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Source: DE/PA-AA/BoKon/170
Publication: DuA Dok. 166 (Anlage 1)
Central register: 1915-A-30049
Embassy register: A53a/1915/5779
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 10/17/1915 a.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: B. No. 2130
Translated by: Vera Draack (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/22/2012

From the Consul in Aleppo (Roessler) to the Ambassador on Extraordinary Mission in Constantinople (Hohenlohe-Langenburg)


B. No. 2130
Aleppo, 27 September 1915

Regarding the deportation of the Armenians I am honoured to continue reporting the following:

1) Individual events, which presumably have otherwise taken place unnoticed recently happened in Aleppo before the eyes of the population itself. Since then, the government has taken steps to ensure that, for the most part, the hordes of deported people rarely come through Aleppo any more.

On both the 10th and the 12th of this month, a procession of about 2000 exiled women and children arrived here on foot via Ras-ul-Ain in a completely exhausted state, a procession, which could only have been depicted in its atrociousness by the brush of a Werechshagin. Using whips, the gendarmes drove the wretched, emaciated creatures, many of whom had a death-look about them, through the streets of Aleppo to the train station without permitting them to drink a drop of water or to receive a piece of bread in the town. The citizens of the town who wished to distribute bread and water were prevented from doing so. Two women fell down to give birth and were only protected from being whipped by the gendarmes by town dwellers, who rushed to help them. Two German Borromeus Sisters witnessed an exhausted woman being pulled along by the hair by a gendarme. A German and an Austrian who were just on their way to the Vali to see about a Turkish charity bazaar, put up a defence against the gendarmes and threatened them with the Vali, thereby almost coming to blows with them. Two German officers' batmen were so outraged that they slapped gendarmes. A retired Turkish colonel, a Circassian, felt compelled on his part to let the gendarmes feel the whip. The Swiss chief operating officer of the Baghdad Railway told me that he had experienced many things in his life, which had hardened him, but that he would never have thought such a thing as this procession to be possible. It reminded him of the pictures of Indian famines. Thus, it is understandable why Djemal Pasha issued a strict ban on photographing the exiles. In his report, a copy of which I obediently enclose and which he gave me to be used in strict confidence, he ordered that, to avoid punishment, all of the Baghdad Railway's engineers are to hand over the prints, plates and films which they have. Photographing Armenians is to be considered the same as taking photographs of theatres of war without permission.

The dying were also loaded on to the train. Next morning, two dead people lay at the loading point.

The number of deaths among the deported has risen rapidly since the beginning of September, where the daily average was 25, to 40, 60 and more by the middle of September.[On the 26th of this month there were 110 dead; on the 27th of this month there were 95. Not a day has passed since the middle of September where there were less than 80.] As it has not been possible to obtain accommodation for all the exiles, it sometimes happens that the dying lie on the street. Like everything else, the funeral service is badly organised. I was told that it happened several times that certain bodies showed signs of life at the moment during the funeral just as they were to be put into the grave (they are buried without a coffin). I didn't pay further attention to this story until the local dragoman of long standing from this consulate, Mr. Gabriel Sayegh, was buried in the Greek Catholic cemetery on the 13th of this month at 5 p.m. When the funeral was over, one of the participating priests told me that during the ceremony a 15-year-old Armenian girl was to be buried at the other end of the cemetery when it became evident that she was still alive. At this point I would like to add that the Armenian cemetery is not big enough for the number of dead and, for this reason, other Christian cemeteries are also being used. Near sundown on the afternoon of the 14th of this month, I again visited the Greek Catholic cemetery. Several Armenian bodies were being buried. A row of open graves had been prepared. According to the gravediggers, 5 - 6 people were to be buried in each one, in which normally one person would have been laid. An Armenian priest, or probably a lay brother, kept a list on the number of buried. The church's participation consisted solely of his making the sign of the cross from a distance at each funeral. The Gregorian church in Aleppo has succumbed to the force of the events. The Catholicon of Sis had a physical breakdown; the other few member priests are either busy easing the mass misery by distributing bread and other things, or they do not dare to carry out their duties. It also seems that the despair over the doom of their people has won a victory over their faith. Even the help, which the exiles give to one another is frequently noticeably modest, be it due to an unbroken natural egoism, be it because this tragedy has made them apathetic. The Armenians in Aleppo, on the other hand, help frequently.

Two dying women lay near a grave. Around them stand gravediggers and street urchins, waiting for the moment of death to lay them in the grave. In answer to my question, how these women got to the cemetery, I was told: There were five bodies brought on an oxen cart, placed one on top of the other without a coffin. When the gravedigger wanted to carry out his duties he noticed that of the five bodies three were still alive. A boy whose death did not seem to be imminent was taken away from the cemetery, while the two women were kept there. I also spoke to the gravedigger who, on the previous day, had found the 15-year-old girl that he had wanted to lay in the grave to be still alive. He confirmed this fact.

Thoughtlessness, lack of foresight and harshness on the part of the higher authorities and the brutality of the lower authorities work together so that the banned Armenians are, in part, not treated like human beings. If the things described happen in Aleppo, under the eyes of the authorities and the population, what kind of treatment is to be expected in the loneliness of the march?

The crowds coming from the east have already been robbed of their cash when they enter Aleppo. Those coming from the north and the north-west are, for the most part, in a better state; many of them have not had to walk, they still have their possessions and their money. But, in time, their means must also peter out. It is to be feared that sooner or later, if they are not allowed to stay in the towns, large numbers of these exiles will suffer the same fate of starvation as those crowds that passed through here via Ras-ul-Ain. They have been particularly threatened with this fate since the government ordered that the Armenians from Asia Minor are to travel to Der-es-Zor and Mosul. The chances of being preserved from starvation, insofar as they don't die on the march, exist if they happen to come to the village of a compassionate large landowner. It will also happen that the women disappear in the harems and the children grow up as Muslims.

It is not just the harshness of this fate, which induced me to bring preventative conceptions to Your Highness' attention. The Turkish government is harming itself and us as their allies. It is not only threatening the only military road for a campaign against Egypt with the danger of infection, but it is also crowding it with tens of thousands of people at a time when it could be needed at any moment for larger troop movements.

2) Further evidence has been found that the measures I described in my report dated 3 September - B.No. 1950 - which were to be taken against the Armenians in the eastern Vilayets have now become such against the Christians. The acting Syrian (Syrian Catholic) bishop told me that a total of 300 children and older women from his denomination have arrived here from Harput, Diyarbekir, Weranscheher and Mardin. The rest of the parishioners has probably been killed or kidnapped. A local German businessman gave me the following list for the area in and around Mardin, which is based on information from local relatives of those affected and guarantees having been carefully investigated. Only the future will show whether it is objectively correct. There is, however, no doubt that Christians other than the Armenians have become the object of this persecution.
Arm. Cath.
Alt. Syr.
Syr. Cath.
Tell Armen
Kalat Mara
The figures depict the murdered and abducted people. Distances in hours from Mardin: Goliye 1 1/2, Tell Armen 4, Kalat Mara 1/2, Mansuriye 1/4, Benabil 3/4.

Although the part of the population given in column 3 denominationally belongs to the Armenian Catholic Church, it speaks Arabic and, in the eyes of the people, it is not considered to be Armenian. From a racial point of view it is also probably not Armenian. Even if these people were Armenians who had gradually adopted the Arabic language, their surnames would still have been Armenian. But all of these are also Arabic.

The Chaldeans in Söird (Vilayet Bitlis) and Djeziret ibn Omar (Vilayet Diyarbekir) and all of the Christians in Djebel et Tor north of Mardin have been exterminated.

As has only belatedly become known here, two Mutesarrifs from Mardin were removed from office, because they refused to carry out the government's orders against the Armenians.

3) The court martial in Marash has taken up its duties again. 18 people were hanged about the 11th of this month after having been in prison for only three days. The execution of a larger number of people who were also in prison was expected on the 11th or 12th. This news is based on oral information given by the natives, because written correspondence with the German Relief Association there is impeded.

Despite the government's assurance that those not yet exiled will be allowed to remain at their place of residence, a further 40 houses in Marash have again been evacuated, and these consist mainly of better-situated families, including the secular representative of the Catholic community. It is the government's endeavour to eliminate all the educated, wealthy and influential people and to leave nothing but the lowest level of society without a leader. This goal has already been reached in Marash and Aintab, as in many other places.

4) The suppression of the rebels in the district of Antiochien (Suediye) has not yet been achieved. Further troops were sent there on the 20th of this month.

5) Apart from other places of refuge for the exiled passing through, the Armenians in Aleppo have set up a house to take in the newly orphaned. On 23 September it held the following people

Total: 369, people from 43 different towns. I have the honour of enclosing a list of these towns, not all of which I was able to find on the maps at my disposal.

I am sending the same report to the Imperial Chancellor.


Enclosure 1


Translation of a letter from the military commissioner to the Building Department III of the Baghdad Railway dated 28 August/10 September 1915.

Très urgent/ No. 4513

Alep le 28. Août, 10 Septembre 1915

Monsieur l'Ingénieur en Chef,

La quatrième Armée ayant informée que certains Ingénieurs et Employés du Chemin de Fer de Baghdad prennent les photographies de vue de transports des Arméniens, Son Excellence, Djémal Pacha, Commandant en Chef de l'Armée, a donné ordre afin que ces Ingénieurs et Employés remettent, de suite et dans le délai de 48 heures, au Commissariat Militaire tous les clichés des photographies avec toutes les copies qu'ils ont pris. Tous ceux qui ne remettront pas ces photographies seront soumis aux punitions et jugés comme ayant pris des photographies sur le champ de guerre sans autorisation.

Veuillez, je vous prie, donner les instructions nécessaires en conséquence à qui de droit et agréez, Monsieur l'Ingé-nieur en Chef, l'assurance de ma parfaite considération.

pr. le Commissaire Militaire


Enclosure 2 [The tables were transformed into text and the towns separated by semicolons.]


List of 43 towns from which the newly orphaned come:

Erzurum; Amasia; Gürün; Sivas; Zeitun; Herdev; Uzun Yayla (near Sivas); Weranschehr; Tschümüschgazag; Arabkir; Saray; Diyarbekir; Severek; Hadjin; Harput; Hüseynig (near Erzurum); Sassun (near Van, Bitlis); Harasar; Teernis; Bingöl; Kayar; Nurpet (near Marash); Mezere; Marash; Dört Yol; Baker Maden (Diyarbekir); Yerasar; Gowden; Adjiaman; Dereköy (near Marash); Vangarez; Kirri; Garmena; Adana; Tokat; Djiniz (near Erzurum); Debne; Manjilik; Schar (near Hadji); Mardin; Karahissar; Ulash (near Erzurum); Karagöl.

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