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Armenian Genocide Documents

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  • Armenian Genocide Documents

    First-hand account by a Turkish army officer on the deportation of Armenians from Trebizond and Erzerum, December 26, 1916


    [December 26, 1916]
    Report by an Eye-Witness, Lieutenant Sayied Ahmed Moukhtar Baas.


    In April 1915 I was quartered at Erzeroum. An order came from Constantinople that Armenians inhabiting the frontier towns and village be deported to the interior. It was said then that this was only a precautional measure. I saw at that time large convoys of Armenians go through Erzeroum. They were mostly old men, women and children. Some of the able-bodied men had been recruited in the Turkish Army and many had fled to Russia. The massacres had not begun yet. In May 1915 I was transferred to Trebizond. In July an order came to deport to the interior all the Armenians in the Vilayet of Trebizond. Being a member of the Court Martial I knew that deportations meant massacres.

    The Armenian Bishop of Trebizond was ordered to proceed under escort to Erzeroum to answer for charges trumped up against him. But instead of Erzeroum he was taken to Baipurt and from there to Gumush-Khana. The Governor of the latter place was then Colonel Abdul-Kadar Aintabli of the General Staff. He is famous for his atrocities against the Armenians. He had the Bishop murdered at night. The Bishop of Erzeroum was also murdered at Gumush-Khana.

    Besides the deportation order referred to above an Imperial "Iradeh" was issued ordering that all deserters when caught, should be shot without trial. The secret order read "Armenians" in lieu of "deserters". The Sultan's "Iradeh" was accompanied by a "fatwa" from Sheikh-ul-Islam stating that the Armenians had shed Moslem blood and their killing was lawful. Then the deportations started. The children were kept back at first. The Government opened up a school for the grown up children and the American Consul of Trebizond instituted an asylum for the infants. When the first batches of Armenians arrived at Gumush-Khana all able-bodied men were sorted out with the excuse that they were going to be given work. The women and children were sent ahead under escort with the assurance by the Turkish authorities that their final destination was Mosul and that no harm will befall them. The men kept behind, were taken out of town in batches of 15 and 20, lined up on the edge of ditches prepared beforehand, shot and thrown into the ditches. Hundreds of men were shot every day in a similar manner. The women and children were attacked on their way by the ("Shotas") the armed bands organised by the Turkish Government who attacked them and seized a certain number. After plundering and committing the most dastardly outrages on the women and children they massacred them in cold blood. These attacks were a daily occurrence until every woman and child had been got rid of. The military escorts had strict orders not to interfere with the "Shotas".

    The children that the Government had taken in charge were also deported and massacred.

    The infants in the care of the American Consul of Trebizond were taken away with the pretext that they were going to be sent to Sivas where an asylum had been prepared for them. They were taken out to sea in little boats. At some distance out they were stabbed to death, put in sacks and thrown into the sea. A few days later some of their little bodies were washed up on the shore at Trebizond.

    In July 1915 I was ordered to accompany a convoy of deported Armenians. It was the last batch from Trebizond. There were in the convoy 120 men, 700 children and about 400 women. From Trebizond I took them to Gumish-Khana. Here the 120 men were taken away, and, as I was informed later, they were all killed. At Gumish-Khana I was ordered to take the women and children to Erzinjian. On the way I saw thousands of bodies of Armenians unburied. Several bands of "Shotas" met us on the way and wanted me to hand over to them women and children. But I persistently refused. I did leave on the way about 300 children with Moslem families who were willing to take care of them and educate them. The "Mutessarrif" of Erzinjian ordered me to proceed with the convoy to Kamack. At the latter place the authorities refused to take charge of the women and children. I fell ill and wanted to go back, but I was told that as long as the Armenians in my charge were alive I would be sent from one place to the other. However I managed to include my batch with the deported Armenians that had come from Erzeroum. In charge of the latter was a colleague of mine Mohamed Effendi from the Gendarmerie. He told me afterwards that after leaving Kamach they came to a valley where the Euphrates ran. A band of Shotas sprang out and stopped the convoy. They ordered the escort to keep away and then shot every one of the Armenians and threw them in the river.

    At Trebizond the Moslems were warned that if they sheltered Armenians they would be liable to the death penalty.

    Government officials at Trebizond picked up some of the prettiest Armenian women of the best families. After committing the worst outrages on them they had them killed.

    Cases of rape of women and girls even publicly are very numerous. They were systematically murdered after the outrage.

    The Armenians deported from Erzeroum started with their cattle and whatever possessions they could carry. When they reached Erzinjian they became suspicious seeing that all the Armenians had already been deported. The Vali of Erzeroum allayed their fears and assured them most solemnly that no harm would befall them. He told them that the first convoy should leave for Kamach, the others remaining at Erzeroum until they received word from their friends informing of their safe arrival to destination. And so it happened. Word came that the first batch had arrived safely at Kamach, which was true enough. But the men were kept at Kamach and shot, and the women were massacred by the Shotas after leaving that town.

    The Turkish officials in charge of the deportation and extermination of the Armenians were: At Erzeroum, Bihas Eddin Shaker Bey; At Trebizond; Naiil Bey, Tewfik Bey Monastirly, Colonel of Gendarmerie, The Commissioner of Police; At Kamach; The member of Parliament for Erzinjian. The Shotas headquarters were also at Kamach. Their chief was the Kurd Murzabey who boasted that he alone had killed 70,000 Armenians. Afterwards he was thought to be dangerous by the Turks and thrown into prison charged with having hit a gendarme. He was eventually executed in secret.

  • #2
    Statistics on the pre-war and post-war Armenian population in Biledjik, Bardizag, and Hendek

    __________________________________________________ _



    Number of Armenians before deportation.


    Number of Armenians repatriated.


    Number of Armenian housing before deportation.


    Number in good condition.


    Number that can be repaired.


    Number demolished.


    Number of the factories belonging to Armenians.


    " " " " " " "
    destroyed, all machinery and accessories looted.
    All churches and schools belonging to the Armenians
    Catholic & Protestant Armenians, damaged as well as all
    water piping in the Armenian quarters destroyed.



    Houses pre-war


    Houses half habitable


    Houses uninhabitable


    Houses dismantled or destroyed



    Armenians previous to the war


    Armenians returned from exile


    Armenians settled elsewhere


    Armenians expected to return


    Armenians died or massacred during exile


    Armenians requiring assistance











    Number of Armenians deported.


    " " " in military service.


    " " " remained in district.



    " " " repatriated.




    Number of Armenians deported.


    Number of Armenians repatriated


    Expected to return.


    Number of houses before deportation.


    Number of houses habitable.


    PRO reference:-FO 371/3660/512/paper/40460/folios 8-11

    British Crown copyright: Public Record Office.
    This document may be copied and downloaded for personal and research use only.
    You must apply to the Public Record Office for permission for any other use.


    • #3
      Report on the forced exile of the remaining Armenians from Aintab and Marash, November 15, 1922


      15 November 1922

      My Lord,


      I have the honour to report that on November 8 the Turks gave notice to the Armenians of Aintab & Marash and of the district, stretching Eastward to Birejik, that they must all leave the country in a month. This is done in pursuance of the policy that no Christians are to be allowed to stay in Turkey.

      Aintab which formerly held 40000 Armenians now contains only 3000.

      The French Consular Representative in Aintab, Mr. de Sandfort, has been transferred to Adana and has not been replaced.

      I have the honor to be,
      With the highest respect,
      My Lord,
      Your Lordship's most obedient,
      Humble servant
      (signed) James Morgan

      Copies to British High Commissioners, Constantinople, Cairo, Jerusalem and Bagdad.

      " " British Consuls, Beyrout and Damascus, G. H. Q., Cairo and British Liaison Officer, Beyrout, London S.W.1


      • #4
        Memorandum by the Committee of Union and Progress outlining the strategy for implementing the Armenian Genocide. 1914-1915.



        ................ ooOoo................

        Just before Christmas, I was approached confidentially by someone who stated that there was still in the Direction of Public Security, Constantinople, an official who has been in the Minister of the Interior's Department during the whole of the war, and who had charge of the archives relating to the secret measures and orders issued by the Minister of the Interior as a result of the decisions taken by the Committee of Union and Progress. He said that just before the Armistice, officials had been going to the archives department at night and making a clean sweep of most of the documents, but that the original draft of the orders relating to the Armenian massacres had been saved and could probably be procured by us through him on payment of Ltq. £10,000 paper money. He pledged me to secrecy if I went any further in the matter.

        In the course of the next few weeks, I followed the matter up. The man who stole or rescued this draft copy is to-day an official in the Direction of Public Security. I persuaded him without any great difficulty that it would be in his own interests to let us have the documents without payment, and that if in the future he gets into trouble, we would protect him.

        There are four documents in this dossier. The first is what is called the "Ten Commandments" and is by far the most interesting. It is unsigned and is the rough draft, but the handwriting is said to be that of Essad Bey, who was at the time one of the confidential secretaries keeping secret archives in the Ministry of the Interior. The second document which is a decypher of a wire from Ahmed Djemal Pasha in Syria regarding the Armenian expulsion is in the actual handwriting of Ahmet Essad and undoubtedly the handwriting of these two documents numbers 1 and 2 in the original Turkish are of that of one and the same man.

        There remains therefore only the arrest of this individual to prove up to the hilt the authenticity of otherwise of the draft "Ten Commandments" document. It is extremely important from the point of view of bringing home their guilt to all those responsible for the Armenian massacres, who directed rather than executed them. My informant states that at the meeting when this draft was drawn up, there were present Talaat Pasha, Dr. Beheddin, Shakir, Dr. Nazim, Ismail Jambolet and Colonel Sefi, sub-Director of the Political Section at the Ministry of War; its date is given as December or January 1914 or 1915.

        My informant declares that messengers were sent to the different Vali's in the provinces with instructions to read these orders to them and then return the originals which were to be destroyed. Analysis of the documents the "Ten Commandments" numbers 3 and 4 shows that in order to economize their forces, the Turks distinguished between places where they could rely on the population to go ahead with the massacres almost unaided, and other localities where they felt it required the presence of the military in case the population did not show sufficient zeal.



        ................ ooOoo................

        1. The 10 commandments of the COMITÉ UNION AND PROGRES.

        (1). Profiting by Arts: 3 and 4 of Comité Union and Progres, close all Armenian Societies, and arrest all who worked against Government at any time among them and send them into the provinces such as Bagdad or Mosul, and wipe them out either on the road or there.

        (2). Collect arms.

        (3). Excite Moslem opinion by suitable and special means, in places as Van, Erzeroum, Adana, where as a point of fact the Armenians have already won the hatred of the Moslems, provoke organised massacres as the Russians did at Baku.

        (4). Leave all executive to the people in the provinces such as Erzeroum, Van, Mumuret ul Aziz, and Bitlis, and use Military disciplinary forces (i.e. Gendarmerie) ostensibly to stop massacres, while on the contrary in places as Adana, Sivas, Broussa, Ismidt and Smyrna actively help the Moslems with military force.

        (5). Apply measures to exterminate all males under 50, priests and teachers, leave girls and children to be Islamized.

        (6). Carry away the families of all who succeed in escaping and apply measures to cut them off from all connection with their native place.

        (7). On the ground that Armenian officials may be spies, expel and drive them out absolutely from every Government department or post.

        (8). Kill off in an appropriate manner all Armenians in the Army - this to be left to the military to do.

        (9) All action to begin everywhere simultaneously, and thus leave no time for preparation of defensive measures.

        (10). Pay attention to the strictly confidential nature of these instructions, which may not go beyond two or three persons.

        n.b. Above is verbatim translation - date December 1914 or January 1915.


        • #5
          Report that Ottoman Turkey is seeking to exterminate the Armenian nation. July 16, 1915.


          Telegram Received.

          From Constantinople
          Dated July 16, 1915
          Recd. July 20, 8:10 AM.

          Secretary of State,

          858, July 16, 1 p.m.
          Have you received my 841? Deportation of and excesses against peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eye witnesses it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion.

          Protests as well as threats are unavailing and probably incite the Ottoman government to more drastic measures as they are determined to disclaim responsibility for their absolute disregard of capitulations and I believe nothing short of actual force which obviously the United States are not in a position to exert would adequately meet the situation. Suggest you inform belligerent nations and mission boards of this.

          AMERICAN AMBASSADOR [Henry Morgenthau],


          • #6
            Report on the deportation of Armenians from Zeitun. July 21, 1915.



            American Embassy,
            July 21, 1915

            The Honorable
            The Secretary of State,


            I have the honor to transmit herewith two copies of a report received from the American Consul General at Beirut relative to what has been going on in the Zeitoon region of Asiatic Turkey.

            I have the honor to be, Sir,
            Your obedient servant,
            (signed) [U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry] Morgenthau

            Enclosure: Two copies dated June 20.





            The deportation began some six weeks ago, with 180 families from Zeitoon; since which time, all the inhabitants of that place and its neighboring villages have been deported: also most of the Christians in Albustan, many from Hadgin, Sis, Kars Pasar, Hassan Beyli and Deort Yol.

            The numbers involved are approximately, to date, 26,500. Of these about 5,000 have been sent to the Konieh region, 5,500 are in Aleppo and surrounding towns and villages; and the remainder are in Der Zor, Racca, and various places in Mesopotamia, even as far as the neighborhood of Bagdad.

            The process is still going on, and there is no telling how far it may be carried, the orders already issued will bring the number in this region up to 32,000, and there have been as yet none exiled from Aintab, and very few from Marash and Oorfah. The following is the text of the Government order covering the case. Art. 2nd. "The Commanders of the Army, of independent army corps and of divisions may, in case of military necessity and in case they suspect espionage or treason, send away, either or in mass, the inhabitants of villages and towns, and install them in other places."

            The orders of Commanders may have been reasonably humane, but the execution of them has been for the most part unnecessarily harsh, and in many cases accompanied by horrible brutality to women and children, to the sick and the aged. Whole villages were deported at an hours notice, with no opportunity to prepare for the journey, not even in some cases to gather together the scattered members of the family, so that little children were left behind. At the mountain village of Geben the women were at the wash tub, and were compelled to leave their wet clothes in the water, and take the road barefooted and half clad just as they were. In some cases they were able to carry part of their scanty household furniture, or implements of agriculture, but for the most part they were neither to carry anything nor to sell it, even where there was time to do so.

            In Hadgin well to do people, who had prepared food and bedding for the road, were obliged to leave it in the street, and afterward suffered greatly from hunger.

            In many cases the men were (those of military age were nearly all in the army) bound tightly together with ropes or chains. Women with little children in their arms, or in the last days of pregnancy were driven along under the whip like cattle. Three different cases came under my knowledge where the woman was delivered on the road, and because her brutal driver hurried her along she died of hemorrhage. I also know of one case where the gendarme in charge was a humane man, and allowed the poor woman several hours rest and then procured a wagon for her to ride in. Some women became so completely worn out and hopeless that they left their infants beside the road. Many women and girls have been outraged. At one place the commander of the gendarmerie openly told the men to whom he consigned a large company, that they were at liberty to do what they choose with the women and girls.

            As to subsistence, there has been a great difference in different places. In some places the Government has fed them, in some places it has permitted the inhabitants to feed them. In some places it has neither fed them nor permitted others to do so. There has been much hunger, thirst and sickness and some real starvation, and death.

            These people are being scattered in small units, three or four families in a place, among a population of different race and religion, and speaking a different language. I speak of them as being composed of families, but four fifths of them are women and children, and what men there are are for the most part old or incompetent.

            If a means is not found to aid them through the next few months, until they get established in their new surroundings, two thirds or three fourths of them will die of starvation and disease.


            • #7
              Report of Allied warning to the Ottoman government to stop the massacres of Armenians. May 29, 1915.



              Telegram Sent.

              Department of State,
              Washington May 29, 1915


              French Foreign Office requests following notice be given Turkish Government. Quote. May 24th. For about a month the Kurd and Turkish population of Armenia has been massacring Armenians with the connivance and often assistance of Ottoman authorities. Such massacres took place in middle April (?) at Erzerum, Dertchun, Eguine, Akn, Bitlis, Mouch, Sassoun, Zeitoun, and through Cilicia. Inhabitants of about one hundred villages near Van were all murdered. In that city Armenian quarter is besieged by Kurds. At the same time in Constantinople government ill treats inoffensive Armenian population. In view of these new crimes of Turkey against humanity and civilization the Allied governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold personally responsible these crimes all members of the Ottoman government and those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres. Unquote.


              • #8
                Secretary of State Robert Lansing's response to news that Ottoman Turkey is pursuing a policy of genocide against the Armenians, July 16, 1915



                Telegram Sent.

                Department of State, Washington July 16, 1915


                Your 841. July tenth. Department approves your procedure in pleading with Turkish Minister of Interior and Minister of War to stop Armenian persecution and in attempting to enlist sympathies of German and Austrian Ambassadors in this cause. The Department can offer no additional suggestions relative to this most difficult situation other than that you continue to act as in the past. Have any native born American citizens or any naturalized American citizens entitled to protection under American statutes received injuries during this trouble?

                (signed) [Robert] Lansing


                • #9
                  Report from a German missionary on the massacre of Armenians from Erzerum. July 31, 1915.



                  Telegram Received.
                  From Constantinople
                  Dated July 31, 1915
                  Recd. August 3, 10 AM.

                  Secretary of State,

                  898, July 31, 5 p.m.

                  My 841 and 858. Doctor Lepsius, President of German-Orient Mission which maintains six Armenian orphan asylums in Turkey, has information from reliable source that Armenians, mostly women and children, deported from the Erzerum district, have been massacred near Kemakh between Erzinghan and Harput. Similar reports comes from other sources showing that but few of these unfortunate people will ever reach their stated destination. Their lot inexpressibly pitiable. The Doctor proposes to submit matter to International Red Cross for common action to try to induce Germany to demand cessation of these horrors. He earnestly requests access to information Embassy has on file. Will give him if department has no objection.

                  American Ambassador


                  • #10
                    Report on the treatment of Armenian children in Trebizond. July 20, 1915.



                    American Embassy,
                    July 20, 1915

                    The Honorable
                    The Secretary of State,


                    Supplementing my despatch July 15, 1915, with reference to the Armenian Situation, I have the honor to enclose herewith copies, in duplicate, of a despatch on the same subject received from the American Consul at Trebizond.

                    I have the honor to be, Sir,
                    Your obedient servant,
                    (signed) [U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry] Morgenthau

                    Enclosure: copies in duplicate dated July 7th.1915.


                    AMERICAN CONSULATE
                    July 7, 1915.

                    Honorable Henry Morgenthau,
                    American Ambassador


                    Referring to my despatches to the Embassy of June 28th, 30th and July 3rd regarding the deportation of the Armenians from Trebizond to the Interior via Gumashhane and my despatch of July 3rd to the Department, copy of which was sent to the Embassy, regarding the suicide of Cavass Ohannes I now desire to report that the Armenian population of Trebizond Vilayet is estimated at 36,000 persons. The city of Trebizond and surrounding villages is estimated at 10,000 Armenians. Of this later number 5200 have already been sent away. The children, when the parents so desired, were left behind and placed in large houses in different parts of the city. There are approximately three thousand such children retained in these houses called by the Turks "Orphanages"

                    Girls up to 15 years of age inclusive, and boys to 10 years of age inclusive are accepted; those over these ages are compelled to go with their parents. A number of Armenian women and young ladies are retained in these houses to look after the infants and children. The institutions are guarded by gendarmes and each institution has a Turkish Mudir or Director.

                    Dr. and Mrs. Crawford received about 300 children into their school from parents who were being sent away. Some of these children were very small and there were a few babies. In some cases the parents left money or jewelry to cover the expenses of the children, or for safe keeping. Of course this was all contrary to the proclamation on which had been posted by the government.

                    The Governor General sent words to Dr. Crawford that he would be required to give up the children as the authorities were prepared to take care of them but nevertheless left the children a few days until arrangements could be made for them then sent and took them all away. The authorities also called upon him to turn over all money and articles of any kind deposited by Armenians in contravention of the proclamation.

                    Very disquieting reports concerning the treatment of these people who have been sent away are current and if one half turn out to be true it will be shocking.

                    I have the honor to be Sir,
                    Your obedient servant,
                    Signed:- Oscar S. Heizer.
                    American Consul.