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German Guilt For Armenian Blood -ld19171027
THE LITERARY DIGEST
GERMAN GUILT FOR ARMENIAN BLOOD
PUBLIC OPINION (New York) combined with THE LITERARY DIGEST
Published by Funk & Wagnalls Company (Adam W. Wagnals, Press.; Wilfred J. Funk, Vice-Pres.; Robert J. Cuddiby, Treas.; William Neisel, Sec'y), 354-360 Forth Ave., New York
The Literary Digest for October 27, 1917
NEVER has Germany been connected so intimately with the Armenian horrors as in the testimony of the Rev. Alpheus Newell Andrus, senior missionary for the Congregational Station at Mardin, Mesopotamia. The plan to extirpate the Armenian Christians from Turkey was "made in Germany and suggested to the Turks by German officials," he declares, with the further information that wherever the Armenians made a stand against their Moslem oppressors "it was German officers and German cannon that broke them up." The far-sighted Germans, he explains in the New York Evening Post, were looking forward to the time when "they expected to gain complete dominion in Turkey, and they wanted to eliminate the Armenian question by getting rid of the Armenian race." If details can add anything to the appeals for pity and succor for this unfortunate race, Dr. Andrus has accounts of deeds that exceed in barbarity even those already recorded:
"One of the ways the Turks went about it was to load Armenian men on goatskin rafts on the understanding that they were to ne deported -- and then they were taken out and dumped into the Tigris River and drowned. This was the fate of at least 2,500 men from the vicinity of Diarbekir and its suburbs in northern Mesopotamia.
"Armed soldiers were on the rafts, which each carries about 75 to 100 victims. Kurd boatmen rowed them out into deep water. Then the soldiers would drive the Armenians to one side of the rafts until they tilted and dumped them into the river. If they tried to climb back on the rafts the soldiers and boatsmen beat them and shot them until all perished."
The Germans and the Turkish Government, Dr. Andrus continues, looked upon the destruction of the Armenians in Turkey as a cold-blooded political move, and gave the actual execution of it into the hands of the Kurds and Turkish soldiers, who went about it with the ferocity of Moslem religious fanaticism.
"At first the Turkish Government objected to the German suggestion of the removal of the Armenians on the grounds that they were valuable as artisans and business men and necessary to the economic life of the country, but the Germans promised to supply men to take their places. Having persuaded the Turks, the Germans then left it to them to put the plan into effect.
"But the Turkish soldiers in some places could not overcome the Armenians. At Urfa, the city of suffering, the Armenians resolved to resist deportation and defend their innocent families and their church. They barricaded themselves in their stone houses in their quarter. For ten days they withstood all the efforts of the Turkish soldiery to dislodge them. In the end they would have prevailed but that German officers brought and trained cannon upon their stronghold and forced them to flee.
"Surely such a people should not be allowed to perish. There still remain of them to be cared for 6,300 in Urfa and near by. Will not the American people help care for them? Conditions in Mesopotamia have not been brought much to the public's attention, for the reason that there has not been any one to report the state of things there, and because no report could get past the rigid Turkish censorship.
"More than 30,000 Armenians were deported from Dearbekir and its suburbs. It was some of these who were dumped into the Tigris and drowned. The leading and rich men were among these. The others were detailed to dig trenches and to do other work with only an insufficient allowance of bread daily. Later they were shot in groups when no longer able to endure the hardships imposed. There followed an epidemic of cholera, and then a scourge of typhus. Before the war and deportations the city contained some 60,000 inhabitants. The last I heard there were only 7,000 citizens left there.
"Women were clubbed, stabbed, or shot down on the Mesopotamian plans and left for death in piles on the ground or thrown into old cisterns. Some, coming to consciousness, crawled out from the piles and up from the cisterns and dragged themselves up the mountain to our hospital at Mardin to have their wounds drest.
"Some of the Moslems at Mardin took pity upon more than a thousand babies of deported women who, in passing through, left those they had no milk to feed nor strength to carry as they went on to their lingering deaths on the plans below. When the local government officials learned that Moslems had the little ones they issued an order that whoever harbored any Armenian would be visited with the treatment dealt to the Armenians.
"The Moslems, therefore, secretly turned the little ones over to Christian families, who clandestinely cared for them until their resources were exhausted. And now the latest information from Mardin is that unless funds are immediately forthcoming the thousand orphans must be turned out upon the streets to starve."
The Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief has decided that &5 a month per child will be necessary. That is about seventeen cents along with what is spent daily on the other children and at the end of each month send the five dollars to the committee. Dr. Andrus, it is said, himself narrowly escaped execution at the hands of the Turks because of his work at Mardin in aiding the suffering. He was ordered to be court-martialed, which under the conditions, he said, meant a "mock trial and the cutting off of the defendant's head." The American Embassy, however, heard of the order and interfered so that it was rescinded and a decree of exile issued instead.
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