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.
READ ALMA'S STORY :
The Extermination Research Chronology prior to and up to the thirteenth day at Malatia
1915; April 22, Egin/Agn (
ül-Aziz): Systematic searches are conducted at Agn and 248 people are
arrested. ** (Agouni, 1921: 174). province of Mamuret
1915; May 1, Harput (
ül-Aziz): Arrest of the Armenian Protestant elite, particularly the
professors of the province of Mamuret . *** (Kévorkian,
2006: 474). Euphrates
1915; May 1 and 2, Çemişgezek (
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). province of Mamuret
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 (
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) province of Mamuret
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 (
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). province of Mamuret
1915; June 19, kaza of Çemişgezek (
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). province of Mamuret
1915; June 19, kaza of Arapkir: One hundred thirty notables of Arapkir are drowned in the
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 (
ül-Aziz): Three hundred
men from Arapkir are drowned in the province of Mamuret 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
by S.O. gangs. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 495).
1915; June 24 and 25, Harput and Mezreh (
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). province of Mamuret
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,
The Armenian population of Hüseyinig is deported in one convoy via province
of Mamuret Malatya. ** (Piranian,
1937: 222-227; and Atkinson, 2000: 40).
1915; July 5,
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). province
1915; July 5, Arapkir (
ül-Aziz): Seven thousand Armenians from Arapkir, 250 of which are men,
are deported on a convoy to village of Mamuret 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 (
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). province of Mamuret
1915; July 10, kaza of Çemişgezek (
ul-Aziz): The population of the 21 Armenian villages of the kaza—some
3,000 individuals—is dispatched in a convoy from Arapkir to province
of Mamuret and Urfa . Around 15% reaches its destination.
***(Kévorkian, 2006: 518). Aleppo