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The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939, October 06, 1918, NATIONAL EDITION, The American Weekly Section, Image 24

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''MyTwcAfears of Torture in Ravishea,Ma
Tke Only Christian Armenian Girl to Escape at Last from ttc
Murdering Turks and Kurds and tke Wicked Harem of tke
Sultans Bloodtkirsty Officials Reveals, for tke First Time,
tke Details of tke Wkolesale Massacres and Seizure of
Thousands of Young Vomen, Wkick Ske Witnessed
Uli - sbVt r" " a
Miss Mardiganian, Safe at Last in America, Weaving Memories
of Her Massacred People Into the Beantiinl Laces
That Every Armenian Girl Delights to Make.
(Continued from Last Sunday)
ONE prayer to Allah ; one prayer to God. One with
our lips, one with our hearts.
That was how we left Malatia, the Charncl
City, where one hundred thousand Christian Armenian
men and other thousands of Armenian women and chil
dren had been massacred, to begin the one hundred-mile
walk, to Diyarbekir.
Only women and girls ever left Malatia. Such men
as were not massacred at their homes in the north or on
the roads were killed in the "Charnel City." Boys and
girls -under ten or eleven years old were taken outside
the city and drowned except the healthiest girls, who
were sold to rich Turks, who wanted them to raise for
.their harems, and the strong boys, who were sold to
Turkish farmers.
Fifteen thousand -women left -Malatia that morning
with me for Diyarbekir. As I told last Sunday I had
been placed, as a special favor to' the American lady. Miss
McLaine, with a party of " turned' ' Armenians, all young
women, who were promised by the Vali, or Governor, pro
tection on the road to Diyarbekir. There were two hun
dred of us in this company, and all but me had agreed to
be Mohammedans to save their lives or their relatives.
So when the Muezzins on the mosque called the First
Prayer just before we left the city, all of us in this party
had to kneeltoward Mecca and recite the sunrise devotion
to Allah and his prophet.
But this prayer was on the lips only. They had said
the rek'ah the Mohammedan creed and had thus re
nounced their Christianity, but I know that none of them
had done so with sincerity. They were faithful in secret
to their faith. So from their hearts, as from mine, they
said their real prayer1 that God would keep them, and
save them, through the long days of the hundred-mile
walk to Diyarbekir.
Our party was at the head of the column, with a small
band of soldiers guarding us. Only Turkish police guarded
the rest of the long line. Our guards said the Vali at
Malatia could not spare many soldiers -for such a long
journey as that to Diyarbekir. They said the Kurds
would take charge of the refugees beyond the city
It was very hot those days scores of aged women
dropped to the ground within the first hour or two outside
the city, prostrated by the heat and famished for water,
of which there was only that which we could beg from
Turkish farmers along the way. The mother of two girls
in my party, who, with her daughters, already had walked
a hundred miles into Malatia, was struck by a soldier
because she fell behind. The blow knocked her down,
and she could not get up. The soldiers would not let us
take time to revive her Her two daughters had to kiss
her good-by and leave her moaning by the roadside.
One of the two girls was a bride a widowed bride.
She had seen her husband and father killed in the town
of Kangai, on the Sivas road, and when the Kurds were
about to kill her mother because she was old, she begged
a Turkish officer who was near by to save her The
officer had asked her if she would renounce her religion
to save her mother, and she agreed she and her younger
sister. So they had saved their mother thus far only
to leave her to die by the road.
The sisters walked on with their arms about each
other 'They dared not even look around to where their
mother lay upon the ground. "When we could hear the
woman's moans no longer I walked over to them and
asked them to let me stay near them. I knew how they
must feel. I wondered if my own mother and my little
brothers and sisters had lived. A soldier in Malatia had
told me the exiles from Tchemesh-Gedzak, our city, had
passed through that city weeks before and had gone, as
we were going, toward Diyarbekir. Perhaps, he said,
they might still be there when we arrived if we ever did.
The Turkish officials in Diyarbekir allowed many refu
gees to camp outside the town, this soldier said, as long
as they had money to pay him. My mother still had
money, I knew. So I was hopeful and pretty soon the
two sisters began to sympathize with my hopes, and that
softened their own sorrow.
If they had only known then what was coming ! I saw
one of them whipped to death a few days later and the
Other hung by her feet until she died from a window of
the house of Hadji Ghafotir in Genlik!
The Turkish gendarmes left the party two hours out-
House of Hadji-Ghafour.
side the city. We halted, and there was great excite
ment The city was no longer in sight, only tie great
empty plains and mountains and valleys. All feared they
had been Ted into a trap of some kind that something
terrible was to happen. This feeling was increased when
the soldiers guarding our apostasized party took M
further down the road and made us rest there away from
the others.
It was almost sundown when a great cry went up.
Wc looked to the east, where there was a wide pass
through the hills, and saw a band of horsemen riding
down upon us. They were Kurds we could tell from the
way they rode. The villagers shouted "It is Kerim
Bey, the friend of Djebbar. It is well for us to scatter!"
With this the villagers scrambled back into the hills,
afraid, it seemed, the Kurd chieftain would not welcome
their foraging among his charges.
To say that Kerim Bey was "a friend of Djebbar"
explained his coming with his band, and what came after.
Djebbar Effendi, as I have told before, was military com
mandant of the district, sent by the Sultan to oppress the
Armenians during the deportations. His word was law,
and always it was a cruel word. Kerim Bey was the most
feared of the Kurd chieftains he- and Musa Bey, from
whom I had escaped, as I have told. Both were of the
Aghja Daghi Kurds. Kerim Bey and his band ruied the
countryside, and frequently revolted against the Turks.
To keep him as an ally Djebbar Effendi had given into his
keeping many companies of exiled Armenians sent from
Malatia to Diyarbekir and beyond. Kerim Bey was to be
our keeper for a hundred miles !
There- were hundreds of horsemen in Kerim's band.
They had ridden far and were tired, too tired to take up
the march in the moonlight, but not too tired to begin at
once the nightly revels which kept .us terrorized for so
many days after. Scarcely had they hobbled their horses
in little groups that stretched along the side of the column
of refugees when they began to collect their toll. Screams
and cries for mercy and the groans of mothers and sisters
filled the night
I saw terrible things that night which I cannot tell.
When I see them in my dreams now I scream, so even now,
safe in America, my nights are not happy A group of
Kurds were so torturing one young woman that the
women who saw became crazed and rushed in a body at
the wicked men to save the girl from more misery For
a moment the Kurds were trampled under the feet of the
maddened women, and the girl was hurried away.
When they recovered themselves, the Kurds drew
their long, sharp knives and set upon the women and
killed them all. I think there must have been fifty of
them. They piled their bodies together and set fire to
their clothes. While some fanned the blaze, others
searched for the girl who had been rescued, but they
could not find her. So, baffled in this, they caught another
girl and carried her to the flaming pile and threw her onto
it When she tried to escape they threw her back until
she was burned to death.
When the Kurds approached my party, the apostates,
the soldiers w.ith us turned them away. "You maydo as
you wish with the others these are protected," said the
Turkish officer in charge of us. "It is the command of
Djebbar Effendi." But this same officer was not content
to be without his amusement while the Kurds were revel
ling. Five soldiers came from his tent and sought a youpg
woman they thought would be to their chief's liking.
They tore aside the veils of the women whose forms sug
gested they might be young and pleasing until they came
upon a girl from the town of Dcrenda, toward Sivas. She
was very pretty, but one of the soldiers, when they were
dragging her off, recognized her.
"Kah!" he gunted to his comrades. "This one will
not do. She is not longer a maidl" They pushed her
aside, with an oath, and sought further. But each girl
they laid their hands on after that cried to them, "I, too,
am not a virgin !' Each one was given a blow, but each
was thrust aside when she claimed a shame.
Soon the soldiers saw tey were being cheated of
the choicest prey. They turned upon some older women
and seized three. One of them they forced to her knees
and two of the soldier? held her head back between their
hands until her face was turned to l- "- oother
ON these pages seven weeks ago began the story
of Aurora Mardiganian, the only Christian
Armenian girl to escape the Turkish mas
sacres of the Christians in Asia Minor, which began
in her city, Tchemesh-Gedzak, near Harpout, three
years ago on Easter Sunday. ,
Little Aurora's father and elder brother met
their death at the hands of the Turks. Aurora, al
though enly fourteen, was a well-developed and a
very pretty girL The Turkish governor had already
marked her for his harem. He promised to-spare
her mether and brothers awl sisters if she would join
his barest slaves, but her devoted priest and. her
atotber refused to kt her nuke the sacrifice. K
The Pacha summoned all the remaining Christian
jura and massacred them. The Turks carried eeT
to their harem seores of the prettiest girls. Aurora
aad her jester Managed to elude the Turkish soldiers
aaly f er 2 while.
The with tie 4,000 (Arietta womb and chO
drea of her etty, Aurora was. takes late the desert,
where, after bag hears ef saff eriag at the bauds ef
the erael Zaptietht, ske was states, with ether pretty
gkk, by JCaea Bey, the aeterieae Kacd eatoftnh.
Musa Bey seld her ta Keamal Xffeadi, treat whoa
she eseaped fey jaeaatag iate the Baphrates. She
rejoined her party ef refagees fa the deeerf aad
again took ap the leag tramp aader the erael
scourging ef the Zaptieths.
She has teld ef the fate ef the yeaag wiaiu of
Keban-Madea, aad ef the "Baceher Sfcep" at Arab,
kiro; hew she was stele the eeeead tisae trem her
mether; of the "eraefctxie" ef sixteen heaatiful
Christian girk sear Malatia; ef the fate ef the school
gkls of Kirk-Cos, aad ef the erael mamaeres In the
"Gfcamel City."
To-day she tells of the Christian slaves in the
hoase of Hadji Ghafour, the forced apoeta rising of
the Christian girls at Geulik, aad of her own recep
tion in the hare-m.
With the permission of the American Committee
for Armenian aad Syria Belief ef Xew York City,
the diary of her terrible experiences will be eea
tinned from Sunday te Sunday on these pages.
soldier pressed his thumbs
upea her eyeballs. Then he
"If there be not a comely
virgin here, then by Allah's
will this wench's eyes come
There was a cry of hor
ror, then a shriek. A girl
who must have been of my
own age, almost fifteen
then, and whom I had often
noticed because her hair
was almost brown, so much
lighter than that of nearly
all Armenian girls, threw
herself, screaming, onto the
ground at the soldiers' feet
Winding her hands about
the legs of the soldier whose
thumbs were pressing
against the woman's eyes,
she cried:
"Mymother! ray mother!
Spare her here I am I
am still a maid!"
The soldiers seized the
girl, guffawing loudly at
the success of their plan.
As they lifted her between
them she flung out her
hands' toward the woman,
who had fallen in a heap
. when the soldiers released
her. "Mother," the girl
screamed, "kiss me kiss
The poor woman strug
gled to her feet and reached
out her arms, but her eyes
were hurt and she couldn't
see. The girl begged the
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The Famous Ancient Armenian Monastery on the Diyarbekir Road from
Other Christian Girls Who Had Taken Refuge There Were Stolen by
Monks Were Tortured and Slain. Aurora Will Tell About It
soldiers to carry her to her mother. "I will go I will go,
and be willing but let me kiss my mother!" she cried.
But the soldiers hurried away with her, still laughing and
jesting with themselves.
The mother stood, leaning on those who crowded close
to comfort her Then, suddenly, she drooped and sank
to the ground. When we bent over her she was dead. We
sat by the body until the daughter came back after the
moon had crossed the sky, and it must have been midnight.
The girl hid her face when she came near until she'could
bury it in her mother's shawl. She sat by the body until
morning, when we took up our march again.
Every night such things happened.
Other parties along that road bad fared the same.
Sometimes I counted the bodies of exiles who had pre
ceded us until I could count no longer. They laid at the
roadside, where their jmards'had left them, for miles. I
girls, and we were marched into the city.
. The narrow streets were crowded with Turks
Arabs, curious to see us. They hooted at us, and mad
cruel jests as we passed. Among the apostates were ma
old women, whose daughters had swore to be Moha
dans to save them. When the crowds saw these thd
laughed with ridicule. Once the citizens swooped dov
upon the party and, unhindered by our guards, set
four of the older women, stripped off their clothing
carried them away on their shoulders, shouting m
glee. We never heard what became of these women.
think they were just tossed about by the crowd until thd
We were taken to a house which we soon learned wJ
the residence of Hadji Ghafour. which looked as thouf
it must be one of the largest houses in the city. Only dl
vout Moslems who have made the pilgrimage to MecJ
wondered, sometimes, if God could make room for so may be called "Hadji." Hadji Ghafour was looked up
many of His people in Heaven.
On the eleventh day we came to Geulik, the Turkish
city where the caravans for Damascus and Beroit spend
the night in great, busy khans and then turn southward.
There are even more caravans now than there used to be,
for now they travel only to the Damascus railway and then
return. Geulik is the home of many rich Turks, who profit
from the traders or who have retired from posts of power
and profit at Constantinople.
We camped outside the city. Early tho next morning
scores of bashi-bazouks, with military officers, came out
Kerim Bev met them, and there was a short conference.
Then the Kurds and bashi-bazouks began to gather the
prettiest girls. They tore them from their relatives and
half dragged, half carried them to where guards were
placed to take charge of them.
AH morning the bashi-bazouks carried young women
away until more than two hundred had been accented by
the chief officer Then the aoostates, with whom I had
been given refuge, were ordered to ioin these weeping
as one of the most religions of men. He was very wealtll
and his house was a khan, or open resting place, for tl
owners of great caravans, who always became his gue
durinc their stay in the 'city.
In the house of Hadji Ghafour we were crowded into!
laree room, with bare stone walls, which, I learned late
was where camels and dromedaries were often quartert
over night when the caravans came. Of the apostal
party only a hundred were left; of the girls who had bee
stolen from the others tnere were more man two nunare
as I have said.
Into the great room soon came he whom I learned latl
was Hadii Ghafour himself, boldiers accompanied nt
We of the apostate party had been put into one cornj
..l t? t 1 A. M.nt.1. ..n TTn.3:. !ll.am.w a.a J
Wlin DaSm-DaZOUKS Ul IW1 lU. J-IUUJI uumuui ga'c
order to his soldiers and they separated the most plea
eirls and the vouneer of the women who had been marriJ
from the others. Of these, with me among them, the!
wprp onlv thirtv. and we were taken out of the room i
into another, not so large, on another floor of the hen

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