German Directed The Turks At Van -nyt19151006a
GERMAN DIRECTED THE TURKS AT VAN
Dr. Yarrow Says He Saw Him at Head of Troops Who Shelled the Armenians
RED CROSS NO PROTECTION
And American Flags on the Mission Buildings Were Used as Targets, Returning Missionary Says
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 1915
Sixteen missionaries from Van, Turkish Armenia, arrived here yesterday on the Scandinavian-American liner Helling Olav. They are members of the mission established by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and confirmed the reports that the Turks and Kurds are waging a "holy was" against the Armenians.
The missionaries include the Rev. Dr. Ernest Ussher, and Dr. George Reynolds. They went through the siege of Van from April 20 to May 17, in the course of which period thousands of Armenians perished by the sword, fire and pestilence.
"For twenty-seven days," Dr. Yarrow said, "1,500 Turks and Kurds, and for the last three days were shelled with shrapnel from a howitzer brought up by a Turkish company headed by a German officer, I must saw him directing the fire of the gun.
"Two days before the Russians came to Van the Turks deliberately fired at the mission buildings. They stood out prominently and could not be mistaken, and also flew five American flags and one Red Cross flag as a protection. The firing was so an accurate that the shots cut the signal halyards and brought the flags to the ground. There were about 10,000 to 15,000 Armenians in and around Van at that time, and during the siege we not only had to flight the Turks and Kurds, but almost every known contagious disease as well.
When asked about the atrocities committed by the Turks Mr. Yarrow said that every conceivable form of torture had been inflicted on the Armenians in and around Van. The injuries inflicted upon women and children were indescribable.
The Turks and Kurds have declared a holy was on the Armenians," he continued, "and have vowed to exterminate them."
Dr. Yarrow added that when the Russians retreated the missionaries decided to depart for Tiflis. They were attacked twice by Kurds on the way there. An elderly women in the party was wounded in the thigh by a bullet.
When they came away the conditions in Armenia were terrible, he went on to say, and many of the people were dying from typhus and other epidemic diseases. Half the missionaries had been stricken with typhus and six of them had died.
The missionaries who accompanied Dr. Yarrow said that the reports printed in New York had not at all exaggerated the conditions in Armenia, and that much more remained to be told.
Dr. J. P. Xenides, professor of Greek at the American College at Marsovan Asiatic Turkey, who landed yesterday from the steamer Vasilefs Constantinos, was entertained at dinner last night at the Kismet Restaurant in West Street by members of the Armenian Colonial Association of New York.
"Before the trouble began in Marsovan, " Dr. Xenides said, " there were 12,000 or 13,000 Armenians in the city, and we had seventy-three teachers and their families in the college and sixty-three girl students. Before I left the Armenians had all been killed or driven away, including the teachers and their families and the sixty-three girls had been seized by the Turks and taken into their harems.
"The Turkish Foreign Minister had promised Ambassador Morgenthua that the American mission and the Armenians at Marsovan should not be injured in any way, but he gave exactly opposite orders to the Governor.
"On June 26 an order came that every Armenian was to leave the city and go to Mosul, on the Tigris, a twenty days journey by caravan. When the start was made the men were driven in one direction and the women and children in another, riding in ox carts. The men were never heard of again, and I was told they had all been killed."
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