Horrors of the Turkish War

Armenians Massacre Has Been Even Worse Than at First Reported

London, Nov 26 10 pm-Viscount Bryce tonight made public the details of further Armenian massacres, which in a letter accompanying them he says ‘surpass in horror, if that were possible, what has been published already.’

‘I feel,’ his letter continues ‘that such crimes ought to be exposed to the utmost and that the charity of other nations will, more than ever, be drawn to the unhappy refugees when it is known that their friends and fellow countrymen have suffered.’

Viscount Bryce says the details confirm and amplify the ghastly history of deportations by which Armenians in northern and eastern Anatolia were driven to a death of fiendish cruelty. The first part of the evidence, he says, was received by the committee of inquiry in the United States and the second part comes from an Armenian gentleman at Tiflis, who received it from refugees who escaped from regions where the events happened.

‘The sufferings of the peasants and the mountaineers in the regions of Van, Mush and Sanum.’ Viscount Bryce says, ‘seem to have been even more terrible than were those of the peaceful town folk described in part one of the reports. Every successive piece of evidence increases the horror of the story and confirms the dreadful certainty of its truth.

Atrocities Real

‘These atrocities were not produced by imagination. Many of them are vouched for by several coincident testimonies. They all are in keeping and the evidence is most complete and some of it most terrible. At this present phase of events, the civilized world is powerless to intervene, but we must bear these unspeakable crimes in constant memory against the day of reckoning.

After giving the parts of the evidence received from the United States, Viscount Bryce says that the following extracts were taken from his correspondent at Tiflis:

‘Toward the end of May Djevdet Bey, the military governor, was expelled from Van. Djevdet fled southward and entered Sairt with some 8,000 soldiers, whom he called Butcher battalions. He massacred most of the Christians of Sairt, the details of which nothing is known. On the best of authority, however, it is reported that he ordered his soldiers to burn in the public squares the Armenian bishop, Englise Vartaved, and the Chaldean bishopm Addai Sher.

Men Killed, Women Assaulted

‘On June 25 the Turks surrounded the town of Bitlis and cut its communications with neighboring Armenian villages. Then most of the able bodied men were taken away from their women by domiciliary visits. During the following few days, all the men under arrest were shot outside the town and buried in deep trenches dug by the victims themselves. The young women and children were distributed among the rabble. The remainder the useless lot were driven to the south and are believed to have been drowned in the Tigris.

‘Any attempts at resistance however brave were quelled by the regular troops. Many Armenians after firing their last cartridge either took poison by whole families or killed themselves in their homes in order not to fall into the hands of the Turks.

Revolting Tortures

‘It is in such a fashion that the Turks disposed of about 15,000 Armenians at Bitlis. At Mush early in July the authorities demanded arms from the Armenians and a large sum in ransom from the nobles. Men of the village were then subjected to revolting tortures. Their finger nails and then their toe nails were forcibly extracted; teeth were knocked out and in some cases, noses were whittled down, the victims thus being done to death under shocking, lingering agony.

‘The female relatives of victims who came to the rescue were assaulted in public before the very eyes of their mutilated men. The shrieks and death cries of the victims filled the air, yet they did not move the Turkish beast.

‘In the town of Mush itself, the Armenians, under the leadership of Gotoyan and others, entrenched themselves in churches and stone built houses and fought for four days in self-defense, but Turkish artillery, manned by German officers made short work of all the Armenian positions and every one of the Armenian leaders, as well as their men, were killed in the fighting.

‘When they were dead and silence reigned over the ruins of the churches and houses the rest of the Moslem rabble descended upon the women and children and drove them out of town and into large camps which already had been prepared for the peasant women and children.’”

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