ArmenianHouse.org - Armenian Literature, History, Religion
ArmenianHouse.org in ArmenianArmenianHouse.org in Russian

Edwin Munsell Bliss

TURKEY AND THE ARMENIAN ATROCITIES


Note from the administration of ArmenianHouse.org: the page numbering is preserved, so the book can be used for quoting. Also we did our best to keep the layout as close to the original as possible.


[page 447]

CHAPTER XXIV.

AINTAB, MARASH AND URFA.

The Situation in Northern Syria — No Revolutionary Movement — Massacre at Aintab — . Kurdish Women — A Turkish Captain Helps the Pillage — A Colonel Checks it — Caring for the Wounded — Two Attacks at Marash — Destruction of American Houses — Brave Men in Zeitun — Story of Massacres at Urfa.

SOUTH of the Taurus Mountains, in what is called Northern Syria, are a number of large cities, the most important being Aleppo, Antioch, Aintab, Birejik and Urfa. On the very edge of the mountains is the city of Marash, while in the midst of the range are Zeitun, Albistan, Behesni, Adiaman and some other places of more or less note. Aleppo is a distinctively Moslem city, and, more noticeable still, purely Arabic. Its inhabitants are only to a limited degree Turks, the great majority, whether Moslem or Christian, being of Syrian race. Antioch has less of the Arab element, but all the rest are distinctively Turkish and Armenian. The Turks are very largely of Turcoman rather than Ottoman or Seljuk descent. The Armenians not only lose almost entirely their own language, adopting the Turkish, but differ in some respects from the Armenians of Asia Minor. Whether this is because they are somewhat shut off by the mountains, or because they were more bitterly oppressed, or because they

[page 448] MISSIONS ADVANCED.

more thoroughly accepted the inevitable, it is impossible to say. In any case they have been noted for their general sturdiness of character, their general prosperity, and a large degree of liberality for new ideas. Protestant missions have advanced greatly among them, and their system of schools established in the cities is probably the best in the empire. In general, they have always been peaceable, though in the mountains they have not been slow to assert their independence. Few Turks cared to enter Zeitun against the will of its people, and in Aintab their representatives in the local city council were always found self-assertive, though always diplomatic and not aggressive in their manner. As a natural result of their interest in education, it came about that a college for young men was established in Aintab, and one for young women in Marash, and the students in both cities showed marked ability and progressive ideas. For the most part their relations with the Moslems were friendly, though in Marash, where apparently the close proximity of the mountain sections seemed to roughen all, there was considerable jealousy and antagonism.

The Armenian Revolutionists apparently made little effort, certainly met with no success, to embroil these communities, and when the storm burst in the north there was a general feeling that these places would be spared. One exception might be made in regard to Marash, and the well-known jealousy of the Turkish Government in regard to colleges made some fear for Aintab. The mutterings preceding the storm were heard, however, as soon as the word of the massacre at Constantinople had reached the Turkish population of the region. There was trouble in the smaller places first, an attack in Urfa on November 3d; and then, less than

[page 449 - illustration]

Scene of Slaughter

[caption] SCENE OF SLAUGHTER. Showing how the unarmed Armenians were clubbed and shot to death by the fanatical and bloodthirsty Moslems.

[page 450 - illustration]

Imprisoning Armenians

[caption] IMPRISONING ARMENIANS. This is from a sketch by an eye-witness of the brutal seizure of Armenians, and either murdering them or forcing them into the Prison or Death-house at Stamboul.

[page 451] COLLEGE AT AINTAB.

two weeks later, the blow fell at Aintab. The following description by an eye-witness will give the story better than any one else can. The letter is written from the college, which is situated on a hill quite a distance from the city.

“AINTAB, Monday, November 18th, 1895.

“ We have been congratulating ourselves that our city had escaped the outbreak of Moslem fanaticism which has lately swept the neighboring cities with the besom of destruction. But Saturday morning, without the slightest warning, while we were at breakfast, a great noise of shouting and firing of guns came to us from the city, telling us that the work of blood and plunder had begun here, also. My first thought was for the ladies and girls at the seminary and hospital. So, seizing my revolver, I sprang upon my horse and hurried over there. I met and passed many armed Kurds, who live in the suburb just about the hospital and seminary, but they did not interfere with me. Upon nearing the city, the confused sound that had reached us at the college became resolved into its elements; and I could distinguish the hoarse cries of fighting men, the screams of women and children, and, most terrible of all, the shrill, exultant lu-lu-lu-lu of the Kurdish and Turkish women, cheering on their men to the attack. I found the girls’ school and hospital had not, as yet, been attacked. Dr. Hamilton and Miss Trowbridge preferred to remain at their post of duty rather than to join the ladies at the seminary, which decision I could not oppose. Upon my return to the seminary, which is separated from the hospital yard by a narrow street only, I found Brother Sanders there, and shortly Our nearest neighbor, Hadji Hussein Agha, came in and said that at the outbreak which occurred at the Bazar, he had hastened at the top of his speed — not great at best, for he is a very fat man — to protect the hospital and girls’ school. As I had saved his brother’s life by a desperate surgical operation some years ago, and always been on friendly terms with him, I felt we could trust him to do his best. But when, a few minutes later, some 200 soldiers in uniform, with fixed bayonets, filed out of the street below; and marched into the open just beyond the seminary, I felt a great relief; for that meant that the government intended to protect the Americans at least. From the upper veranda of the seminary we could plainly see the crowd of plunderers breaking into Christian houses and carrying off house

[page 452] MASSACRE AT AINTAB.

hold goods. We could see the brave defense made by some of the Christians from the housetops with stones and firearms, where they had them, and still the horrid lu-lu-lu of the Kurdish women rent the air, mingled with the screams of the conquered, wounded and the dying, the hoarse cries of the men and the frequent reports of the firearms. An attack was made upon the hospital gate, but Hadji Hussein held the assailants in check until the soldiers arrived and drove them off. Clouds of smoke from a fire in the lower part of the city added to the terror of the women servants at the hospital, some of whom lived in that neighborhood. But the girls at the school behaved very well indeed. About noon, seeing that there was no immediate danger of an attack upon the seminary or hospital, I left Brother Sanders there and returned to the college. Here I found some thirty or forty refugees, mostly stonecutters, who had been out on the hills at work, and a few women and children.

“ Not long after noon the disturbance in the part of the city near us had mostly ceased, although the occasional sound of guns and the smoke of burning houses from the central part of the city showed that the fiendish work still went on; and a continual passing of villagers with bundles of plunder on their backs, and some with donkey loads and camel loads, showed too plainly that the looted area must have been considerable. Although not anticipating a night attack, we thought it wise to make preparations for one, and so barricaded the most defensible of the buildings on the campus for a rendezvous, set a watch and retired. But there was not much sleep. Nothing occurred during the night, and a cloudy morning broke above the city. At sunrise the villagers had already begun to enter the city; but soon after that the soldiers began to stop them, in a half-hearted sort of way, allowing them to congregate in large numbers a short distance away from the line of soldiers. About eleven o’clock I saw through my field-glass a captain on a white horse (I recognized both the man and the horse) approach a crowd of the plunderers, about two hundred strong, who had been driven away from the city, upon the hill, a quarter of a mile or so to the south, and make a harangue to them. Then he turned back toward the city with the soldiers who had been holding back the mob; and before they Had reached the city the whole crowd had swarmed past them and entered the streets; then I knew the scenes of the day before were to be repeated, so taking my field-glass I mounted to the college tower as offering a better view, I did not have long to wait before the head of the crowd appeared,

[page 453] CHRISTIAN QUARTER LOOTED.

coming up through Pasha Street, which had been completely looted the day before. They poured out of the street, a motley crowd of Turkish villagers, city Kurds, and roughs to the number of fifteen hundred or so, and turning to the right made a rush for the Christian quarter of Haik. That quarter has a strong gate across its entrance, and thirty or forty Christians were gathered upon the housetops, commanding the approach to this gate, armed with stones and two or three guns; and with the advantage afforded by their position on the flat roofs they held the mob at bay for three-fourths of an hour, and finally drove them off. Meantime, on the north side of the city, I saw the same Yuzbashi on the white horse. Here there were, perhaps, one thousand plunderers held in check by thirty or forty soldiers. Not long after the Yuzbashi made his appearance in that quarter, a part of their mob made a break, and some two or three hundred of them rushed into a small Christian quarter just under the seminary wall, and in a very few minutes were to be seen running off with their plunder. In the case of both these attacks there were plenty of soldiers standing about with loaded guns and fixed bayonets, who made not the slightest attempt to prevent the attack, or to scatter the mob; and the conclusion was irresistible that the Yuzbashi on the white horse had planned the attack in each case, or at least had signified to the mob that it could work its will. But his plans did not work altogether to his taste, for while the plunder was going on upon the north side, a Bimbashi (colonel) appeared upon the scene, and very soon the soldiers were firing over the heads of the mob to frighten them, and they were flying pell-mell out of the city. I wondered at the time that they should be so much frightened by a few guns fired into the air; but from a perfectly reliable source we learned that the Bimbashi shot four of the mob with his own hand, which would account for the celerity with which they dispersed. I attempted to go to the hospital yesterday morning and again this morning, but was not allowed to do so. Mr. Sanders brought word that the wounded of the north side attack yesterday, had been taken to the hospital, and one of them had died in the night, others being in a bad way. Dr. Hamilton had cared for them with the help of Miss Trowbridge and Solomon, our surgical assistant. We are as yet unable to form any idea of the number of the killed and wounded, or of the extent of the plundering, although we know of four outlying Christian quarters that have been entirely looted. The main part of the Christians live in the two quarters of Haik and Kyajuk, which have so far escaped. The women and children of two quarters that

[page 454] CARING FOR THE WOUNDED.

were entirely looted are confined in the mosques of the quarters, with the choice of ‘Islam or death; ’ but if not murdered before that time will, of course, be liberated as soon as the government gets control of the city again. To-day the plunderers from outside have been kept out of the city, but villagers have been freely allowed to go out of the city with their booty, until just now as I write this, at 2 P. M., a company of mounted gendarmes from Aleppo, which arrived this morning, has been sent out into the roads leading out of the city, to arrest plunderers and take their booty from them.

“ This, I take it, means that the trouble is nearly over. How I wish that I could get into the city to look after the wounded. We have made application to the governor for permission to go to the hospital, but have as yet received no reply; yesterday he refused a similar request, and as there is a large body of soldiers between here and there, it is impossible to go.

“ Sunday Evening, November 24th.

“ It seems at least a month since I wrote the first part of this letter. Tuesday morning I was allowed to go into the city to see the Kaimakam and the ‘ Alai Pasha’ — military commander — in whose company I found most of the notables of the Moslem community. I appealed to them for safe conduct for the wounded to be brought to the hospital and for burial of the dead. Both of which requests they granted; and I had not been back at the hospital more than half an hour when Dr. Habib, with an escort of soldiers, brought in some fifty or sixty patients. We were soon at work, and a ghastly set they were. They had been wounded upon the Saturday before, and had lain either exposed to the weather or crowded into a dirty stable all that time. Those who had escaped the ministration of the native hakim were fortunate; for all the wounded which he had touched were in a terribly septic state. The wounds were mostly made by knives or swords upon the heads, or hands and arms raised to ward off the head blows; and very few of the poor fellows had escaped without several, and some of them had ten or a dozen cuts. There were a few bayonet and gunshot wounds inflicted by the soldiers. In the middle of the afternoon, just as we began to congratulate ourselves that we were getting through with them, a batch of twenty-one more arrived, which kept us busy until dark. "Among those brought in that day there were four or five fractured skulls, and two arms that I had to amputate, besides several other very severe cases. Three of them have since died. Each day since there have been some new cases brought in, until the

[page 455] CHRISTIANS TERROR-STRICKEN.

number of wounded that we have treated at the hospital now exceeds 150. We have as yet no means of knowing the number of the dead; for while they readily promised protection for the burial, that promise was not carried out. Most of the Christian dead were dragged to the outskirts of the city with every imaginable indignity and either burned or cast into the old quarries that abound upon the edge of the city, and left for the dogs and vultures to eat. Some of them, after being thrown into these pits, were covered out of sight by casting stones upon them. The best estimate obtainable puts the number of the killed at between 300 and 400 for the Christians and 10 or 12 from the Moslems. The massacre began in the market without the slightest warning, and the poor unarmed Christians were scattered like sheep before their well-armed assailants, who outnumbered them three to one. The carnage soon spread from the bazars and markets to the outlying Christian quarters of the city. All the Christian shops were plundered, and four outlying wards, mostly occupied by the poorest classes, When the mob reached the more compact Christian quarters of the city, they met with some vigorous resistance; and many of the streets have heavy gates which were closed, and some of them well defended; so their progress was checked, until night came down and put an end to the scene. So far as I can learn there was no attempt made by either the government or the Moslem beys and effendis during the whole of that terrible Saturday to stop the killing and looting, except that they hurried a large force of soldiers out for the defense of the foreign residents. The soldiers took part in the pillage and did nothing to prevent the butchery, although not doing a large part of the latter themselves. The following day they began to repress the populace, as I have already narrated in the earlier part of this letter, and up to the present have succeeded in preventing any further general outbreak; but the poor Christians are terror-stricken, and all of them await their death in their houses or the churches. Yesterday there was a determined attempt upon the part of a large mob to attack the Christian part of the city, but the military quelled it without much difficulty. This took place upon the southern side of the city; and while the soldiers were mostly withdrawn to that side, two or three houses were looted upon the northern side of the city, but no one killed.

“ December 8th, 1895.

“ The time drags on, with no great change in the situation. There has been no further outbreak since my last writing, and the strain seems some-

[page 456] ATTACKS UNPROVOKED.

what relaxed; but the Christians dare not stir out of their houses yet, and all business is at a standstill. The college is still shut off from the city by a cordon of soldiers; and I am the only one allowed to go back and forth without obtaining special permission each time from the captain of the guard, and I am not allowed to enter the city except with a guard of two soldiers. This is ostensibly for my protection, but practically restricts my intercourse with the people very much, and debars me from much information that I might otherwise obtain. We had from Judge Terrell a telegraphic offer of an armed escort to the coast, where a United States cruiser awaited us; but we could not entertain the thought of leaving these poor people in their terror and distress, although we were in a good deal of anxiety for our women and children. There are now between 3,000 and 4,000 soldiers in the city, and so long as they remain under the control of the authorities there is no danger of another massacre. There are rumors among the Moslems of a commission coming here this week to investigate the massacre, and they are in a good deal of apprehension.

“ Yesterday the Kaimakam asked me if I were willing to go to Zeitun on behalf of the government to negotiate for peace. I, of course, expressed myself as willing and glad to do so if the government would offer such terms as these Zeitunlis might probably accept, and he proceeded to communicate with higher officials. I have not yet had any further advice from him. I have managed to get a half-day’s rest to-day for the first time in three Sabbaths. Our patients are all doing well, except one, who may very likely die from thrombosis of the cerebral sinuses. The best information I can get leads me to place the killed at not less than 400. The attack was wholly unprovoked, and the fact that not more than ten Moslems were killed, shows for itself that it was a mere butchery. Women and girls were not molested except in a few cases, when they attempted to defend their husbands or sons; but little boys were killed as ruthlessly as the men. It has been a terrible time, and I have not written the horrible details that you must have before you in order to realize the fiendish brutality of the affair. One thing which has made it particularly hard to bear has been the impossibility of communicating with the outside world, either to learn what is going on there or to acquaint others with the state of things here. Our letters have been intercepted in the mails, no newspapers allowed to reach us, our telegrams not sent, etc.; and when we have attempted to send special messengers, they have been arrested and treated as spies, imprisoned, and we

[page 457] A PERMITTED MASSACRE.

think in two cases killed. Letters are not now interfered with to the same extent as before, and if things continue to improve I shall try to send this by next post. We have felt that the Everlasting Arm was underneath us through it all, and it has been a great pleasure to me personally to be able to help the sick and wounded. What is to become of the thousands of homeless widows and orphans during the coming winter ? Aintab has escaped with little loss as compared with many places; and still in Aintab there are at least 2,000 people who must be wholly supported by charity during this winter.”

Three days after the attack at Aintab came the massacre at Marash. There had already been one outbreak on November 13th, and for four weeks there had been increasing disturbance, but the chief massacre occurred on the 18th. As to the first, an eye-witness wrote:

“ Thus far at least fifty have been killed, and perhaps 300 have been wounded, some of them fatally. The affair is attributed to a quarrel between a Mussulman and an Armenian, in which the Mussulman was fatally injured. This was on the 24th of October. The next day, after the man was buried, the attack began. According to a Turkish official the outbreak would have occurred in any case, even had not this fatal altercation precipitated it. The disorder commenced on Friday, the 25th. Word came around that the plan had been to have it on Sunday, when the Armenian population would have been in the churches. We do not certainly know this. But nothing could be more apparent than that it was, at least, a permitted massacre. The worst occurred after the Mutessarif had sent a crier around three times to order the Armenians to open their shops on pain of fine. Those who obeyed had their shops pillaged. This is only too significant. Not a Moslem has been arrested for injuries to Christians. A few who aided the Christians have been arrested. The order

[page 458] LETTER FROM MARASH.

of the day now is gradually to arrest the Armenians who are prominent in influence or position. Two days ago the pastor of the Third Protestant Church was imprisoned. He is as innocent of any political crime as I am.”

As to the second attack, the following letter gives an interesting account. It was written from the Girls’ College, on the mountain just outside of the city:

“ MARASH, NOV. 26th.

“ We survived the massacre of Nov. 18th, though we had given up all hope for hours. For four weeks previously Christians had been shot at sight in the streets, houses plundered, men’s heads put on pikes, and two cases in my knowledge where little girls had been disemboweled. It was a reign of terror, culminating in the butchery of the 18th. Early that morning the three church quarters were fired, and the steady report of the guns told us of the work of annihilation.

“ We took the girls (of the college) and crossed the seminary yard into the one occupied by the Lees and McCalloms. It was not a moment too soon, as the houses overlooking their walls were then being plundered, and we plainly saw what was in progress. It was about 9 o’clock. The Arab soldiers had been turned loose on the city. A number of regiments were drawn up west of the city ready to lend assistance if there should be any opposition. A company was on a hill near us, not regulars, but still in uniform, to see that no one interfered here, and the Arab fiends had possession. I cannot now describe the scenes we witnessed. The raiding of the houses in the seminary yard, the killing of our two men and a third riddled with bullets. Finally they were held up and chopped and hacked with the sword as mercilessly and with as little purpose as a child attacks a mullein head. After the soldiers had left to carry away a load of our academy stores, the old women and children came in to carry away what was left. It seemed the plan that everything must go. I had said, ‘ There will be a larger and better organized force come here, for they may think we can resist.’ There were 290 people in the two houses, chiefly women and children, and as still as death; and our girls, our sweet-faced girls, who tortured us with no wailing, but looking, in a heart-rendering manner, into our faces for the comfort and assurance that had never failed before. Everything was given

[page 459] STARVATION ON EVERY HAND.

over. The smoke and dusk were closing in around us. The seminary yard was nearly finished. A lull of perhaps a moment. We peeped through the curtains (Miss B. and I), and turning to each other, quietly said, ‘ They’ve come.’

“ A large force of Arabs was in the street, drawn up in order, each with his gun ready for firing, I thought, and started to go below to our girls, to be with them to the last. Someone was pounding on the street door, and we heard friendly calls. Mr. McCallom gave a glance at his wife and babies and said, ‘I must go,’ and he went. The calling continued and we were puzzled. But the gate, on being opened, let in some of our people and a colonel who had come with a guard — the first in all that day. We had seen the man on horseback in the afternoon, riding among the soldiers and playfully hitting them on the shoulders as if pretending to drive them away. This only made us feel sure that the government had doomed us and wanted a pretext for trying to protect us. Fortunately for me, the two wounded theologues were brought in, and I had my hands full till midnight, when one of them died. The other was shot and hacked up terribly, but I dressed his wounds and he is still alive. The condition in the city is beyond description. Starvation on every hand; the best of our people gone. The soldiers estimate as their day’s work 4,700 dead, but it is too much. They were occupied with plunder. One young man was given the alternative of death or becoming a Moslem. He chose death and they struck his head off. His poor body was taken to his mother, who, taking his hand and kissing it, said: ‘Rather so, my son, than living to deny our Lord and Saviour.’ He is one of thousands to sacrifice his life rather than deny Christ.”

This, however, was not all. At Zeitun, not far away, the Turkish troops had made an effort to attack the Armenians. They in their turn arose, made the Turks prisoners, fortified their position and defied the government. The effect was manifest in Marash, which was made the headquarters for the troops that soon came pouring in to put down this sole instance of real insurrection in the whole empire. From that time on, riot in greater or less degree was continuous, and every Christian in the city, foreigner and native, lived in con-

[page 460] INDICATIONS OF TROUBLE.

stant terror. For more than three months the brave Zeitun men held out, trusting in their own pluck, skill and knowledge of the country, and at last, late in February, 1896, the Turkish Government was forced to give them honorable terms of peace.

For a month attention was specially directed to Zeitun and the mountain cities, including Adiaman, but by the middle of December there were indications that trouble was to break out again in Urfa. That city was for a long time identified with Ur of the Chaldees, not merely by Moslem tradition, but in Christian books. It was, too, the seat of government of Abgar, the Armenian king, to whom, according to Armenian historians, Thaddeus preached, and who had the unique honor of a letter from the Saviour. Here, too, was the home of Ephrem Syrus, the famous ecclesiastic of the earlier Syrian Church. Moslem and Christian interest and pride centered alike about the place, and in some respects there was exceptional Moslem fanaticism. In the city was a single American missionary lady. Anxious for her safety, the missionaries at Aintab had made efforts to bring her there, but she remained. Her account of the scenes at that time is given below:

LETTER FROM A MISSIONARY.

“ We had often heard that the Moslems were dissatisfied with the attempt of two months ago which resulted in the destruction of only 40 lives and about £150,000 worth of goods, the plunder of 600 shops and 289 houses. After this the Christians were all completely disarmed by the government. Some 80 men had been imprisoned, and we feared another scene of terror. It came at last with great suddenness.

“ On Saturday, December 28th, the firing of a few guns in the Moslem quarter south of us proved the signal. Immediately an immense multitude gathered on the hill back of our house. The guards in the street east of us went to meet the people, fired a few shots over their heads, and then allowed

[page 461] GREGORIAN CHURCH MASSACRE.

the mass of wild humanity, thirsty for blood, to pass into the city and begin their work. The horrid work continued until dark. Three soldiers kept the mob from entering our street, constantly proclaiming: ‘ It is the house of a foreigner, and it is forbidden to touch her.’ We find by count that our ‘ shadow ’ covered 17 houses and 240 people. The mob came as far as to enter our girls’ schoolrooms in the churchyard, and they broke open the third door below us on the street and plundered the house. I saw one man beaten and then thrown down on the roof just opposite to me on the other side of the street. The Syrians and Roman Catholics were also spared. All other Christians suffered complete loss of ail home furnishings, and some houses were burned. The number of killed cannot be less than 3,500 and may reach 4,000. Of these it is estimated that 1,500 perished in the great Gregorian church. On Saturday that portion of the city was hardly touched, and great numbers of Armenians flocked to the church for safety that night. Sunday morning the work began again at daybreak, and when the people reached the church the soldiers broke open the doors. Then entering, they began a butchery which became a great holocaust. It was participated in by many classes of Moslems. For two days the air of the city was unendurable; then began the clearing up. During two days we saw constantly men lugging sacks filled With bones and ashes. The dragging off of 1,500 bodies for burial in trenches was more quickly completed, some being taken on animals. The last work of all has been the clearing of the wells. From one very large well it is said that 60 bodies were taken. It is well authenticated that 20 bodies were taken from another well. About 300 persons escaped from the church by way of the roof, which was reached by a narrow staircase on the inside. Shortly after noon on Sunday, some fifteen or more of the prominent citizens and government officials (not including the Mutessarif, or the military commander), preceded by a military band and mounted guard, made a grand parade of the city. They entered our yard, and, speaking with me from the veranda, they assured me of perfect safety and begged me not to be alarmed, as it was ‘nothing that pertained to me.’ I very quickly went into my room.

“ The work did not cease until dark on Sunday, the 29th. On Monday the Kurds and Arabs were prevented from entering the city, the firing beginning about dawn. All day Sunday a strong guard was about our premises. A captain of the army sat on his horse for hours at our northwest corner, just outside of the church premises, Repeatedly I received

[page 462] PROTESTANT PASTOR KILLED.

tions and assurances of perfect safety from government officials during that longest day I ever knew. It was evident that the utmost was done to protect me. How willingly I would have died, that the thousands of parents might be spared for their children !

“ The work of plunder is complete. Literally naught remains. By actual count only ten Protestant houses remain untouched, and five of these are in the district which I have spoken of as my shadow.

“ Our loss of life is 105, all but nine being men. These nine include two women and seven children, who were in the Gregorian Church when it was sacked. Our wounded are many. I have eighteen under my immediate care. Most of these have several severe wounds. One has 11; one has 18; ghastly sword and axe cuts on head and neck. There are a few gunshot wounds. There is only one doctor for the whole city. He has 350, and cannot care for more, nor for these but in part. He came at my call to see one who we supposed must lose his hand, dressed the arm and committed the case to my care. Thus far, thank God, all are doing well. I have found three persons who, like myself, are inexperienced in such matters; but they are proving careful, sensible workers with me. We dress most of the wounds in the church. Our schoolrooms (all but one, used as headquarters of our guard) are crowded with some 250 or 300 of the most forlorn and needy. Our home is also full. Those who are spared to their families are in great fear, and wish to be near me. We cannot receive all, and it is hard to daily turn away so many. Some have a little food, found in their houses, and some nothing. One of the several great men who have called to express sympathy, and to say, Turkish style, ‘ It was from God,’ has sent provisions, for which I am exceedingly grateful.

“ The government provides about 200 loaves of bread per day for the poor. But all this kindness will soon come to an end, and utter poverty will be the lot of most. The Protestant pastor, the Rev. H. Abouhayatian, and several efficient members of the church, are among the dead. I tried to secure the body of the pastor, but failed. His children — six — they immediately granted to me.

“ The custom in these affairs, so general in Turkey, seems to be for one party to rush ahead and kill. This is followed by another party which hurries off the women and children to some mosque, khan or some Moslem home temporarily open for their reception. Lastly, this operation is followed by the stripping of the house. Children often get separated from their parents

[page 463] GREGORIAN TEACHERS.

and are late in being found. One of the earliest offers made to me was to undertake finding any lost if I would send in the full name. My own guards, twenty in number since Sunday, do my every bidding as if I were a queen. I use them for help in all sorts of ways.

“ Markets are closed, and it is very difficult to get some things much needed. We have had but forty-five beds given back to us of those plundered, and a few pieces of copper; as yet I fail to secure more, or instructions as to method of procedure for individuals to secure stolen goods. The government has large numbers of beds and much copper ware stored for return to the owners, but all fear to stir lest the end has not yet come.

“ The aged Bishop of the Gregorians was spared, but only one, or possibly two priests.

“ Our own teacher of the Boys’ High School and several Gregorian teachers were killed. I believe the Gregorians are in greater suffering than the Protestants, having no foreigner to do for them, and any efficient ones spared are afraid to venture out.

“ To-day the long-expected soldiers have arrived — eight or nine hundred. Our city has been guarded (?) by resident soldiers. We must have your prayers and your pecuniary aid. How are the people to live through this winter?

“ URFA, January 7th, 1896.”

 


Table of Contents | The Cover, Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright Notice, etc.
Introduction | Preface | Turkey in Asia (map) | Table of Contents (as in the book)
List of Illustrations | 1. The Turkish Empire | 2. Population and Languages | 3. Religions
4. The Turks | 5. The Kurds | 6. The Armenians | 7. The Greeks | 8. Other Oriental Churches
9. Rise and Decline of Ottoman Power | 10. Turkey and Europe | 11. Russia and Turkey
12. Mahmud II | 13. Reform and Progress | 14. Treaties of Paris and Berlin
15. Condition of the Christians | 16. The Turkish Government | 17. Protestant Missions in Turkey
18. The Armenian Question | 19. General Situation in 1894 | 20. The Sassun Massacre
21. Politics and Massacre at Constantinople | 22. Massacres at Trebizond and Erzrum
23. Massacres in Harput District | 24. Aintab, Marash and Urfa | 25. Character of the Massacres
26. Religious Persecution | 27. Relief Work | 28. Partition of Turkey | 29. America and Turkey
30. General Survey | Alphabetical Index

Acknowledgements:

Source: Bliss, Rev. Edwin Munsell . Turkey and the Armenian Atrocities. Edgewood Publishing Company , 1896
Provided by: Aram Arkun, Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center
Scanned by: Karen Vrtanesyan
OCR: Irina Minasyan

See also:

J. Rendel Harris & B. Helen Harris, Letters from the Scenes of the Recent Massacres in Armenia
Helen Davenport Gibbons, The Red Rugs of Tarsus
Maj. General James G. Harbord Conditions in the Near East: Report of the American Military Mission to Armenia

Design & Content © Anna & Karen Vrtanesyan, unless otherwise stated.  Legal Notice