Source: DE/PA-AA/Embassy Constantinople/Vol. 171.
Publication:: DuA Doc. 196 (abbr.)
Translator: Robert Berridge
[Notes Mordtmann, 6 November]
Statement by Sister Alma Johansson (Swedish), based at an institution run by the German Christian Charity-Organisation for the Orient in Musch, concerning the persecution of the Armenians in Musch. (5 November)
(NB) In Musch there is one orphanage for young boys and a second for young girls, and an out-patients’ clinic, locally named the “Doctor’s Ward“.
The city of Musch has a population of 50000, half of which are Armenians, the other half Moslems (Kurds and Turks). In the district of Musch there are 300 villages, mostly Armenian.
During the winter the male Armenian population was used for provision and munitions colonies in the Eastern theatre of war. Out of those sent only a few returned: from 2-300 on average just 50.
The Armenian villages were destroyed in spring after they had already been ravaged as a result of billeting and requisitioning. Between May and June, Bitlis was cleared of all Armenians.
In the middle of June, Alma Johansson and Bodil Björn were informed by the Mutessarrif that the German and Turkish governments had decided to send all Europeans to Harput.
The Russians had namely occupied Ahlat, Bulanik, Gop, and Lisch in the course of their advances from Wan. Their patrols were active within a 1- to 2-days’ march from Musch.
But still the two Sisters refused to leave Musch. The city was surrounded by troops and encircled by artillery.
On the night of Sunday, the 11 July, the massacres began
using rifles. The Turks claimed that several Armenians had attempted to break out in the direction of Sassun. A few well-situated Armenians were informed in the konak that they had to leave the city within three days, along with the entire population. But all their possessions had to be left behind as they now belonged to the state.
Within two hours without waiting for the end of this period, the Turks had begun breaking into Armenian homes and plundering them. On Monday the 12
, light artillery and rifle fire could be heard the whole day. The local Turkish population participated in these events.
In the evening soldiers forced themselves into the girls’ orphanage in search of Armenians possibly hiding there. During the night and the following day a great deal of shooting took place. In an attempt to close the yard door, a woman and an orphaned girl were shot dead who were standing next to Sister Johansson.
Early Wednesday, she went to the Mutessarrif, Servet Bej, to secure protection and a reprieve for the institution and its occupants.
The Mutessarrif, an intimate friend of Enver Pasha, conducted himself like a man possessed and rejected the requests brusquely, ignoring the deliberations from his trusted circles. The two Sisters were only allowed to keep three girls and a servant.
The male Armenian population was murdered right in front of the town. The women, girls and children were carried off and taken on a further day’s march before being disposed of. Only three Armenian teachers from the orphanage were later set free.
After the city was cleared, the Armenian Quarter was put to the torch and razed to the ground, along with the Armenian villages. Throughout these events the military doctor,
Dr. Assat Bej,
an Albanese, distinguished himself through his coarseness and also threatened the two Sisters.
On 10 August, they departed for Mesere Harput and arrived there on 20 August with the infirm Mutessarrif, who died two days later.
Sister Alma, likewise, gave a detailed account of the decimation of the Armenians in Harput. The persecutions had already begun in May. The grand-scale elimination of all males took place during the first days of July
(Vali Sabit Bej, Kurd; Chief of Police
I will mention the following in detail.
Official circles in Musch, Mesere-Harput and Siwas unanimously believe that the persecutions and elimination of the Armenians was urged upon the Turkish Government by the Germans.
Today, Miss Johansson paid a visit to the American Embassy.
Copyright © 1995-2019 Wolfgang & Sigrid Gust (Ed.)
A Documentation of the Armenian Genocide in World War I. All rights reserved