100 Years since the Armenian Genocide

Sarahlouise

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#1
The 24th of April will mark a century since the Armenian genocide. My good friend in Vermont had two Great Uncles who left Rhode Island just after WW1. They left to join the French Foreign Legion and through my friend this is where I first heard of the Legion.

For those interested the following are recent emails from my friend informing me of what he knows of the history of the genocide as well as a recent radio interview broadcast (strangely in VT) along with a very old film from the early 20th century made from the memoirs of a young girl and eyewitness who escaped (she is actually in the film too). After 100 years and numerous other genocides it seems history continues to repeat itself!!

http://digital.vpr.net/post/armenian-genocide-slaughter-you-know-next-nothing-about

One of the guests, Chris Bohjalian, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Bohjalian) mentioned this silent movie, made from a book a woman survivor of the genocide had written.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTnCaW-Uo_s

As you watch the short movie (only one reel of 20 remains in existence), note carefully the introductory comments, written on the screen. Before the 1915 massacre of the Armenians started (there had been ‘smaller’ massacres previously, e.g., 1895), the Turkish government disarmed all Armenian soldiers, so that the Armenian people were unable to defend themselves from the onslaught. You know about the old saying that those who don't learn from history end up repeating it.

On the 24th of April will the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide. However, as the article points out, there had been other mass murders of Armenians before then. I met Krikor Tateosian, one of Grandma's brothers - who had been in the French Foreign Legion, in the early 1970's. His son, Ara, told me that the Turks lined up all the Armenian men and boys, including Great Uncle Krikor, in front of a ditch and hit them in the head with axes. Somehow, Krikor survived, waking up in the ditch (apparently the Turks had not bothered to fill it in) a day or so later, with a horrible headache and a wound to the head. He went to a Turkish family who had been friends with his family; they helped him to get out of Turkey.

I also remember my cousin telling me about Grandma's terrible memories of watching her parents (i.e., my great grand parents) die as the house they were in was burned by the Turks. The Armenian Genocide is considered to have begun April 24, 1915 with a massacre of Armenians in Istanbul. Over the next eight years, 1.5 million Armenians would be killed and millions more displaced.

All my grandparents came here at that time and considered themselves lucky to get out. My grandmother came here with an Armenian lady who said she saw people impaled on sticks.

The Armenians in Turkey were VERY wealthy, and most of their wealth was property and gold (not paper money). They were professional people... merchants, lawyers, professors, etc. OF COURSE the Turks wanted them out... all their money and property was stolen from them, then they were murdered outright.

These are my two Great Uncles; I am not sure which one of them is Uncle Krikor. The rifles are almost taller than they are.

View attachment 5118
 

Don Pedro

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#2
(...) These are my two Great Uncles; I am not sure which one of them is Uncle Krikor. The rifles are almost taller than they are.

View attachment 5118
I did some research and found this. They probably belonged to the 1er régiment de marche d'Afrique (1er RMA) 1st African Marching Regiment, composed of 2 battalions of Zouaves and 1 Battalion of Legionnaires, the legionnaires came from the 1st & 3rd Company of 1 RE and 2nd & 4th Coy of 2 RE.

Ah, Yes! If i recall well, last year we were talking about l'Armée d'Orient and this is what my comment is about, the 2 Gentlemen served during the Balkan war 1914-18, if i am not totally of the target.
 

Hitsuji

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#3
What countries uniforms are they wearing ?

Back in the days, genocide was like a national sport for the Turks. Every uprising or sometimes just suspicion of it, was repaid with mass murder. The term ‘genocide’ was coined by Swiss travellers and explorers when they witnessed what the Turkish army did to civilians in Serbia near the town of Niš, after the Serbo-Turkish war. But that was nothing in comparison with Serbia loosing 1/5 of its population during the first Serbian uprising. But since the Turks military suffered heavy losses too, the Second uprising didn't have as many battles as the first one and was less bloody for both sides.
All other people in the Balkans have experienced the same thing, some several times (Bulgarians, Romanians, Albanians, Vlachs, Slav Macedonians, Greeks) and it was also seen in other parts of the Ottoman empire.
 

Rapace

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#4
What countries uniforms are they wearing ?

Back in the days, genocide was like a national sport for the Turks. Every uprising or sometimes just suspicion of it, was repaid with mass murder. The term ‘genocide’ was coined by Swiss travellers and explorers when they witnessed what the Turkish army did to civilians in Serbia near the town of Niš, after the Serbo-Turkish war. But that was nothing in comparison with Serbia loosing 1/5 of its population during the first Serbian uprising. But since the Turks military suffered heavy losses too, the Second uprising didn't have as many battles as the first one and was less bloody for both sides.
All other people in the Balkans have experienced the same thing, some several times (Bulgarians, Romanians, Albanians, Vlachs, Slav Macedonians, Greeks) and it was also seen in other parts of the Ottoman empire.
Although the Armenian genocide received significant ‘publicity’ in western Europe (probably because of the number of Armenians who took refuge there), little is known about the bloody and bitter wars that took place in the Balkans, under the Ottoman Empire rule.
 

Sarahlouise

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#5
I did some research and found this. They probably belonged to the 1er régiment de marche d'Afrique (1er RMA) 1st African Marching Regiment, composed of 2 battalions of Zouaves and 1 Battalion of Legionnaires, the legionnaires came from the 1st & 3rd Company of 1 RE and 2nd & 4th Coy of 2 RE.
.
Merci beaucoup Pedro :). I know any information regarding their service would be gratefully received.
 

DarthShizNit

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#7
What countries uniforms are they wearing ?

Back in the days, genocide was like a national sport for the Turks. Every uprising or sometimes just suspicion of it, was repaid with mass murder. The term ‘genocide’ was coined by Swiss travellers and explorers when they witnessed what the Turkish army did to civilians in Serbia near the town of Niš, after the Serbo-Turkish war. But that was nothing in comparison with Serbia loosing 1/5 of its population during the first Serbian uprising. But since the Turks military suffered heavy losses too, the Second uprising didn't have as many battles as the first one and was less bloody for both sides.
All other people in the Balkans have experienced the same thing, some several times (Bulgarians, Romanians, Albanians, Vlachs, Slav Macedonians, Greeks) and it was also seen in other parts of the Ottoman empire.
Everyone committed genocide on everyone in that godless time. The Armenians killed Turks just as readily as the Turks killed Armenians during the war. Serbs and Bulgarians burned each others villages to the ground when not burning Turkish villages, and the Greeks salted the earth. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was an incredibly bloody affair that is often overlooked.
 

Don Pedro

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#8
What countries uniforms are they wearing ? (...)
French Army, by the look of it, it's the Post 1914 uniform, seem they are wearing the uniform of l'Armée d'Afrique, worn by the Army of Africa, khaki. I've been trying to focus on the collar, to see if i could find any references to which unit(s). Anyway, there they stand tall and holding the rifles in the manner of executing the preparatory commands 'Presenter armes!' or 'Reposer armes!' present arms,or at ease.

After some more research, i can for sure say, they belongs to the Légion d'Orient or better know later on as the Armenian Legion. Created in 1916, disbanded in 1920. They were part of the Foreign Legion, Officers and Cadres in the begining came from the FFL or the Regular army.
it were open to Armenians, Syrians and other repressed people from the Ottoman regime. Most of the recruiting took place in Cyprus, where the Legion were to be stationed but also in Bordeaux and Marseille. They signed on for the duration of the conflict(s).
 

Don Pedro

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#10
View attachment 5133

Here is the other written side of the card which gives their unit and company. Still have no idea what the script says :confused:
Well, the handwritten text, is beyond me except the year 1918. The stamped text translated:#2237(have no clue.), Legion of Orient, 601 S.P ( field postal code), 4th Company, 1st Section, 2nd Battalion. Then the name of the sender: Artin Krikorian.
 

Sarahlouise

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What we're still unsure of (as well as the written content) is why their own address and battalion etc was written on the card rather than the recipients. Could the card have arrived for the family in the United States in an envelope or perhaps it was a kind of stamped addressed card or even a personal diary.

He has another similar postcard but without the Legionnaire's name on it and it states 5th Company, Second Battalion.
 

Don Pedro

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It could very well have been sent in an envelope, in addition to a letter, without the Fieldpost number ( as to not give away to everyone, their location), or in order to save on the postage (my speculations only.). Probably got re-assigned to the 5th Coy, due to losses or re-organizaition,or, something in that order.
 

korisnik

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All other people in the Balkans have experienced the same thing, some several times (Bulgarians, Romanians, Albanians, Vlachs, Slav Macedonians, Greeks) and it was also seen in other parts of the Ottoman empire.
Romanian leader Vlad teached Turks whats real terror they dont call him Vlad the impaler for no reason...
 

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Here is the official Report of Lord James Bryce on the Genocide of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. I shall only remind you that the famous historian Arnold Toynbee was in his team.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/223072481/Lord-Bryce-s-Report-on-Armenian-Genocide#scribd
And here are the Memoires of US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau. US was neutral at the moment of the genocide.
http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/comment/morgenthau/MorgenTC.htm
And finally here is the Report of the Carnegie Endowment on the Balkan wars, 1912-1913.
https://archive.org/details/reportofinternat00inteuoft
In theory it was like Hitsuji said. In practice, the scale was different. What was absolutely impossible for the army of a small Balkan nation was done without big troubles by the army of a great Regional power like the Ottomans, especially on their territory. And quantity is a quality in itself. ;)
 

DarthShizNit

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If you ever get the chance read 'Four years Beneath the Crescent" by Rafael De Nogales. He was a Venezuelan mercenary who served as an officer in the Ottoman Army during the war. His book is one of the best first hand accounts I've ever read, let alone of the war. He was commander of Ottoman forces during the Siege of Van and the retreat from the Russian 1915 offensive, so he gives a very detailed look at the massacres of both Turkish and Armenians civilians by both sides.
 

Sarahlouise

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So my good friend's nephew found an Armenian lady from Egypt who was willing to help decipher the text on those postcards. Finally! Hope you're all good on here.

Hi Uncle ****,

I met with the Armenian lady today, and she was able to translate some of the post cards.

Here's a summary of what she got out of them:

First Post Card - The note says that he received the letters that you sent. He got something that was sent in a metal or iron box. He was in a financial burden and was asking for money.

Second Post Card - The last name "******" is in the text of this message. The note starts out with a greeting along the lines of "Hello my loved ones." He is writing to his son-in-law. He was writing about someone else with the last name ****. He is sending them something.

Third Post Card - This is the one dated December 29th. It says something to the effect of "Greetings, Happy New Year."

The lady who translated the messages said that it was tough for her to make out the context of the messages. She pointed out that the messages were written in response to other letters and made references to things that we don't know about. I guess without the context, it's tough to make out more than the gist.
 

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