"Under the pretext of draft all remaining male residents of many cities and villages, between the ages of sixteen and seventy, were now taken away, notwithstanding the fact that many had paid the legal exemption tax and others were totally unfit. These columns were led off into the mountains and shot down wholesale, of course, without any kind of trial, as circumstances made legal proceedings impossible."
Simultaneously the wholesale disarming of the Armenian populations was ordered. Dr. Lepsius explains that not only was the carrying of arms for self-defence general in all Turkey on account of the total lack of public safety, but in many cases Armenian populations had been armed by the Committee of the Young Turks itself. The constitutional political organization of the Armenians, called "Dashnnkzagan," literally "confederates," had been the staunchest and most efficient ally of the Young Turks in the long struggle for constitutional reform, and after the convocation of the first parliament whole Armenian communities received arms and ammunition from the Young Turks, who counted upon their assistance in case of a counter revolutionary coup.
All these arms were now withdrawn, and in the overwhelming majority of cases the Armenians delivered their weapons without resistance, in many cases obtaining receipts from the authorities. Nevertheless, in the out lying districts this measure led to the most terrible acts of violence. A detachment of gendarmes arrived in a village and demanded that a chance number of firearms be turned in, 200 or more. Naturally, in many cases, there was nothing like this large number of guns in the possession of villagers. If, however, the full number was not delivered instantly the gendarmes arrested the mayor and the elders and mistreated them under the pretext that they had the weapons concealed.
"In many cases torture was employed," Dr. Lepsius writes. "The favorito method of the gendarmes and jailers was the bastinado, which, applied ruthlessly, led frequently to the death of tho victim. Also, the hair and nails of the victims were torn out; people were branded with glowing irons and all kinds of horrors were committed on women and children. Frequently the villagers were forced to purchase arms, at preposterous prices, from their Turkish neighbors or from Kurds and Circassians, in order to satisfy the requisitioning squads of gendarmerie.
"Simultaneously with the disarming of the Armenian population the Turks were systematically armed. The local Young Turkish clubs organized armed gangs, called Tehettehs, composed partly of convicts discharged for the purpose. Notorious Kurdish brigand chieftains were taken with their following into military service. These bands were given freedom to raid and pillage Armenian villages, to slaughter the men, to carry away the women and girls. Many caravans composed of deportees were exterminated, partially or completely, by these gangs. Through the carrying off of girls, women and children into Turkish harems and Kurdish villages tens of thousands of Christians were subjected not only to dishonor but also to forcible conversion to Islam.
Slaughter en Masse
"... Wherever men were driven off together with the women and children they were often sorted out soon after getting under way, or else slaughtered en masse in the organized surprise attacks. As a result less than half of the total number arrived at the points of destination. The caravans that had started out in the north consisted, when they arrived in the south, mostly of children below ten, elderly women, Invalids and old men. The men and boys had been slaughtered, the girls, young women and numberless children raped. The remnant are a helpless mob of beggars, delivered to want and misery and perishing through hunger and disease in the morasses and deserts of Mesopotamia."
Dr. Lepsius gives a detailed account of the mass deportations in the vilayets of Trapezunt and Erzerum, conducted under the above described methods. He quotes in extenso the report of the American Consul at Trapezunt, Oscar S. Heizer, dated July 28, 1915, according to which all inhabitants of the 1,000 houses in the Armenian quarters of Trapezunt were driven off and all their belongings confiscated. The authorities did not even pretend to bring any charges against them--to be an Armenian was sufficient reason for being deported. Women were raped wholesale the consul reports that one member of the Young Turkish Club, which directed the proceedings, had ten of the prettiest girls in his house, "for his and his friends' use."
The story of what happened in the village of Minn, in the vilayet of Erzerum, is only one of the many. On March 14 a detachment of gendarmes arrived, headed by a lieutenant, Suleiman Effendi. They first Imposed a fine of 100 Turkish pounds without giving reasons or showing authority. A few firearms owned by the villagers were then confiscated, the owners being jailed. "But the lieutenant now insisted on finding bombs, and began to beat men, women and children. As no bombs were found, the lieutenant ordered the priest to be subjected to bastinado. Tho punishment was repeated five times. When they got through with the priest the lieutenant locked him up in his room and violated his wife. The gendarmes then started to shoot up the populace, just for fun. When they had enough they armed the priest and a few peasants to the teeth, so that they looked like brigands, and led the gang, thus artificially armed, into the Mahometan quarters of Kemach, the district seat, in order to inflame the populace against the Armenians. Then men were then jailed and finally sent to Erzerum." .....
- New-York Tribune, Sunday, July 13, 1919. Vol. LXXIX. No. 26,537. Pg. 58.
"Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter—with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about
me. I have issued the command—and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad—that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness—for the present only in the East—with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
- Adolph Hitler, as stated in "What About Germany?" by Louis P. Lochner, (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1942).