De Armeense genocide

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The New York Times, 26 april 1915
Bron: The New York Times Archive

Kurds Massacre More Armenians

All Inhabitants in Ten Villages Near Van Said to Have Been Killed

By Head of Church — Evidences of Fearful Outrages Seen in Deserted Settlements


Flight from Persia Full of Suffering for Thousands Who Escaped the Sword

Special Cable to The New York Times

TIFLIS, Transcaucasia, April 24, (via Petrograd and London, April 23.)— Refugees who have reached the Russian line report that the massacre of Armenians by Mohammedans are being continued on even a greater scale. They say that all the inhabitants of ten villages near Van, in Armenia, Asiatic Turkey, have been put to death.

On being advised of massacres at Erzrum, Berjan and Zeitun, and of the conditions at Van, the Katolicos, head of Armenian church at Etchmiadzin, near Erivan, cabled to President Wilson an appeal to the people of the United States on behalf of the Armenians.

Robert M. Labaree, an American missionary of Urumiah, Persia, who visited the Serbian villages and with whom the refugees were quartered, says he found the humanity of the people as broad as their means were limited. The village Governments or Relief Committees had issued eight pounds of flour to each refugee in six weeks.

The Associated Press received reports of the massacre of 800 of the villagers in Urza and of 720 in Salmas. The painful uncertainty concerning the 15,000 survivors of Urza was confirmed by a journey through Salmas. Three weeks had failed to obliterate the signs of the slaughter. Pools of blood still marked the execution places in Haftevan. The caps of thirty-six victims lay where a mud wall had been topped over on them. A young man named Hackatur related the story of his escape from a well in which the bodies of the dead had been crammed. He fell with others and was tossed into the well, but he managed to wriggle through the bodies lying on top of him and escaped at nightfall.

Not all the Christians lacked the courage or means for self-defense. At the desolated Catholic mission at Hosrova, where forty-eight victims of the massacre were buried, Elizabeth Marcara, an Armenian girl, told how she and young David Ishmu battled with the Kurds. Her story later was amply confirmed.

“When the Kurds burst the village gates,” said Miss Marcara, “we took rifles and mounted to the roof. I fired eighty shots. The Kurds were forced to withdraw outside the village wall. There I killed two and David two. Later we killed four more, one of whom was the Chief. The Kurds abandoned their plunder, and carried off their dead.

“The battle lasted three hours. The death of their Chief caused the Kurds to flee. We came from the roof and recovered the things the Kurds had left behind them. Reinforced, I fled with my relatives. We saw the Kurds engaged in the pillage of Hafgvan and fired on them, but they escaped with their booty.

“Near Dillman, we were attacked by fifteen Kurds, of whom I killed one. After the Russians defeated the Kurds and Turks near Khoi a soldier told the Persian Governor about me, and he sent for me and offered me the chieftainship of a regiment of Turks if I would fight the Russians.”


Thousands Suffered Greatest Hardships to Escape Enemies

DILMAN, Persia, April 24, (via Petrograd to London, April 26.)— The exodus of from 20,000 to 30,000 Armenians and Nestorian Christians from Azerbaijan Province, the massacre of over 1,500 of those who were unable to flee, the death from disease of 2,000 in the compounds of the American mission in Urumiah, and possibly of an equal number of refugees in the Caucasus have been confirmed.

When it became known on the night of Jan. 1 and 2 that the Russian forces had left Urumiah about 10,000 Christians fled, most of them without money, bedding, or provisions. Vehicles and camels and donkeys were for hire only at prices at which they might previously have been bought.

A majority of the people started out afoot, through mud knee-deep, across the mountain passes in freezing weather. At Dilman they were joined by many more from Salmas plain. But for Father de Cross of the Roman Catholic Mission at Hosrova, near here, the disaster might have become historic. After assuring the safety of the sisters of the mission, Father de Cross joined the pilgrims and managed to secure bread and shelter for many of them.

The caravansaries were so crowded that few persons could lie down in them, and thousands slept in the mud and the snow. Children were born on the roadside or in the corner of a caravansary.

Arriving at Jufa, on the Russian border, passport difficulties added to the troubles of the fleeing people. Maddened woman threw their children into the Araxes River or into pools in order to end their sufferings from cold and hunger.

Father de Cross had to put his back against a wall to fight off the famished mob when he began distributing bread. The mud and cold and the shelterless nights, during which the garments of the refugees were frozen knee high, continued for three weeks, until the people were slowly dispersed by rail. Meantime, hundreds of them had not slept under a roof or near a fire.

Issaac Yonan, a graduate of the Louisville (Ky.) Theological Seminary, was among the refugees. He kept a dairy of the happenings during the exodus. This relates that among the refugees from Urumiah were an old man and his two daughters-in law, with their six children, three of them babies in arms. The oldest child was 9 years old. They were eight days on the way, averaging twenty miles daily through the mud. The old man became stuck fast in a pool and at his own request was left there to die. One woman gave birth to a child during the march and an hour afterward was again plodding along with the other refugees.

Two of the children were lost in a caravansary, but were taken up by Cossacks along with forty other persons. The soldiers displayed great humanity, often giving up their horses to the woman.

One young woman carried her father for five days, when he died. A woman was found dead by the roadside with her infant, still living, wrapped up in her clothing.

In a single day twenty persons died in the railway station at Nakhichevan, across the border in Russia. The entire casualties aggregated hundreds. People died unheeded and unmourned: in fact, who died seemed to be envied by the living.