Presentation on theme: "The Forgotten Genocide What is to be learned from this Hitler quote?"— Presentation transcript:
The Forgotten Genocide What is to be learned from this Hitler quote?
The Armenian genocide is similar to the Jewish Holocaust in many respects: * Both people adhere to an ancient religion. *Both are religious minorities of their respective states. *Both have a history of persecution. *Both are new democracies. *Both are surrounded by enemies. *Both are talented and creative minorities who have been persecuted out of envy and obscurantism.
Avedis Aharonian (1866-1948)
The Armenian Genocide 1915 - 1923
The Armenian Genocide: Context and Legacy---Adalian, Rouben Paul. Social Education: The Official Journal of the National Council for the Social Studies: 1991, (February). “At a time when global issues dominate the political agenda of most nations, the Armenian genocide underlines the grave risks of overlooking the problems of small peoples. We cannot ignore the cumulative effect of allowing state after state to resort to the brutal resolution of disagreements with their ethnic minorities. That the world chose to forget the Armenian genocide is also evidence of a serious defect in the system of nation-states which needs to be rectified. In this respect, the continued effort to cover up the Armenian genocide may hold the most important lesson of all."
Why Did it Happen? 6 Main Reasons The “Armenian Question” – 6 reasons for emergence 1.Decline of Ottoman Empire 2.Rise of Turkism or Pan-Turanism 3.Diplomacy to stop racism/injustices inadequate 4.Ottoman Military Weaknesses 5.Reform measures in Ottoman Gov’t gave hope to Armenians 6.Armenian Modernization led to resentment among Turks
Reason One: Decline of the Ottoman Empire – Caused violent competition for land and resources – Government failed to guarantee life and property – Armenians demand reform – Invited resistance from government
1) Turkism: Unite all of the Turkish peoples in the entire region 2) Pan-Turanism: Expanding the borders of Turkey
Reason Two: Turkism altered Ottoman self perceptions from a religious to a national identity by emphasizing the ethnicity of the Turks of Anatolia to the exclusion of other populations and promoted the idea that region should be exclusive domain of the Turkish Nation
Reason Two: Pan-Turanism advanced the idea of conquering lands stretching into Central Asia inhabited by other Turkic-speaking peoples. Goal was to unify all the Turkic peoples into a single empire led by the Ottoman Turks.
Reason Two: Goal cont. Homeland of Armenia lay in the path of their plan Rise in Islamic Fundamentalism Young Islamic extremists stage anti-Armenian demonstrations Armenians resist – Want to maintain culture/identity – Push harder for say in gov’t
Reason Two: The Armenians resist the CUP policy of Turkification The Armenians had worked hard to build up the infrastructure of their communities, including an extensive network of elementary and secondary schools. Through education they hoped to preserve their culture and identity and to obtain participation in the government.
Reason Three: Appeal of the Armenians to the Christian countries of Europe Ottomans saw Armenians reaching out as subversion
Reason Four: Military weakness of the Ottoman Empire left it exposed to external threats and therefore made it prone to resorting to brutality as a method of containing domestic dissent.
Reason Five: Reform measures introduced in the 19 th century to modernize the Turkish State had initially encouraged increased expectations among Armenians that better government and even representation were imminent possibilities. Massacre of Armenians undermine this confidence Armenian national consciousness and formation of political organizations grew
Reason Six: Rapid modernization experienced by the Armenians---Differences Between Armenians and Turks =resentment among the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire
Reason Six: Differences between Armenians and Turks Armenians Better educated Professionals i.e.: Businessmen, lawyers, doctors, and skilled craftsmen Open to new scientific, political and social ideas from the west Turks Illiterate peasant farmers and small shopkeepers Little values on education Previous rulers values loyalty and blind obedience above all Never heard of democracy
Armenian Origins The Armenians ancestry is traced all the way back to ancient tribes that inhabited Asia Minor. Armenian Kingdoms were located between Rome and the Persian Empire, who at the time were struggling. Because of this location these kingdoms were sometimes able to achieve independence while other times they were subjected to foreign rule.
Religion- Armenian Apostolic Church Karekin II, leader of the Armenian Orthodox Church (Canadian Armenian Embassy) *Trace heritage back to Noah *1 st country to formally adopt Christianity (331 AD) *93% of Armenians belong to Armenian Apostolic church *Church as cultural and social force
Armenian Religion and Culture Since 301 A.D. the official religion of the Armenians was Christianity. After establishing the official religion and creating their own alphabet, the Armenians enabled their own distinct culture. Although Armenian independence was dwindling in the 14 th century, their unique culture indentified them as an individual group.
Medieval Armenia From 645-850 A.D. Armenia was under Arab domination. In the 9 th century the Armenian Kingdom began to restore itself, when the Arab- Islamic Empire started to decline. In 1045, the Armenian Kingdom was annexed by the Byzantine Empire. Then in 1064 Turkic tribesmen from Central Asia invaded the Armenian Plateau. For the next three centuries the Armenian Kingdom faced invasions for Turkic and Mongols. Although the invasions did not stop the Armenians attempted to recreate political stability. Armenian culture and life maintained itself until the 14 th century. The last Armenian Kingdom fell in 1375.
Under Ottoman Domination In the 15 th century, the Ottoman Turks became a dominant force in Asia Minor. In 1453, after defeating the Byzantine Empire, they declared Constantinople their capital city. This led to the creation of the Ottoman Empire. The Patriarch or head of the Armenian Church, in the Ottoman Empire, was responsible for the religious, educational, and judicial establishments of the Armenian community. The church helped the Armenian identity stay distinct in the Empire. Under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Armenians received moments of peace and periods of harsh treatment. The majority of Armenians were peasants in the eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire. – Out of these peasants many worked as tenant farmers or share croppers for Turkish landholders.
Under Ottoman Domination continued 250,000 Armenians who lived in the capital served the Empire as bankers, merchants, civil servants, and imperial architects. Soon Armenian leaders began to ask for democratic reform in order to help alleviate the hardships. – Armenian complaints consisted of misrule, over- taxation, and increasing insecurity of life and property. Ottoman leader Abdul Hamid II was fearful Armenians might gain independence so he declared a massacre of about 200,000 Armenians in the capital.
The Genocidal Process-- 1915-1923 In 1914 during WWI Russia, Great Britain, and France were allied together against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Russia, in enlarging their empire, controlled areas populated with Turkish speaking people and hurt the Ottoman Empire. Because of this it appeared Germany and Austria- Hungary were allied with the Ottoman Empire. – On Aug. 2, 1914 The Ottoman Empire signed a treaty making the alliance with Germany and Austria- Hungary official. Young Turks hoped that they would defeat Russia so they can expand to Central Asia and unite all Turkish speaking people This became known as Pan- Turkism. However, the Armenian plateau’s location, made it an inevitable battle ground for war. – No matter who won the war, the Armenians would face severe problems.
Role of WWI (1914): Perfect Opportunity Leaders of the Young Turk regime sided with the Central Powers Armenians side w/Russia (Allied) Outbreak of war would provide the perfect opportunity to solve the “Armenian Question”
The New-York Times Mid-Week Pictorial New York, New York December 30, 1915
Role WWI Played: Perfect Opportunity Ottomans defeated by Russians Place blame on Armenians – “Collaboration with the enemy” – War provided perfect opportunity for Turkification No obligation to uphold international agreements
Role of WWI: Perfect Opportunity Because it was WWI, the rest of the world was preoccupied (Completely absorbed by another thought or action) and did not notice the conflict until 1918. If WWI had not been happening, then the other countries of the world could have assisted the Armenians in their time of need.
What reason did the Minister of the Interior give when asked about the CUP policy of deporting the Armenians? Armenians collaborate with the enemy charging the entire Armenians population with treason
Preconditions to the Armenian Genocide Loss of Territories- The Ottoman Empire expanded throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. In the late 18 th and 19 th centuries the Empire lost land along Europe and North African provinces. Economic Reversals- Trade balance shifted in the 17 th century. European trade had risen making the Ottoman Empire a debtor and for once was dependent on European Markets. Armenian Demands for Reform- Armenians were scattered throughout the Empire demanding democratic reform. And after harsh conditions they demanded for protection, misrule, etc… Foreign Intervention- European powers pressured the Ottoman’s for reforms from time to time creating more problems. The Armenians citizens grew and the government lost more power. Repressive Reactions- After the wholesale massacre of 250,000 Armenians the Ottoman’s began to lose control of the Empire.
In the late 1800s, Abdul Hamid organized pogroms that killed thousands of Armenians. The only crimes the Armenians had committed were to be Christian and to ask for more democratic rights for all people within the Ottoman Empire. This is known as the Hamidian Massacres.
The 8 Steps of Armenian Genocide Classification The Armenians were considered separate than Ottoman Turkey They were Christians, and separated from the mostly Muslim population Symbolization Generalizations were made about all Armenians because of actions of a few Christian people
The 8 Steps of the Armenian Genocide (Cont.) Dehumanization Because the Armenians had different beliefs, they were forced to pay higher taxes They also were not trusted and treated as second class individuals Organization The Committee of Union and Progress made lists of different Armenian people to be murdered
The 8 Steps of the Armenian Genocide (Cont.) Polarization Armenians were accused of going against their government to help the Russians Only a few people tried to help them, and by doing so they put their lives at risk Preparation The Turks ordered leaders to send all Armenian women and children on a forced march through the desert under terrible conditions They set up 25 concentration camps Militias were developed for the killings
The 8 Steps of the Armenian Genocide (Cont.) Extermination Armenian political and intellectual leaders were gathered and killed on April 24 th, 1915 On that day, 5,000 of the poorest Armenians were butchered in the streets Denial The Turkish Government denies that there was a genocide of the Armenians They claim that the Armenians were removed from the Eastern “war zone”
Genocidal Process : How It Begins During the first 6 months of war, there were reports about criminals released from jail and being dispatched to where the Armenians lived. In Aug. 1914 the young Turk government created the Special Organization units. – This units were instructed to carry out subversive activities on the Russo- Ottoman border. – Members were recruited among the ranks of the criminals and outlaws released from prison on occasion. – But later it became evident that these units were to kill off the Armenian population. The initial defeat of the Ottomans against Russians enhanced the government’s ill- disposition toward the Armenian citizens. In the winter of 1914-1915 the Ottoman army launched an attack against Asia hoping to open the way to Central Asia. – The attack was poorly planned and it ended up with severe loss from the Ottoman army. Armenian villages were taking the burden for the Turks anger and were being accused of being non trustworthy to their government. This is when the massacres of Armenians began.
Turkish Actions Minimizing Resistance Disarmed entire Armenian population 40,000 Armenian men serving in Turkish Army – Weapons were confiscated and put into slave labor
Turkish Actions cont. Minimizing Resistance Extermination orders transmitted in coded telegrams to all governors in Turkey All other Armenian men summoned for removal process – Turned themselves in willingly – No clue about to be murdered Imprisoned Tortured Taken away in chains Mass executions
April 24, 1915 300 Armenian Leaders from Constantinople political leaders writers clergy Educators and dignitaries Taken from their homes, jailed & tortured, then hanged and shot Tied together with rope in small groups then taken to the outskirts of their town and shot dead
Armenian Leaders’ Fate Fate of Armenian Soldiers: Many Armenian citizens were between the age of 25-45 and thus conscripted to the army. When WWI began about 250,000 Armenian males began to serve in the army. This was just another way to depart Armenians, thus killing off their civilization. Soon these Armenians were pulled off the front and disarmed. Then they were regrouped to about 50- 100 men and were sentenced to work on road maintenance. Later they were starved, beaten to death, or gunned down. Fate of Armenian Intellectuals: On April 23-24, 1915 hundreds of Armenian intellectuals were arrested in front of the capital. This lead to the imprisonment of most Armenian politicians, scientists, lawyers, doctors, and writers. Nearly all of them were murdered. This pattern repeated to where 5000 community leaders were eliminated. The Armenian deputies expressed their anxiety to the government but were killed. Consequently the 24 th of April marked the Armenian Genocide.
Armenians from Kesaria in front of jail one hour before all were killed
The Armenian Genocide Turkish leaders first executed Armenian leaders…
The Fate of the Armenian Population- The loss of their leaders and able bodied men made the Armenians very vulnerable and defenseless. Panic broke out in the Armenian community. The elimination of the Armenian leadership unfolded the systematic policy of extermination being implemented by the Young Turk government.
Armenian Women, Children, and the Elderly Sometimes, local Turks spared young Armenian children from deportation Coerced into denouncing Christianity Sexual abuse rape of girls at the hands of the Special Organization (government units of hardened criminals)
Some Armenian children were taken from their families and given to Muslim Turkish families to be raised. They were given Muslim names and forced to convert. They were taught Arabic. The boys were circumcized.
Armenian Women, Children, and the Elderly Ordered to pack belongings w/little-no notice Claimed were being relocated to the non- military zone for their own safety. – Actually being taken on death marches
The Armenian Genocide - Armed round-ups begin April 24, 1915 - mass killing and deportation follow - property taken by local Turks - Ambassador Henry Morgenthau reported to Washington, “When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race..."
The Armenian Genocide, 1915 U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau Sr., concluded a “race murder” was occurring. He cabled Washington and described the Turkish campaign: ”Persecution of Armenians assuming unprecedented proportions. Reports from widely scattered districts indicate systematic attempt to uproot peaceful Armenian populations and through arbitrary arrests, terrible tortures, whose- sale expulsions and deportations from one end of the Empire to the other accompanied by frequent instances of rape, pillage, and murder turning into massacre, to bring destruction and destitution on them. These measures are not in response to popular or fanatical demand but are purely arbitrary and directed from Constantinople in the name of military necessity, often in districts where no military operations are likely to take place…there seems to be a systematic plan to crush the Armenian race.” The documentary, The Armenian Genocide aired on PBS in April, 2006.
Extensive Deportation Plan Prepared in utmost secrecy Carried out by the police, the Special Organization Units, and under the direction of the governors of the provinces where the Armenians lived Government officials who refused to carry out orders were dismisses and immediately replaced A Deportation Committee was set up in Constantinople Mass deportations were an unprecedented measure From May 1915 until spring of 1916, nearly all Armenians of the Ottoman Empire disappeared from the Armenian plateau. Notices of deportation were posted in public places and the news announced by public criers in the streets of Armenians towns and villages The Armenian men, women, and children were given a few days to leave their homes
Over a million Armenians Covered hundreds of miles and lasted months Food supplies ran out and they were denied food or water Lagged behind Beaten Could not continue Shot
Deportation The Turkish authorities said that the deportation of the Armenians would merely be a war-time measure. Families were expected to take only a minimal amount of baggage. The government reassured them that all their belongings and livestock would be safeguarded until their return. Then the deportations began. Proceeded on the mountainous plateau where communication routes were few and poorly maintained Organized in convoys and made to walk to the Syrian desert to the south This pattern was repeated in every town and indicated it was a well-organized plan. The deportations and subsequent massacres proceeded in progressive stages.
Deportation Shortly after reaching the outskirts of a village, all males over the age of fifteen were separated from the convoy, taken to isolated locations and shot or slaughtered. The women, children, and straggling elderly were left to die a much slower death. They were forcefully dragged from one province to another under the supervision of the police. Had to cross mountains, ravines, and through the desert on foot Most women had to walk carrying a child in their arms while attending to their surviving sons and daughters and the straggling elderly Food was often refused to the convoys of deportees Pieces of bread were sold in exchange for the few remaining belongings Water was rationed. Conditions allowed for additional deaths due to exposure, malnutrition, thirst, and epidemics.
Deportations The Special Organization kidnapped women and children to be sold to Turkish families as slaves. Girls and women were also raped and their bodies were left mutilated. During the marches mothers left behind children or families as a whole committed suicide. Food and water were rationed and this led to many deaths. The proclaimed destinations of the deportations were the interior parts of the Empire, the city of Aleppo to the south and the desert wasteland of Deir el-Zor in the Iraqi/Syrian desert in the south east. The deportations were organized and conducted in such a way, so that only 10% of those who were made to leave their homes reached the deportation camps. By July 1915 most Armenians were deported and killed Deportations from the coastal region of Cilicia was made easier and more effective by the better communication lines and railway. From July 1915 to the winter months of 1915-1916, the Armenians of Cilicia were deported. They were often piled in boxcars initially reserved for the transportation of goods and livestock. They were asked to pay the fare and all travel expenses of what ended up to be their death journey. Often they had to wait for days and weeks in impoverished camps around the tracks in isolated areas. The deportees had not access to food or water.
Women and children slowly starved to death on a forced march After their defeat in World War I, the new Ottoman government tried the leaders of the genocide and sentenced them to death in absentia. However within a few months the proceedings were suspended and the matter dropped. The Armenian survivors were not allowed to return to the Armenian plateau.
Results Any resistance ended in massacre. By spring of 1915 400,000-500,000 survivors were separated into two groups moving from camp to camp. Any survivors by the spring of 1916 were killed. “Estimates of the Armenian dead vary from 600,000 to two million… More than half the Armenian population perished and the rest were forcibly driven from their ancestral homeland. Another important point is that what befell the Armenians was by the will of the government.” – Ibid., p.36
Photographed by a German Officer in Turkey
Auction of Souls” or “Memorial of Truth” “Ravished Armenia”, one of the first documentary memoirs of an eyewitness of Armenian Genocide was published in 1918, in New York. In this book Arshaluys (Aurora) Mardiganian, a girl from Chmshkatsag, Armenian populated town in the Ottoman Empire, gave a detailed account of the terrible experiences she endured during the genocide. At the age of fourteen Arshaluys was beaten and tortured in harems of Turkish officials and Kurdish tribesmen. The most traumatic of all, though, was the fact that she lost her parents, sisters and three brothers who were viciously killed in front of her eyes. After two years of those horrors Arshaluys Mardiganian, or Armenian Janna d’Ark, as she was called in America, resisted the conversion of her faith, escaped from the harem of Kemal Efendi, her Turkish lord.
Auction of Souls In the beginning of spring in 1917, after long-lasting wandering she reached Erzrum, which had already been occupied by Russian forces. There Arshaluys was sheltered by American missionaries. Later by the help of Armenian National Union and American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief she moved to Peterograd, Russia, then to New York USA and settled there. Despite all the sufferings Mardiganian stayed unbending. She had a mission to tell the world about the atrocities committed against Armenians in Turkey. The book “Ravished Armenia” was completed when American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief offered to create a film based on the scenario of the book. It was agreed that all the profit which reached $30 million would be given for relief purposes of 60.000 Armenian orphans gathered in the Near East.
The poster of the film “Auction of Souls”
In 1918, at Metro Goldwin Mayer studio, director Oscar Apfel made a silent film “Auction of Souls”, which actually became the first genocide movie ever made. More than 10.000 Armenian residents of Southern California, including 200 deported children, participated in the scenes. The script of the film had 3 versions. First version consisted of 675 frames, and the last, restored one – 531. The frames were investigated by Viscount James Bryce, the President of American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, former ambassador of Great Britain to USA and Henry Morgenthau, American ambassador to Turkey, from 1913 to 1916. All gentlemen gave high appraisal to all the frames.
The film is especially remarkable due to the fact that Arshaluys Mardiganian was the author of the scenario as well as played the leading role. Her input regarding the accuracy of the costumes, characters, settings and backgrounds was incredible. Oscar Apfel the director of the film took into consideration the great political importance of the film and chose Mardiganian to play the leading role. Apfel was convinced that Mariganian’s participation would be appealing not only to one nation, but for entire humanity.
The American National Motion Picture Committee officially licensed the film before the premiere. In its report to the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief of January 25, 1919, the ANMPC stated that the film was not only of artistic, historical, educational and informational value, but “it represented the sufferings of Armenians, which would leave a deep impression on each representative of American society”. The premiere of the “Auction of Souls” was held on February 16, 1919, in Plaza Hotel, New York under the auspices of Oliver Harriman and George Vanderbilt, members of American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief. 7000 prominent New Yorkers attended the premiere at a ticket price of $10). The movie played for a week and the gains were sent to The Near East Relief.
In large cities as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles is Mardiganian held meetings with representatives of upper ten talking about the brutal atrocities of the Turks. Apfel in his turn held meeting with public and said that “Auction of Souls” was the fatal claim of Armenia to American people, and he approached to each event with extreme caution. Apfel also confessed that several scenes of the film were eliminated, as they were horrifying. One of the torture scenes in the film revealed an elderly clergyman whose fingernails were pulled out with tweezers. Apfel was against the omission of any harrowing scenes from the public showing of the film, as the falsifying of facts was even more dreadful.
A line of naked, crucified Armenian girls
The film was shown in large cities of 13 U.S. states, in several countries of Latin America, including Mexico and Cuba. It was a success everywhere and was estimated as “epoch-making film”. In 1919-1920 London “Bayoscop”, newspaper dedicated to motion picture arts published in wrote about the great importance of ”Auction of Souls”. Popular newspapers like “The Illustrated London News”, “The Morning Telegraph” mentioned that every person should see the film. The “Auction of Souls” was taken to Great Britain in December, 1919, and censured. After long lasting negotiations the film was shown in Royal Albert Hall, by the permission of Scotland Yard and played for three weeks. Then it was censured again, some headlines were changed, four scenes were eliminated after which the film continued playing. At the beginning of 1920s Mardiganian’s “Ravished Armenia” was censured and taken off the British and American libraries.
For over eighty years film historians have been searching the world for the nine reels of Ravished Armenia but failed to find any trace. The remaining reels of the rare nitrate based film were lost. Some say the reels presumably sunk with a ship on their way to the port of Batoum, or stolen by thieves. The full-length version of the film, which lasting 85 minutes, unfortunately, hasn’t been saved. With the efforts of Eduard Gozanlian, an Armenian from Argentina, a segment from the reel was found in 1994 One copy of that segment is kept in the funds of Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. The film included English, French and Armenian subtitles for every scene. The list of the original subtitles for Ravished Armenia is preserved in The Selig Collection at the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They are also reproduced in Anthony Slide’s book "Ravished Armenia and the Story of Aurora Mardiganian". This book was published by Scarecrow Press in 1997. It tells the story of the making of the film and reveals the young girl's survival story.
EDWARD RACOUBIAN We walked for many days, occasionally running across small lakes and rivers. After awhile we saw corpses on the shores of these lakes. Then we began seeing them along the path: twisted corpses, blackened by the sun and bloated. Their stench was horrible. Vultures circled the skies above us, waiting for their evening meal. At one point, we came upon a small hole in the ground. It was a little deeper than average height and 25-30 people could easily fit in it. We lowered ourselves down into it. There was no water in it but the bottom was muddy. We began sucking on the mud. Some of the women made teats with their shirts filled with mud and suckled on them like children. We were there for about a half hour. If we hadn't been forced out, that would have been our best grave. Many days later we reached the Euphrates River and despite the hundreds of bodies floating in it, we drank from it like there was no tomorrow. We quenched our thirst for the first time since our departure. They put us on small boats and we crossed to the other side. From there we walked all the way to Ras-ul-Ain. Of a caravan of nearly 10,000 people, there were now only some of us 300 left. My aunt, my sisters, my brothers had all died or disappeared. Only my mother and I were left. We decided to hide and take refuge with some Arab nomads. My mother died there under their tents. They did not treat me well—they kept me hungry and beat me often and they branded me as their own.
KRISTINE HAGOPIAN We had already been deported once, in 1915, sent towards Der-Zor. But, my uncle's friend had connections in the government and he had us ordered back to Izmir. Orders came again that everyone must gather in front of the Armenian church to be deported. My father refused to go and told us not to worry. He didn't think the Turkish government would do anything to him, since he was a government employee himself. Twelve Turkish soldiers and an official came very early the next morning. We were still asleep. They dragged us out in our nightgowns and lined us up against the living room wall. Then the official ordered my father to lie down on the ground… they are dirty the Turks… very dirty… I can't say what they did to him. They raped him! Raped! Just like that. Right in front of us. And that official made us watch. He whipped us if we turned away. My mother lost consciousness and fell to the floor. Afterwards, we couldn't find our father. My mother looked for him frantically. He was in the attic, trying to hang himself. Fortunately, my mother found him before it was too late. My father did eventually kill himself—later, after we escaped.
SAM KADORIAN They took us from Hüsenig, to Mezre, to Kharpert to Malatia and then, after a couple of days walk, to the shores of the Euphrates River. It was around noon when we got there and we camped. For a while, we were left alone. Sometime later, Turkish gendarmes came over and grabbed all the boys from 5 to 10 years old. I was about 7 or 8. They grabbed me too. They threw us all into a pile on the sandy beach and started jabbing us with their swords and bayonets. I must've been in the center because only one sword got me… nipped my cheek… here, my cheek. But, I couldn't cry. I was covered with blood from the other bodies on top of me, but I couldn't cry. If had, I would not be here today. When it was getting dark, my grandmother found me. She picked me up and consoled me. It hurt so much. I was crying and she put me on her shoulder and walked around. Then, some of the other parents came looking for their children. They mostly found dead bodies. The river bank there was very sandy. Some of them dug graves with their bare hands—shallow graves—and tried to bury their children in them. Others, just pushed them into the river, they pushed them into the Euphrates. Their little bodies floated away.
SION ABAJIAN The crowds were huge in Meskeneh. We were in the middle of a vast sandy area and the Armenians there were from all over, not only from Marash. We had no water and gendarmes would not give us any. There were only two gendarmes for that huge crowd. Just two. Wasn't there a single man among us who could have killed them? We were going to die anyway. Why did we obey those two gendarmes so sheepishly? The word was that from Meskeneh, we were going to be deported to Der-Zor. My father had brought along a tent that was black on one side and white on the other. Each time gendarmes approached us to send another group to Der-Zor, my father would move the tent. He would pitch it on the other side of the crowd—as far away as possible. We were constantly moving. He bought us quite a bit of time that way. Eventually, we crossed the Euphrates River to Rakka where we found an abandoned house—with no doors or windows—and we squatted there. But we still had no food. We used to eat grass. We used to pick grains from animal waste, wash them and then in tin cans fry them to eat. We used to say: "Oh, mommy, if we ever go back to Marash, just give us fried wheat and it will be enough."
EDWARD BEDIKIAN There was a girl, a girl who I had befriended on the road, earlier. Her name was Satenig. I remember her very well. She was not too strong. I saw her again in that basement. In the basement of the school where they had thrown us. She was there. She had a little bit of money and she gave it to me. "Don't let them take me," she said. "Don't let them take me." They would come around everyday and take whoever was dead or very weak. She was not in good shape, she was very weak. I stood her up and leaned on her. Held her up, so. They came. I was holding her up, leaning her up against the wall. But they saw her and took her… took her…
HAIG BARONIAN I do not remember how many days our decimated caravan marched southward toward the Euphrates River. Day by day the men contingent of the caravan got smaller and smaller. Under pretext of not killing them if they would hand over liras and gold coins, men would be milked by the gendarmes of what little money they had. Then they would be killed anyway. Days wore on. We marched through mountain roads and valleys. Those who could not keep up were put out of their misery. Always bodies were found strewn by the wayside. The caravan was getting smaller each day. At one place, my little grandmother, like Jeremiah incarnate, loudly cursed the Turkish government for their inhumanity, pointing to us children she asked, "What is the fault of children to be subjected to such suffering." It was too much for a gendarme to bear, he pulled out his dagger and plunged it into my grandmother's back. The more he plunged his dagger, the more my beloved Nana asked for heaven's curses on him and his kind. Unable to silence her with repeated dagger thrusts, the gendarme mercifully pumped some bullets into her and ended her life. First my uncle, now my grandmother were left unmourned and unburied by the wayside. We moved on.
Turkish Genocide Against Armenians Districts & Vilayets of Western Armenia in Turkey 19141922 Erzerum215,0001,500 Van197,000500 Kharbert204,00035,000 Diarbekir124,0003,000 Bitlis220,00056,000 Sivas225,00016,800 Other Armenian-populated Sites in Turkey Western Anatolia371,80027,000 Cilicia and Northern Syria309,00070,000 European Turkey194,000163,000 Trapizond District73,39015,000 Total 2,133,190387,800
Reaction of the European Powers and U.S.- On May 24 th, 1915 France, Britain, and Russia filed a joint protest with the Ottoman Government In July and August 1915, the German Government also submitted a protest to the Ottoman Empire. Henry Morgenthau, the American ambassador in the Ottoman Empire send many reports to Washington documenting in detail what was happening to the Armenians In 1915, he wrote that a “campaign of race extermination” was unfolding against the Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman govt continuously and persistently denied all reports.
The Armenian Genocide: How the World Responds - estimated 1,500,000 killed - oppression and murder of Armenians in Turkey continues until 1923 - destruction of the Armenian communities in this part of the world was total International Response - May 1915, Great Britain, France, and Russia advised the Young Turk leaders they would be held personally responsible for crimes against humanity - Post-war demands that the Ottoman government prosecute the Young Turks accused of wartime crimes
International Response - Relief efforts were also mounted to save “the starving Armenians” – US sent $75,000 (~ $2,500,000 in today’s money) - American, British, and German governments sponsored the preparation of reports on the atrocities and numerous accounts were published (NY Times) - Despite moral outrage of the international community, no strong actions were taken against Ottoman Empire - No steps taken to require the postwar Turkish government to make restitution to the Armenian people for their immense material and human losses or prosecute those responsible
What is the cartoonist saying about the world’s lack of real action towards the Armenian Genocide? How can you tell?
What does a buzzard mean to us? Why would the cartoonist depict the Ottomans as a buzzard? Why is Europe represented by a small, child-like men, dragging a gun, and looking confused? Explain.
Who do the figures represent? How can you tell? What does the caption refer to? What is the cartoonist’s perspective on the culpability of the allies of the Ottoman Empire---Germany and Austria-Hungary? How can you tell?
Who are the two figures in the cartoon? What does the caption refer to? What is the cartoonist trying to say? How can you tell?
United by the Christian Blood on Their Hands "The Meeting: God separates us, but blood unites us!" - L'Asino (Milan) The New-York Times Mid-Week Pictorial New York, New York December 30, 1915 What is the cartoonist point about the Armenian Genocide? How can you tell? What political cartoon strategies are used? Explain. Do you agree or disagree with the cartoonist? Why or why not?
Reactions of the European Powers and the United States The Armenian Genocide made the headlines of major newspapers like the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor. In daily articles, American and German missionaries, educators, journalists, and travelers told of the horrors of the death marches. By 1916, when the Armenian plateau had already been depleted of its inhabitants, attempts to protest or intervene became practically insignificant…it was too late At that point, the most practical step was to organize relief work for the surviors.
Humanitarian Assistance to the Survivors In early April of 1915, the American and German missionaries stationed in the various cities of the Ottoman Empire. On September 1915, Ambassador Morgenthau asked the American government for emergency funds. In 1915, the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief (ACASR) was founded. By the end of 1915, they raised up to $176,000.
Near East Relief (NER) In 1916, the ACASR was reorganized to the NER and incorporated under a Congressional charter. During 1916 and 1917, it was able to come up with 2 million dollars each year. In 1918 and 1919m the amount reached 7 million and 19 million respectively.
Relief the Children In 1919, NER had gathered thousands of surviving Armenian children and placed them in orphanages. Boys were trained to become shoe-makers, bakers, tailors while girls were taught how to sew and spin. Schools were set up to ensure continued education for the surviving children.
Conviction of the Young Turk Leadership In 1918, The Young Turk Leaders fled the country after the defeat of WWI. The new Ottoman government organized the trial of these leaders in military courts. The trial last from April to July 1919. Four years after planning and executing the Armenian Genocide, the perpetrators were sentenced to death.
“ No attempt was made to carry out the sentence, however, the thousands of the culprits were neither tried nor even removed from office. Within a few months the judicial proceedings were suspended, and even accused the imprisoned war criminals were freed and sent home.”
The Unpunished Criminal. January 1, 1946.
Turkish Genocide Against Armenians A Portent of Future Horrors to Come!
On August 22, 1939, in preparation for the impending invasion of Poland, Hitler stated to Reichmarshal Hermann Goering and the commanding generals at Obersalzberg... Referring to the Armenian Genocide, the young German politician Adolf Hitler duly noted the half-hearted reaction of the world’s great powers to the plight of the Armenians. After achieving total power in Germany, Hitler decided to conquer Poland in 1939 and told his generals "Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter - with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It's a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command - and I'll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad - that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness - for the present only in the East - with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
Massacred Armenians. March 16, 1946.
World Pressure for Return of Lands. April 6, 1946.
Turkish Imperialism. May 25, 1946.
The Aftermath of the Armenian Genocide The Allied forces reached the Armenians too late to save most of them Armenian survivors, including many orphans, found refuge in the Middle East, Western Europe, the United States and Canada The promised trials of the genocide’s perpetrators were indefinitely suspended by the British as the price of Kemal Ataturk’s cooperation in their anti-Bolshevik intervention Denial that the deaths of the Armenian victims were part of an intentional, planned annihilation of the Armenians in Turkey continues as a staple of Turkey’s curriculum and diplomatic activities, although progress is being made with the help of some Turkish and other specialist scholars
The Armenian Controversy To this day, the Turks deny that the Genocide occurred. This is a VERY controversial issue to the Turks. Turkey suspended its military ties with France in 2006 after the French Parliament's lower house adopted a bill that that would have made it a crime to deny that the Armenian killings constituted a genocide. 23 countries acknowledge the event was genocide In early October 2007, the U.S. Congress opened debate on whether or not to declare the Armenian event a genocide – much to the dismay of the Turkish government.