Sunday, April 13, 2014

Alma Sakaian: 1915 Armenian Deportation Caravan Rte. PART I : The First 13 of 65 Days Forced March; Aghin to Malatia

Alma Sakaian Prior to Deportation

Alma Sakaian, a young woman of 15 years of age, was among the 150 survivors of a 1915 deportation caravan that numbered 18,000 men, women and children. She was the sole survivor of her immediate and extended family. Her 65 day forced march commenced in her village of Aghin situated in the regions of the Upper Euphrates valley. It traversed ancient roads along the Euphrates River, along the foot paths of the Taurus Mountains and the uncharted sand dunes of the Syrian Desert. Using available primary sources I have attempted to recreate her ordeal. PART I chronicles the landscape traversed during the first thirteen days (75 miles) of the sixty-five day genocidal journey. The map outlines the 3 caravans that deported the villages of the Harpout area. The identified numbered towns on the right are the towns the Alma's caravan passed through and the correspond to numbered pictures provided. The pictures should convey to the reader the difficult terrain that the deportees walked upon. 


The Extermination Research Chronology prior to and up to the thirteenth day at Malatia

1915; April 22, Egin/Agn (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Systematic searches are conducted at Agn and 248 people are arrested. ** (Agouni, 1921: 174).

1915; May 1, Harput (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Arrest of the Armenian Protestant elite, particularly the professors of the Euphrates College. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 474).

1915; May 1 and 2, Çemişgezek (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Raids are conducted by the authorities in schools and in the homes of Armenian functionaries. One hundred individuals are arrested and interned. The arrests last until June 20. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 517).

1915; June 1, Egin/Agn (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Authorities arrest Armenian religious leaders and civilians of Agn, who are then drowned in the Euphrates (near Keban Maden) along with some 100 other Armenian detainees. ** (Agouni, 1921: 175).

1915; June 6-20, Harput, Hüseyinig, and Mezre (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Authorities carry out searches of all the homes and arrest several hundred men whose names were on pre-existing lists. *** (Jacobsen, 2001: 68-70 and Riggs, 1997 : 75)

1915; June 7, Egin/Agn (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Four hundred conscripts recruited among the male population between the ages of sixteen to eighteen and forty-six to sixtee are tied together in groups of five and thrown into the Euphrates at three different spots. ** (Agouni, 1921: 175)

1915; June 14-15, Mezreh (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Three thousand soldier-workers from the labor battalions of Hoğe, Habusi, and Aşemi, along with 500 artisans from Harput, are interned at the Kırmızı konak, outside of Mezreh. There, they are tortured and starved. On June 18, Çerkez Kazım, one of the Commanders of the Special Organization “militias” accompanied by cavalrymen and two hundred infantrymen, transfers these soldier-workers to the south and has them assassinated the same day. *** (Piranian, 1937: 98-99, 117-118; 133-139; 151-7; Riggs, 1997: 78; Atkinson, 2000: 38; and T.V. No. 3771, Jan. 13 1920: 48-49).

1915; June 19, kaza of Çemişgezek (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Searches begin in the 21 Armenian villages of the kaza, particularly at Garmrig. More than 200 men are imprisoned on July 3 and 4 and are executed in the course of the following days by gendarmes and Special Organization bands. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 518).

1915; June 19, kaza of Arapkir: One hundred thirty notables of Arapkir are drowned in the Euphrates by Special Organization bands. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 495).

1915; June 19-22, plain of Harput: One thousand Armenians from places around the plain and from Mezreh and Harput are arrested in their homes and interned at the Kırmızı Konak of Mezreh. On June 23, 900 of them are dispatched and shot the day after at the foot of Mount Heroğli by Special Organization bands commanded by Çerkez Kazım.***(Piranian, 1937: 156-1157, 167-77; Atkinson, 2000: 38; and Davis, 1994: 123).

1915; June 21, kaza of Arapkir (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Three hundred men from Arapkir are drowned in the Euphrates by S.O. gangs. ** (Kévorkian, 2006:495).

1915; June 23-24, kaza of Arapkir: Two groups of 250 men from Arapkir are drowned in the Euphrates by S.O. gangs. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 495).

1915; June 24 and 25, Harput and Mezreh (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Police carry out the arrest of all men; they are subsequently assassinated in the outskirts of Harput, mostly at Gügen Boğazi, a gorge situated near Maden. *** (Riggs, 1997: 77-78; Piranian, 1937: 179-182; and Kévorkian, 2006: 477).

1915; July 1 to 5, Egin/Agn (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): The women, children, and elderly of Egin and 25 of its sub-districts—some 13,000 people—are deported in three convoys to Malatya until they reach the killing field of Fırıncılar, where a good portion of the group is exterminated in the gorges of Kahta. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 500-501). **SAKAIAN’S CONVOY**

1915; July 4, province of Mamuret ül-Aziz: The Armenian population of Hüseyinig is deported in one convoy via Malatya. ** (Piranian, 1937: 222-227; and Atkinson, 2000: 40).

1915; July 5, province of Mamuret ül-Aziz: Eight hundred men from Harput and Mezreh are executed in a gorge near Hanköy by a band of thugs who had accompanied them to their destination. ** (Atkinson: 2000: 40; Riggs, 1997: 103; and Jacobsen, 2001: 73).

1915; July 5, Arapkir (village of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Seven thousand Armenians from Arapkir, 250 of which are men, are deported on a convoy to Urfa. The men are separated from the group a week later at the Kırk Göz Bridge (“The Forty Arches”), situated on the Tohma Çay, an affluent of the right bank of the Euphrates, and there they are shot. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 496-497).

1915; July 10, Harput (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): The first convoy, made up of fifty families from the “lower quarter” (Vari Tagh), is dispatched and escorted by “Kurds and gendarmes”. ** (Atkinson, 2000: 46; and Jacobsen, 2001: 76-77).

1915; July 10, kaza of Çemişgezek (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): The population of the 21 Armenian villages of the kaza—some 3,000 individuals—is dispatched in a convoy from Arapkir to Urfa and Aleppo. Around 15% reaches its destination. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 518).


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