Woman Describes Armenian Killings -nyt19151212
WOMAN DESCRIBES ARMENIAN KILLINGS
German Missionary Says Turks Proclaimed Extermination as Their Aim
FIENDS WORK IN HARPUT
"Let Your Christ Help You!" the Cry as Torture Went On -- Dr. Knapp a victim.
December 12, 1915
The American Committee for the Armenian and Syrian Relief, at 70 Fifth Avenue, announced the reciept yesterday of a cablegram from the American Consul at Tiflis, in which he said that there were more than 180,000 Armenians "in a most pitiful condition," in various provinces that came under his immidiate notice. Of these 110,000 are in the Ervian Province, 20,000 in Elisavethol, 201,000 in Kars, and 50,000 in Tiflis.
The committee also announced that a cablegram was expected cery soon from Dr. Wilson, the head of the commision sent to Tiflis. Details from the scenes of the massacres are reaching the committee daily. These are from officials, missionaries, and other persons well known to its members. One from a German woman missionary, who is stationed not far from the border of the Caucasus, was received within the last three days, and although not written for publication, gives an intimate picture of the terrible fate that has befallen the Armenians.
"Toward the middle of April," she writes, "we heard there were great disturbances. We have heard statements made from both Turks and Armenians; and, as these reports agree in every respect, it is quite plain there is some truth in them, neamely, that the Government of Turkey sent orders that all Armenians were to give up their arms, which the Armenians refused to do, stating that they required them in case of necessity. This caused a regular massacre. All villages inhabited by Armenians were burnt down.
Thinks Dr. Knapp Was Murdered.
"At the beginning of June we heard that the whole Armenian population of Bitlis was done away with. It was at this time that we received news that the American missionary, Dr. Knapp, had been wounded in an Armenian house, and that the Turkish Government had sent him to Diarbekir. The very first night in Diarbekir he died, and the Government explained his death as a result of having overeaten, which if course, nobody believes. When there was no one left in Bitlis to massacre, their attention was called to Musch. Up to now cruelties were committed, but not too publicly; now they have started to shoot people down without any cause; they beat them to deathe because they found delight in doing so.
"In Musch itself, which is a big town, there are alone 25,000 Armenians; every village containing about 500 houses; and not one male Armenian, and but a few women here and there are visible now.
"Beginning of July: In the first week of this month, 20,000 soldiers came from Constantinople over Harput to Musch with munitions and eleven guns, and besieged Musch. In fact, the town had been surrounded since the middle of June. At this time the Mutassarif gave orders that we two German missionaries should leave the town and go to Harput. We pleaded with him to let us stay, for we had in our charge all the orphans and patients, but he was angry and threatened to force us away if we did no do as we were instructed. As we both became suck, we were allowed to remain at Musch. I recieved permission in case we should leave Musch to take the Armenians of our orphanage along; but on my asking for assurances of safety, his only reply was; 'You can take them along; but, being Armenians, their heads may and will be cut off on the way.'
"On the 10th of July Musch was bombarded for several hours, they pretended the reason was because some Armenians had tried to escape. I went to see the Mutessarif, asking him to protect our houses and his reply was: 'Serves you right for staying instead of leaving, as instricted. The guns are here to put an end to Musch. Take refuge with the Turks.' This, of course, was not possible, as we could not leave our charges. A new order was the next day promulgated that the Armenians would be expelled, and three days were given them to be ready. They were told to register themselves at the Governmetn Office before they left. The families could remain, but their property and their money was to be confiscated.
"The Armenians were unable to go, as they had no money to pay for the trip, and they preferred to die in their houses rather than be seperated and endure a lingering death on the read. As mentioned before, three days were given the Armenians to leave; but two hours had scarcely elapsed when the soldiers broke into the houses and arrested every one and threw them into prison. The cannons began to fire, thus preventing the people from registering themselves at the Government Office. We all had to take refuge in the cellar for fear of our orphanage catching fire.
"I went to the Mutessarif and begged him to have mercy on the children at least, but in vain; he replied the Armenian children must perish with their nation. All our people were taken from our hospital and orphanage. They left us three female servants. Thus Musch was burnt down in this monstrous way. Every officer boasted of the number he had personally massacred, thus ridding Turkey of the Armenian race. We left Harput; Harput has become the cemetary of the Armenians.
"Now Let Your Christ Help You!"
In Harput and Mesre the people have had to endure terrible tortures, such as their eyebrows being pulled off, their breasts cut off, their nails pulled out, their feet cut off, or they hammer nails into them, just as they do with horses. The soldiers then cry: "Now let your Christ help you!"
Beginning of July: 2,000 Armenian soldiers were ordered to leave for Aleppo to build roads. The people of Harput were terrified on hearing this, and a panic started in the town. The Vali called the German missionary, Mr. Eheman, and begged him to quiet the people, repeating over and over again that no harm whatever would befall these soldiers. Mr. Eheman believed the Vali and quieted down the people. But they had scarcely left when we heard that they had all been murdered and thrown into a cave. Just a few managed to escape, and we got the reports from them. It was useless to protest to the Vali. The American Consul at Harput protested several times, but the Vali treats him like 'air' and in a most shameful manner.
"Toward the beginning of April, in the presence of Major Lange and several other high officials, such as American and German Consuls, Ekran Bey said quite openly, that their intention was to exterminate the Armenian race. All these details plainly show that the massacre was planned. It is very unsafe now for all missionaries in the interior, the officials show their hatred too plainly, and have often told us that they do not see the necessity of our presence.
The American Committee has already sent more than $100,000 to Ambassador Morgenthau, and much more is needed to alleviate the terrible conditions of the remaining Armenians. Contributions for their relief should be sent to Charles R. Crane, 70 Fifth Avenue, New York.