure the permission of the Allies to pass though the blockade and to guarantee that supplies will not be used for the belligerents.
We believe that we have but to make the above facts known to insure a hearty response from all humane people.
A hard copy of this article or hundreds of others from the time of the Armenian Genocide can be found in The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts From The American Press: 1915-1922