Tells Of Great Plain Black With Refugees -nyt19160207

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Agonies of Armenians Described by Dr. Richard Hill In Letter From Caucasus

FEBRUARY 7, 1916

A letter written by Dr. Richard Hill a member of the American commission that went into the Caucasus to investigate conditions among the Armenian refugees who fled into Russia to escape the Turks, has been received by Dr. Samuel T. Dutton of the Americans Committee, under whose auspices the commission is working. Dr. Hill writes:

"I dined with a gentleman who had come up out of Persia about the time the last great exodus took place. He relates that he saw the great Erivan Plain black with a slow moving mass of humanity that seemed to fill and overflow the horizon. They must have numbered close to 230,000 and they were aimlessly, listlessly wandering in the torrid heat.

"Children, were dying by the hundreds, sometimes the frenzied mothers would in their helpless mad grief, fling their children from them over the roadside into the fields, so their emaciated and starved babies. Old women and men were dropping out by the roadside, too far gone to go another step. Epidemics had already appeared and were claiming their victims by the hundreds. From that throng he said there went up such an unutterable wall of woe and misery that he was compelled to close the window in his railway compartment to try to shut out the sound of that concentration of agony and pain.

"They had been on the march constantly for weeks. Children had lost their parents, parents their children. Out of hundreds of stories that are daily coming to band it is bard to make a choice, for all alike are most touching. We hear, for instance, of Cossack transports picking up scores of little children left by the roadside to die and of their bringing these in on their wagons, sharing their frugal meals with them; of women found dead by the roadside and a baby trying to waken the mother by pulling at her face and demanding food. Of new-born babies left just as they were born, carelessly flung aside the mother often dying shortly afterwards, or of a Russian officer out at the front sitting crouched over a little fire that he had made out of a few sticks, and of a little girl stiff with he cold and hungry, slipping into the circle of heat of the fire and without apology snuggling up to him and going fast asleep in a moment in the kindly warmth of the fire and of that officer sitting cramped for hours in order to let the little wolf sleep in the folds of his big army coat.

"I have looked into the faces of hunted, haunted children prematurely old though the children prematurely old through the months of horrors that they have gone though; into the eyes of young women and girls, alas, too apparent the condition they are in. Hateful outrage and nightmare being them more and worse facing them, after a month or two."

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

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