American Burned Alive By Turks -nyt19160208

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Missionary Tells How He Himself Escaped Similar Fate


Women and Children Are Victims of Wholesale Butchery, He Says

FEBRUARY 8, 1916

PETROGRAD, Jan 12, (Correspondence of The Associated Press.)--Dr. Jacob Sargis, an American Methodist medical missionary, who has arrived in Petrograd after narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Turks and Kurds in Urumiah. Persian Armenia, asserts that among the outrages committed against the Christian refugees was the burning to death of an American doctor named Simon or Shimmun, as he was known there. His identity was not established further, but the story of the outrage, as told by Dr. Sargis, was as follows:

"Dr. Shimmun was in the village of Supurghan when the Turks attacked that place. He was among those who took refuge on a mountain near the lakes. He was captured and told that since he had been a good doctor and had helped the wounded, they would not kill him, but that he must accept the Mohammedan faith. He refused, as almost all Christians did. They poured oil on him, and, before applying the torah, gave him another chance to forsake his religion. Again he refused and they get his clothes afire. While fleeing in agony due to the flames the Turks shot him several times. After he fell to the ground unconscious they hacked his head off. Mr. Allen, an American missionary, who went from village to village burying the victims of this butchery, found the body of Shimmun half eaten by his doers.

The Catholic mission there took 150 Christians of all sets and kept them in a small room and tried to save them, but at least forty-nine of them, among them one Bishop Dinkha of the Episcopal mission, were bound together one night, taken to Gagin Mountain, and there shot down."

Dr. Sargis was born in Persia, but went to America in 1883, and was educated there by assistance of Dr, W. F. Oldham, and former Bishop of India. He is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan and Ohio Medical Universities, and was for a time resident physician of the Protestant Hospital at Columbus, Ohio.

He was doing relief work in Urumiah on Jan. 1 last year when the Russian Army retired from Urumiah and a hundred surrounding villages.

There were still left in Urumiah and the villages 45,000 persons, chiefly Armenian refugees, when the Turks and Kurds entered. The latter at once began the work of extermination of the Christian population. In one town alone, Gulfarchin, in one night, according to Dr. Sargis, seventy-nine men and boys were tied hand to hand, taken to a hill outside the village and shot. Their wives and daughters were distributed among the Turks, Kurds, and Persian Mohammedans.

"On the second day after the Turkish officers came, " continued Dr. Sargis.

Dr. Sargis turned the tables on the Arab doctor by alleging that he was insane and having him put under guard and on a milk diet, notwithstanding he was a doctor in Khalil Bey's army.

"Soon after the Russians left Urumiah a German machinist, Neumann, who came in with the Turks, announced himself as German Consul. By his orders a Christian by the name of Mushi was hanged. Eighty-five hundred persons died in the vicinity of Urumiah in five months; 1,500 were killed and the rest died of cold and hunger.

"They had a good many wounded and sick. As soon as they heard that I was an able physician, they took me, gave me a bodyguard, and put me in charge of Urumiah Hospital. That was how I came to learn most of their secrets; I helped their wounded and sick. One day there were sixty men brought from Bashkal, all well-to-do citizens, some of them noted men of that place. They were used as heists of burden, forced to carry rolls of barbed wire into Urumiah. The next day they were all taken to the Castle of Ismayil and every one was shot or hacked to death.

"About that time Nuri, the Governor of Garv, told me that he had received word from the Turkish commander to kill all the Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army. He said that for my sake he would not do it, but that somebody, else would. Twenty-nine were killed about fifteen miles from Urumiah, at Karmad. We had eight of them in the city, fine fellows, some of them educated in Beirut. They had been disarmed, and one night the Turks took them to the suburbs and shot them. But one of them named Aslam escaped. He dropped with the others, but was not hit. After the butchers left he made his way to the Presbyterian mission college. I was notified and asked to take care of him. I kept him until the Russian Army came. He joined and is now fighting with them.

"In the First Turkish Corps, commanded by Khalil Bey, There were about 400 Armenians. One of them, Gubankyan, a graduate of Beirut, told me that they were all doomed to be butchered. When they appointed me head physician of the hospital they gave me plenty of helpers, including seven Christian nurses, six Arabs, and one Greek, Gubankyan told me that if I did not help them they would be killed.

"An Arab physician, Bahadin Effendi, was appointed to work under my direction. My Greek nurse warned me that Bahadin had already killed more than fifty Armenian Christians and cautioned me to watch him. One night about 10 o'clock Bahadin sent for me, saying that he was sick. Fortunately for me, the Greek and two Armenian nurses went with me. When I reached the hospital I found that Bahadin was not sick at all. He said to me: "What business have you to disturb me at this time of the night? Your coming shows that you have some design upon my life. I told him that it was a mistake, that the overtaken by an officer, who said that the doctor was not done with me. I protested, but was ordered to go back. So I put my trust in the Lord and went.

"The doctor greeted me with the question: 'Who gave you permission to leave the room? and continued: 'You are a prisoner and you will never seethe light of tomorrow's sun.' I told him that I was helping the wounded for the sake of humanity. He cut me off by saying: 'This is wartime. The top of your hat is green. That means that you are a descendant of the prophet, and it will give me pleasure to destroy your life tonight. I must think how I shall kill you. I could throw you out of the window, but that would be too quick. I could shoot you, but that also is too good for you. I shall have to use my sword. You sit down there in that corner and these Turkish nurses will sing your, funeral before I begin to cut you up.'

"The Turks began to sing a droning chant, and had no choice but to sit and listen. My bodyguard, the Greek nurse Theodore and two Armenian soldiers, the latter my servants, stood outside the door and when they heard the chanting they thought it was all over with me. The Greek, who was a shrewd fellow, told my bodyguard to enter, and if he say me, to say that the patients wanted to see the doctor. All of a sudden I saw him enter with a lantern. He saluted the Effendi and said: 'The patients want the doctor.' I didn't save Bahadin a chance to say a word. I was up stop me, but they were too late. My bodyguard and the Armenians and the Greek followed close behind me and I got away. I reached home at midnight. My wife and children thought I was already dead."

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