Tall Armenian Tale

The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Mary Louise Graffam: Witness to "Genocide," or Suffering?  
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Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

 Mary Louise Graffam was a missionary who was written about in a loving manner (the author happened to be her brother-in-law) in Armenian Affairs Magazine. I conducted a search to learn more about her, and the "Internet" claim-to-fame of the missionary thus far is that she has been identified as a "witness to genocide" in 2003's America and the Armenian genocide of 1915, edited by Jay ("The Great War") Winter. Witness to genocide, or witness to suffering?

Genocide advocate Jay Winter

Genocide advocate Jay Winter ("The Great War")

As Sam Weems wrote, "It appears, the Armenians consider every Armenian who was removed to be a victim of genocide. Relocation is not genocide." That goes for blatantly one-sided pro-Armenians such as Jay Winter.

The remarkable revelation made below is that Graffam (who died of cancer in 1921) asked permission of the Sivas Governor to accompany her Armenian friends who were being relocated, and permission was granted. That's a strange way to run an extermination campaign, to allow a hostile foreign witness to tag along. In addition, she continued to treat Turkish soldiers (very much to her credit, recognizing non-Christians as human beings) in military hospitals. If she believed there were an extermination campaign, why would she have lent a hand to the evil forces responsible? That makes no sense whatsoever.

My curiosity was aroused as to what sort of a "genocide witness" the missionary made, and I analyzed her chapter from the aforementioned book, as well. (Where I learned of her ulterior motives for treating Turks... her reasons were not as "pure-hearted" as I initially thought from the first article. She also — at least at the time of the events —  lets the Ottoman government completely off the hook!)

There is also speculation that she might have worked undercover for American intelligence.


Mary Louise Graffam

Armenian Affairs, Winter 1949-1950, Vol. I, No. 1, pp. 62-65

Mary Louise Graffam By ERNEST C. PARTRIDGE

ONE of the most interesting characters I have known was Mary Louise Graffarn, the missionary of the American Board of Missions. who became famous in the first World War as the only American who trekked across Asia Minor in the early spring of 1915 during the deportation of the Armenians for several weeks with the girls of her school and the several hundred members of the Armenian Protestant Church of Sivas.

I first came to know Polly Graffam in her freshman year at Oberlin College, where we worked at the same college boarding house, she earning her board washing dishes and I waiting on tables. We became acquainted helping each other in the rush of finishing work and getting to class on time. The next year her younger sister joined us. After my seminary course Winona and I were married and after a two years’ pastorate, we went to Sivas, an interior station in Turkey for a life of service in the education of Armenians. One year later, the position of principal of our girls’ high school being vacant, Mary joined us, and gave the following twenty years to devoted service for the people of Turkey.

The striking quality of Mary Graffam was her versatility. She did well anything she undertook. She was a successful teacher and a capable administrator. For thirteen years to the outbreak of World War I her activity was largely in educational work, but she never limited herself to the school. Soon after her arrival in Sivas and before she could read Armenian with ease she had to play the organ for the church service. She could do this acceptably but she could not read the words of the hymn fast enough to keep up with the music. Our teachers used to tell stories of her mistakes. a favorite pastime of those close to new missionaries. One mistake they still speak of was on the line of the gospel hymn, "leaving our cares we fly away and are at rest." The words sorrows and hens are much alike, so she was singing, "leaving our chickens we fly away." Another time during her early months in school she had introduced a young man into the girls’ high school to teach singing, an unheard of thing then for a man to teach in a girls’ school. She was present as chaperon. The beardless teacher called for an eraser. And she calling a pupil, and confusing two words much alike, surpich and saprich, called for a barber for the young man. This teacher, by the way, was the distinguished Western Electric engineer, Dr. Garabed Paelian. But things like this never fazed her. in every circumstance she tried to do her best and came through somehow.

Polly Graffam was very practical. She was a good seamstress, and made many clothes for herself and her sister. During her early years in Sivas she trained an Armenian tailor to make ladies’ dresses and coats, and for years he did most of the work for our American ladies under her supervision. She had a good deal of talent in languages, was a good student of Latin and Greek in college. A summer vacation in Switzerland to recuperate from a severe case of typhoid gave her the opportunity to acquire a speaking knowledge of French, which stood her in good stead during the years of the first World War, when she was able to help French and other foreign officers and civilians interned in her city. Her best foreign language was Armenian, but while in military hospital work she acquired a speaking knowledge of Turkish. She was thanked by the British and French governments for her service to their people, decorated by the Turkish government for her service to soldiers and civilians. She was given an honorary degree by her Alma Mater for humanitarian service during the war.

A Fun Fact About Sivas:

"...[D]uring the Sykes-Picot negotiations, Russia had insisted that Sivas and Lesser Armenia should go to France and in return she should get the Kurdish populated Hakkiari-Mush in the east. The reason had been Tsarist Russia’s desire to have ‘as few Armenians as possible’ in the Russian territory and to be relieved of Armenian ‘nationalist responsibilities’."

Akaby Nassibian, “Britain and the Armenian Question, 1915-1923,” 1984, p. 108

 Although she had no special training in financial matters, in the crisis of 1913-1914, when no one else seemed to have time for accounts, she took over the station treasury. When in the early winter she joined a party to Erzroum near the Russian front, as a volunteer Red Cross worker in the Turkish army hospitals, she dumped her accounts on my desk, and I had the surprising experience for the only time in my life of getting a balance sheet the first time.

During the winter of 1914 a typhus epidemic broke in the Turkish army on the Russian front, 200 miles north from our city. An army medical inspector sent from Constantinople told me after his trip that 1,000 men a day for the preceding 60 days had died of the disease, on the road up to the front. In this crisis our missionary physician, Doctor Clark, responded to a call from Army hospitals in that city. In addition to the Doctor the party included our American-born nurse, Mrs. Sewny, a Swiss nurse, Miss Zenger, Miss Graffam and a pharmacist. These people spent the winter scattered in the military hospitals of the city. On arrival there word came that Mrs. Sewny’s husband, an army doctor, was dying in a village near the front several hours’ ride away. The two ladies started off at once on horseback in the deep snow, to find the doctor in a collapse following typhus, from which he died the next day. With the aid of a Turkish soldier they made a box out of the doors of the cabin and brought the body on a packsaddle back to burial in the cemetery in Erzeroum. There Miss Graffam was assigned as manager of a hospital for Turkish officers, many of whom had frozen feet. This was a small institution under the patronage of a group of ladies, wives of the mayor and high ranking officers. Her experiences that winter would fill a book.

With the approach of spring and the persistent rumors of deportations of the Armenians, Miss Zenger was anxious to return to Sivas to look after her orphans, so she and Mary Graffam started back home. Khans, 1 where they stopped at nights. were. full of sick soldiers, and every morning under the wagons in the enclosure they would see bodies of men who had died during the night. About a third of the way to Sivas Miss Zenger was taken with a severe case of typhus and died and was buried in the city of Erzingan. Fearing the same fate might befall her we sent out two of our teachers to meet her. When they met she was riding in a one horse araba 2 with a decrepit horse, sitting in the rain under a tarpaulin. She was very worn out and fatigued but received no permanent injury from the wracking experiences of the winter.


1 Inns.
2 Cart.


 In the meantime plans for the deportations of all Armenians followed in this manner. All weapons of every kind, even pocket knives were collected on the plea that they were needed b the army, but this collection affected only the Armenian population. A little later 1,000 Armenian men and women were thrown into prison, and thus the 25,000 Armenians in the city were deprived of all weapons and the best of its male leadership. After the deportation was completed these men were taken out of the city, compelled to dig their own graves and then knocked on the head, stripped and buried. Among these men were many of our friends of years. The whole faculty of Sivas Teachers College were thus murdered, either here or on the road. Among them were two men of fine education and talent — Roupen Racubian, a post graduate student with two years’ work at Columbia, our professor of education, and Michael Frengulian, a graduate of Oberlin College, our teacher of sciences.

To return to the deportation, I was assured by the Governor of the province and the Commanding General of the army at Sivas that this was an agricultural colonization scheme, that the people were to be moved under protection of the army, which was to supply them with army rations on the road. We hoped this was true but did not for a moment believe it. When the deportations began, Mary Graffam asked permission of the Governor to go with her pupils and friends; and much to our surprise it was permitted. She took with her my saddle horse and two wagons, one loaded with flour for food, and the other for giving short lifts for those who fell by the wayside. After several days on the road the men were taken away, and no one of them was ever heard of again. After several weeks of this trek she was ordered to return to Sivas, which she did, the last few hours, driving the carriage when they took her driver away. In the meantime, as our educational work had been entirely disrupted, it was decided that our family should return to America for an overdue furlough, in order to be ready to return after the war and gather up the broken remnants of our work.

For some months, Dr. Clark arid his associates were busily occupied with medical work in our hospital, doing Red Cross work for sick soldiers, and caring for the orphans who had not been deported. Several months later, as the Russian army was moving towards Sivas, all the members of our station were ordered out. Miss Graffam was finally given permission to remain with one companion, her associate. Mary Fowle. She died of typhus. and for about two years Mary Graffam was the only foreigner in the city, excepting a few Frenchmen and Englishmen. She had a group of girl teachers and older orphans, who at the time of the deportations were working in our hospital. These were given the choice of going on the road with the deportees or remaining in medical work, with no guarantee on our part of our ability to protect them. Toward the end of the war it is said there were 5,000 patients in the military hospitals of the city, many typhus patients. and the head nurses were her girls. It can be said to the credit of the Turkish doctors that they protected these nurses and no indignity was experienced by any of them.



Very soon after the Armistice, the Armenians who had lived in this territory and all the way up to the Black Sea, who had survived began to trek back, and then Mary Graffam with the help of her girls, began a new era of expanding relief work. She had done such work as much as she could for straggling Armenians, but now it became a major problem. For several months after the Armistice she managed this growing burden. I reached Sivas just before Easter, 1919, and found her with several hundred orphans, and the job of giving a pittance of bread relief to some 3,000 women and children. In the course of a few weeks, with the arrival from America of volunteer relief workers, I was in charge of a Near East Relief staff which included 17 American workers, a physician, three nurses, and orphanage and industrial workers.

It was definitely planned that, as soon as she could put her wartime accounts into shape Mary Graffam should return home for a long overdue vacation. But I had the misfortune to break my arm cranking a car, and not having a chauffeur, got run down, developed a case of chronic appendicitis, and was sent to Constantinople for an operation. When finally I came home for a surgical operation and a rest, Mary was loathe to leave her charges. She said she had seen all the agony, and now she wanted to stay on and see things build up again. So she tried to stick it out, and finally died in Sivas from an overworked heart, following an operation for cancer.

Mary Graffam’s was an active and very useful life, which she enjoyed and to which she gave herself fully. There was none of the awareness of a martyr’s spirit in her, but she was just as truly a martyr as those Armenian pupils and friends whom she had accompanied to Mesopotamia and helped to lighten the burdens and sufferings on the road to their Golgotha.


More on Mary Graffam

 Before we move on to our analysis of the "Witness to Genocide" chapter of America and the Armenian genocide of 1915, let's check out a few other Graffam references from other writers in that book.

Suzanne E. Moranian provides the following in her "American missionary relief efforts" chapter (p. 190):

"...[N]umerous American missionaries serving in Turkey received warnings that the Armenians were in danger before Turkey entered the war in November 1914. In September of that year, a German army Colonel visited American evangelist Mary L. Graffam in Turkey. "He was a Christian, although a German," Graffam explained, "and he tried to warn us of things which might take place in the coming summer; this showing that the deportations were planned as early as this." The Colonel told her that "a certain fate was in store for all Armenians, but if the Germans were in the country, there would be no massacres." (Source: Mary L. Graffam, "Miss Graffam's Own Story," 28 June 1919, ABC 16.5, vol. 6, no. 262, ABCFM archives. Graffam related the above in 1919, through a stenographer, according to Billington Harper's chapter.)

Wishful thinking on the part of this supposed German that his people's presence would prevent the massacres that followed... on both sides.

Here we are getting a taste of what an unreliable witness Mary Graffam was. The missionaries stopped at nothing to pass on the stories of their beloved Armenians, and were not above making stories up themselves. Why? It was their Godly duty to vilify the Turk, clearly spelled out in their prayers. The hearsay we are being asked to accept here from an unnamed German is that the resettlement policy was a done deal, even before the war started. As if such a Herculean and expensive effort would take priority over what was most important: the defense of the motherland in the face of three merciless superpowers that would hit the ailing empire from all sides, making good on the secret treaties they had planned between themselves.

We know from the progression of events of real history that the Ottomans looked the other way (as far as taking drastic action) regarding the wave of Armenian rebellions for as long as possible. As the military situation grew more desperate, the first consideration of moving the Armenian community out came with this May 2, 1915 telegram.

...[T]he general Congress of Dashnakstsutiun, sitting in Erzerum in the autumn of 1914, had been offered autonomy by Turkish emissaries, if it would actually assist Turkey in the war.

Akaby Nassibian, “Britain and the Armenian Question, 1915-1923,” 1984, p. 107; in other words, the Turks were hoping to enlist the aid of their own Armenian citizens in the desperate battle-for-survival to follow, where every able-bodied man was needed. Yet, before the autumn of 1914 (if the mysterious German officer visited prior to September 22, when it was still summer), the Ottomans were planning the "deportation" and potential extermination of the Armenians they so desperately needed.


So Mary Graffam is attempting to have us believe that the fate of the Armenians was all pre-determined by the government. However, as you'll read further, Mary Graffam herself let the government off the hook. That's a significant contradiction.

We get an idea of Graffam's extremism from Richard Hovannisian's "US post war commission" chapter (p. 262):

"No witness advocated Armenian independence more fervently than Mary Louise Graffam, a long-time Oberlin missionary and teacher at Sivas (Sepastia). As a witness to the genocidal atrocities, she told the (King-Crane) Commission that to leave the Armenians with the Turks would be "beyond human imagination."

Sounds like Graffam would have found agreement with British Colonel Rawlinson, when he was quoted by Robert Dunn (in World Alive, A Personal Story, 1952, p. 358) as having said:

"'An Armenia without Armenians! Turks under Christian rule?' His lips smacked in irony under the droopy red moustache. 'That's bloodshed — just Smyrna over again on a bigger scale.'"

Of course, Rawlinson was referring to Turks living under ethnic-cleansing Armenians as being "beyond human imagination," arguing against the mandate that would have insured Armenian independence. Yet Graffam only reserved sympathy for the Armenians, in loyal missionary style... an attitude no true Christian would stomach.

Hovannisian also wrote (p. 268):

"Harbord was told by Dr. Ernest Partridge and his sister-in-law Mary Louise Graffam that, of the nearly 200,000 Armenians of the (Sivas) province, only about 10,000 survived and these in a completely servile status."

(To supplement the above, "Miss Graffam's Own Story" [1919] tells us: "Out of 30,000 people there are about 3,000 left." [Referring to Sivas, the city.] The Armenian Patriarch provided a complete Sivas total of 16,000, from his 1921 report to the British. The pre-war [1912] population for the province was 182,912, according to McCarthy, up from Capt. Norman's 132,307 in 1895.)

(Even the missionaries didn't go as overboard as U.S. Consul madman J. B. Jackson, who — as Peter Balakian gleefully repeated in his "Burning Tigris" — reported only 5,000 emaciated and sick women and children were the only survivors from the Armenian population of Sivas, where over 300,000 souls had once lived.)

Missionaries like Graffam had clear sailing with the Christian sympathizers heading the King-Crane and Harbord Commissions. Note how she and her missionary relative could have had no authentic idea as to how many Armenians had actually survived; throwing out a figure that was only 5% of the original population certainly worked to evoke better sympathy, Partridge himself documented how Armenians were returning in droves after war's end, which would have been highly unlikely had such a small percentage survived. (Particularly if we keep in mind many survivors chose not to return, or had escaped the resettlement in the first place, moving to other regions on their own accord... such as 50,000 to Iran, and 500,000 to Transcaucasia, according to Hovannisian. Of an original pre-war population of 1.5 million overall, the Patriarch himself recorded up to 644,900 were in what remained of the empire, after war's end and before Sèvres.)

Bearing false witness against their neighbor came naturally to missionaries like Graffam. This sin was justified in their minds, probably, as long as the greater Christian good could be accomplished.

What might be described as a greater sin in this day and age is that there are authors who still point to missionary testimony as valid today... such as the authors of America and the Armenian genocide of 1915, a propaganda book edited by Jay Winter.


Witness to Genocide, or Witness to Suffering?

 "Mary Louise Graffam: witness to genocide" is Susan Billington Harper's contribution to the book mentioned above.

The Armenians have succeeded in planting their "colonists" (in Hovannisian's and other Armenians' word) throughout Western society to better accept the warped Armenian version of events as the common wisdom... sort of like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, these single-minded "Pod People" are now present in all walks of life. An Armenian editor resides at National Geographic Magazine, for example. When articles on Armenia surface, readers get hit with the usual propaganda, such as 1.5 million exterminated Armenians.

The mission of "Pod People" is to convert others into being similar Pod People.

One, Dr. Levon Andoyan, has infiltrated the United States government's greatest harbinger of truth, the Library of Congress ("LoC"). It's shocking that Armenian propaganda litters the web site of the LoC itself. The head librarian since 1987, James H. Billington, is solidly in the Armenians' corner. Unthinkable, when one considers his position should entail the very essence of impartiality. One wonders whether his mind was corrupted through the prevalence of Armenian propaganda earlier in life, or whether Armenians in the LoC whispered in his ear and poisoned his mind. Regardless, Billington has become such an apologist for the Armenians, he actually tarnished the glorious name of the Library of Congress as a co-sponsor of a Sept. 2000 Armenian conference that resulted in the book, America and the Armenian genocide of 1915. (The driving force was the Armenian National Institute, headed by Rouben Adalian, who has no tolerance for deviation from the Armenian line... no matter how minor, even by fellow Armenians. Can you imagine? As if such a conference had any chance of being objective, and Billington incredibly allowed the Library of Congress to get mixed up with such an unscholarly undertaking.)

An appreciation for Armenian propaganda sadly running in the family, the author of the Graffam piece is Billington's own daughter, Susan Billington Harper.


  ...[M]issionaries ... often felt they had become do-it-yourself diplomats.

"Protestant Diplomacy and the Near East," Joseph L. Grabill, 1971

Billington Harper provides the background on her subject: 

On 14 August 1901, Mary Louise Graffam, a shy teacher from the National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington, D.C., left Boston for a new life as an educational missionary for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in Ottoman Turkey. She embarked on what promised to be a fairly conventional missionary career as the head of Female Education in the Near Eastern mission post of Sivas, an established American mission station. Little did she know that she would be thrust, instead, into the horrors of twentieth-century warfare and would become a first-hand witness to genocide conducted by a government against a portion of its own people.

The author is not happy about Graffam's current obscurity:

Surprisingly no serious account, let alone major biography, of Graffam has ever appeared, despite the existence of numerous unpublished documents, oral and written histories in Armenian, scattered primary source materials as well as general works on the Armenian Genocide and missionary history that mention her heroic resistance to the massacres... This neglect is particularly startling since she was a celebrated figure in the United States during and after the First World War, not only among missionaries but also among government officials and the general public. (The footnote credits a multitude of Armenian sources, and a debt of gratitude is included for Levon Avdoyan, Ara Sarafian, and Dr. Osgan Kechian of the Pan Sebastia Rehabilitation Union, Inc.)

As with many biographers, I'd presume Billington Harper began to see her subject through rose-colored glasses, and would be hard pressed to accept that Graffam's claims could be less than the gospel truth. I'd suspect the reason why no one glorified Graffam among the ranks of serious scholars in later years is because ... she was a missionary. Missionaries cannot be accepted as reliable sources because their beliefs are staked on faith, and not reality. Exactly as what lies at the core of Armenian genocide advocates; genuine history must be passed over in the interest of maintaining the myth of innocence for Armenians, and the image of barbarism for the Turks. In short, bigotry is a driving force among both missionaries and "Armenian genocide" advocates.

Regardless, it doesn't seem fair for Graffam to have been so forgotten these many years later. Such an unrelenting champion of the Armenian cause should have been practically deified by the Armenians, for those who hold "gratitude" high as a value. (After six-to-eight centuries of prosperity among the Turks, alas, it was this lack of gratitude that caused the Armenians to rebel in their Ottoman nation's darkest hour. Armenians would go on to attack even their greatest friends, such as Reverend Barton and President Wilson.)

Missionary Mary Louise Graffam

Missionary Mary Louise Graffam

General Harbord, whose Christian-sympathizing mind was further corrupted by Graffam, gushed over her as follows: "It is no disparagement of other zealous and efficient missionaries to say that Miss Mary Graffam is the outstanding missionary figure in this part of Asia . . . [She has played] a part in the stirring events of the last six years which has probably never been equaled by any other woman in the chronicles of missionary effort." ("Investigating Turkey and Trans-Caucasia," Harbord, 1920.)

(I find it interesting that Harbord used the word "zealous" as a positive trait. Is that a good thing, to be a zealot? It's surely an appropriate word for a missionary, giving up all in life for the purpose of faith; to the extent of moving to a faraway corner of the world.)

Billington Harper tells us open evangelization among Muslims was forbidden by law, and that "the ABCFM had earlier adopted an indirect strategy that focused primarily on the education of Armenian and Greek Christian populations. The implicit longer-term goal was to increase the faith and witness of indigenous Christian populations so that they would become motivated themselves to spread the faith to Muslims." Graffam's colleague in Sivas, Henry Holbrook wrote, shortly after his arrival in 1913: "It is almost maddening to be actually here in the heart of the Moslem world — to whose crying appeal we consecrated our lives ... — and yet be forced to realize that there is at present practically nothing we can do directly for these young Turks. In the present condition of the country anything like active anti-Moslem propaganda would be a dreadful blunder — the Moslem world will never be won by militant methods but only by infinite patience and love."

The missionaries had a curious way of exhibiting this "love."

Graffam first tried to get into the business of altering others' lives in 1895, attempting to gain a post in Japan doing "direct evangelistic or missionary work rather than teaching in a school," an educational role she soon had to accept, resigning herself to try and get to the hearts of Muslims in indirect fashion. As for Holbrook, we're informed "his expectation of a long and peaceful career as an educator of young Armenian and Greek children was dashed when he was brutally and mysteriously murdered in 1913 by Turkish bandits." The contrast between "good" and "evil" is clearly established with Billington Harper's phrasing; I guess the implication (with the word, "mysteriously") is that the Turkish bandits (perhaps Graffam was also an "eyewitness" to this mini-genocide; otherwise, how can we be sure of the identity of the killers?) is that the bad Turks snuffed out the missionary's life because he was a Christian.

Background on our missionary heroine: "Mary Louise Graffam was born in the small town of Monson, Maine, and moved to Andover, Massachusetts, at the age of five. She was raised with a younger sister, Winona, in a Christian home - probably Congregational.". She experienced a "spiritual awakening at the age of fourteen," and "decided to become a foreign missionary during her freshman year at Oberlin College," a missionary training college from which she graduated in 1894 (and for which Graffam had to pay off her college debts by working as a high-school teacher for six years, postponing her missionary dreams in Japan. Shouldn't such education have been free, or close to it? As if missionaries didn't sacrifice everthing else in their lives, as soldiers for their cause.) Graffam was thirty-years old, 5 feet 7, 127 pounds and in good health when the missionary offer came through in 1901. She would spend the remaining twenty years of her life (save for a brief U.S. visit in 1909-10, which she devoted to further service for Armenians; see below) in the city of Sivas, "composed of roughly 30,000 Armenians within a total population of 75,000." (Since Billington Harper prefers to rely on pro-Armenian sources, perhaps these figures were provided by the Patriarch.)

(P. 220:) Graffam contracted a serious case of typhoid in 1903, from which she recovered in Switzerland, and the mission school struggled from 1909 to cope with declining enrollments caused by a serious famine and, later, an outbreak of typhus. Mary responded to these needs by helping locally and fund raising internationally... To raise funds, she returned to America in 1909 where she gave speeches about famine in Turkey, and assisted newly arrived Armenian immigrants on Ellis Island in New York.

What are we being told? Even before the war began, conditions were so grim, the missionary herself became a victim of disease — which was not as serious a problem as it would be during the war years. Famine was the true culprit, however, during this pre-war stage. (Pre-WWI, that is; the Ottoman Empire had its hands full with three other wars during this period, two in the Balkans and one with Italy.) Both of these killers would become exacerbated as WWI began; in the case of famine, because few men were left to till the fields after mobilization. The British naval blockade was so successful, people began to drop like flies from hunger, without discrimination. The disease tolls, likewise, hit the Ottoman Empire worse than the other nations involved in the conflict. Yet, when the Armenians died of these conditions that affected everyone, they became victims of "genocide."

A comparison of soldiers who died of disease — American: 60,800. British: 108,000; French: 179,000; German: 166,000; Russian: 395,000. None suffered more than the Turks; General Harbord believed 600,000 were killed from typhus alone; about half of the 2.5 million man army was admitted to often inadequate hospitals and infirmaries. Deaths from disease exceeded battle losses. And these are the results for the soldiers, the difference between life and death for the nation. Civilians, who were treated with less priority, were a different story.

Fighting had erupted 200 miles away on the Russian Front and a typhus epidemic was raging in the town of Erzerum. The Sivas mission offered to send a Red Cross unit to assist in caring for the sick and wounded until reinforcements arrived from greater distances. Thus, Graffam left Sivas for Erzerum with a small party consisting of the mission's doctor, two nurses, and a pharmacist, to volunteer as a nurse for a Red Crescent Hospital on the frozen Russian Front. "I did not go to help the Turks particularly," she recalled in 1919, "I went to work with the Turks, thinking that possibly I could get on the good side of some of the pashas, and it might help us later on, for I felt the time was coming when we would need such help."

What kind of a "Christian" was Mary Graffam, anyway? Here are these poor Turkish soldiers (of whom even her ABCFM colleague Dr. Clarence Ussher reported: "the Turkish soldier...was not protected from heat and cold, nor from sickness") who had nothing to do with the diabolical "genocide" plans that Graffam was a "witness" to, and she only decided to help the Turks to get leverage for the people who really counted in her good book, the Christian Armenians. This is a typical attitude of the false Christian missionaries; the Muslims simply did not rate as equal human beings, in contrast to the teachings of Jesus:

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3.28)

"Turkish officers apparently never forgot Graffam's hospital services during this early phase of the war. They continued to send her letters of appreciation until the time of her death, she received the decoration of the Red Crescent by Imperial Grade from the Turkish government in 1917, and it appears likely that Turkish officers extended practical favors to her during the remainder of the war that helped her to accomplish more difficult and subversive missions that still lay ahead."

Billington Harper continues: "Early in 1915, after the military campaign had subsided, she and one of the nurses, Marie Zenger, started back to Sivas. The inns were full of soldiers dying of typhus and the roads were lined with dead and dying men and horses." Doesn't that sound familiar to the bodies found on roads we hear of in genocide accounts? The implication is that these were all Armenians, and were "murdered." Yet, as early as 1915, we can see indications that the Ottoman Empire was a graveyard. As conditions deteriorated and the situation became more desperate later in the year, you can bet even more people died of famine and disease. The ones accounted for here are soldiers, but famine and disease spared no one. Billington Harper documents (p. 223): "Typhus was rampant throughout north-eastern Turkey and sick and hungry deportees had begun to arrive from the Black Sea coast." The question needs to be asked: of the ones who died, what killed these "deportees"? (Let's keep in mind the Ottoman government also "deported" some of its Muslim citizens out of the "war zone" and these Ottomans "deported" themselves when the Russians and Armenians invaded and acted in inhumane manner... to say nothing of the Muslims who were truly "deported" forever from their lands in Russia, and — among those who weren't slaughtered — later from Armenia.) Not to say there weren't Armenians who couldn't keep up with the caravans and met a fatal end — unfortunately, it was "1915" and it was the bankrupt, resource-challenged "Sick Man of Europe." But the big picture is: Since most of the Armenians died of famine and disease, the same for all other Ottomans (including the soldiers), isn't it a despicable conclusion to conclude the cause of these deaths must have been "murder"?

We're told "Michael Frengulian and Rupen Racubian, both degree men from American colleges... were both marked men, and would be in constant danger . . . Both were later murdered, one in the deportation, the other was taken out of prison, in a systematic murder scheme, by which two [sic] men a day were taken out of jail, escorted outside the city by police, compelled to dig trenches, knocked in the head, stripped and buried. These men were the picked leaders of the Armenian residents." The source: Ernest and Winona Partridge, "Mary Louise Graffam: A Missionary Heroine," from the ABCFM Individual Biographies, p. 9 [With the helpful Billington Harper addition to the footnote, "Other sources suggest it was 200 men per day." Why not? The more the merrier.]

I'm not saying these men did not die; I wasn't there, and neither were you. But let's examine the "murder" charges. One died in the "deportation" (that word means banishment outside a country's borders. The Armenians were not moved out of the country, but around the country. "Deportation" is the choice word, because it sounds more handily "evil"... like when the Russians deported over 700,000 Muslims with the clothes on their back, kicking them out of their ancient homes forever, and when the 1992 Armenians and Russians deliberately frightened away nearly a million Karabagh Azeris [unlike the 1915 Armenians, who were allowed to return], and of whom the hypocritical and bigoted Western world did not shed a single tear in the former case and almost none in the latter.) How did one of these men die in the "deportation"? We're not told. But if he died of famine or disease like everyone else was dying, how irresponsible and dishonest of the Partridge missionaries to use the word "murder." As far as the details regarding how the other one was killed... was our dishonest missionary source actually there, with a front row seat? Of course he was not. Did he have a motive to make the Turks look as bad as possible? Of course he did.

Did these men deserve to be among those arrested? Miss Graham makes them out to be the finest men, brave and generous. Perhaps they were... but chances are they weren't so innocent. College professors from... America? The greatest mischief in this "genocide" episode was created by foreign Armenians; imagine those connected with missionaries. The mission schools, whether they intended on doing so or not, fostered discontentment and subversion among the previously satisfied Armenians. The Protestant missions made trouble for the Sultan as well as for the Armenian church. The missionaries often thought of themselves as meddling consuls. If anything, "enlightened" Armenians from America were not going to able to restrain themselves from especially adding fuel to the revolutionary spirit.


"The uprisings seen in the neighbouring provinces after the declaration of war were equally seen in Sivas and its environs. An Armenian priest by the name of Seponil from the village of Yayci in the district of Karahisar visited villages on the pretext of collecting aid for the Church, gathered Armenians and said to them"

"The Ottomans entered the war in which they will be defeated. Russians will soon enter Erzurum, and come up to here. Russians will beat the Army in front, we in the rear. The hour has come to use the arms that we had distributed to you in time."

"...Large scale incidents were preventedin the region thanks to the necessary measures taken by the government in time, yet Armenians still committed massacres and atrocities in the region." (From Archive Documents about the Atrocities and Genocide Inflicted Upon Turks by Armenians.)

The Sivas governor in an internal telegram (never meant to be released publicly, and therefore can not be construed as propaganda) wrote on April 22, 1915, two days before the Armenians' cherished "Date of Doom":

"According to the statement of the suspects who were caught, the Armenians have armed 30,000 people in this region,15,000 of them have joined the Russian Army, and the other 15,000 will threaten our Army from the rear..."

That's from the mouth of an Armenian prisoner, and all of these Armenians originated from just one region of the Ottoman Empire... putting into plan their full-scaled rebellion.

How did the locals handle such a threat?

"Unfortunately, conscription of all Turkish men up to the age of 50 years old had left the local villages practically unprotected and vulnerable to Armenian depredations. This condition made hunting down the rebels problematic. The greater need by far, at least in Sivas, was simply to provide for the protection of the Muslim villagers themselves, and the local Jandarma were hard pressed to accomplish this." ("Ordered to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War," Edward J. Erickson)

Berch Keresteciyan

Dr. Hamparsum Boyajian

One of the leaders of the Sivas rebels was the notorious MURAD, a Hunchak terrorist behind many of the rebellions of the 1890s. He had become an Ottoman Parliamentarian, quitting in 1915 to betray Ottoman Armies, as he directed guerilla wars from the Yildiz Mountains.

(ADDENDUM, 3-06: It looks like there may have been two Murads, both from Sivas. Still checking this; the one referred to here may not have been Boyaciyan.)

According to this internal army report, every Armenian over 13, based on confessions by Armenians, were forced to enroll in Armenian committees as functionaries or soldiers... in Van, Bitlis, Erzurum, Karahisar, and second most important cities, Sivas, Kayseri, and Diyarbekir.

"We know from both documentary evidence and statistics that inter-communal warfare between Christians and Muslims was a major cause of death. The province of Sivas, for example, was not in the war zone; the Russian army never reached that far. 180,000 of the Muslims of Sivas died." (Justin McCarthy.)

By the way: let's take a look at the "genocide map" that this chapter's book, "America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915" made sure to include. See where Sivas is?

Smack-dab in the middle of the country. Now when genocide advocates ask, "how come Armenians away from the eastern war zone were deported," you'll know the answer. (For example, see Q. 17 of Dennis Papazian's deceptive "What Every Armenian Should Know.") The whole country was a war zone, with treacherous Armenians lurking in every corner.


When the Armenians of Sivas were ordered to give up their arms, Graffam remembered: A photographer in Sivas was called to the Government House to photograph the collection of arms, but as they did not make an impressive showing he was asked to return the next day when he noticed that a great many pieces of Turkish ammunition had been added, and his photograph of this last collection was used as official evidence that the Armenians were armed against the Turks. (Miss Graffam's Own Story.)

We don't need Miss Graffam to tell us the Armenians weren't armed. We know from many Western sources the Armenians were armed with secret caches of weapons, uniforms, ammunition and even artillery, throughout the Empire. We know from a Dashnak minister in Tiflis that the Russians provided a quarter-million rubles for the initial cost of arming the Armenians. We know the wealthy and prosperous Armenians could afford the most sophisticated guns and rifles, such as the Mauser, which worked like machine guns. If Armenians were asked to surrender their arms, we can be certain not everyone complied. But the specific question to be asked here is, did Miss Graffam witness the "original" pile of arms? Of course not. Who was in a position to view the alleged "before" and "after" piles? Ottoman government officials. So who gave this sensitive information to Miss Graffam... these Ottoman government officials?

Did author Susan Billington Harper even consider the holes in this, and all the other stories? No, she did not. Why not?


[Ciphered telegram from the Ministry of the Interior to the governor of the sanjak of Urfa, regarding court martial of the gendarmerie accompanying the convoys sent from Urfa to Rakka, due to their inappropriate acts arising of negligence.] 28 Z. 1333 (6 November 1915)

Over a thousand Ottomans were convicted of crimes against the life and property of Armenians during the war. At least twenty officers were executed. More orders on the protection of Armenians may be read here.

Another set designed to safeguard the lives of Armenians and their properties, found in the British Archives (Sonyel, Shocking new documents, London,1975; F.O. 371/9158 E.5523) :

Article 21. Should emigrants be attacked on their journey or in camps, the assailants will be immediately arrested, and sent to martial law court.
Article 22. Those who take bribes or gifts from the emigrants, or who rape the women by threats or promises, or those who engage in illicit relations with them, will immediately be removed from office, will be sent to the martial law court and will be punished severely.

Not all these orders were followed; but they prove the Ottomans' hearts were in the right place. As the "Witness to Genocide" herself relates below, "Most of the higher officials are at their wits end to stop these abuses and carry out the orders which they have received, but this is a flood and it carries all before it."

"To subvert the constraints of censorship, Graffam devised several strategies to improve communication with the outside world. First, she utilized a code that would be recognizable to other members of her missionary community but not to the censors."

Billington Harper spends several pages attempting to make sense of these cryptic messages, when the meaning for most was open to interpretation. Not that one needs to analyze these messages to see what was on Graffam's mind, as she also had opportunity to send messages that were not censored (through consular and diplomatic channels), and after the war, she let it all hang out in her dictated "Miss Graffam's Own Story."

"The larger story of Graffam's role as a valuable source of information to the American government, and of America's response to her reports and to the reports of other missionaries, lies outside the scope of this particular investigation," the author tells us, adding in the footnote: "It remains an open question as to whether Graffam was operating as an intelligence officer for the United States during the war years. I was unable to unravel this issue, but further research may do so."

As the "deportations" began, Graffam reported:

"Three times they came to us and took away our men. Finally I became desperate and I decided to visit the prison, if possible. I went to the Chief of Police (one of the ringleaders) and I was permitted to visit the men, and this I did several times after that. This went for several weeks and when all the men of importance were in prison, then the Vali called two or three of the remaining men and the Armenian bishop, saying that on the following Monday (this was Friday) the deportations would begin. The men were to go by one road and their families by another. I was at the bank when I heard the news and went at once to the Vali, commander, etc., trying to do something and was told that the Armenians were going to the Euphrates valley, that was all."

While it was Billington Harper's intention to highlight whatever bits of inhumanity, these accounts are interesting in how they deviate from the usual Armenian propaganda. We're often told the men were all rounded up and killed. Graffam also gives us the same conclusion, ultimately, but we can see it was not an instantaneous process. Not only was there a "several weeks" of prison time (why? If the idea was to kill them), but more importantly, Graffam was permitted to visit these men on a somewhat regular basis. If the idea was to kill these men off, the resource-challenged state would have had no reason to keep these men alive (by even feeding them), and they surely would not have wanted a potential "witness to genocide" to get the idea of what should have been terrible treatment. The Gestapo surely did not permit foreign observers to visit the people that were taken away, no matter how fluent the foreigner might have been in the German language:

"When arrest and deportation orders were issued in Sivas, Graffam rushed to the Chief of Police and used her fluent Turkish to persuade him to let her visit arrested Armenian men in prison. She then tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Sivas Vali, Mora Bey, to release the men and to abandon deportation orders. When these efforts failed, she simply announced to the Vali that she would accompany the Armenians on the deportation, to see if they would really be as safely cared for as he had claimed. "The Vali was very much surprised, but said nothing," she wrote afterwards. Taking this as his consent, she began frantically to prepare for departure with her students and teachers."

This is the most remarkable, genocide-busting revelation in all of "Miss Graffam's Own Story." If the idea was to purposefully exterminate these Armenians, it is inconceivable that a hostile foreign agent would have been permitted to tag along... simply out of the realm of possibility.

"Graffam was allowed to proceed on a deportation with 3,000 of her Armenian friends and college colleagues for five days, going as far as the town of Malatia... She recalled: 'It was as a special favor to the Sivas people who had not done anything revolutionary, that the Vali announced that the men who were not yet in prison should go with their families.' ... During the next five days, Graffam observed and partly experienced all the early stages of genocide: robberies, deprivations of water and food, beatings, kidnappings."

Genocide is the act of intentionally and systematically destroying members of a group, because they belong to that group. If one desires to prove genocide, one needs to go a lot farther than dwelling on injustices that may take place for different reasons. "Robberies, deprivations of water and food, beatings, kidnappings " have happened ad infinitum throughout human history without the result being "genocide." As I'm writing this in September 2005, an awful hurricane ("Katrina") has hit New Orleans, in Louisiana. Those who were too poor holed themselves up in a sports stadium, and complete civil disorder resulted in the days to follow. Robberies, deprivations of water and food, beatings, kidnappings, along with rape and murder, were all experienced.

Nobody is denying the Armenians suffered awfully during the relocation process. What is not proven is whether the central government intended for the things that went wrong to have gone wrong. Graffam herself didn't believe so at the time of the occurrences, as we'll soon examine. From what she has written, it doesn't sound like the government agents, save for the bad gendarmes (assuming her account is to be believed... Graffam was not an impartial witness), were complicit in the goings-on. (She appears to have "revised" her views in 1919; we know how the Armenians and their supporters feel about revisionists.)

"As they were still near home, she believed that gendarmes protected them and 'no special harm was done.' However, by the second night, 'we began to see what was before us': The gendarmes would go ahead and have long conversations with the villagers and then stand back and let them rob and trouble the people until we all began to scream, and then they would come and drive them away."

Was this a game? It doesn't sound like these chats — assuming they took place — were within earshot, so whatever was discussed is open to speculation. How many of us, first of all, would choose to be a party to torment helpless people because the police ordered us to? Naturally, Graffam and her admirer (Billington Harper) are going to prefer perpetuating the image of Turks as grossly immoral, and thus such bad behavior would come naturally; however, another missionary was closer to the truth when he wrote:

"...[T]he Turks are vastly superior morally to the Europeans... the Turks are vastly more moral respecting women than Europeans... One often hears stories of the grossest immorality of the Turks, and he hears them just as often contradicted."

Elder Tanner, “Who Can be So Polite and Courteous As a Turk” from History of the Turkish Mission. (The Mormon missionaries, themselves persecuted, were sometimes not as bigoted as Protestant and Catholic ones).

However, what makes this story especially ridiculous is that the gendarmes would allow these sadists to have their fun, and then "come and drive them away"... what in the world was the point?

If the idea was to deprive the Armenians of their possessions so that they may "die quicker," why would the state "share the wealth" among the masses? To use a Holocaust parallel, most of us are aware of how meticulously the Nazis stockpiled everything (of the Jewish arrivals at the camps) that was of worth. Genocide zealots eager for Holocaust parallels always remind us one murder motive of the Ottoman government was to plunder the wealth of the Armenians. Why then would the gendarmes... who were presumably under "genocide orders"... have allowed criminal gangs to cart away the loot?

[The men were collected and promised return] "but the night passed and only one man came back from those who were taken, to tell the story of how every man was compelled to give up all his money and were taken to prison. The next morning they collected the men who had escaped the night before."

So all the men were taken away to prison (that's code for "massacred") and the one who got away... rejoined the "death march"? Was he out of his mind? (Note how first we are told only one man had escaped... but in the last sentence, the ones who escaped suddenly became pluralized.)

We get horror stories as the following: "Although officials at Hassan Chalebe extorted 45 liras from the Sivas company — now numbering by Graffam's estimation perhaps 2,000 people — in return for the promise of protection from 5 or 6 gendarmes, no protection materialized. 'As soon as the men left us,' Graffam recalled: the Turkish Arabajis began to rob the women saying 'you are all going to be thrown into the Tokma Su [River], so you might as well give your things to us and then we will stay by you and try to protect you.' Every Turkish woman that we met said the same thing. The worst were the gendarmes who really did more or less bad things. One of our school girls was carried off by the Kurds twice but her companions made so much fuss that she was brought back."

I'm not sure I follow regarding the 5 or 6 gendarmes... the caravan already had gendarmes, the ones who " did more or less bad things." Were these supposed to be 5 or 6 "good" gendarmes? Even if they were "good," if they were added to the already existing "bad" gendarmes, were the gendarmes in each camp then going to be at each others' throats?

Another oddball notion regards the "Turkish Arabajis" who demonstrated their bad intentions by robbing the people, and terrified them into thinking they would all be murdered. Who would believe the bandits would make good on their promise to "protect" the women? In addition, if the bandits were given a free hand to rob these women, why would they need to "persuade" the women to give up their goods? What was to stop the bandits from taking whatever they wanted? The logic here is as loopy as Hitler needing to persuade his officers to rest easy with genocidal notions by explaining, "Who, after all, remembers the extermination of the Armenians?" (As if the omnipotent and megalomaniacal Fuehrer needed to rationalize his actions.)

Many thousands of Sivas' Armenian men had formed bands. Since these caravans were guarded by only a handful of sometimes unprofessional gendarmes, why weren't these Armenian men on guard, in case the Turks tried their familiar "massacre" tricks? This is the question a U.S. senator raised while the mandate was being considered, comparing with how men from the USA would have behaved against a dominating force, if the Americans' women and children were threatened.

"One of our school girls was carried off by the Kurds twice but her companions made so much fuss that she was brought back." I wonder why people inclined to rape and murder would have cared about that "fuss."

Perhaps we are being asked to believe the Kurds were thieves with honor, which probably had some truth:

"By now, Graffam was becoming truly exhausted in her efforts to plead with persecutors. 'I was on the run all the time from one end of the company to the other,' she wrote. Sometimes the slightest mercies from Turkish and Kurdish persecutors produced in her an almost pathetic gratitude and even admiration, similar to the apologetic and sympathetic feelings sometimes developed by hostages for their hostage-takers. Graffam wrote grudgingly of her Kurdish persecutors shortly after she was ordered to leave the deportation that 'My hat was very big and the Kurds always made friends with me . . . These robbing murdering Kurds are certainly the best looking men I have seen in this country. They steal your goods but not everything. They do not take your bread nor your stick.'"

Regardless of how good-looking these Kurds were, they were "murdering and robbing." If they, along with the gendarmes, were so out of control, what prevented them from victimizing Miss Graffam herself? Who would have cared if she happened to have, as Billington Harper explains, an "obviously privileged status as the only foreigner present"?

"...[S]he also began to witness the magnitude of the disaster that awaited the "thousands and thousands" of deportees camping here: When we approached the bridge of the Tokmu Su it was certainly a fearful sight. As far as the eye could see over the plain was this slow moving line of oxcarts. For hours not a drop of water on the road and the sun pouring down its very hottest."

But the peculiar thing is, we are being led to believe all of these people were marked for death. If the idea was to kill them off, what stopped the "Nazi" Ottomans from doing so? Here, Graffam describes the basic necessities having been denied, yet there were Armenians as far as the eyes could see.

More Kurdish action; from the episodes Graffam related, looks like the Kurds got most of the rap:

"The Kurds working in the fields made attacks continually ... I saw the Kurds robbing the bodies of those not yet entirely dead. I walked or rather ran back and forth until we could see the bridge. In the midst of this chaos, Graffam attempted to continue in her role as foreign advocate for the Armenian exiles: The hills on each side of the bridge were white with Kurds who were throwing stones on the Armenians who were slowly winding their way to the bridge. I ran ahead and stood on the bridge in the midst of a crowd of Kurds until I was used up. I did not see anyone thrown into the water, but they said and I believe that an Elmas that has done handwork for me for years was thrown over the bridge by a Kurd. Our Bodville's wife was riding on a horse with a baby in her arms and a Kurd took hold of her to throw her over when another Kurd said 'She has a baby in her arms' and they let her go... The last day before reaching the river the people were crazy for water. The Kurds would sell water to them and if they liked the looks of any of the young girls, they would carry them off; if they did not like them they killed them."

Got that? The pretty girls were enslaved. The rest were killed. Logical result: Zero Armenian girls left.


  No government involvement

 Note how Billington Harper, our "objective" author, relates the following; Graffam must obviously have been mistaken in thinking the government was not to blame:

Despite increasing evidence of Turkish government officials' complicity in the massacres occurring around her, when Graffam was writing from Malaria on 7 August 1915, she was reluctant to accuse them openly of murder. It is possible that she felt constrained simply by the possibility of interception by censors. However, it is also likely (and perhaps understandable) that she was finding it impossible to believe that a government would willingly order the extermination of a portion of its own people. Graffam was, after all, witnessing a disaster of unprecedented proportions. It was the first large-scale modern genocide. In describing the Sivas Vali's decision not to allow her to complete the journey to Ourfa with the Armenian exiles, she wrote on 7 August 1915: "That seemed to me a very great mistake on the part of the government, for although the horrors of the present situation among the Armenians are sufficient, the false reports are so many, that a report of an eyewitness would have been of value if I could have continued the whole way."

How amusing that Graffam regarded herself as an impartial witness, helping to save face for the Ottoman government. What's more interesting is that even she was aware of the depth of Armenian propaganda, alluding to the many false reports.

At this early date, Graffam still apparently believed that eyewitness reports of the deportations would benefit the government by undermining "false reports" and she seemed almost reluctant to draw the dire conclusions suggested by the orders from Constantinople that forbade her to proceed to Ourfa. As she recognized the complexity of local Turkish and Kurdish involvement in the crimes, noting that some seemed fully to support actions against the Armenians while others were reluctant or even resistant to the actions, she was also still hesitant to issue general condemnations against the Turkish government. She had little way of determining the reliability of explanations and reassurances being offered by local government officials with whom she interacted during these desperate days. In August 1915, Graffam wrote (perhaps with censors in mind, but perhaps also with some sincerity): "I am not in any way criticizing the government. Most of the higher officials are at their wits end to stop these abuses and carry out the orders which they have received, but this is a flood and it carries all before it." From her limited perspective in the midst of the first tragedy of this sort in history, and in response to repeated denials of wrongdoing on the part of the many local officials with whom she spoke, she was still at least partly willing to believe that the government was not behind the crimes unfolding before her eyes.

"I am not in any way criticizing the government. Most of the higher officials are at their wits end to stop these abuses and carry out the orders which they have received, but this is a flood and it carries all before it." Isn't that the concise description as to what actually took place, as much as Susan Billington Harper desires to pooh-pooh it. This was a resettlement the Turks reluctantly considered only after too many examples of Armenian rebellion and treachery the moment the ailing Empire entered the war in November 1914.... just as the revolutionary leaders had planned. All the official orders had the safekeeping of the Armenians in mind. When the bankrupt country hit hard by famine and disease at all corners needed to undertake the colossal task of transporting hundreds of thousands, things were bound to go wrong. Particularly in the midst of desperate wartime, with superpower enemies at every gate... a shortage of manpower and resources, corrupt and/or revengeful locals and the chaos of overall conditions all contributed to the tragedies that resulted. Yet, the reality is: the majority of the Armenians survived. From a pre-war population of 1.5 million, the Armenian Patriarch reported up to 644,900 in the Empire after war's end, and before the implementation of Sèvres. Add to this figure the hundreds of thousands of refugees who made their way to other lands not controlled by the Ottomans. For example, Richard Hovannisian estimated 50,000 in Iran and ten times as many in Transcaucasia.


"It is unlikely that a precise order to exterminate every single Armenian came down from the ruling Turkish triumvirate of Tallat [sic] Bey, Minister of the Interior, Enver Pasha, Minister of War, and Djemal Pasha, Minister of the Navy. The responsibility of these men for collective deportation is clear; but deportation — a time-honoured strategy in nineteenth-century Turkey — while tantamount to death for the old, the weak and the infirm, was not genocide."

Prof. Jay Winter, Editor of the propaganda book this chapter was a part of. From his earlier work, THE GREAT WAR, 1996, Penguin Books, P. 148. Here is an analysis of his earlier views.

Yet, Billington Harper, in her haste to make her reader believe it was all systematically planned, gives later examples from "Miss Graffam's Own Story" that indicate her change of heart:

For instance [she recounted in 1919] there was a very deep ravine where the Turks used to cast the people and they were killed, but the number of people who suffered this particular form of death was very great so that finally the ravine became very full, and I know of two women who were thrown in after this ravine was full and they were not killed. When they regained consciousness they had to crawl through the dead bodies to get out.

Now this is the typical example of orally-passed Armenian horror story that goes off the deep end.... as with this one, where another missionary related that "The Turks also took all the babies in the town and threw them into the river until it overflowed its banks." (Or this one, where an Armenian related that yet another missionary saw "corpses... piled high to the top of the trees.") Remember: as proven in their prayers from the period, the missionaries' Godly mission was to vilify the Turk. Even if some were more pure-hearted, it must have been irresistible for them to believe just about any fantastic account told by their beloved Christian Armenians.

How many bodies would it take to fill up a ravine, or to cause a river to overflow? The numbers would be, for all practical purposes, "astronomical." Where did all of these ravine bodies go? Nobody was going to take a shovel to bury these bodies, especially if they had been left at a ravine for such a long time. Since these mass murders occurred outside today's borders of modern Turkey, why haven't they been excavated? Since the mortality was "1.5 million," how insurmountable would it be (with the Armenians' deep pockets) to dig up a few thousand of these bones? Why haven't the Armenians given it a go these many years? The Turks performed many excavations, a sampling of the half-million that were killed from Armenian (and some Russian) treatment. Those like Susan Billington Harper don't care about these "less human" victims, of course.

The Turkish Government has repeatedly been accused of trying to “end the Armenian question by ending the Armenians,” but the evidence of many persons who travelled through the country shortly after the previous disturbances is, that with very rare exceptions only able-bodied men were slain, and not the women, children, or aged. This in itself would confirm the opinion that the measures were purely repressive and, however severe, were taken in the interest of public safety.

Unfortunately the Turk never deigns to explain his own case, and thus the pro-Armenians always manage to hold the field, appalling the public by incessant reiteration and exaggeration as to the number of victims, and apparently valuing to its full extent the wisdom of the old Eastern proverb: give a lie twenty-four hours’ start, and it will take a hundred years to overtake it. Later on, when the true figures become available, only a very few inquisitive people realize the falsity of the earlier stories.

C. F. Dixon-Johnson, The Armenians, 1916


Graffam also gives a "personally witnessed" massacre account in Malatia where "You could tell where a massacre had taken place by the migration of birds and dogs," that Billington Harper provides to "prove" genocide. Whether or not this particular account was true, nobody is denying there were massacres. But as "My Lai" demonstrated, massacres do not always lead to "genocide." Who were behind these massacres? Were they government agents, acting under orders?

Quite possibly, they were Kurds. On her trip home to Sivas (where her Armenian driver was "taken away and killed because a Turk had recognized his true identity, the Partridges add"):

"There are regular places along the road where the official records of those who were killed were kept. Accurate records were saved and when the Kurds killed the Armenians they kept a record, and then went to these officially designated places to collect their money which the government had promised."

That's the closest Graffam has come to "genocidal proof." (Of course, hearsay is not factual proof, especially if the source is a conflicted missionary.) It must have cost the bankrupt Ottomans a fortune to pay the Kurds, who sound to have done such a complete job of "annihilation." (I wonder what proof the Kurds needed to present, to confirm the people killed? For example, in the Belgian Congo [toll: 10 million killed, many mutilated], the proof was chopped-off right hands.) It's remarkable that Miss Graffam managed to get the skinny on this confidential information... she must have "befriended" a lot of Kurds and Turks. Or did she simply accept the word of her beloved Armenians?

Here is where we can pin down Graffam's dishonesty.

The above comes from her 1919 account, Miss Graffam's Own Story, as told to a stenographer. The information she provides is of paramount importance... it demonstrates the government was involved. Yet for all the opportunities she had to relay previous messages, from the censored variety to the freely written "official reports" she released through consular and diplomatic channels, she evidently did not reveal this critical information that she "witnessed" all the way back in 1915. Quite the contrary, her 1915 accounts let the government off the hook. Can we imagine what a field day Morgenthau would have had with some real genocidal proof, had the energetic missionary put her mind to collecting the real evidence?

Perhaps the missionary was confusing the matter with this other reward policy. [Read Here]

As she became more fervent in 1919, she might well have been thinking her Godly duty was being served by making greater incriminating statements. (Another 1919 example being the German who foretold the "genocide" in 1914.) Shame on her, and shame on present day partisans who pass off these reports as "fact."

"Back in Sivas, local government officials presented her with a cruel ultimatum: either she stay in Sivas to care for remaining orphans in the Swiss Orphanage, or the orphans would also be deported. Graffam opted to stay. Her sister and brother-in-law, who had since returned to America, believed that 'the underlying motive' for this government offer 'was the unwillingness to have her come back to America, and tell the story of the deportations as she saw them.'"

At this point in the story, it appears there is nothing to stop Graffam and the Partridges from making up all sorts of claims. If these brutal Turks really wanted to seal Graffam's lips, the easiest thing to arrange in what sounds like no man's land would have been a little "accident." (After all, it is in the nature of "The Terrible Turk" to kill... isn't it?)

"She also obtained permission to begin visiting Armenian men in prison condemned to death by edict without trial. These numbered between 1,000 and 2,000 (estimates vary). Every night, between 100 and 200 of them were taken to a spot a few miles from the city where they were 'compelled to dig trenches, disrobe, knocked in the head, [and] thrown into the trenches and buried.' Graffam wrote: 'I went to the prison every night to say good-bye to them.' In the case of imprisoned Michael Frengulian, the graduate of Oberlin College and Professor of Mathematics who had earlier rescued her on the road from Erezrum, she shared his agonized deliberations about whether to accept his captors' offer to save his life by converting to Islam and teaching in a government school. Frengulian refused the offer and Graffam returned the next morning to find an empty prison cell..."

Looks like the monstrous Turks didn't even bother to kill these Armenians... they appear to have been knocked in the head, and buried alive. (I wonder who "saw" these events taking place... it certainly was not our "eyewitness to genocide.") Graffam is pulling out the stops, here. Funny how the Turks have spotted her to be a dangerous conveyor of genocidal information, and yet they are still kind enough to grant her a pass to prison. And what's Michael Frengulian doing, still behind bars after all this time? (Earlier in this chapter — not related here — the reader was given the strong impression [via Graffam's coded messages] Mike was already a goner.)

And there's the old "forced conversion to Islam" bugaboo rearing its ugly, propagandistic head. Even some of those Armenians who tried this "conversion" trick were not exempted from the relocation process. This is the sort of "gold" that missionaries loved to exploit for the Christian sympathizing masses back home. Noble Christian is given one last chance to save his life, and he refuses... better to die than to be a heathen! (Heck, I would have converted, and when the coast was clear, converted back.) I wonder why the Ottoman Turks suddenly thought of the "forced conversion" angle, when for six centuries, the Empire was famed for its tolerance? (Maybe they figured the "forced conversion" of the missionary-brainwashing, particularly in imperialist Christian-controlled colonies, worked out to be an advantageous deal... what did "tolerance" get the Ottomans, after all? Much backstabbing, and the vicious slander that goes on to this day.)

After the war, not incidentally, a small fortune was spent by the puppet Ottoman government — in an attempt to appease these unrelenting accounts of propaganda — to track down some of these "victims" of forced conversion, to get them back to their previous state. ("Even women who had married Muslim men of their own accord were summoned one by one, and were asked again if they had consented, and those who declared that they were pleased were left to their wishes.")

Turkish lad whom Armenians wanted to kill by lighting a fire on his abdomen

It wasn't just the refugees who were exposed to famine. Take a
look at this Turkish victim "whom Armenians wanted
to kill by lighting a fire on his abdomen"; (Collection
of Photographs, First World War, Album no. 4,
Photo No. 69, Archives of the Department of Military
History and Strategic Studies, Turkish General Staff.)
It seems the good Christian missionary turned a blind eye
to the other skeletal sufferers.

Lt. General Sir W. N. Congreve to Chief of Imperial General Staff,
General Sir Henry Wilson, Cairo, 19 October 1919:
"I did not see a thin (Armenian refugee) amongst a
good many thousand I saw, and most looked cheery
too. The massacres seem to have been a good deal

"'At this time,' Graffam remembered in 1919, 'I was like a skeleton and looked like a refugee myself. I was half crazed, I could not be left alone, and yet I could not give in ... because refugees were beginning to come from Marsovan and other places.' The needs of refugees being so much greater than her own, Graffam once again became fully absorbed in providing assistance, first to orphans and prisoners, and then also to the many Armenian soldiers who had not yet been killed."

Now what are these refugees doing, coming back so soon? (We don't know exactly what time frame this is, but I suspect perhaps within a year after the "deportation" experience?)

And why weren't those Armenian soldiers killed already?

"They were not killed at first and we had regiments of Armenian soldiers to care for. I knew every man in every regiment and they used to come and see me until finally the Turks posted a notice outside my yard and then caught and killed twenty Armenians who tried to get to me. We were able to help them a little through the doctors."


On one hand, it sounds like the soldiers were free to travel ("they used to come and see me") and the next, twenty were killed... as if the Turks were looking for an excuse to kill them? Let me repeat... why weren't they already killed? And let's not forget the new question... why were these soldiers allowed to travel freely? (Weren't they supposed to be put under a tight leash, marked for death?)

(Naturally, the epilogue to this tale is that after a year and a half all the soldiers were put into prison, transported to "where they were needed" [Graffam learning of this through the German consul], 2,000 killed, some converting to Islam, "Some of the soldiers hid in the mountains, in caves, and it was part of our relief work to try and get food to them." Graffam tells us these soldiers were shipped to "a certain place" that presumably was not revealed, and yet she was still able to help the Armenian soldiers. I guess her Armenian network must have been in the know, as to the location.)

But if these soldiers were allowed to travel freely (and even of those who escaped, if otherwise), of the ones who went to the mountains, how many decided to join the war that the Armenians had treacherously declared against their own nation? There was already a huge network of rebels in place:

"...10s of thousands
of Armenians of Sivas who formed chette bands did not serve..."

Justin McCarthy, March 24, 2005, in a speech before theTurkish Grand National Assembly. The professor prefaced this statement with the information that there were 50,000 Armenian men from the eastern "war zone" who did not serve in the Ottoman army, men Enver Pasha was depending on before he embarked on the disastrous Sarikamish campaign. (From the autumn 1914 Dashnak conference in Erzurum, where Ottoman-Armenians falsely promised their loyalty.) There were many more Armenians from other regions, such as Miss Graffam's Sivas, who also avoided conscription, or deserted. She gives the propagandistic idea that all the Armenian men were killed, which is nonsense — otherwise, what took some 2,500 years to reach a worldwide population of 3 million could not have more than doubled to 7 million, in less than a century.

What happened was that the men escaped in droves to serve in the armies of the enemy, or to hit the Ottoman Army in the back, from their mountain retreats. If Graffam was supporting these traitors ("it was part of our relief work to try and get food to them"), she would certainly have been guilty of "treason" (see next paragraph). But the main point here is that 10s of thousands of Sivas Armenians formed chette bands (chettes were lawless gangs, committing all kinds of mayhem.. like the Kurds Graffam provided examples of), and Graffam deceptively makes not a single reference to this fact, in her zeal to present the notion of martyred, innocent Christians. .

The 2,000 Armenian soldiers put to death appears to be true. Some of the perpetrators paid for this crime, when General Vehib instigated court-martial proceedings, and hanged a few of those responsible. Strange, isn't it, that an Ottoman commander would do such a thing, if there were truly a government-backed genocide policy?

Quite the contrary, Vehib Pasha was only following his government's orders. Talat Pasha sent the following August 29, 1915 telegram to the Governors of Hüdaverdigar, Ankara, Konya, Izmit, Adana, Maras, Urfa, Halep, Zor, Sivas, Kütahya, Karesi, Nigde, Mamuretülaziz, Diyarbekir, Karahisar-i Sahib, Erzurum and Kayseri Provinces and sub-Provinces:.

"The purpose of the Government regarding the moving of Armenians from their original settlements is to prevent their anti-governmental actions; and to discourage their ambitions of establishing an Armenian State. Their massacre is completely out of question; on the contrary the safety of the groups during immigration should be ensured; and while measures for their catering should be taken, the 'Immigrants Allocation' should be used to meet the cost. Armenians who are allowed to stay in their original settlements should not be relocated afterwards. As it was stated before the immigration of the dependents of military forces; Protestant and Catholic Armenians; and artisans (in accordance with the need) are definitely prohibited by the Government severe legal measures. Against the gendarmes and government officials who attack the immigrating groups or those who lead such attacks severe legal measures should be taken and such individuals should immediately be Court-Martialed. Relevant provincial and sub-provincial authorities shall be held responsible for such events." (DH. EUM 2. Branch, 68/80; see this page's bottom for source.)

Let's bear in mind no Armenians were tried for the slaughter of the same number of Turkish prisoners, as reported by Ohanus Appressian in "Men Are Like That" (p. 132):

In this movement we took with us three thousand Turkish soldiers who had been captured by the Russians and left on our hands when the Russians abandoned the struggle. During our retreat to Karaklis two thousand of these poor devils were cruelly put to death. I was sickened by the brutality displayed, but could not make any effective protest. Some, mercifully, were shot. Many of them were burned to death. The method employed was to put a quantity of straw into a hut, and then after crowding the hut with Turks, set fire to the straw. One thousand of these prisoners were spared because it was known in Europe that we had inherited a large number of them from the Russians, and that no doubt an accounting would have to be made for them some day. The thousand who were spared were later liberated, as we had no means of caring for prisoners. No doubt they again took up arms against us; so in a way the killing of the two thousand was justifiable.

We're told "Graffam was tried for treason and narrowly missed death by execution." She must have been cleared of all charges, since it doesn't sound like she faced any punishment.

"...[S]he decided that she would surely, sooner or later, suffer death at the hands of the Turks for she was continually persecuted and interfered with in her relief work. She determined to call her life as dearly as possible. Having reached this conclusion deliberately, she lost all fear and pursued her plans, disregarding all the obstacles put in her way. She constantly appealed to the officials citing their own religion, 'What will you say at the Day of Judgment?' The Turks could not understand her and became afraid of her."


It appears the Turks kept cowering in her wake:

After the war, Graffam was well placed to assume leadership of the Sivas Unit of the Near East Relief, which had been incorporated by an act of the United States Congress. Eventually, Graffam directed a staff of twenty Americans in bringing supplies and assistance by railroad to returning deportees and other victims of the war. Rumors of her influence became widespread in the region. When a representative of an Armenian relief organization was approaching Sivas early in 1919, he struck up a conversation with a refugee: "How are the Armenians in Sivas," he asked? "Oh they are safe," was the reply. "How so," asked the American? "Miss Graffam is in Sivas, and the Turks are all afraid of her," was the reply.

After an Armenian surgeon ("one of the best in whom she had complete confidence") operated on her once she fell ill, she died (although we're told "The operation was successful," in a classic case of the old gag, "The operation was a success, but the patient died"; to Billington Harper, the Armenians can do no wrong) on August 23 [or the 17th], 1922, "mourned by the thousands whose lives she had saved and for whom she gave her own."


Reflections from one of Miss Graffam's students

Get set for an example of "Armenian Oral History":

"With their puritanical, evangelical zeal, these same missionaries set out to enlighten the Armenians, who had already practiced Christianity in their Armenian Orthodox churches.

Throughout twenty centuries of religious wars and persecution, the Armenians had held fast to their Christian beliefs. This division caused by these missionaries created a separation in the church, a division the Armenian people did not need at such a time.

Miss Mary Graffam, a missionary from the United States, was director of the American Girls School of Sivas. Soon, she became the favorite teacher of many of us girls in Sivas. She left her home in Andover, Massachusetts, and came to Turkey at the age of thirty. In June 1891, she had graduated from Oberlin College where she majored in mathematics. Her decision to go to Turkey as a missionary found her in Sepastia in the autumn of 1901. For twenty years, she taught stories from the Bible that made the characters come alive. She was the principal who counseled and encouraged me in my studies. From her, I learned the Old and New Testaments.

The missionaries, who wrote about us Armenians in their letters to America, watched, to their horror, our starvation, disease and death by torture. They tried to help as best they could . . . to no avail.

We heard that from 1915 to 1921 Miss Graffam joined the Armenian women on the march to Malatia, enduring the same hardships. Her already declining health suffered.

Friends told me that the Turkish government interfered with her wish to be part of the march because they did not want any American witnesses. She described her eyewitness account of these infernal events in the "Missionary Herald" issue of December 1915. She would complain to the Turks over and over, Asvadsma Ga (There is a God)' to no avail. They stripped her and beat her over and over. Soon afterwards, she died. According to her wishes, they buried her in Sepastia, in the garden adjoining the Girls' School. Forty-two students from her orphanage sang over her grave. "


Naturally (in the third-from-last paragraph) the missionaries wrote about the Armenians' "starvation, disease and death by torture"... even though the last item was nothing they could have directly witnessed. The "starvation, disease and death" of Muslims didn't matter.

As for the last paragraph, if the Ottoman (here it's "Turkish") government was afraid they "did not want any American witnesses," why did they allow Graffam to be part of the march... that the author herself reveals in the previous paragraph? (Where we are told "Graffam joined the Armenian women on the march"; we know from Graffam's own story there were men as well as women.) The author does not even make an attempt at explanation. But, of course, friends told her, and it's always good enough for pro-Armenians to be told. Otherwise, what good would the hearsay of "Armenian Oral History" serve? We get a good taste of the worth of such "Armenian Oral History" ... from the author, we learn Graffam's repeated beatings (of course, she would have needed to be stripped first, by the Lustful, Terrible Turks) led to her death.

From "Silences: My Mother's Will to Survive," by Alice Tashjian. A friend of the author's revealed on an Internet forum that Ms. Tashjian once had lunch with Bernard Lewis, and the friend assured readers that Prof. Lewis had difficulty sleeping that night. I can assure you if such were the case, a guilty conscience would have had nothing to do with it. Prof. Lewis must have been hit with a bad case of "Armenius Fanaticus."

 Miss Graffam's Own Story, with the help of the accounts of her missionary relatives, tells us — in true missionary fashion — that the Turks were trying to knock off every Armenian in sight. While she let the Ottoman government off the hook at first, she must have "revised" her views, particularly with that bit where she wrote the government paid the Kurds to do the killing work. Assuming she believed in what she wrote, or whether she was doing her Godly duty... hearsay does not constitute factual evidence, regardless of how much her doting mini-biographer loves to accept every claim at face value.

Those who wish to get to the bottom of the real facts can't afford to form conclusions on the strength of religious "faith"... the real truth-seeker must consider "reality." As much as missionaries and current day genocide advocates zealously press the notion that there was a full-fledged extermination policy going on, the reality is that the majority of Armenians survived. If the idea was for the government to murder all the Armenians, the representative of Armenian Protestants, Zenop Bezjian, could not have told Ambassador Morgenthau (in Sept. 1915) that the "Armenians at Zor were fairly well satisfied; that they have already settled down to business and are earning their livings; those were the first ones that were sent away and seem to have gotten there without being massacred."

Morgenthau was told half a million Armenians were displaced, and Toynbee reported the same number of survivors by early April of 1916 ["Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire"]. The previous month, Vahan Cardashian (in a letter to Lord Bryce) quoted Morgenthau as having said the Ottoman attitude toward Armenians was passive and that the "Armenians were found in good numbers in almost all the interior cities of Turkey." [The Armenian Review, Winter 1957, p. 107.] The Nazis kept chugging along with their extermination efforts well into the final days of WWII. The Ottomans stopped the resettlement policy in 1916, and allowed the refugees to return at war's end.

Mary Louise Graffam observed a very brutal period of human history, where everyone suffered.... but because of her extremist agenda and faith-based partisanship (as we read above, Hovannisian wrote, "No witness advocated Armenian independence more fervently than Mary Louise Graffam"), she dishonestly chose to highlight only one side of the story. She was a witness to suffering, the exclusive suffering of the people she deemed most valuable, while ignoring the suffering of those who did not measure as much on (her idea of) the humanity scale. Only to those who champion propaganda could she be labeled a "witness to genocide."







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