"Armenian Oral History" can never be taken at face
value, because too many Armenians have been influenced by the "Dashnak
mentality," which includes (as Rafael Ishkhanian nicely put it):
"To curse at Muslims and especially at Turks, to talk much
about the Armenian Genocide, and to remind others constantly of the brutality
of the Turks are all regarded as expressions of patriotism."
Even among honorable Armenians, recalling events of long ago brings along the
trauma of those early years, and the testimony becomes tainted.
("According to current empirical research... under conditions of great
stress people are poorer perceivers, because stress causes a narrowing of
attention." Lewy's Armenian Massacres; footnote: Eyewitness
Testimony, Civil and Criminal, 1997.) The information becomes all the more
unreliable when genocide advocates do the interviewing, where we can never be
certain as to what extent coaching played a part. Moreover, for those who were
young children at the time, one must pause at the incredible detail that has
been recollected... as in the case of Leon Surmelian, whose memory while an eight-year-old defies
But let's take a look at a real telling, now.
Hrant Sarian, born 1901 in Adapazar, began to keep a diary in July of 1915,
when he was fourteen years of age. His granddaughter translated this record
until the end of 1922, when the American Red Cross gathered the Armenian
orphans in Istanbul, to send them off to Corfou on board an Italian steamship.
His mother was still alive at the time, and he had been to an orphanage while
his father had been living, as well. One of the things I learned, then, is
that an Armenian orphan did not need to have his parents dead, in order to be
qualified as an orphan.
Hrant Sarian's telling is very valuable, because his heart was in the right
place. Aside from the fact that his story has credibility because it was being
recorded at the time (as with Anne Frank's diary), Sarian was not filled with
hatred. (The same as Anne Frank.) Indeed, only toward the end does Sarian make
mention of the "Turkish yoke." (But even here he
is talking about others' feelings, not directly of his own.)
But there is one critical difference between Sarian and Anne Frank. Anne
Frank's family lived in fear of the Nazis (many Armenian-Nazis were
stationed in the Netherlands at the time, with policing duties). The Turkish
gendarmes, however, helped Sarian's family, and the accent is not on the
family's mistreatment. (Only once does Sarian's uncle get beaten, after
breaking the rules. This is not to say the gendarmes were angels, but it
becomes quite apparent Sarian's family never feared getting seriously hurt by
the gendarmes. Quite the contrary, they looked to the gendarmes for
protection, and protect them the gendarmes did.)
The only massacres we hear about are Turks getting massacred by Arabs as the
curtain of war was closing, and of Armenians getting slaughtered after the
Turks were booted out of Aleppo. The persecutors were Arabs. (There is one
more: we are also told of the many Turks massacred by
Armenians. A second time, too.)
We also learn there was no "concentration camp" element. At times
when the people were kept together in tents, permission would be requested to
go to town to get goods. The Armenians were fairly free to come and go as they
pleased, for the most part.
Sarian's family went through an incredible hardship. (They had it better off
than their cousins in the east, as the Sarian family was allowed to travel by
train; at times they needed to travel on foot, they didn't need to go through
Kurdish villages, and banditry was kept to a minimum.) Yet we also can see the
famine that had hit them affected all. Famine and disease did not
discriminate. That's what we are never told, by unscrupulous genocide
scholars, for whom only the Armenians deserve to be designated as victims.
The diary makes for a gripping story. One's heart really goes out to the
But as one who made this information available for an online encyclopedia (“Cretanforever”)
intelligently warned, the diaries are "raw material,” allowing
one to “draw personal conclusions from them, but it would be wrong to try to
add them to the corpus of knowledge as such. They need to be academically
treated, by someone of good repute, as Leyla Neyzi has done for Yasar Paker
What follows is an UNOFFICIAL and SELECTIVE translation, with the help of
Internet translators and an inadequate grasp on the French language. For the
original, please tune in to http://perso.orange.fr/choisy/.
Some points calling to be highlighted will be footnoted. The years
1919-1922 have not been translated completely.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922
Another Armenian Anne Frank?
July 11, 1915: The war interrupted our home in June 1915. The public criers circulated a
proclamation in the streets, about the mobilization: "Seferbeylik! Seferbeylik!,"
affecting men from 18 to 50 years of age.
Every day there were departures to Contantinople, and then to the Dardanelles. Almost all
of the Turkish and Armenian houses were emptied of their men. Other soldiers arrived
downtown to be trained. Soon, soldiers were present in Adabazar as well, as the schools
had to be requisitioned. We no longer had classes. Soon, the large houses were transformed
into military hospitals. The gendarmes dislodged people with brutality.
One day, one intended to say that the Armenians of Sabandja were going to be deported
towards Diachdjé. As the convoy passed by the edge of our city, we went to see them. It
was very sad. The deportees had the right to a cart per family, on which they had piled up
their principal possessions, and then went off on foot.
They said that they had left their house and their furniture and that the Turks were
certainly going to take everything. Some had deposited all of their goods with the church.
I told myself that such a misfortune was not likely come upon us, because Adabazar was not
a small village like Sabandja. There were four parishes and approximately five thousand
Saturday, July 11 in the evening, my father, while returning to the house, told us that a
group of soldiers searched the city, took along and tortured the Armenians to see if they
hid weapons. They dug up the gardens and sent men down in the wells to see whether there
were grenades or rifles. We were very afraid upon learning this news. My father added that
they were going to come tomorrow in our district.
Indeed, Sunday morning, they arrived. We learned that they had stopped the most known
personalities of the city, richest, most influential, and had dispatched them without
delay in Konya.
The following day, Monday, they started to gather people, large or small, in the
Sourp-Garabed church. They took along my father and my uncle. Both returned healthy and
safe in the evening, but many young people had been subjected to the (beating of feet).
They were to reveal where the weapons could be found. If all the weapons were not
delivered, the men would be killed and the naked women thrown in Sakarya.
Monday July 20. These serious maltreatments lasted all the week. Saturday evening, three
hundred and fifty grenades and four carts of weapons had been delivered. The owners of
these weapons and those who had acknowledged to have manufactured them were arrested.
Sunday evening, of the posters were displayed in all the districts of the city. I was the
lira. It was written that as of this day, the Armenians of Adabazar were going to be
deported to Konya, and in each street were posted the respective starting dates.
This morning, I saw many people who went to the market while crying, to
try to sell their pieces of furniture. We received the visit of Djrgayan Mgrditch Effendi,
who informed us that our house was requisitioned; a commander of the gendarmerie was going
to settle there.
We were not to sell our pieces of furniture. He told us to gather all of our furniture
into two rooms, to be locked at the time of our departure and to give the keys to the town
hall. One granted a deadline of eight days to us to follow these instructions.
"Nobody will touch your possessions during your absence" he added, "all
will be returned to you upon your return."
My father served coffee for Djrgayan Effendi who added: "when you are in exile, write
to the gendarmerie commander to provide your address, he will send to you half-deliveries
every month for the rental of your house."
The afternoon, I was at the market. There was [no room] to pass. Everyone tried to sell
their possessions. Many Tcherkesses had come from the neighborhoods to buy furniture.
The following day, any sale was prohibited.
July 23, two gendarmes presented themselves on our premises on behalf of the Commander to
keep the house. They settled there.
The number of the Armenians fell day by day. One did not see any any more in the streets
and the market was empty. We gathered our most useful possessions in four trunks and
dispatched them by the train at the station of Arifié.
July 25, we prepared two other trunks and a case which we wished to leave in the house of
a friend of my uncle’s, but as there was no more room over there, my uncle stored them
in his factory. We also had a hiding-place in the cabinets and stored many things there.
The date of our departure was fixed at Tuesday July 28. The morning, my father had rented
a carriole. We locked all the doors and we left. We were eleven on the side of my father:
my grandparents, my uncle, my aunt and my two cousins, my parents, my little brother Onnig
and my small sister Siralouys, who was hardly four months; she had been born on April 4.
My maternal aunt and my uncle, my maternal grandfather and my grandmother had also rented
two carrioles and joined us. When we passed in front of the town hall, my grandfather
descended and deposited our keys. Then we got under way for Arifié.
The voyage lasted four or five hours, we arrived in the afternoon. On all sides of us were
refugees under tents. Like us, we had not envisaged anything to camp sought a room to
rent. We found one, but very dilapidated. Our bed linen had remained in our trunks. We lay
down covered with our coats. The room was small, it was not as in our own home. There was
full with chips; my grandparents left to sleep under a tree. My uncle remained with us.
The following day, we went to the station to dispatch our trunks to Eski-Shehir. We
remained three days in this room with Arifié.
July 30, with all the members of our family, we could buy a train ticket. We could reserve
places only in one sheep coach.  We left around two
o’clock in the afternoon in the direction Biledjic. At daybreak, we were to Vizier Khan.
I had not slept during the night.
Finally, on Saturday August 1 at seven o’clock, we arrived at Eski-Shehir. We saw that
there were thousands of Armenian refugees under tents.
It was not allowed to go into the downtown of the city. Only the bakers had the right to
go. My maternal uncle Assadour, who was a baker, asked one leave-to pass and thus could
take along all of his family. They remained only five or six days under the tent. They
could make pass with them all the family on the side of my mother but on the side of my
father, we did not have the right to leave.
The news ran that the Protestants were going to be authorized to return to their premises.
Indeed, the Protestant Armenians of Adabazar were going back. Some Gregorians joined them. We did not have a tent, we made like the others, we
assembled from there one with an old carpet which my uncle had gotten, and of the stakes.
My father had already spent much money, and all had become very expensive. But it did not
worry us too much because it had been said to us that one was going to be placed in Konya,
that one could remain there. My father had hundred liras in the bank but had not been able
to withdraw them. He had left with 80 liras.
With each day of expulsions, the people of Adabazar decided to lubricate the leg with the
persons in charge for the camp to be saved. They succeeded in collecting 350 liras and
gave them to the authorities. The money was accepted, but our request was rejected. 
All of these days, many refugees were deported. Police officers, armed with sticks, came
to demolish the tents. It was necessary to settle further [away]. The police officers
precipitated on the refugees and took them along on foot.
August 18, my father and my uncle had hidden at the edge of the river. A police officer
with horse caught them and my uncle was beaten.  My
father fell sick with fever, he who never had any [ailment] in Adabazar. We remained one
month in Eski-Shehir. On arrival, we had dispatched our trunks to Afyon-Kara-Hissar, and
had already bought our tickets. Several times, mom, my cousin Astrig and I had succeeded
in escaping the camp and going downtown near my aunt Makrouhie.
August 20, having demolished our tent, we succeeded in leaving all together downtown. We
rented a hotel room, but the next morning, the gendarmes came, they reduced to us and took
us back to the camp.
A few days later, mom took me along, with my little brother and my little sister, to the
home of our aunt Makrouhie. It started to rain very extremely and we could not return to
the camp, we lay down with the aunt. At one o’clock in the morning, my father arrived, a
lantern in one hand and said: "they are releasing all from the camp, it is necessary
that we also leave". He took us along to our tent, and there I saw that thousands of
tents had disappeared; there remained nothing any more.
Sunday August 30, the police officers came to demolish all the tents. There did not remain
about it any more only one with the camp of Eski-Shéhir.
My father led us to the station and we travelled by the train for Afyon-Kara-Hissar. We
were again in livestock wagons. In ours, we were about sixty. The evening, we arrived at
Issanié. The train being stopped a little longer than at the other stations, the refugees
disembarked to seek water.  They came back in time
for the departure of the train, but little after strident cries were heard, the train
stopped and we learned that a woman had been mortally wounded. Her husband was in our
coach and the night passed in lamentations.
Tuesday September 1, 1915. Arrival in Afyon-kara-Hissar.
We went downtown to buy covers to make tents; that cost 82 piastres. We found a woman to
sew them and in thanks we gave [what to be made a tent], and ten piastres. Then my uncle
went to seek a large pole and we assembled the tent. With our other poles, my uncle drew
up, beside ours, a tent in which it was going to shave people.
My little sister becomes increasingly nice. She starts to recognize people and smiles
much. Mom made her sew layers and langes, and clothes for herself, with a
fellow-countrywoman. My uncle made himself responsible for food. We are quiet, no police
officer does not come to expel us. Every morning, I sweep in front of the tent. The night,
of the guards recruited among ours supervise the camp. We pay ten piastres per night and
tent for this guarding.
There are here sixty-five tents of people of Adabazar. The prelate of Pandirma is there
also, as well as the bishop Djampatle d' Armache. Saturdays evening, Sunday morning and
often even in week, of the priests draw up a furnace bridge and say mass. An abbot reads
the Bible. Ours are not private religious ceremonies.
My father had fever again for three days, as in Eski-Shéhir.
Wednesday September 23. Our friend Vagharchag, who works with the railroads came to visit
us and set out again in the evening. We benefitted by him to give two letters for our
remaining family in Eski-Shéhir. Me, I wrote to my aunt.
This life lasted only three weeks. Then, expulsions began again.  The most distant tents were dismounted first. Our turn arrived Monday
September 28. At eight o’clock in the morning, a train came to seek us at the station.
This time, we were piled up, because there were so many among us, along with myself, were
allowed to go up on the roof of the train. Inside the cars, only the women and the
After several stops, we arrived at nine o’clock in the evening at Konya. We did not have
the right to go down until daybreak. As soon as the day was dawning, my father took me
along to drink a "saleb" then we went up in our coach. A little later, my father
prepared with going with me to the market to buy something to eat. We went to the station
of trams and we travelled by the tram because the market was far. My father had bought a
large "simit" with twenty piastres which we ate in the tram. The way lasted
approximately fifteen minutes.
We bought provisions until midday, then my father took me along to a grill-room owner and,
after having eaten well, we were turned over to our coach; but it was empty. All the
refugees had been sent to draw up their tent in the immense fields of Konya.
We went to look for ours, we ended up finding it and stayed there for the remainder of the
day as well as the following day.
The third day, the gendarmes allowed us to go to the hotel.  It was necessary to pay three liras per day and family of the hotel
This day, I started to walk all alone to the market. I met a knowledge of Adabazar; this
boy said to me that he had remained in Konya because his father was a soldier there. He
told me that fifteen days ago, six thousand tents were drawn up in the camp of Konya, then
the order had been given to deport this whole world on foot. The police officers had
demolished the tents and had forced people to leave, carrying with them only the essential
things and leaving the remainder in the camp. But people had preferred to burn what they
left. If we had arrived at Konya two weeks earlier, we would have undergone the same fate.
When I learned all that, I was afraid that we would also be deported, but it appears that
we did not have anything to fear, because the "Vali" of Konya had been
"Amtrak," but thankfully the option
to travel by train was available, for some
We remained three days in the hotel. The last day, we
learned that the parents of my aunt were in Konya, we went to see them, my uncle, my aunt,
my cousin Astrig, my brother Onnig and me. We did not travel by the tram, we went there on
foot. As they had moved, [it was difficult] to find them. On our return, a woman told us
that the remainder of the family was in the train and that mom cried for my brother and
me. We started to run with all of our might to the station. The train had not left yet. We
found ours finally. Mom still cried. She thundered that we had delayed too long. We were
in a livestock wagon. There was no place to stretch out and sleep. The train left a little
afterwards. It was Saturday October 3 at midday. At 11 in the evening, we arrived in
Karaman. The police officers got into the train, gathered the men and made them go up on
the roofs of the coaches. It was hard, because it
was cold up there, especially during the night. But there were so many deportees on the
quay! They all piled them up in the coaches, there were more than one hundred women per
coach, and the roofs were full with the world. My uncle was hidden under the luggage,
people were very tight. The mothers carried their children on the knees so that they would
not be choked. Me, I was up there, with the cold and in the wind. It grew dark black by
the time the train started again.
Sunday October 4, we arrived at Eregli. Before going down again, we learned that the
brother of my grandmother, Uncle Kirkor, was in Eregli, with a residence permit (vesica),
because he was a tailor.  It was also learned
that his daughter Nevart had died, and that his wife Parantsem had swollen legs. When my
grandmother heard that, she started to cry. We remained still an hour in the train, until
allowed to disembark. My father went to seek a carrier for our luggage, to the tents. We
opened two trunks, and my father started to sell a part of our business. Mom also sold her
linen, twenty liras.
Although the train would continue on to Bozanta, the deportees did not have the right to
travel further. The next stage was to be done on foot. My father, with two families
originating in Bardizak, succeeded in renting two carts, 22 liras. One of the carts was
filled with our luggage. In the other, there were my grandparents, Onnig, Astrig, and the
others, vieillars and children. The convoy got under way, and we walked with the whole
crowd. My little sister Siralouys gave us much trouble because we were already tired to
walk, and (we also had to take turns carrying her), once my father, once me, once my
mother. We walked like that until the evening.
Finally, we arrived at a khan where my father rented a part, ten liras for one night.
After so much of sufferings, we thus slept in a room this night. The following day Monday,
my grandparents and the children reinstalled themselves in the cart, and we had to set out
again. But since we had too much trouble with our baby, my father decided to rent an ass
to relieve us a little.
About midday, my parents met Turkmens who had asses. My father asked to be sold one of
them; they wanted two and half gold coins (osman), my father gave the money and bought the
ass, but they also asked for the umbrella he had, and, as he refused, they flashed a
knife, and my frightened father then gave his umbrella. My parents told me all that
afterwards, because I was ahead, and them far behind me.
The ass did not want to advance. We assembled it each one our turn with the small one on
The evening, we arrived in a large covered camp of tents. We also drew up ours, and laid
down there for this night. Morning and evening, we were to nourish the conveyors.
The following day, Tuesday October 6, we took again to the road. All along the way, people
proposed nuts, dry grapes to us, that my father paid for. My uncle too also bought us to
eat, we nibbled while walking. There these ways towards Bozanta were very pleasant, the
air was pure, very fresh water, I would have agreed to remain. This evening there, we
stopped in a khan, but as there were no more rooms to rent, we laid down the ones in the
cart and the others by ground on a carpet.
The following day, we set out again, by mounts and by worth. All the deportees went on
foot, there were hardly a hundred carriages. We were thousands, some did not manage to
walk until the khan, they remained behind, with the risk to be attacked by gangsters. One
suffered much. This day, my father had bought "pasterma” for us and prepared with
us to give some a little to each one with bread which we had kept in my portfolio of
schoolboy. At the time when he sat down, tired, of the Arab soldiers who passed saw him,
one of them collected a large stone and precipitated on him by showing the pasterma
finger. Mom, indicated that they were the dangerous famished ones, started to shout:
"Give, give!" My father gave and we recovered on the way.
Every evening, we stopped in a khan, and we always bought hay for the ass. Thursday
October 8, we arrived at the station of Bozanta. A little further, we saw the camp. The
number of deportees was enormous. But as my father still had money, we continued to walk
with the convoy. We were ordered to go until Tarsus.
Friday October 9, we walked all day. We arrived at Tarsus, Saturday October 10 about
midday. There too, there was a great number of deportees, under tents, among which were
Armenians of Adabazar, Izmit, Mersin and other places. We sought a place near those of
Adabazar, we drew up our tent there. My grandparents put foot at ground, with the
children, and we rested a little. My uncle and my aunt arrived, and we arranged our
business. My grandfather had diarrhea, his belly having been affected, as he had drunk all
kinds of water on the way, said one. My grandmother’s legs had gone bad... when she
needs to go in the field, I need to take her by the arm, she can not go five minutes
without getting tired. We had two trunks with us, but we had left four in
Afyon-kara-Hissar, thinking that we were going to remain in Konya. Unfortunately, one
never lets us quietly remain some share. All of these days, there were expulsions.
In our trunks, there were socks, the layers of my little sister, and the new boots of my
mother whom she had never worn yet. But we noticed that she missed many possessions. We
thought that the conveyors had them flights. My father did not find either his watch or
gold bracket, under the lid of which he had hidden the ticket of the luggage of my aunt.
All that made us very sorry, but the misery around us was such that we did not dare to
feel sorry for ourselves.
In Tarsus, we learned that the brother of mom was an escaped prisoner and that [he had
evaded capture?]. Mom was very content, we had only one idea, outward journey to see him.
The very same day of our arrival, we sold the ass, at hardly half-price.
The following day, October 11, we sent news to my uncle that we were there and wished to
see him. He came on the 13th, with a bag filled with provisions. We chattered rather
lengthily and he told us his misfortunes. By leaving Bozanta, by another way than ours,
they had fallen on a tape franks-tireurs from Adabazar, which had been deported from
Eski-Shehir, and these young people had locked up the uncle and his family in a cattle
shed, had beaten them and takan all that they had, threatening to strangle them. This
account caused much sorrow for us and mom thanked the Sky for having saved misfortune from
us. My uncle remained with us several hours. Since we no longer had much money, mom asked
a little from him; he gave twelve banknotes. Then he returned downtown.
Wednesday October 14, my father asked for an authorization of exit to buy us things
to eat. Upon his return, he told us that my teacher of Adabazar, Chahen Effendi, was
in a lamentable state.
Thursday October 15, mom fell sick. We wanted to transport her to the hospital, but
there was no place. My father rented a room in the district, and we spent the night
there. The morning... I noticed that the cane sugar was not expensive. There were
many Arab soldiers, their sight astounded me, they did not carry trousers like us,
they had clothing (similar to) the women, that made me laugh.
Mom was allowed at the hospital. I met
there the Kérovpé father of our parish. He had received the authorization
temporarily to remain there to ensure the burials. We went to the river, to wash
ourselves and make a detergent. Those who were in the camp under the tents did not
have the right to go there. They were always on the alert. There was a one-eyed Turk
appointed with expulsions. Every day, he drove out a great number of deportees bound
for Osmanié. The number of the refugees fell day by day.
Thursday October 22, there did not remain any more only one tent, our turn to leave
was going to arrive. Fortunately, mom was better.
Wednesday November 4, the one-eyed civil servant came to the hospital, a stick with
the hand, and with great cries, he made everyone leave and gave us the order to go
to the station. My father rented a small carriole to put our possessions, and for
eight hours we were in the train. The Kérovpé father was in our coach. The train
started at midday. When we arrived at the first stop, Yénidjé, the evening started
to fall, then it started to rain. I have noticed that was another railway line which
passed to Yénidjé, I am informed it was a line in construction, which made it
possible to go until Bozanta, without passing by Tarsus. When the line would be
finished, one could go by train of Constantinople in Adana.
Finally, around three o’clock in the morning, we arrived at the station of Adana,
and, after a long wait, the train set out again for Osmanié, where we arrived in
the evening. The train stopped at the end of the quay and, as the weather was black,
we were not able to go down. We were cold, the men descended from the coach and lit
fires to heat us. In the morning, we left. My father hired a carrier to carry our
tents, then he installed them.
In Osmanié also, we met many people of Adabazar. I was going every day to buy bread
at the market. The fish and the oranges were not expensive. I learned that the
refugees who were in this camp had been there only for fifteen days. The multitude
which was there before them had been deported by soldiers with blows of bayonets;
they had not had carts, they had left on foot. Those which did not go rather quickly
were thorough with the bayonets, one did not have to remain behind, it was necessary
to run. What a terrible exodus!
At the time of our arrival, of Tcherkesses settled in the neighbourhoods of the camp
and in the close villages, and every night, they came to burglarize in the tents.
One night, a shooting was heard. Tcherkesses were armed and if they were
[confronted], they drew [their weapons]. One as of ours assembled the guard, but
their comings and goings were not used for nothing; almost every night, we were
awakened by sounds of rifle shots.
There were also jackals in the fields. Their [cries] were heard during the night and
[they walked] around the tents. One day, the noise ran that they had devoured the
head of a small girl. We had the visit of the brother-in-law of my aunt, Antranik.
He was a soldier at Kanlé-Guétchig and secretary of the captain.  He had come by horse in Osmanié for reason from service, and
was amazed to meet us. He entered our tent and chattered lengthily.
In Osmanié, I started to have badly with the eyes.
It was I who was going to seek water at the station. Everywhere where we drew up our
tent, it was always I who was going to seek water. We remained eight days there.
refugees on the go
Saturday October 31, expulsions began again.
There was no horse-drawn carriage, there were only carts with oxen. They were
expensive, but my father rented one. One arranged there the tent and all our
possessions. There was not enough space to sit us all. We thus went down all in turn
to yield the place to those who went on foot. My grandfather had bought in Osmanié
leblebi (poichiches roasted) and oranges which he had put in a bag suspended at his
shoulder, and which he distributed to us from time to time. We passed by the
Mémourié mount and saw the castle of king Leon, with dilapidated half.
We arrived the evening at Kanle-Guetcheg and, like the other refugees, we drew up
our tent. In the night, our Antranik relative came to find us and brought us a
package of macaroni. Since we were very hungry, my parents made fire, made cook the
pastes and we ate all of them. Then, after having lengthily chattered, Antranik left
and we [went to sleep], covered with our coats.
Sunday November 1: We received the order to demolish our tents and to give us on the
way all. Me I liked to walk, I did not want to sit in the cart, I was ahead. But the
evening, around ten o’clock, I did not find our cart any more, I sought it in vain
all along the convoy. Thinking that it had perhaps exceeded us, I started to run
hopelessly. At the end of one hour, I arrived to Hassan Beyli, where there were many
tents. I sought, I questioned, but I did not find my family. Then I sat down sadly.
Half an hour after, my father appeared! He also had sought me anxiously. Finally, he
went to buy nuts and lenses, we drew up our tent and we dined and slept there.
Tuesday November 3: We were moved again. The afternoon, to arrive more quickly at
Intelli, several refugees passed by mountain lanes, and I also wanted to go with
them. I arrived the evening at Intelli, our cart arrived after me. This night still,
we slept in the fields.
Wednesday November 4: We were moved with the camp of Islahyé. We drew up our tent,
then I was to buy something to eat with my father.
Four or five days later, my maternal uncle arrived at Tarsus. He laid down the night
in another tent. There were other people of Adabazar. Water was very far, but it was
necessary to go to seek some. It there had, appears it, of the refugees who dug the
ground and who found water.
When we arrived at Islahyé, we were very dirty. Mom made a compatriot wash our
linen. I had more and more badly with the eyes. My uncle also had badly with the
My grandfather had colics since Eski-Shéhir. Wednesday November 11 at the evening,
mom had made soup, we called it, but we could not eat; we said, "save my share,
I will eat it tomorrow". We dined and kept to him its share in a small pot. I
also had been sick for two days. The next morning, early, my grandmother called
grandfather, he answered once, but afterwards, he did not answer any more. My
grandmother posed her hand on her mouth and said that he had died. My father, my
uncle, everyone started to cry. Mom made our compatriot who had washed our linen
come. She was called Mariam; it was the woman of Mined the blind man. She stripped
grandfather, she heated water and all the body with soap washed to him. Then she
equipped it and covered it with a large fabric. On each side of his head, one lit
candles. Then my father went to seek a priest, who came to recite the prayers.
Lastly, as there was no coffin, one wrapped the body in a cloth and my father, my
uncle and two other men went to bury it at the end of the camp. My maternal uncle
also attended the burial. He came every day to see us in our tent. We remained
fourteen days with Islahyé. Every day, there were expulsions. Our turn arrived. It
rained. The rain passed through the tent. My maternal uncle was moved in Atchaz. My
uncle Roupen, my aunt, my cousin and my grandmother remained with the camp.
From Osmanié to Islahyé, there was no railroad; but fortunately, there was a line
of Islahyé with Alep and Cham (Damas). Before the departure of the train, soldiers
and police officers entered the coaches with lamps, seeking the men to send them on
foot. At once, we hid my father under our luggage, and when the police officers
arrived in our coach, there was only one man, the remainder was women and children.
This man gave them a gold coin and was allowed to accompany us.
We exited the next morning, with the first stop. My father took a carrier, deposited
the tent and our possessions, then he returned to seek me because I had very swollen
eyes. The evening, my uncle, my aunt, my grandmother and my cousin Astrig joined us,
they could also have had a train. We slept under the tent.
The following day, it was again necessary to leave. We found a horse-drawn carriage
for our business, we are also ridden there, but my uncle and his family had to leave
Saturday November 21, we arrived at Atchaz. There too, there were many tents. My
maternal uncle was there already. He came to see us almost every day. The morning,
he ordered for us tea with cinnamon, because the weather started to get cold. It
rained without stop. The camp was full of mud. We did not have water; water carriers
came by far to sell some to us. A can cost two piastres.
Every day there were expulsions in the direction of Der Zor.
Tuesday December 1: My father, on his papers, registered as his profession: tailor.  However, the craftsmen received one leave-to
pass to go in Cham. We were to thus go there. We could take grandmother with us. My
father had nothing any more but two liras. He kept the tent for us, and gave four
médjidiés to my uncle.
When there were expulsions, a commander with horse came with soldiers and burned the
possessions of those who had not left. This day, there were many fires... We escaped
[this fate] beautifully, because our turn had arrived. Mom said to the commander:
"My husband went to seek a certificate; he is a tailor and we go in Cham."
The commander did not say anything any more. My father returned, provided with his
December 20, 1915: When we started from Atchaz, where we had remained one month,
there were five more to six hundred people. We were initially to go to Alep. My
father rented a horse-drawn carriage (2 L-but) with another family of Adabazar. We
put all of our possessions in the car. The evening, we arrived in a khan, we rented
a part where we lay down.
Monday December 21, we gave our possessions in the car and we recovered on the way.
The evening, we arrived at the camp of Alep, the station of Sibil. On the hill, the
refugees had drawn up their tents. We descended, and also drew up our tent. These
refugees all were of the families of craftsmen. It was interdict of going to the
market. One distributed for us in this camp a bread per day per person. There were
no brutalities. We remained nine days there.
emigrees inside tent
Thursday December 31. We were to leave Alep for
Cham. There was a train on the quay, we slept there and the next morning the train
started. We passed by the desert, then by Homs, and finally the evening we arrived
at Rayyak, where the train had to be changed. We thus re-transported our business.
The patients were put aside and were to travel by another train. As my grandmother
was sick, my father remained with her to take the special train. We left. We arrived
Friday January 1 at the evening at the station of Ihsaher, where there was a camp.
We installed our tent. My grandmother and my father arrived little afterwards.
1916 - Saturday January 2 The refugees received the order to move apart from Ihsaher, on
the hills. My father rented a carrier and made him transport my grandmother because her
legs were getting worse and could not go any more.
We were thousands to be camped in the hills. Some had arrived before us and had been
quarantined. Our fellow-citizens of Adabazar had put themselves together on one of the
hills. The government had already installed military tents and made a distribution of a
bread per family. Containers were distributed for soup. Every evening, there was the
distribution. We, the new arrivals, did not have of tent, but we had right to the breads
and the soup, which we were going to seek. We remained four days on this hill, then one
sent to us higher, on another hill, and one gave us a tent and a bread. The state of my
grandmother worsened day in day. She remained lying, she was like paralyzed. We had the
chance to have a doctor who passed every day by the tents. Certain patients were
transported to the hospital, others received drugs. The patients did not have right to the
bread; they received yoghurt or milk. There was an epidemic in this camp. The majority of
the refugees had caught typhus.  My grandmother,
each time that she wanted to urinate, called my father, even in middle of the night; he
carried it in the bucket.
January 9, three days after Christmas, at two o’clock in the morning, my grandmother
returned the heart. We waited until dawn. Mom had been sick for eight days, she had caught
typhus and was confined to bed. But my father made raise to sew the shroud. My brother
Onnig also had been sick for one week and remained lying. I thus left with my father to
seek the priest. He came to proceed to the ceremony. My father made also come four
soldiers, who were charged to bury deaths. They came with the coffin and went to bury my
grandmother. My father gave them five piastres.
About midday, I was to seek one of our fellow-countrywomen whom I knew and I brought back
to wash the linen of my grandmother. This evening, our patients were even more badly off.
Every evening, I went to travelling seeking food, which we ate, my father and me. Onnig
and mom were to eat neither bread nor soup, they had right only to milk or yoghurt. My
little sister Siralouys still tétait my mother.
One week later, my father also fell sick and put himself at the bed. My mother and my
brother were getting worse, and I started to despair. Mom had a terrifying appearance, she
had the very black figure and hands and the dishevelled hair. She spoke as though insane.
My brother also was delirious. He had lost much.
Since my father was sick, it is me which occupied me of all. I went to the travelling one,
and I returned to only eat. I put side the bread which remained. There were people who
sold it: ten piastres bread of one hundred drachmas. Me I sold yoghurt which my father had
The last week of January, all the family was better, but it was my turn to fall sick.
Fortunately, the soldiers brought water to us, the cans were charged on mules, because the
source was rather far.
Saturday January 30, we were expelled. As there was no carriole, my father rented a pram,
obviously expensive. We put our trunk inside and we sat down above. We left in the
direction of Cham. We spent three hours to arrive there. But here we did not have the
right to stop. We thus crossed the city and we went to the camp of Kadim. We took down our
possessions and installed our tent among the refugees.
I felt increasingly sick. But my mother and my brother were better. This evening, my
father escaped from the camp  and went downtown
to try to sell some possessions. He returned during the night, towards three or four in
the morning. Each time that he needed money, he sold linen. In Ihsaher, when my
grandmother died, he had sold her clothes, and those of my grandfather. When he had
separated from his brother in Atchaz, he had been given twelve gold coins. With our
arrival in Kadim, he had spent all that remained to him. We remained only two days with
the camp of Kadim. We were then dispatched.
Tuesday February 2: We travelled by the train the evening. As I was very sick, I lay in
the coach, by ground. To the last station before Draa, my father left to seek water, but
when the train started again, he did not return, we were very anxious, asking ourselves
what had happened. But with our arrival in Draa, he joined us, he had gotten into the last
coach. In Draa, the refugees had installed their tents in the fields, my father also
transported our possessions and drew up our tent. It rained with pours. My father was
going every day to buy milk and yoghourt for us because we were sick. He had succeeded in
selling a little linen. It rained almost every day. My father had in Adabazar a cabaret
which he had rented with a Greek. He sent a telegram to him so that [the Greek] would send
money to us. But the money never reached us, because we were expelled again. He had also
sent a telegram to our remaining family in Eski-Shéhir, but we could not receive
anything. We remained seventeen days in Draa.
Saturday February 20. New expulsion. Every day, moreover, there were expulsions of
Armenians in the neighbouring villages. In our camp, there remained nothing any more but
one forty tents. The evening, the order came down for us to leave. One rented all of the
camels which were there. We loaded our possessions. The camel drivers got under way very
late. My father had rented an ass for my brother Onnig and me, because we were too weak to
walk. My parents were on foot with my little sister in their arms. At the end of half an
hour on the road, it grew pitch black. The voyage was terrible. The mountains were stony
in this area, the ways were stony, we did not stop falling from the ass and raising us
exhausted. The ass ran away itself, I tried to catch up with it and give my brother above.
Mom also fell several times, with the small one. I heard them cry. We all were weakened. 
At a certain time, my brother and me we are found behind, far from the file of refugees
and the camel drivers. I called "mom! mom!" while crying, we were lost. At the
end of ten minutes, I intended to call, it was mom who sought us. When she approached, I
saw that she was not alone, there was an unknown nearby. It was an Arab whom she had had
the chance to meet. He had covered the baby with his clothing and had guided my parents
towards us. Then he led us to the nearest village, where there was a khan. The camel
drivers were there already.
We could recover our luggage, but as the khan was full with refugees, we slept outside on
the ground. We were hungry. There remained to us nuts, which we ate with bread.
The following day, I could make a turn in the small village, which was called
Gharuyit-ül-Gharbiye. There was full with mauves in the fields, and a small pond with
turbid water. Draa was only three hours of walking away, but the camel drivers had made
such turns that we had spent six hours. There was also a named station Kapt-Ghazil,
located between Draa and the village. Opposite, another village called was
Sunday February 21: The chief of the village gave us a room, very old, but out of stone.
In the surroundings, all the houses were out of stone. We were glad not to be more under
the tent. My father had spent the little money which remained. He recovered to sell
various possessions. He even sold the layers of my little sister. At the beginning, we
were well in this village. But at the end of eight days, there was nothing any more to
eat. The Arabs did not make the bread as on our premises, they did not have a furnace.
Each house had its own brazier on which the women made cook thin wafers. The rich person
had corn wafers, the poor of broad bean wafers or lenses.
At the beginning of March, my father succeeded in exchanging some possessions with the
least expensive flour. There was no well, one was obliged to be satisfied with the dirty
water which one was going to seek and in which the men and the children were going to wash
themselves. They also had only this water to drink. The houses were low and did not have
cabinets. People were going to make in the fields. We made like them. The Arabs were going
to gather the sheets of mauve in the fields, they cooked them with water in a basin around
which they sat down by the ground. They pressed the mauves, made pellets of them, and ate
them. They did not have underclothing. The night, they slept very naked. When they saw a
man in trousers, they started laughing. They carried a long tunic.
We remained three weeks in this part. Then, an Arab who had been caught of friendship for
my father took us along to his place. He was called Abdül Medjid. He had a woman and a
son. They had three rooms, they gave us one of them.
We were really quiet there, because there were no police officers, nor agents of
expulsion. If we had not had money problems, there we could have lived with ease.  My father went twice in Draa to send a telegram and
to go to seek an answer. But he did not receive any.
As I was cured, I was going every day with him to try to resell a cardigan or a shirt with
Kapt-Ghazil, because there was over there a mail service to Jerusalem.
At the village, apart from the mauves, there were no vegetables, not even onions to eat
with bread. We paid some of Kapt-Ghazil. One day in April, a young person of Cham
announced that there was a mandate for someone named Missak Sarian of Adabazar. My father, very glad to have received money from
his family, prepared to leave. But there was the tax to pay and he did not have money.
Finally, he found a rich man called Assadour Aga to whom he explained his business and who
agreed to lend him two médjidiés.
My father left at once in Kapt-Ghazil from where he was to take the train for Cham. He
returned only one week later, very sad. It was not a mandate which he had received from
his family, but a telegram informing him that they had been expelled from Eski-Shéhir.
This news caused us a great sorrow. My father, in Cham, had only his two médjidiés for
the tax, and he would have been hungry if he had not met compatriots who had given him
bread and had laid it down on their premises. Then they had been cotisés to enable him to
turn over near his. Each one had given a few piastres; he had received thirty-eight
piastres to buy a train ticket. But he was tormented much by the sum which he had
borrowed. Finally my parents n the other hand gave our mattresses, covers and pillows. We
kept only the small mattress of my brother.
One day, I learned that one built a mosque with Draa. I walked three hours to request work
from it. I transported water with a bucket during two hours, then of mud until the
evening. I received three piastres and two breads. I was to go back there the following
day, I thus remained on the spot. I ate my two breads, I spent my three piastres, I lay
down by ground, but I did not sleep of the night, there was full with rats.
The next morning, I was awfully tired, I set out again at the village, where I arrived at
One celebrated Easter. We had learned that there were two Armenian families in the
opposite village. I went to visit them with my brother. We in the embarrassment, badly
vêtus, were badly nourished. We remained two months and half in this village.
Saturday May 1: We learned that all the refugees of the area were held to go to Draa,
where there had been built establishments of baths especially for them. After having
washed itself, it appears that one returned them on their premises, in their own city.
This news filled us with joy.
Wednesday May 5: We received the order to return to Draa. My father rented an ass,
although we do not have any more grand thing to transport, and we got under way about
midday. We spent three hours to arrive at Draa.
What one had said to us seemed true, the fields of Draa were full of
refugees. Some had even received tents. Each one received two breads of half-delivers. The
baths also, it was true. First of all, the hairdressers cut the hair free, as well of the
women of the men. It was obligatory, because of the lice. Then, one led us to the baths.
One washed oneself. Our clothing was thrown to fire. All the women who could sew were
requested to go in a building intended for the clothes industry of clothing. These women
bent morning at the evening and had right to three breads, like their family. They
received moreover, by week, a banknote of 25 piastres, being equivalent to one médjidié.
May 6, my mother went to see the person in charge for this building. He was a bearded
Armenian originating from Adana. She highly expressed her wish to work, and he engaged it.
He initially made us cut the hair of all, then we went to the bath. Our clothes were
carried and we received each one a shirt and trousers, a skirt for mom. Our bed linen was
thrown to fire. Then we left on the side of the station where the tents of the dressmakers
were, and we drew up our tent.
My father went to the market and he found work in a restaurant. He would be nourished and
would gain two piastres per day.
Thursday, mom started to work. She brought back every day for us three breads with each
one, that is to say in all twelve breads. She left the morning and I remained under the
tent to look after my brother and my little sister. I prepared also soup while waiting for
the return of mom. Fortunately that there were mauves in the fields.
May 10, I also found a small job: I sold onions at the station. Mom made seam with Draa
during seventeen days. It was a question that one allows us to turn over on our premises,
but one made us say that the chief rebels Armenian Andranik massacred Kurds on the side of
Erzeroum and that, for this reason, this decision was deferred. Our return to the country
was even announced in the newspapers of Cham, but there no was continuation.
Finally, the government decided to send the craftsmen to Cham, and the widows and the
orphans with Hama. During seventeen days, the widows and the orphans were evacuated. The
work of seam was completed and our turn to leave arrived.
We decided to go rather in Hama. We had intended to say that the widows received two
breads per day there and that there was much work. My father determined himself to remain
at the restaurant and my mother was registered like widow, to go in Hama. Sunday
May 21, we went to the station. The train left the same evening.
The next morning, we arrived at Cham, then the train recovered on the way. We arrived
during the evening at Rayyak. The train stopped for the night and we slept in the train.
The following day, we learned that the train was going to remain all day in this station.
Mom wanted to make us cook soup in the coach, I left to seek wood ends in the
surroundings, to make fire. With the deposit of the station, I saw that there was a corn
heap, I collected some in a small bag, there was well half-delivers. Mom made cook too.
The train set out again. We passed by Tourna, then Homs. We ate corn.
Tuesday May 25. We arrived at Hama. We transported our business in a field close to
the station, and we sat down with the sun. Refugees of the city came to see us, we
asked whether there were factories, they said not. They said that all that one had
told us was false, and that there was neither work, nor distribution of bread.
At the end of two hours, a young man proposed to occupy himself of us. He was called
Nazareth Effendi and was a native of Izmir. He took us along to the hospital of the
refugees, whose doctor and pharmacist were called Socrate Effendi. He was a native
of Hadjin and had lived in Adana.
There were in this hospital three families of Adabazar. The other refugees were, it
appears, in a khan, where there was, said one, an enormous world, and especially of
lice. Without this young man of Izmir, we would have also been over there.
We remained eight days in this hospital. There remained to us 20 piastres at the
beginning of Draa, we very spent. Then, this Socrate Effendi, who was very nice,
rented a room for us and three other families. We remained one month, all in it. One
distributed us to each one a bread per day. Mom thought much of her sister, she
wondered how to let her know where we were. I pointed out Vagharchag to her who was
employed with the railroads and who lived in Eski-Shéhir.
Monday July 12, mom went to find Nazareth Effendi and asked him to send a chart, by
the post office, in Eski-Shéhir. Next Monday, mom decided to also send a chart to
the sister of my grandmother, Aznive Hanem, who lived in Constantinople; because we
needed money. We did not know her address, we knew only that she lived in Scutari,
and thus sent it to the Armenian church of Scutari.
July 20, we decided to move, because there were many scorpions in this house, two
people had already been pricked. There was also a contagious disease from which
three people had died, they were people of Bardizak. Socrate Effendi found us a
small room and we went there, with a woman of Adabazar which had a son of my age.
Our mothers were afraid because the authorities had issued the Islamization of the
refugees. They went to the police station to seek notebooks of identity, but we were
not constrained to be circoncis. On the other hand, we learned that all the Armenian
priests had been deported to Jerusalem.
We were very unhappy because there was no more distribution of bread. There remained
to us our tent, we sold it to an Armenian neighbor, 38 piastres. The food products
were not expensive in Hama, especially the vegetables. The flour cost four piastres
and half the two liras our arrival, but a little later it cost 5 piastres.
At the beginning of September, there was an enormous number of refugees in Hama. Of
the massacres of DER-Zor told appalling slaughter.
The women worked to spin wool, to knit socks, in workshops. There mom would have
agreed to also go, but it was not possible because my little sister had started to
walk, and she had to be supervised constantly.
We finally received news of dad. He always worked at the restaurant and gained three
piastres per day now. He sent a banknote to us of half-Delivers and another time a
ticket of a Book. These tickets were worth 60 piastres.
Diary author: Hrant Sarian
A little later a landlord agreed to take to me
as apprentice, but work was too difficult for me, he kept me only one week. Towards
the end of the month, we received a chart and money of Aznive Hanem, two banknotes.
She lived in Kadi-kugh, but had had our news by the church. She gave us her address.
Her house in Scutari had been requisitioned to place soldiers there; she had been
obliged to rent another house.
We also received another letter which came from the district of Afyon-Kara-Hissar,
of Azizié. It was of my aunt Makrouhie, who had learned by Vagharchag that we were
in Hama. She had been expelled of Eski-Shéhir and was with the camp of Azizié. My
grandfather and my grandmother were alive, like my maternal uncle and his family.
They all were over there. She said in the letter: "Your luggage were with the
deposit of Afyon-Kara-Hissar, we recovered them". That gave us great pleasure,
and mom said to me to write: "sell all at any price and send us the money
Mom arranged for two native sisters from Adabazar to live in our housing, so that we
paid but one third of the rent. We did not pour it any more in Socrate Effendi, but
directly with the owner.
Thursday September 23, 1916. I had dreamed the night that my father returned. The
morning, I was at the station, saying to myself that my father was perhaps going to
come from Draa. Oh well, when the train arrived, filled with soldiers, I heard a
voice call to me: "Hrant." I at once saw the head of my father leaning
over the window pane of a coach, I started to run, and when the train stopped, my
father descended gently, I took his bundle to him which contained his linen and a
small mattress. I led it in the street of the Greeks where we lived. When mom saw my
father, she was filled with joy.
My father told us what had arrived to him at Draa. He had had a relapse of typhus,
and had not been able to go to work during two days. He was believed to die, and had
to decide to find a means to join us. But like the refugees had the right to go from
one city to the other, neither in the train, nor on foot, he had had the idea to
join the soldiers. Monday September 20 at midnight, he had risen and gone to the
station, and when the mail train coming from Jerusalem had arrived, he had slipped
among the soldiers and was left in Cham. Then, the evening, he had gone up in the
mail train which went in Alep and which was full of soldiers. Lastly, with the
assistance of a native Armenian sergeant of Adabazar, he had taken again the train
He had succeeded in putting money on side, he had eight gold coins and ten bills of
bank. My mother had only 80 piastres. From this day, mom made us eat.
At the beginning of October 1916, a barber took me in as apprentice. He paid me one
piastre per day, but I remained only one month there. Then, I trained, without work.
My father would have agreed to do a little trade, but the gendarmes and the soldiers
worried the salesmen by their bargainings, and paid them of a simple receipt,
causing them more losses than of profits. So that we live economies of our father
and money sent by my aunt. She wrote to us that she sold our business and would send
the money to us.
October 15, 1916, we received a chart of the brother of mom, deportee to Muskianyé.
He wrote that Uncle Roupen, his wife and his daughter were in misery, that they were
hungry. This news caused us much sorrow. My uncle had had our address from his
refuge family from Azizié, which had sent a little money to him.
November 1, 1916, my little sister Siralouys had smallpox, she had blisters on the
eyelids, which she could not even open any more. We were very afraid that she may
loses her sight, but God thank you her state improved at the end of fifteen days,
she could open the eyes. By the end of the month, she was completely cured. Then it
was my mother who fell sick, she had to be hospitalized. She was saved thanks to
Socrate Effendi. This man had pity of us. When we were in the need, he gave us a
ticket of 20 piastres or even of 50 piastres. He often lent money to us, whereas
nobody lent to anyone.
In February, our compatriots who divided our room left by barouche Hama in Homs.
Little after, they wrote to us of Imaretya, informing us that they had found work,
that they slipped by of wool.
After their departure, as we were the only tenants, the rent was too high for us. We
found another room in the same street and we moved at the end of the month. Our
money was decreasing. My father sought work. He sold blackberries at the station.
One evening, which it had not succeeded in with all selling, he brought back a
basket of it to the house; there were three liras well of them. We regaled ourselves
The bread was rationed, and it often arrived to us of dining on a soup of herbs,
without bread. The flour had increased; the two liras were worth ten piastres.
My father renonça with this work because he had there nothing more important to
sell. He tried to sell bread, but the soldiers came to haggle over and paid in small
cuts whose value was decreasing. Thus, the banknotes were worth nothing any more but
30 piastres. My father lost money. Me, I tried to sell cigarette paper, but that
lasted only three days.
March 30, 1917, Holy Wednesday, mom stopped nursing my small sister. As all
increased and that our money decreased, my father sought to place me. Though we
receive small sums of Azizié, that was hardly enough to buy bread. We ate mainly
In Hama, aside from us, there were only five families of Adabazar. None needed an
apprentice. Lastly, my father found a baker originating in Aïntab which agreed to
take me into its service, to give pleasure with my father, so he says.
May 4, my father led me to the bake house. My work consisted in providing the
furnace in spines because there was no wood in the area, one burned spines.
I was given a fork which I was to charge the furnace when the bread would be cooked.
Moreover, when the customers wanted to bring dishes to be cooked, if it were heavy,
one invited me to carry the baskets, and when the bread was cooked, I delivered it
and one gave me one or two rolls. The Arabs made breads of approximately 150 G, they
flattened the paste, it was their habit. They also cooked many pastry makings. It
was me who carried the plates, and one gave me also some cake. So that I had every
day more or less to eat.
The baker paid me one half-piastre per day and gave me two rolls, the morning and at
midday. Thus I earned my living.
My father found also a place at the beginning of June. He transported wood to the
station and would be well paid. But it was too arduous work for him, and he had to
cease at the end of one week.
Friday June 17, we received a parcel of Azizié, we were very content. The sister of
mom regularly sent letters and money to us. Aznive Hanem also sent three more times
two banknotes which were worth 25 piastres now.
But one day, we did not receive a response to our letters any more. These sums which
we receive, we spend them with parsimony, but our resources were nevertheless
decreasing. We were obliged to sell the contents of the parcel.
June 30, we still received two letters from my aunt.
Wednesday September 14 1917 being one public holiday with Hama, the bakehouse was
closed, my leave was given, and I was to walk.
A few days afterwards, we still received a parcel of Azizié, containing a small
cover. Full with regrets, we very resold, except the cover. My father was always
without work. The government had started, since the beginning of the month, to
recruit soldiers among the Arabs. The rich person obtained an exemption by giving
corn of a value of 200 L.or. But the poor were mobilized and were to leave.
Sunday September 25, 1917, it was ordered to also recruit
soldiers among the Armenian refugees. To go
back to this day, there were daily raids at the market, those which got caught were
led to the mosque.
My father, alas, was also taken, him which had paid so expensive the "bedel"
as he always said, not to be soldier. I was with the bakehouse when I learned his
arrest, I immediately ran to warn my mother.
All these recruited Armenian refugees remained fifteen days locked up in the mosque.
A few days afterwards, fearing to no more be able to pay the rent of the room, mom
moved with the refugee camp of Hama.
Monday October 10, 1917, having learned that the prisoners of the mosque were going
to be sent to Cham by the train, mom and me, leaving my brother and my small sister
with the camp, went to the station. The built-in refugees had sat in the coaches. We
called my father and we kept calling his name until the departure of the train. Then
mom returned to the camp, and me to the bake house.
Approximately an hour later, my little brother came to find me, saying to me that
Siralouys was lost and that mom sought her street in street while crying. I asked
permission of my boss to go away and seek the town crier. But when I arrived at the
camp, mom had already found my little sister. Siralouys had left through the fields
which bordered the camp, to exit the city. She was far enough when mom had heard her
cry. Two young Arabs had been looking for her and had brought her back. I am turned
over to my work.
Three days after this incident, having learned that a Turkish doctor sought a
servant, I proposed and I was hired. I found my work with the furnace very painful;
I regretted having left it but at least I was nourished. At the doctor’s home I
was hungry, and I was not even paid.
October 15, 1917, we received from Azizié, by the post office, the photographs of
my grandfather and my aunt, which had been taken in Eski-Shéhir.
At the beginning of December 1917, I was returned of in the doctor because he wanted
a young person able to perform the secretarial duties, but I could not write Turkish
in Arab characters rather well. He had already found somebody.
I thus went near my mother, with the camp. The flour had further increased, the two
liras were worth 50 piastres now. Mom could not get the least piece of bread any
more. She made cook aubergines and zucchinis, but me I was still hungry. At the end
of one week, I decided to return to my former boss. Precisely, he sought a clerk. I
am thus turned over to the furnace.
Tuesday December 6, 1917, my brother Onnig fell sick. Mom went to see Socrate
Effendi which took him along to the hospital. My little sister also was a little
sick, I entrusted her to a family who had agreed to look after her.
Downtown, we intended to say that the soldiers who had been sent to Cham had been
released and that they were given six months leave.
Indeed, every day, there were soldiers who returned from Cham, but we did not have
news of my father; we wondered what had become of him.
Thursday December 15, finally, in the early morning, I was working with the furnace,
there is my father who enters! What a joy! but he had a black stringcourse around
the head and held hardly upright. I asked him why he returned so late, he says to me
that he was very sick and had been hospitalized. As soon as he felt a little better,
he got under way. But he was still not well.
He did not know where mom was I said to him that she was with the camp. I did not
have money for transportation. My boss paid me more, he gave me sound of which I
Later, my father found a room close to the camp and moved the family, because there
were too many lice in the camp. But his disease worsened. His figure, hands and legs
were very swollen. He also had to be hospitalized, like my brother.
My boss, with the bake house, sold sound, my mother bought and made bread of it.
Sometimes, she added yeast and kneaded the paste, which we cooked on the furnace.
But often, we missed even this bread. If we are able to get wheat bread to us, for
us it was cake. My father remained fifteen days at the hospital, then he was cured
and returned to the house. But my brother Onnig had an abscess in the ear, and every
day my father carried him on the back to take along to the doctor. This one decided
to operate it, and, after this operation, Onnig was cured.
In January 1918, we were fairly well, but we suffered much from hunger.
In February, an orphanage was opened in Hama, mom found work there and entered my brother.
We were thus two not to more be with its load, i.e. he did not have to nourish any more
from us, but she was concerned with equipping us. She washed our linen only one time per
month, she did not have what to buy soap.
Lastly, my father found a place at the goods station. He was to fill of the corn bags that
others transported. But this time still he left at the end of eight days because it was
March 1, 1918, the six months permission ended, and the police force recovered to research
from the soldiers. This moment, we were in a great misery, mom and Onnig collected orange
peelings in the dustbins to eat them. My father had to set out again with the army bus at
the house it did not even have there a piece of bread, while the soldiers received a bread
per day. Mom said: "if only the women could be soldiers, I would go too!" What a
degree of misery had befallen us!
Finally, the police officers came to seek my father. I learned it with the bake house the
evening-even. The next morning, I was with mom to carry a coat to him. He was again locked
up with the mosque with the others. There were approximately three hundred Armenians
originating in various cities in Anatolia.
Five days afterwards, I learned that they had gone by the train. After the departure of my
father, mom was in an even greater distress. She would have agreed to be useful as servant
among Arabs, but who would have looked after Siralouys? She did not receive any more money
She still accepted a parcel and sold the whole. As for me, with the furnace, I did not
receive any more than one barley roll per day, for the remainder I was to satisfy myself
with what the customers would give me. However, life had become so expensive that one did
not give me any more that one half-bread or a small cake all both or three days, when I
delivered the plates. People, that they are Arabs or Armenians, ate nothing any more but
barley breads. They brought the paste themselves. As I was very hungry, I arranged myself
from time to time to take a nut of paste in the kneader, I hid it, I stole also a little
sound and I was made cook in hiding-place a black roll, as soon as the opportunity arose.
you encounter this famous "genocide
poster boy," keep in mind: it was not just the
Armenians suffering from malnutrition.
The famine had become general, as well with the Arabs as among the
refugees. There were bands of kids who waited in front of the shop and as soon as somebody
entered or left, they precipitated to steal the paste or the bread whom they lined at once
in the mouth, leaves with being beaten. If somebody should buy yoghurt, the kids hustled
it and reversed yoghurt and put themselves at the lapper by ground. Even the gendarmes did
not manage to prevent such incidents.
Mom decided to go in Alep because we had learned that there was work over there, that the
refugees spun wool and received two breads per day, and that there were orphanages for the
children. In Hama, there was every day two to three hundred refugees who died.
In April 1918, I learned that one named Addo Aga sought a young servant. He was a very
rich man, he had seven villages. I ran at once in his residence, I presented myself and
said to him that if it gave me to eat with my hunger, I would work for him to his greater
satisfaction. He hired me and I made warn my mother that I left the furnace. The
evening-even I slept at Aga. It called me Yassaf.
It was the period of the harvests and Aga had engaged about sixty Arabs to harvest corn in
his fields. We all were to spend the following day on the way to us.
As of the point of the day, one called me. The Arabs finished preparing. Aga was already
on his horse, armed and silk vêtu. As for us, we were to follow him on foot, and even
We thus followed the horse peendant eight hours, and we arrived finally at the village. It
was a deserted place which was called Til-Déheb.
Aga went down from his horse and entered an underground stone house. We sat down in the
court. We were very tired and we were also very thirsty. We went back on the way for the
well which was with fifteen minutes of walk. There was an Arab assembled on a horse around
which a cord was rolled up, to the other end, was hung in addition to in camel skin which
was used to go up water. The well was very deep. I was very interested by the operation.
We satisfied our thirst, then we returned over to the court.
Aga called me and explained me that my task consisted with all to supervise. And initially
two women charged to make the bread. There was even no furnace, only one small brazier. I
was to take care that these women steal neither paste nor bread, because they had hundred
"batma" paste to spread out and make cook each day, for the harvesters. A third
woman was charged to make the kitchen.
I was charmed to see myself entrusted to such an easy task, I apprehended the yoke of a
heavy work. I am misà to supervise these women attentively. When the breads were cooked,
as I died of hunger, I ate eight of them (of 60 drachmas each one) then I counted the
breads and carried them to Aga. Aga ordered to its peasants to bring curdled milk basins,
he made me distribute three breads to each harvester and all ate their breads with curdled
milk. As for us, the evening, the cook prepared for us pilaf of boulghour and lebniyé.
The harvesters went to lie down on the ground of an underground room. Me, I received the
order to go to lay down in a hangar where the flour was stored in great quantity. There
were also cases of butter and full with other food products. One needed a guard for all
From this evening, I slept there, with a carpet below and a carpet above. This night, I
could not resist temptation, I gently raised the lid of one of the cases, I took a little
butter, I spread out it over bread and I ate it. Such an amount of food around me! Even
honey! I did not return from there! The next morning, I rose early. Aga led the harvesters
in its fields. Then one cooked their bread for them and one brought it to them. At midday
too. The evening, one made them soup in an enormous cauldron and they ate that with their
two breads. The morning and at midday, one brought also curdled milk to them.
Me, I was nourished like Aga. The bread of the harvesters contained barley flour, but for
Aga one cooked a special bread of pure flour of corn. With each time Aga sat down at
table, he called me and I ate with him. We ate of all. Even at home, with the country, I
did not eat so well. Little by little, my large appetite decreased. At the beginning, I
was insatiable, but thereafter, I was satisfied with a piece of bread, as at the house.
Aga had many asses and mules, and I was to take them along to drink every day. In a way, I
thought of mom and my little sister who did not have anything to eat, of my brother who
was with the orphanage, of my father who was a soldier... One day that I had been to seek
a brush and that I swept the hangar, Aga saw me and thundered at me. He said to me:
"it is not your work there. You only must, at the moment when the paste is prepared,
to weigh the flour and to pay well attention to all, which nothing is stolen. And when the
breads are cooked, you must count them. At midday, you must count 180 breads for the
workmen and make them carry. The morning too." I was responsible for stock.
The house of Aga was in Hama. His family lived there. Very often, he received pastry
makings by the intermediary of the caravaneers. He always divided with me. Thus I learned
how to know various pastry makings of the Arabs which were unknown on our premises.
Aga spoke to me in Turkish, but I also started to understand and speak Arabic.
One day that I was missed mom too much, I kindly requested Aga to grant one day for me to
go to Hama. He promised to send me soon.
May 8, 1918, Aga made me rise early because the caravaneers were there and were on the
point of leaving for Hama. He asked them to take me along with them. One made me sit on a
camel and the caravan started. Aga gave me 5 piastres to buy something to eat.
The caravan walked on through fields during seven hours. We were not any more far from
Hama, when the camels started to run. I fell and could rise only at the end of
approximately ten minutes. I had pressed the wrist that I had hurt badly, the caravan was
already far, I set out again with foot while crying. One hour later, I arrived at Hama.
I went at once in our small room to see mom. But alas she was not there any more, there
were other refugees in our room. I asked where was mom, they said to me: "she left
fifteen days ago with Alep". I was extremely disappointed by hearing that. I was with
the pharmacy of Socrate Effendi and he said to me that indeed mom had left two weeks ago;
she had received money from Azizié and had rented a mule.
I showed him my swollen wrist, he put an ointment and bandaged it, but I had been so badly
hurt that I could not even raise the hand.
Lastly, I decided to return to the village. With my 5 piastres I bought a cucumber and
bread, then I put myself in search of travellers going towards Til-Deheb. The afternoon, I
met Arabs who went there and I got under way with them, on foot.
The evening, we stopped in a village, I did not have a mattress, I lay down by the ground.
We set out again Thursday morning early, and we arrived at midday at the village.
Aga asked of me: " where is your mother?" I said that I had not seen her, that
she had left for Alep. He told me:"Ne t'en do not make, you will be my son."
From this day, he began my religious instruction. He read me the Koran and told me about
the life of Mahomet. With each time that he made the prayer, he called me and I requested
He taught me all the prayers. I continued to carry out the drinking of the animals. One
morning, I had twenty asses, three mules and a horse to be watered. On my return, Aga
counted, and noticed an ass missing. He began to thunder at me and to strike me with his
cane. I sought this ass for two hours. Finally I found it in a cellar and arranged myself.
Aga was coléreux but it was good.
He was also a very educated man. He had gone to Paris, he knew French. He says to me:
"when the harvests are finished, I will take you along to Hama and will buy an "elbise
for you," a clothing of silk.
Thursday May 11, 1918, in the evening, the harvesters had returned, they had dined and
were lying down. Me also I went to lie down in the hangar. Aga slept in a room at the
side. This evening, he had made the Sheik come and I heard them discuss with a low voice.
I tightened the ear and I heard the Aga who said: "Goes in the room of Yassaf, one
needs the circumcision this night". As soon as I heard this word "sünnet"
I started to cry all while asking me how to escape from this catastrophe. I decided to flee.
I suddenly remembered the deserters who slept on the surfaces to beat corn. This evening,
a Kurd had arrived. I decided to go to join him. I opened my door gently , then that of
the court and I put myself at his research. Finally I saw him in one of the surfaces, I
approached, he awoke. I asked him from where he came. He said: "I ran away myself
from Jerusalem". — Of which place are you? — "I am of Kiliss." —
Where do you go? - "A Alep". (Note: "Alep" is almost certainly
I said to him that my mother was in Alep and that I wished to go there with him. I also
said that I was Armenian, but I did not say why I was in such a hurry to leave. He said to
me that perhaps we were going to suffer from the hunger on the way because the Arabs
always did not give us food to eat. I said: "me I sing, I sing well, I will sing and
I will gain our bread. Let us go, leave quickly from here, because if Aga awakes, he will
make me seek." Then, he rose and we went back on the way to the moonlight. We walked
a little more than one half an hour and we arrived at the village. We lay down in a field.
Friday May 12: My companion said to me to go to beg, each one on his side, I said
"agreement", but in the first court where I entered, an enormous dog
precipitated on me, I was afraid, I shouted, a woman left and calmed the dog, then she
gave me a piece of bread and made me leave. Then, I did not want any more to go to beg. I
located a heap of refuse and I collected cucumber peelings for my companion. I was to give
him, he thanked me. And I said to him: "let us leave quickly from here". Then, I
recommended to him, if we would meet Bedouins, especially not to say that I was Armenian.
"You will say to them that I am Turkish, that I was a musician with Cham and that I
ran away myself not to go to the war".
Indeed, in all the villages which we crossed, people asked me whether I were Armenian, and
my companion said: "no, no, he is Turkish; he is a runaway ", and the villagers
gave us bread. We thus walked all the day, and the evening we stopped in a field. There, I
saw a young woman who appeared to be a compatriot. I asked her low if she were Armenian,
she answered "yes" in Arabic. She taught me that many Arabs had collected
Armenian girls in this area.  I asked her to go
and seek bread for us, she brought some back for us, we ate it and we laid down.
Saturday May 13 1918. we recovered on the way and we walked until midday. All the morning,
we met deserters Turkish and Kurdish. Four of them joined us. We also met many Bedouins.
Two of them made us pass a bad time, they suspected us of being Armenian, my companions
swore that we all were Turkish, but the Bedouins had doubts, they made us strip under the
threat of their daggers, and they saw well that my companions were circumcized, but not
me. They then threatened me with circumcision, but I shouted that I was going to Alep for
this end, that I had prepared and that I had already learned all the prayers. Finally the
Bedouins slackened me and we could carry on our way, all six of us.
Later, we gathered barley, we crushed the grains with stones and we filled our pockets of
them. The evening, we lit a fire of spines and we made roast the barley on a tinplate
plate which we found. We slept at the exit of the village.
May 14, 1918, we fell on brigands who took our clothes from us, however in sad state. Two
of my companions were found very naked.
All along the road, we begged. Peasants gave us bread which we divided. Then, three among
us forked towards another village. I remained only with a guy of Marache. The other, who
was named Mustapha and originating from Aïntab, had remained behind.
The afternoon, we were still victims of two Bedouins. I wanted to save myself, but my
buddy said to me: "remain, do not run, we are not afraid!" These wanted tobacco,
they struck us, but when we indicated that we had nothing, they left us. Then, we met an
Arab shepherd who excavated us and, not finding anything, cut our buttons.
The evening, we stopped in a village and we awaited Mustapha, but he did not come; we
wondered whether he had not been killed. The following day, we walked all the morning; we
stopped in a village and we begged. Then, we found our three other companions.
It started to rain. The red ground became slipping. The evening, we put ourselves at the
shelter with the entry of a village. A band of kids started to throw stones at us. My
comrades asked me to go to see the chief of the village, because I was the only one
speaking Arabic. The kids continued. I ran towards the Arab women and asked to see the
chief of the village. I found him, he accompanied me back, he thundered at the young imps
and had them return to their premises. We left towards another village.
During the following day, it was hot. We walked all the day, climbed hills, tortured by
thirst. Lastly, we saw a group of nomads around a well. We approached timidly, but they
were not malicious. They only asked us whether we had tobacco. They did not even excavate
us. They enabled us to drink. Then we went back on the way through the desert. We stopped
in a village whose low houses were aligned like hives. An old man poured me a spoonful of
rice cooks in the hands. People drove out us. A country-woman invited us in her hut and
designated us a pot full of corn and barley semolina. We ate like gluttons, then we set
out again. I was in a hurry to see my mother. Our three companions again left us.
Lastly, after so many hours of walking, I distinguished, hidden far in the clouds, the
town of Alep. I jumped of joy. I asked villagers how long was it necessary to arrive at
Alep. They said that we would be there at midday.
We walked without stop. We climbed seven hills. We arrived in the fields of Alep. We
precipitated in the first orchard which we saw. The gardener saw us. We passed in the
garden of to side and we regaled ourselves well.
Then my companion left me. He could not enter the city because he was a deserter. I carried on only my way to the city.
The afternoon, I reached the first houses. My joy was immense. I would not have believed
that I would arrive there alive. I traversed the paved streets, I did not know by where to
pass. I wanted initially to find my mother. I passed in front of a market. I heard two men
speak Armenian. I asked them where was the Armenian church. They showed the way to me. I
had intended to say that the Bourmayan abbot, of Adabazar, officiated in Alep. I ended up
finding it. I asked him whether he knew where was mom. He said to me that she worked with
the spinning mill, he led me there.
As soon as I saw mom, a wave of happiness submerged me. She also cried of joy. I told her
of my voyage which had despaired me so much. I asked where were my brother and my little
sister, she said that they were with the orphanage.
She also told me of her arrival in Alep, and all the sufferings which she had endured. It
was thanks to the daughter-in-law of my grandfather, aunt Dikranouhie, that mom had been
able to enter this workshop. It had been married any young person with a sergeant in
function with the spinning mill, and it is him which had made engage mom, in the team of
combing of wool. There were many other workshops assigned to the various operations of the
Mom borrowed a bread from one of her neighbors and gave it to me. We chattered until the
hour of the exit. Then she took me along to the dormitory of the spinning mill where aunt
Dikranouhie was. There were also other women and girls of Adabazar. Mom presented to me.
Then the idea to her had just made me register like operation. She spoke about it to aunt
Dikranouhie who led me near the Armenian persons in charge for the workshop, and I was
It was the evening. Each one received a bread, then we lay down, me beside mom, on an old
mattress that one had given her. Mom was in a sad situation, she did not have money, she
received for her work two breads per day. Everyone was covered with lice, me, too.
Impossible to get rid of some.
Thursday May 18, 1918, I started to work with the workshop. I was to transport wool
bundles of a place to another. It was heavy and painful, but I was going to receive
two breads per day. the evening, I asked to mom if one could not go to see my
brother and my small sister with the orphanage, because I missed them much. We
walked much and we arrived at the orphanage. We found Onnig and Siralouys. What a
happiness to re-examine us! But it started to grow dark and it was necessary to set
Of portefaix at all I did not like this work, I decided to find me a better place. I
wanted also to change clothes, mine were in haillons. But I did not find work, then
I thought that if I could enter to the orphanage, me clean clothes would be given
and mom would not have any more concern for me. There was nothing great to eat at
the orphanage, but that was equal for me.
I worked one month with the workshop. Then mom met a priest of Hama which she knew,
she asked him to make me enter the orphanage. He led me in the director, and they
discussed my case. The director also was an abbot and the children called him
"my Father". He was originating in Marache.
I was accepted. I removed my tinsels and one gave me a clean tunic. I was content.
But disappointed that Onnig and Siralouys were not in the same building as mine.
I was quiet for three days. However, I was hungry. The idea to me had just required
to work with the furnace. I was to see the Father, and I said to him that I had
already worked in Hama in a bakery. The Father agreed and I was to work with the
The first days, one made me lower the paste. Then I was charged to weigh it. One
worked a part of the night. I spent my time weighing the paste. I was accustomed
there. I ate with my hunger, but I did not sleep enough. At the end of fifteen days,
I was exhausted.
June 5, 1918, I saved myself at the orphanage. Downtown, I met compatriots who told
me of the death of my uncle. He had died of hunger and misery. After having sold all
their possessions, my uncle, my aunt and my cousin Astrig, completely stripped, had
no other choice but to beg. My uncle begged in the mosques, then of tent in tent! He
was first to die, then my aunt, and finally poor Astrig, who had lost her hair...
This news deeply upset me.
I had received the morning even a letter of mom informing me that she had left the
spinning mill. A compatriot of Djaboul, having lost his wife, had asked a caravaneer
to seek a maidservant with Alep to him. This one had been addressed to the personnel
of the workshop and mom, who sought such an employment, had been committed. She had
written to me of Djaboul to the orphanage. I was surprised to receive his letter and
to learn that she had left. She wrote to me that she ate meat! I was relieved to
know she was delivered of hunger.
As for me, this day, I strolled in the markets, regretting my abrupt decision
already. With the bazaar called "Stambol Tcharsisi" I saw a boy whose
figure was not unknown for me. Suddenly, I remembered: he formed part of our brass
band with Adabazar, he was in my school, he was called Garabed Mouradian. I did not
return from there to have met him, I was content! He had become water carrier.
I asked him for whom he worked. He said that his owner was an Arab rich person. I
explained my situation to him and asked whether he could not make me get hired with
this Arab. He led me to his boss who was alone in his pied-à-terre. He said that I
was a relative and that I sought work. Before even as I opened my mouth, the owner
said to me that he had, to two hours and half of Alep, a village surrounded of
kitchen gardens, and proposed to me to accomplish the transport of vegetables.
This owner was a Sheik named Abdul Kader Tchélébi. His village, named Ménian,
counted hardly a score of houses. I accepted this offer with a very great joy.
The next morning, the owner sent to me to the village with the asses. I was
accompanied by an Arab woman. We arrived about midday. The farm labourers brought
marrows, water melons, melons, cucumbers and other vegetables and fruits, and
charged them on the animals.
We returned to Alep, with this woman. At the end of a few days, I was the only one
left. The weather sometimes happened to me to be twice during the voyage in the
course of the day. To the outward journey, I went up on an ass, but with the return,
with the loading, I made the way on foot.
Sometimes I slept at the village, because harvest was not finished. The evening, I
slept in the fields, it was that which annoyed me more, not to have a fixed place to
sleep. But on the other hand, I nourished myself well.
My friend Garabed worked at Aga with Alep. Among his tasks, he was charged to
prepare and serve the coffee for the many visitors or customers. He also filled
narguilés. We were glad to have this place.
I did not forget Onnig and Siralouys. While returning from the village towards Alep,
I stopped my animals in front of their orphanage and I gave food for my brother and
my little sister to eat. If I were accompanied, I kept bread and cucumbers in my
pockets and I would give it to them later. The orphanage was not very far from Aga,
One day, I learned that mom did not support the idea to be separated from Siralouys,
who was now three years old. She had been informed that the small one cried without
stop and required her mom. She had thus left her employment in Djaboul and had
returned to Alep. She had found my brother in tears also, although he was already
ten years old.
She came to see me at Aga and asked me whether there were not average to work there
too. I went immediately to see my boss, and he accepted to hire her. We were happy
to be again together. My boss decided to send my mother to work at the village. She
is assembled on a mule, and I accompanied her. Her principal task consisted of
carting water. She either did not take place where to sleep. She slept in the
fields. We arranged ourselves to eat together and as soon as I had one moment free,
I went near her.
I always carried something to eat for my brother and my little sister. We remained
in this village until the end of August. Mom was not accustomed to do such work. One
day, she could stir up neither arm any more nor legs. She remained lying for several
days, and when she could be raised, she decided to leave this place.
At the beginning of September, she succeeded, not without sorrow, to be hired at the
orphanage. She was with Onnig and Siralouys and laid down the night near them. Me
also, I wanted to leave.
We did not have any news of my father. Mom had intended to say that it worked like
portefaix, but we did not know where he was.
At the beginning of October, we learned that the English had entered in Cham, then
in Hama. The Turks started away from Alep. They moved towards Adana. All the civil
servants left the city. The administrative buildings were emptied. There remained
nothing any more but the prisoners and the soldiers. The Germans also ran away
The majority of the Turkish soldiers were hidden in the hills surrounding Alep, with
guns and weapons. All along the way towards the village of Ménion aligned tents of
soldiers Turkish, with the guns in front. I continued however my ways at the
The English, with airplanes, often came to bombard the fields. I was afraid; that
mitraillait de toutes parts. My animals were terrified, at each explosion, they
started to run.
The junior son of Aga, Lebib effendi, had a house at the top of a hill. The Turkish
soldiers made him evacuate and transformed it into a barracks.
One day, the English planes bombarded the station of Cham.
However, circulation was already stopped, all the engines had been dispatched in
Adana, it did not have there even more coaches. I learned that two hundred Turkish
soldiers had been killed.
October 11, 1918, whereas I returned from the village with my vegetable loading, I
heard terrible explosions. Flames and clouds of smoke rose above Alep. I wondered
with fear if all the city burned. I heard an uninterrupted crackling of detonations
I have a little advanced and I asked Arabs what occurred. They said to me that the
Turks not having wanted to leave the English a barracks full of weapons had put fire
at the arsenal, but that they, the Arabs, were going to extinguish it.
I accompanied them to the arsenal. Many other Arabs came to extinguish the fire.
Then they began to take the weapons. Me also I took a rifle, but the Arabs tore it
off my hands. Everyone started to transport cases of cartridges. The women filled
their aprons of them. Me also I brought back a good package of it to my boss. This
evening, I slept in his house.
I learned that the Sherif of the Arabs had been allied with the
English for already a year, and that during the entry of the English into Alep, the
Sherif would also come with his soldiers. I understood why the Arabs had such a
happy air. They were the enemy of the Turks.
Two days later, Friday morning, the Arabs were even more content because the noise
ran that the English were only four or five hours away from Alep. The planes came to
bombard the city. However, I had nevertheless to go to the village. With the return,
I met an Armenian soldier who said to me: "when the English arrive, one should
not remain here, we should be saved".
The Turkish soldiers asked me: "are you Armenian?" I answered: " No,
no, I am Turkish ". There was no question of saying: I am Armenian, or I am
Arab, it would have invited misfortune.
Arriving downtown, I heard shots on all sides. They was the Arabs who expressed
their joy while firing in the air. They spoke of massacring all the Turks of Alep.
But all the Arabs were not merry. My boss was sad because his business would be
This evening, I slept in the fields. My compatriot had remained with me. But we
could not sleep. Bands of savages sowed terror everywhere. They were with horse and
held up their sabres by singing Arab songs. Shootings were heard.
The following day, the soldiers of the Sherif arrived. The noise ran that they cut
the heads off all the Turks, of all those who carried one fez or a Turkish clothing.
All the shops were closed. I was to make a turn at the market. All was deserted. I
was with the town hall, I saw that the prisoners were released. On the place, lay a
score of corpses of decapitated Turkish soldiers. In the streets also, I saw much of
it. I hurried to return to my boss.
We learned that the troops of the Sherif had occupied the barracks and the
hospitals, that the police officers and gendarmes had all disappeared and that there
was not one German nor Turk left in Alep. My boss still sent me to Ménian to seek
fruit and vegetables. On the way, I saw that the tents of the Turkish soldiers were
abandoned. I descended from my ass and I was to throw a glance. I found a book, a
bag, a chart of geography and a machine which I did not know. When I arrived at the
village, I showed it to the Arabs, they said to me that it was a shell and
confiscated it from me. After having charged my animals, they returned me to Alep.
Arriving downtown, I learned that the English were not yet there, but that they were
not going to delay. The detonations of joy of the Arabs continued all the night.
Sunday October 15, early the morning, an important troop of
riders hidous entered in Alep. And finally, at eight o’clock, the English arrived,
with their horses and their cars, the city was filled by them. I was so content that
I was with the church to attend the mass. All the faces were smiling and seemed to
say: "here are disencumbered us of the Turkish yoke!"
Then, I was to see mom, my brother and my sister. Then I turned over to my boss who
said that from now on I would sleep in Alep every evening.
The Arabs made their preparations to accommodate the Sherif who was still in Cham
and which had announced its arrival. A brass band, made up of all kinds of musicians
was formed. Dancers, to the chamarrés gold uniforms, joined them. Camel drivers
came with their animals, superbly decorated. Crowd flowed on all the sides. But the
Sherif did not come this day and people were turned over on their premises. These
festivities lasted a whole week. My boss also took part.
Lastly, October 19, the son of the Sherif, the emir Fayçal, appeared. And the
following day, the Sherif himself. The Arab women, rose on the roofs
shouting,"li... Li... Li...!" One heard these acclamations from one end to
another of the city.
From now on, the policemen did not carry any more fezes. They were Arab, or English.
I circulated more freely. I learned by Armenians that the Aharonian abbot was going
to provide education for the orphans. I was at once to see the Father, I said to him
how much I wished to resume my stopped studies, I begged him to allow me to
reinstate the orphanage. The Father finally accepted and I was to give my
resignation to my owner. I did not regret it because he had not been very generous
towards me, he who had so many fields and was so rich, never offered clothing to me
nor even a pair of shoes. I was in wrecks. I thus left it after three months of
service. My friend Garabed preferred to remain.
As I could not enter the orphanage before Sunday evening, I did not know where to
go. I was to see one of my friends who was sweeping, he got work for me for two
October 22 at the evening, I returned to the orphanage. Mom was very content. She
also had found another place. She knew an Armenian who lived alone with his son. He
had asked her to hold their household. She had accepted for two weeks, then she was
committed with the orphanage.
As I was covered with lice and did not have clothes, I could not go to the school as
of my arrival. While waiting for clothing to get to me, one made me do various work:
to break wood, to transport it, etc... The schoolboys received two breads per day,
us them hard-working planes right to a bread moreover.
One week later, the Father acquired of other buildings and we moved to a place
called "Sabon khan". My mother and my sister remained in the old room, and
my brother was transferred elsewhere.
At the beginning of November, all the boarders received a uniform, and even shoes,
socks and a cap. Lastly, we started to go to class.
The school was far, in Djidédiyé, but for me that did not have importance, my joy
was immense. In this school also came from the children of other cities. There were
also Armenians Arabic-speaking people of Alep.
One gave us books and books. We followed the courses regularly. English was taught
in an intensive way; we had every day a course of English.
My friend Garabed also entered the orphanage and was also sent to the school. We
were in fifth. There was no class above ours.
A school was also open to Sabon khan. My brother went there.
December 1, an English General came in Alep. The day before, the
catholicos of Sis had arrived in Iskenderun by car. Also the forty mountain dwellers
of Zeitoun arrived, the Armenian heroes, with horse and armed with foot in course,
with the great astonishment of the Arabs. These Armenians had, it appears, massacred
many Turks. They had remained during four years in the mountains. 
The above material is fairly complete, as 1918
"officially" marked the end of the "genocide." (Although some might say it was 1916 when "the genocide had all but run its course.")
The years 1919-1922 are presented very selectively. For the complete version, please
refer to the original site, the link for which has been presented above.
January 13, I learned that the French were in Adana, as well as many soldiers from the
Caucasus. Troops of volunteers were recruited to join them. All the Armenian youth of Alep
was going in groups to the church to register.
In the markets, the Armenian flags made their appearance. Three
regiments of Armenian volunteers had already left for Adana. It was said that in the
course of their route they had killed many Turks. 
The Father made us sew on our collars the small Armenian Tricolours, red-blue-orange.
Every morning, we went to the school by singing Armenian marches.
Friday February 28, Fifteen minutes approximately after the beginning of the school
course, shots burst on all sides. We were studying verses of the Bible with professor
Sinan who ran immediately outside. We also precipitated in the court. Neighbors said to us
that the Arabs were excited against the Armenians and that they started to massacre them.
The pupils who were not orphans returned on their premises, the professors too. Only one
Master remained with us.
The director closed the grids with double turn and made us go up on the second floor. One
heard mitrailler, one was afraid. Some started to cry. We remained sitting for three
hours, full with anguish.
The afternoon, we learned that the English had intervened. Two soldiers with horse
presented themselves at the college to ensure our protection. They accompanied us to the
orphanage. There was blood on the road and sometimes of the corpses.
When we arrived, we noted with surprise that our orphanage had been entirely plundered, it
remained more neither beds, nor covers. An old man had been burned, then transpierced with
blows of sword, it seemed. A woman had been decapitated. Her bloody body was in the hall.
It was horrible.
In the evening, the English placed guards everywhere where there were Armenians. We
learned that many houses had been plundered and ransacked.
The following days, two hundred people responsible for the massacres were stopped by the
English and were sent to Egypt. Ten Arab gendarmes were shot.
war: Armenians collected in Aleppo
The sister of my paternal grandmother, Iskouhie and her son Zaven
Djezirian came in Alep. But the majority of the Armenians did not want to remain there any
more, they were afraid to go to the market. The Armenian tradesmen had closed their shops.
Everyone wanted to leave, but there was only one train per week for Adana. It became very
difficult to get tickets.
My mother resigned herself to remain. But me I decided to go from there. That made four
years that I had left my town of Adabazar. I arranged myself with a buddy to go back
The Turkish soldiers had remained in the coaches. The next morning, March 29, we went up
on the roof of the train and we still travelled all the day, passing by many tunnels. In
Konya, the train stopped in the night; we waited the morning, in the cold, then we went
downtown. (On March 31) Lastly, we arrived at Adabazar! I moved immediately towards the
house of my maternal grandparents. My grandfather did not recognize me, but my grandmother
and my aunt shouted cries of joy. After having lengthily chattered, they gave me linen and
clothing, and I was to wash itself. The house was not damaged. My grandparents had
reinstalled themselves there since Christmas. They said to me that in ours had settled a
very harmful civil servant from Uskudar. He had demolished the kitchen and had burned the
woodworks. The trees of our garden had been ransacked. Now he had left. I thus went to see
our house. The city seemed deserted. Many houses
were destroyed, and others appeared uninhabited. I entirely visited ours and a great
sadness invades me. I remembered passed and the gaiety which reigned there. I thought of
my father of which we did not have any more news since so a long time; with my mother,
with my brother, my sister until I waited impatiently. We had left to ten, and we were
nothing any more but four.
April 10, from the refugees, from return to Adabazar, told us that my father was deceased
at the hospital of Zahlé. Since a little more than one year that he had been (put back in
service), we were without any news of him; we never knew what had become of him, nor
circumstances of his death. I cried every evening.
April 15, my mother, my brother, my sister and aunt Iskouhie arrived at Adabazar. My
grandparents and my aunt cried of joy. But we were sad with the thought of the absence of
We remained two weeks in the home of my aunt, then, little by little, my mother started to
organize herself. We returned to our house. We recovered one of the four parcels which we
had stored in the factory.
May 5, Onnig started to return to school. As there was no class corresponding to my level,
mom agreed to send me to Constantinople with the re-entry. To continue my studies had
become my obsession. Uncle Zaven having projected to go to Constantinople on June 1, it
was decided that I would go with him.
November 8, I am turned over to see my brother. He had still not been operated. The school
closed during several days due to epidemic of typhus.
December 21, I was to re-examine my brother, and I was happy to learn that he was cured. I
continued to go to see him every Sunday.
May 28 was the birthday of the Armenian Republic. The school remained closed during
July 2, in the village hall of the Armenian church of Galata, we have assity with a
talk of Mr Khadissian, professor in Arménie, arrived in Constantinople since June
26. He gave us news of our fatherland. The representatives of the catholic,
Protestant and Gregorian churches were present, as well as the Armenian Patriarch
and deputies. Professor Khadissian informed us that he had received several
telegrams of Mr Aharonian and that he was to go to Paris as of the following day for
very important negotiations in the political field.
August 11, I read that on August 6 the Nationalists had massacred Christians of
Sardoghan, located at one Adabazar time, and that they had sown terror in our city
even. Sad news.
November 11, all the schools closed as a sign of mourning bus of the massacres had
taken place with Hadjou and the Turks had taken Kars.
We left Heybéli on July 19. Hardly returned, I was to see my mother. She had received a
letter of my aunt, of which we had been without news for several weeks. My aunt and her
close relations were in the island of Lemnos, because the Greek soldiers had withdrawn
themselves from Adabazar and Izmit, and the population had been deported for the second
July 26, my mother entrusted a kilim to me to be sold. Arrived at the market, I was
stopped by the gendarmes who took to me for a robber. I was led to the gendarmerie of
Eminoynu and jeté in prison. The evening, I was transferred to the prison from Bechigtach.
The following day finally, one took me along to the principal gendarmerie where I was
questioned and been able to explain that mom had been to seek our businesses with Adabazar.
I finished by being released.
September 27, my mother remarried, with a native Armenian of Van.
April 23, I was with the theatre to see "Faust" of Goethe. The next
day, the school closed to commemorate the Armenian birthday of martyrdom.
Friday June 30, I was in Makrikoy with the Bézazian college to see one of my
cousins. The afternoon, I am turned over to see mom whose state worried me. She did
not manage even any more to do the work of the household. Was she going to become
Sunday July 2, I was to work in Floria all day. July 4, with my mother and my
sister, we went to the Russian Red Cross of Nechantach. After the medical
examinations, the results saddened us: the disease of mom was very difficult to cure
and required a treatment by electrotherapy. I was upset. Already during the
consultation, I was frightened to see her insensitive legs, and she was unable to
raise them. Her right hand also was insensitive.
October 19, all the city was decked with flags to receive Refat Pasha arriving in
Anadolu. A crowd in jubilation with Turkish brass band and flags went to accommodate
him in Kabatach and to bring back with cries of joy and applause. We looked amazed
at a dying nation being rectified.
November 27, on the return of my mother to the Yessayan orphanage, I was surprised
to learn that we would leave the next morning for a Greek island.
In the evening, we went by boat to the port, from where one made us go up on the
Italian steamer "Cornaro Fuime". The next morning, at 11:30 a.m., the boat
weighed the anchor and Constantinople disappeared little by little from my sight. I
had much sorrow. I left my mother and my sister, and my college in which I had put
all my hopes and my dreams with a future.
1. First sign of cooperation between the emigrees and the
authorities. We will learn during the family's ordeal, they had freedom to
communicate with relatives living elsewhere. These people knew their fate was not
2. Peter Balakian horribly gave the idea on a
PBS genocide show
that the Ottomans were worse than Nazis for sending the Armenians away on cattle
cars, with the difference that the Armenians needed to pay for their "death
trip." Yet, the Sick Man had only a one-track railroad, already overburdened by
war necessities. We can see how lucky the Sarians were to get space on a sheep
3. Some, like Taner Akcam, tell us the exemption for Protestant
and Catholic Armenians was a myth (whenever Akcam is faced with a fact he does not
like, he loves to pooh-pooh them with terms such as "myth" or
"legend"), and while it's true sometimes this law was ignored, we can see
it took hold. Moreover, note how lax the conditions were, for Gregorian Armenians to
be able to join the Protestants, in going back home.
4. An example where the Turks did not play
5. The uncle broke the rules, so the punishment was warranted. Note,
however, that the father had also broken the rules, but he did not get beaten.
6. Note the Armenians are being allowed to
travel on their own steam. If anyone wished to "escape," there would have
been plenty of opportunity to do so.
7. It is interesting that the process was not
one where the emigrees were expected to travel non-stop to their destinations. There
was a lot of this stopping, camping for a period of time, and then starting off
again. This was perhaps because the Turks were very disorganized, and did not figure
out where everyone was destined toward.
8.The past few paragraphs confirm that the
emigrees had the freedom, relatively speaking, to travel to town on their own steam,
and even to stay at hotels, if they could afford to do so. Peter Balakian did not
like it when Guenter Lewy called this resettlement a "relatively humane" process,
and once again we can see the egg dripping off Peter Balakian's face.
9. Here is confirmation that when there was
ill treatment of the Armenians, it had to do with the whim of the local officials.
This is why Talat Pasha's first order to halt the relocation process in August 1915
was often ignored, as locals had other ideas. (Talat had to keep reissuing similar
orders until 1916.) This points to central command being weak, which in turn points to
the possibility of a "Final Solution" being highly unlikely.
10. Never thought the day would arrive when
Armenian propaganda would be proven correct, but there it is. In black and
white. Yes, Armenian men were separated from the women and children! (Joking
aside, you're familiar with this story. Yes, the Armenian men were all exterminated
after this separation, leaving behind only the women, children and the elderly. If
this was the real idea, Sarian's father and uncle would have been long gone.)
11. Exemptions were granted to Armenians
and their families, based on religion, whether they were sick, whether they had
certain skills, and whether they were soldiers. Here is an example of a worker.
12. Ottoman soldiers were also subjected to
famine; thousands died.
13. Couldn't make this out due to the poor
translation, but if the uncle was an "escaped prisoner," he didn't seem to
be acting as such. But the real point here is the ones who made the uncle's family
suffer appear to have had nothing to do with the government, or with Vahakn
Dadrian's invented "Ottoman Gestapo," the Special Organization. Conditions
were so harsh, people were doing ill upon one another... not too far from those
post-nuclear holocaust movies we've seen.
14. If this were a "genocide"...
if the idea was to kill off the Armenians... he could not have possibly received
15. Once again, if the idea was to hasten
the deaths of the Armenians, the last thing the authorities would have allowed would
have been admittance into a hospital. Aram Andonian himself, the forger of the Naim
Bey-Talat Pasha telegrams, was admitted to a hospital, when he had broken his leg.
Vahakn Dadrian tried to make it sound
as though the Turks had turned Andonian into a cripple, yet the Turks were the ones
who put Andonian's leg in a cast.
16. Obviously, not all Armenians soldiers
were disarmed. Peter Balakian told us in the PBS genocide show that all Armenian
soldiers were wiped out
by early 1915.
17. In contrast to Footnote 4, this time
the Turks played fair.
18. You might remember being a tailor
served as an exemption. So all an Armenian had to do was say, "I'm a
tailor." How about that.
19. Our first indication here that the
other major killer of the Armenians, disease, has reared its head. Famine and
disease, of course, did not discriminate; all in the empire were subjected to these
conditions. Note that despite the lack of resources, the Armenians were being cared
for, once again disproving "genocide."
20. He actually tipped the soldiers! This
father was a wonderful man.
21. Make a note of that, ladies and
gentlemen. The soldiers were actually taking care of this family, at least in this
modest way. That would be a crazy way to run a "genocide," wouldn't it?
22. Make a note of that as well: no barbed
wire, no machine guns, no German shepherds. Looks like the residents could pretty
much come and go as they pleased.
23. It was exactly because of such
miserable conditions that Armenians fell prey to lawless bandits. They were sitting
ducks. Can you imagine this terrible situation, where it's dark and the number of
gendarmes must have been inadequate? It was in such ways crimes were committed, and
this is where unethical genocide advocates simply tell us, without proof, that the
government was behind the "extermination" of the Armenians.
24. This part was confusing. One moment
they are part of the migration process, and the next they suddenly settle with the
Arabs on their own. Was control of the Armenians really that lax? Sometimes, it
appears Armenians had the freedom to go and stay where they wanted. (Reader S. Aya
later indicated that this would be much in line with Turkish ways: "You
should not be surprised, this is a typical example of 'loose leaf notebook' or the
tomb of Nasreddin Hodja in Aksehir, where there is a large lock on the gate of the
yard, but no fence around... How right Hodja proved himself to be...")
25. To continue with the above train of
thought, if a relative could track down where the Sarian family was, to the extent
of sending a telegram, then the authorities must also have known where they were, as
well. Actually, they will soon be instructed by the authorities to go on the move.
So the Sarians settled with the knowledge of the authorities, and could come and go
as they pleased, for the duration of the stay.
26. This part seems a bit suspicious. How
did Hrant get the news of the slaughters at Zor? Did it come from the refugees who
managed to escape Zor? Or was this part "politically added"? (This is why
the originals of the diary must be consulted, in order for this work to be
authenticated.) But if we accept the notion that this is exactly what Hrant had
written, then why aren't the people going out of their minds with worry? We are not
told who was behind the massacres at Zor, but the Armenians must not have believed
the government was behind such, as the next set of victims could have easily been
them. There is no sign of any such fear. (Massacres at Der-el-Zor are
said to have been perpetrated by Kurds, Circassians, Chechens and Arabs. The
"bad man" of Zor was Zeki Bey, who had replaced "good man," Ali
Suat Bey. There is no evidence linking the massacres — Consul Rössler estimated
over 30,000 — to the orders of Zeki Bey; the Armenians in our current tale
evidently did not believe so, either. It is never mentioned that Armenians were
never exclusive prey; Muslims were killed by these lawless bandits, as well.)
27. What a striking parallel with the
Japanese-Americans interned during World War II. The Ottoman military must have been
in dire straits by this time, in order to have made use of this resource. How
interesting that the brass felt they could trust the Armenians again. If they had
perpetrated a "genocide" against them, there is surely no way the
Armenians could have been trusted. Once again, we must concede there was no
28. Such generosity must be unheard of, in
the annals of military history. Whomever heard of a whole, big fat, six months
leave, smack in the middle of wartime? We know from WWII films American soldiers
were lucky if they could swing a weekend pass. (Reader S. Aya later commented: "In
other sources I read that when they declared mobilization and conscripts poured in,
they had no shelter, no arms no food for the newcomers, so they sent them home on
leave, where they could feed themselves. The reason was simply because they could
not feed their own soldiers.")
29. That was pretty kind of this fellow,
wouldn't you say? All right, he set the condition to "Islamicize" Hrant,
but one must make allowances in his chauvinistic "fatherly" mind. The
point is, he took this action not of selfish motive, but because of his affection
for Hrant, and his own kindliness. This is what gets lost in the propaganda tales of
Turks (and this fellow was an Arab) who forcibly converted Armenians to Islam. The
notion is that an evil plan was afoot to get the Armenians to lose their Christian
identity, but I believe the way it worked was usually in the form of this example. The
intentions were good. The conversion decision emanated mainly from the
"macho" ways parents (especially fathers) from this part of the world
would think, the old "you are my kid now, and you will do what I say" bit.
30. Naturally, it would be terrible to have
this forced on anyone, but there are men who feel being rid of the excess baggage is
anything but a catastrophe! (And it has more to do with "sinful" reasons
rather than religious ones.)
31. In Armenian propaganda, the Turks get
the blame for stocking Armenian girls in their "harems." If Turks were to
take an Armenian orphan girl into their homes for reasons of humanity, it will
always need to be interpreted as a way to use the girl as a sexual slave.
32. You may recall from Armenian propaganda
how often Armenian women and girls would get stripped naked in the convoys. This
certainly happened; clothing was regarded as a commodity in this part of the world.
But note that these lawless brigands did not discriminate. Here, the victims
included Turkish men. Once again, the idea of "exclusive victimhood" in
Armenian propaganda, but the suffering went all around.
33. This must have been the Kurdish friend
whom Hrant had awakened, in order to save himself from being circumsized. Hrant had
asked the Kurd where he was bound for, and the Kurd answered Aleppo. So they endured
all of these dangers and finally got there, and right by the gates of the city the
Kurd suddenly realized he can't enter, because he was a deserter. This was not a
very bright Kurd.
34. The Zeitun Armenians, whom Christopher
Walker looks upon with the greatest admiration, were at the massacring game for many
years. For example, Sir Mark Sykes related an encounter with a Zeitunlu Armenian in
the early 1900s, now employed as an Ottoman gendarme. He tells of the many Turks he has
killed. During the desperation of the World War I years, these traitors must have
really cleaned up with the taking of many innocent lives, as few able-bodied men
were around to defend the Turkish villagers.
35. It's the second time we hear of Turks
being massacred by Armenians, whereas we heard only once of the massacres of
Armenians, at Zor... without being told who the perpetrators were.
36. While this homecoming may not have
presented the greatest joy, we at least get the idea that returning Armenians did
reclaim their old homes, and some their stored properties. The occupying victors
were on their side, even if the Turks tried to pull a fast one. Armenian propaganda
makes sure to tell us the contrary.
37. I felt like crying, too. Poor man. Note
that Hrant got word that Mr. Sarian, as an Ottoman-Armenian soldier, died at a
hospital. Puts a small damper on how the hateful Tessa Savvidis Hofmann prefers to instruct us on the
matter: "(Armenian soldiers) surviving were finished off with bayonets, once
they had completed their task."
38. It's the first time in Hrant's diaries
that we learn of Armenians being massacred by Turks. But think about this: Hrant was
getting his news from Armenian or pro-Armenian sources. It was a given that they
were going to report Armenian losses as "massacres." Luckily, we know from pro-Armenian Americans
stationed at Kars that the Turks did not massacre Armenians. The rag-tag forces of
Ataturk were not going to spend their limited resources on mass murder, even if they
wanted to. These forces conducted themselves very professionally. Hrant may be
excused for accepting these stories at face value, but what excuse do people have
today, in still buying into these lies?
39. Armenian propaganda would have it that
practically every time an Armenian got into trouble with the law, the Armenian's
life would be forfeit.
|Another Armenian "Anne Frank"?
ADDENDUM, May 2007:
Vahram Dadrian, born in 1900 (one year older than Hrant), also kept a diary, beginning May
24, 1915. His family, like Hrant's, also wound up (eventually) in Aleppo, as the Gomidas
selling the book informs us. Gomidas' Ara Sarafian, which another article ("Ara Sarafian Discusses Genocide Memoir To the
Desert," Hakop Tataryan, for the Armenian Studies Program of the California State
University, Fresno) tells us was on a tour to promote this book (where it sounds
very much like the Gomidas Institute was behind the book), informs us that (after the
Aleppo stay) "Dadrian’s father was able to bribe some Turkish guards to be sent
to Jordan instead of Der Zor." (Not far from what we learned about how Sarian's
father proved that money can grease the wheels.) After the "genocide," as with
the experience of home-bound survivors of the Sarian family, "Surviving members of
the family returned to Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1919, where Vahram composed his
diary-notes for publication," as the Gomidas site reported. (The information for
what follows is taken from both web pages cited above.)
"Vahram's account, written in Armenian, was first published as a book in 1945.
This is the first English translation of that work."
Desert: Pages from My Diary"
We have to beware of two things. Depending of Vahram's degree of
Armenian activism in later years, the original account could have been contaminated. In
other words, this is a less pure telling than the Hrant Sarian diary, as Hrant did not
have the opportunity to fiddle with the words. (If there was fiddling with Hrant's diary,
it would have been entirely due to Hrant's descendant, who put up the diary. It does
not sound like there was fiddling, in the case of the latter.)
Yet Leon Surmelian, who we brought up at the beginning of this page, certainly put in
political thoughts in his eight-year-old version of himself that were from his 1945 mind,
very likely absent from the days when he was eight years-old. (Coincidentally, Surmelian's
"I Ask You Ladies and Gentlemen" was first published in the same year as
Dadrian's diary, 1945.)
The second matter to beware of is the translation by Agop Hacikyan. Few of us
non-Armenians have the ability to check matter originally written in Armenian. One never
knows with these "end-justifies-the-means" Dashnak-minded, genocide-obsessed
Armenians, who take very easy liberties with "exaggerating." (This is not to say
Hacikyan did not do an honorable job. He is an Armenian-Canadian writer with a co-written
book stressing the Armenian oral tradition.)
But let's be realistic here; if the Gomidas Institute was behind this work, we must
be on guard. Tataryan's article tells us, "In a program on Turkish television, the
works of Ara Sarafian and the Gomidas Institute were branded as 'propaganda.'"
That's like saying "we need oxygen to live." The statement is followed up,
rather defensively, with, "It is hard to believe that the diary of a
fifteen-year-old boy can be considered a source of propaganda." That's precisely
what makes Hrant Sarian's account so valuable. But the key is: Is the source material
pure? We will never know for sure, as Varham Dadrian's originals are probably long gone.
We just have Varham Dadrian's "word" that whatever he released in 1945 was
straight from the diary. The fact that the author came from a line of notorious Dadrians is not very helpful, either.
But even if we rely on what we can gather from these two articles, what was Varham's
"Vahram relates his family's deportation, survival strategy—and luck—throughout
this period. He also notes the condition of other deportees on the way."
Same as Hrant.
"Though the Dadrian family did not experience a general massacre like so many
other Armenians, they still lost half of their members by 1919."
Similar or the same as Hrant. (We don't know exactly how many family members were lost in
Hrant's case, but half sounds about right.)
"As an introduction, Mr. Sarafian discussed the life of Vahram Dadrian and
furthermore, gave a background on the deportations that took place during the Genocide. As
already documented, several hundred thousand Armenians were deported to the deserts of the
Middle East during the Armenian Genocide. There, thousands died due to hunger and
That's true. (Except for the "deserts"
part, unfairly giving the idea the people were left stranded among sand dunes; by the way,
was "To the Desert" Varham's original title, translated from the Armenian? If
so, we have confirmation of his prioritizing politics over truth, his credibility taking a
blow. Aleppo and wherever bribery led his family to in Jordan do not constitute the
"desert.") Hunger and disease hit
all of the Ottoman peoples, not only the Armenians. Hunger and disease is not
And here is what appears to be the most damning excerpt in Vahram's diary (if there was
something worse, the odds are they would have made sure to highlight it).
Dadrian writes: 12 August, 1915 -“After quite a tiring journey we stopped in a field
near Nigde. As if the inhabitants of the city had been waiting for us, they came in groups
and spread through the crowd. They showed no hesitation about picking up anything they
liked and offering to buy it for next to nothing. If the owner of the object refused, they
taunted him, saying: ‘What good is it to you: You’ll be killed soon anyway.’”
Yes, there were opportunist and mean Turks who took advantage of the poor Armenians forced
to migrate. Unfortunately, in miserable situations as this, it is not uncommon to find few
signs of the best in humanity... same as how Japanese-Americans
were taken advantage of, losing their shirts when forced to leave during WWII. Yet that
horrible ending statement does not prove the Ottoman citizen was in a position to know
that the government had a systematic extermination plan in the works.
In order to prove genocide, factual evidence is mandatory. On the surface, it sounds as
though Vahram Dadrian's experience was almost exactly the same as Hrant Sarian's, which
better proves: No Genocide.