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 European Witness


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The European Prospect

    IN 1915, the time of the vast extermination of Armenians, Consul Jesse B. Jackson was stationed at Aleppo, and greatly distinguished himself by the aid, which he gave those unfortunate people. As Consul Jackson was in these horrible scenes, it would be interesting to read his reports, if they were obtainable, but unfortunately they are not. Quotation can fortunately be made from the account, here published for the first time, of a native-born American citizen who was at Aleppo and was an eye-witness of the things which he describes:

    "The forerunner of events in which the unfortunate Armenians were to be massacred and forced to undergo the most severe hardships occurred at Zeitun, a town situated about five days’ journey north of Aleppo, in February, 1915, when, with great reluctance, the Armenians were made to submit to disarmament by the Turks. Following the Zeitun incident, similar action was taken in Aintab, Alexandretta, Marash, Urfa, etc."

    "Shortly after the disarmament of the Armenians in the above-mentioned places, the deportations began, which were so destructive to the Armenian race and were carried out on orders from the Turkish officials in Constantinople."

    "Throughout the terrible days of the deportation, Consul Jackson was repeatedly called upon to render assistance and to use every effort to prevent the deportation of any one in Aleppo. This, during the time when he represented fifteen different countries and was protecting their various interests. (This was during the war, of course, before Turkey severed relations with the United States.) It can be readily seen that his position was a very delicate one, and every move on his part had to be made with the utmost care in order not to call down upon him and especially his assistants, the displeasure of the Turkish authorities."

    "While Consul Jackson was endeavoring to the best of his ability to stop a massacre in Aleppo, news began to leak in of the terrible atrocities that were occurring in connection with the deportations from Sivas, Harput, Trebizonde, Bitlis, Diarbekir, Mardin, Caesarea, Konia, Adana, Mersina and other cities and towns in the district."

    "Gradually small numbers sent away from the above mentioned towns began to arrive in Aleppo, relating the harrowing details of the deportations, or the actual killing of relatives and friends, or the unbelievable brutalities of the gendarmes toward young girls, and more attractive women, or the carrying off by Turks and Kurds of beautiful girls and countless other atrocious crimes committed against them."

    "One of the most terrible sights ever witnessed in Aleppo was the arrival, early in August, 1915, of some five thousand terribly emaciated, dirty, ragged and sick women and children, three thousand on one day and two thousand the following day. These people were the only survivors of the thrifty and prosperous Armenians of the province of Sivas, carefully estimated to have been originally over three hundred thousand souls. And what became of the balance? From the most intelligent of those that reached Aleppo, it was learned that in early spring of 1915 the men and boys over fourteen years old had been called to the police stations in that province on different mornings stretching over a period of several weeks and had been sent off in groups of from one thousand to two thousand each, tied together with ropes and that nothing had over been heard of them thereafter. Their fate has been recorded in the annals of God, so is needles to dwell thereon here. These survivors related the most harrowing experiences that they endured en route, parting from their homes as they did before Easter, traveling perhaps a thousand miles and reaching Aleppo in August, about four months afterward, afoot, without sufficient food, and even denied drink by the brutal gendarmes when they came to the wells by the way side. Hundreds of the prettiest women and girls had been stolen by the Turkish tribes who came among them every day."

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