‘A Fate Worse Than Dying’: Sexual Violence during the Armenian Genocide

Matthias Bjørnlund

All tell the same story and bear the same scars: their men were all killed on the first days’ march from their cities, after which the women and girls were constantly robbed of their money, bedding, clothing, and beaten, criminally abused and abducted along the way. Their guards forced them to pay even for drinking from the springs along the way and were their worst abusers but also allowed the baser element in every village through which they passed to abduct the girls and women and abuse them. We were not only told these things but the same things occurred right here in our own city before our very eyes and openly on the streets. (1)


The above quote, taken from a letter written 6 August 1915 by F. H. Leslie, US missionary in the Ottoman city of Urfa, to US Consul Jesse B. Jackson in Aleppo, encapsulates much of what was the Armenian genocide – the killing of 1–1.5 million Ottoman Armenians during World War I – including the fundamental gendered aspect of this event. But when it comes to massive extermination campaigns like the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, and the Rwandan genocide, gendered aspects have usually been downplayed in scholarly works. This is perhaps understandable considering the all-encompassing nature of what has rightly been called the total genocides of the past century. (2) The Armenian genocide was the almost completely successful attempt by the Young Turk dictatorship (also known as the Committee of Union and Progress, CUP) at ‘cleansing’ from Anatolian soil not only the approximately 2 million Ottoman Armenians, but also other mainly Christian nationalities like the Ottoman Greeks and Assyrians, and it was usually secured through a number of methods of direct and indirect killings: massacres, drownings, death marches under the guise of relocations, imposed starvation and diseases, etc. (3)

So, when the ultimate goal of the perpetrators is to secure the disappearance of an entire group – men, women, and children – subjects like sexual abuse, or whether or to what extent factors like gender or age played a role in selecting the victims, may seem of secondary importance. Nevertheless, history shows that males and females have often been affected by genocide in quite different ways, whether as victims or as perpetrators, and focusing on aspects such as gender is important if one seeks to fully understand the modes, motives, dynamics, and consequences of genocide and other mass crimes. (4) This study attempts to examine gendered aspects of the Armenian genocide, in particular the ways Ottoman Armenian females were targeted for physical destruction, sexual abuse, slavery, and/or forced assimilation. As the particular fate of the Armenian females in this period has been analyzed in only a few scholarly works, (5) and because this fate is today little known by non-Armenians and non-specialists in the field of genocide studies, the aim is also to help create a larger basis for further discussion of this event, as well as for comparison of gendered aspects of the Armenian genocide with similar aspects of similar historical events; that is, to tentatively bring this material into a wider context of sexual violence during war and genocide.

Gender and the Armenian genocide: An overview

Organized, gender-selective mass killing – sometimes termed gendercide – is a common feature of war, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, and has in such situations of conflict primarily targeted men through history, especially younger ‘battle-age’ men. (6) These mass killings have either been seen as a goal in itself – the destruction of real or imagined opposition and/or reproductive powers and group coherence, a recent case in point being the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of some 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys (7) – or as a more or less distinctivepart of a more thorough genocidal design – what Adam Jones calls ‘root-and-branch extermination’. (8) The latter applies to the Armenian genocide, which was executed as what one might call two sequential, relatively distinct, but interconnected gendercides within the framework of a larger exterminatory campaign. Thus, the first victims of the Armenian genocide were almost exclusively men: the approximately 200,000 Armenian soldiers fighting in the Ottoman army who, from the beginning of 1915, were disarmed and massacred or worked to death in large numbers, followed by politicians, religious leaders, and other members of the Armenian elite who were arrested, deported, often tortured, and killed from the spring of that same year. They, in turn, were followed by those of the remaining men and older boys who had not managed to hide or escape and were massacred as a prelude to, or in the early stages of, the deportations – the death marches. Some men and older boys managed to stay alive for at least a period of time on these marches through bribery or by disguising themselves as women. (9)

There could be important similarities between the ways male and female Armenian victims were treated, especially near the Caucasian frontline where massacres tended to be total and thus less genderselective. And, as during the Bosnian genocide,(10) the Rwandan genocide, (11) the Japanese occupation of South-East Asia during WWII, (12) and at times during the 1914 German invasion of Belgium and France, (13) both males and females were from early on often subjected to sexually charged mutilations as part of what seems to be humiliating or dehumanizing rituals connected to the actual killings, perhaps aimed at showing the omnipotence of the perpetrators and the impotence of the victims. In late May 1915, an American missionary in Harput, Henry H. Riggs, encountered the bodies of two almost naked elderly Armenian men, noting that they . . . were laid in such a position as to expose their persons to the ridicule of passers by, and on the abdomen of each was cast a large stone. They had evidently been murdered there at the noon hour and then the brutal guards had stopped to leave behind them the signs not only of violence but of mockery and insult. (14)

According to a German source, [f]or a whole month [during the summer of 1915, MB] corpses were observed floating down the River Euphrates nearly every day, often in batches of from two to six corpses bound together. The male corpses are in many cases hideously mutilated (sexual organs cut off, and so on), the female corpses are ripped open. (15)

Armenian refugees from Ottoman-occupied parts of Persia reported in early 1915 that [t]he 750 Armenians that have reached Salmast from Urmia are completely stripped, the women, abducted. In Dilman there is also the same amount of murdered Armenians, whose martyrdom was carried out in the most horrific manner. They cut off the feet of living people with saws, they cut their wrists in the same way, they cut noses, cheeks, and lips off with scissors. They burned those parts of the body which are most sensitive. Both the elderly and the young were killed by frightful tortures, without regard to gender. We saw the traces of boundless brutality, glowing skewers were run through the genitals of both women and men, and they were put to death this way. (16)

But as a rule the Armenian population had been brutally and largely successfully emasculated before victims as well as missionaries and other Western observers came to consider the fate of the survivors to be even crueler. (17) This happened when it was learned what was meant by the government-approved deportations or relocations, operations orchestrated and executed by the Ministry of Interior’s Directorate for the Settlement of Tribes and Immigrants, and supposedly dictated by what was officially deemed to be military necessity. (18) From the summer of 1915, after the Ottoman Armenians had been deprived by the CUP government of most potential means of organized armed or political resistance, as well as of the traditional breadwinners of families, (19) Armenian women and children were the next major group to be targeted. (20) Hundreds of thousands were given short notice, from weeks to mere hours, by the authorities to leave their homes and possessions and march toward the Syrian desert to be ‘relocated’.

Yet though there were exceptions, usually depending on the individual attitudes of escorting gendarmes or local administrators, the general purpose of the deportations was to kill all or most of the deportees by outright massacre, individual acts of violence, attrition, starvation, dehydration, or disease before they reached the alleged relocation areas in the desert. (21) This is testified to by covert governmental instructions, (22) as well as by reports by Armenian survivors and by Ottoman and neutral or Ottoman-allied observers. (23) As for reports by neutral observers, Carl Ellis Wandel, Danish diplomatic minister at Constantinople (Istanbul), stated on 4 September 1915 that it was certain that the intention of the CUP policy of massacre and deportation was to ‘exterminate the Armenian people’. (24) And Danish missionary nurse Maria Jacobsen, stationed in the Central Anatolian town of Harput, stated in her diary 26 June 1915 that if the destination of the deportees really was to be the Syrian desert, ‘it is quite obvious that the purpose of their departure is the extermination of the Armenian people’. (25) At that point, few believed the promises made by the authorities to protect the deportees. In an eyewitness report by Ottoman Lieutenant Sayied Ahmed Moukhtar Baas (who like many other Muslim Ottoman citizens was against the genocide or even tried to save Armenian lives, although it was punishable by death), (26) it was stated that When the first batches of the deported Armenians arrived at Gumush-Khana all able-bodied men were sorted out with the excuse that they were going to be given work. The women and children were sent ahead under escort with the assurance by the Turkish authorities that their final destination was Mosul and that no harm will befall them. The men kept behind were taken out of town in batches of 15 or 20, lined up on the edge of ditches prepared beforehand, shot and thrown into the ditches. Hundreds of men were shot every day in a similar manner. The women and children were attacked on their way by the (‘Shotas’) the armed bands organised by the Turkish Government who attacked them and seized a certain number. After plundering and committing the most dastardly outrages on the women and children they massacred them in cold blood. These attacks were a daily occurence until every woman and child had been got rid of. The military escorts had strict orders not to interfere with the ‘Shotas’. [ . . . ] In July 1915 I was ordered to accompany a convoy of deported Armenians. It was the last batch from Trebizond [Trabzon, MB] [ . . . ] I fell ill and wanted to go back, but I was told that as long as the Armenians in my charge were alive I would be sent from one place to the other. (27)

Another eyewitness, Mushegh Hakobian, born 1890 in Nicomedia, also reported that Armenians were marched back and forth or in circles: ‘They were so pitiless that they made us return and walk the same road through hills and valleys anew so as to exhaust us completely. We had already no bread and no water . . . ’  (28) Deportees were often told by escorting gendarmes that they would all be killed, and, as a rule, anyone who fell behind was shot or left to die. (29) This typical and seemingly pointless procedure can be explained not only with the need to carry out the destruction of the remaining Armenians near remote rivers and gorges suited for the killing and disposal of bodies, (30) at a safe distance from (Western) eyewitnesses, and from the general Muslim population due to fear of diseases, (31) but also with keeping deportees away from sources of food and water and minimizing the possibility of escape. It can also be explained with hatred toward Armenians as a group, as revenge for perceived transgressions, and, perhaps, with an attempt to overcome possible resistance from gendarmes or soldiers toward outright massacre of women and children. When asked by missionaries why they did not just kill women and children in their villages instead of exposing them to the miseries of the marches, a Turkish gendarme gave an answer that reveals a combination of rationalizations: ‘It is right so, they must be miserable. And – what would we do with the corpses? They would stink!!!’ (32) Khanum Palootzian, who had been deported from the Erzerum region in May 1915, stated that the gendarmes escorting her convoy had received outright orders ‘not to kill women with sword or bullet, only in another way’, i.e., through starvation, abuse, and exhaustion. Whether such an order had in fact been given or not, the escort on this march, as well as on most other marches, did not abstain from outright massacre of women and children. (33)

Often whole convoys were massacred and plundered by the specialized, uninhibited killer units, by soldiers, by Muslim villagers, or by Kurdish militias, either under supervision by, or in close cooperation with the authorities. (34) But the death marches were no less designed to kill by various means of attrition (i.e., without anyone necessarily having to do any direct killing), and those same means would brutalize the escort and ensure that surviving Armenians would eventually become thoroughly dehumanized. (35) And although abuse and brutalization were integral parts of the training of the Ottoman soldier and gendarme, (36) some guards needed to be further brutalized to be able to kill women and children as they were ordered to. Missionaries Thora von Wedel-Jarlsberg and Eva Elvers, from neutral Norway and Ottoman-allied Germany, respectively, reported on conversations they had in June 1915 with young Turkish soldiers escorting, abusing, and massacring deportees from Erzinjan, and the missionaries had to conclude that they deeply pitied not only the deportees, but also the poor boys (‘armen Jungen’) who were being systematically made into devils (‘systematisch zu Teufeln gemacht werden’). (37) A Turkish policeman who had participated in the killing of a group of Armenian men who had tried to resist being caught, including the father and brother of a girl he had taken as his wife, gave the well-known reason or excuse for his actions that if he had not obeyed he would have been killed himself. (38)

It is not surprising that many executors (i.e., direct perpetrators) of genocide – mainly those ‘ordinary men’ who are not already brutalized through warfare, violent crime, or ideological or religious commitment to a radical cause – initially need some amount of brutalization and a dehumanization of the enemy in order to be able to kill, especially when the victims are non-combatant women and children. (39) A typical example of this apparently universal need for some perpetrators to (let themselves) be brutalized is given by a survivor of the Rwandan genocide who had been driven out of town with a number of other Tutsis after a massacre, now barely making a living on a hill nearby while still being chased by Hutu genocidaires: ‘. . . I think that for the Hutus, to see us so, living like the lowest of the lowest wildlife, it made the work easier. Especially for those who were not spurred to massacre out of hatred’. (40) That some of the executors of the Armenian genocide were indeed ‘ordinary men’ is hinted at by a British POW in Yozgat, Lieutenant E. H. Jones: The butchery had taken place in a valley some dozen miles outside the town [ . . . ]. Amongst our sentries were men who had slain men, women and children till their arms were too tired to strike. They boasted of it among themselves. And yet, in many ways, they were pleasant enough fellows. (41)

As described below, Armenians had been systematically dehumanized by being designated as disloyal, greedy, etc., by politicians and by the state-controlled media for months, even years, prior to WWI. (42) Also, it is worth considering whether earlier massacres of Armenians in the 1890s (43) and 1909 (44) had fostered indifference to Armenian suffering, creating a situation where massacre led to dehumanization that ultimately helped pave the way for genocide. (45) But in 1915, dehumanization was seen as a very tangible result of the deathmarches. Observers noted that the very appearance of the Armenian deportees had become less-than-human, which, in turn, is likely to have worked to convince escorting gendarmes that they were in fact justified in the first place to treat Armenians as ‘cattle’ or ‘sheep to the slaughter’, common contemporary descriptions of the state and fate of the deportees. (46) Leslie Davis, US Consul at Harput in the Mamouret-ul-Aziz region, described just how dehumanized they had become, the tens of thousands of deportees who passed through his consular region, a major artery of the deportation routes to the deserts of Syria: There were parties of exiles arriving from time to time throughout the summer of 1915, some of them numbering several thousand. The first one, who arrived in July, camped in a large open field on the outskirts of the town, where they were exposed to the burning sun. All of them were in rags and many of them were almost naked. They were emaciated, sick, diseased, filthy, covered with dirt and vermin, resembling animals far more than human beings. They had been driven along for many weeks like herds of cattle, with little to eat, and most of them had nothing except the rags on their backs. When the scant rations which the Government furnished were brought for distribution the guards were obliged to beat them back with clubs, so ravenous were they. There were few men among them, most of the men having been killed by the Kurds before their arrival in Harput. Many of the women and children also had been killed and very many others had died on the way from sickness and exhaustion. Of those who had started, only a small portion were still alive and they were rapidly dying. (47)

This was confirmed by Maria Jacobsen, who writes that one could smell those same sick, dead, and dying deportees from a far distance, and that ‘these poor people did not look like humans any more, not even animals could be found in this state, people would be merciful and kill them’. (48) A survivor described how female deportees at such temporary camps were examined before rape and abduction, and compared it with the way a butcher would examine animals before slaughtering them. (49) Harput and nearby Mezreh were among the several towns and cities along the deportation routes that became centers for the systematic distribution of Armenian girls and women among the local populations. (50) Other sources confirm that outside Mezreh, Armenian women and children camped under atrocious conditions. This camp turned into a well-organized slave market where the most desirable females, first and foremost women of wealthy families, were searched for by local Muslims and checked by doctors for diseases, etc. If a woman refused to follow her new ‘owner’, she was detained by the local authorities until she accepted a life in slavery. (51) According to the Turkish post-war Military Tribunals, the systematic distribution and abuse of Armenian females was not restricted to the lower levels of Ottoman society. For instance, Nuri, chief police officer of Trabzon, brought young girls to Constantinople as gifts from the Governor-General to members of the CUP Central Committee, and the Trabzon Red Crescent Hospital was made into a ‘pleasuredome’ where highranking officials indulged in orgies. (52) Indeed, selecting girls and women to distribute among leading Muslims seems to have been a common occurrence. (53)

Sexual violence on the death marches

Like in the Nazi death camps and concentration camps, everything was permitted or accepted in the Eastern provinces and on the death marches; the marches in particular became, to use Hannah Arendt’s description of the Nazi camps, laboratories in total domination. (54) In describing the official license granted to Serbians to transgress legal and moral barriers during the 1990s war and genocide in Bosnia, Slavoj Zizek and Christopher Hanlon describe a ‘carnivalistic’ situation comparable to that of the moral collapse that was the Armenian genocide: ‘ . . . it’s not simply some kind of “dark terror”, but a kind of false, explosive liberation’. (55) In a letter dated 15 September 1915 to British Minister of Munitions David Lloyd George, Philip P. Graves, at the Intelligence Department of the British War Office, stated regarding the Armenian genocide that ‘[m]aking all allowance for exaggeration there can be no doubt that there has been a carnival of murder and rape in many parts of the interior . . . ’, (56) while Raphael de Nogales, a Venezuelan mercenaryserving with the Ottoman army on the Caucasian and Persian fronts, used phrases like ‘orgy’ and ‘bacchanal of barbarity’ to describe the extermination of Armenians he witnessed in the Van region. (57)

In return for such ‘liberation’, i.e., the license to kill, plunder, and rape, loyalty to the CUP dictatorship and its genocidal scheme was expected. Jackson, American Consul at Aleppo, stated 12 May 1915 regarding the deportations from Zeitun, Marash, and surrounding areas: ‘According to reports from reliable sources the accompanying gendarmes are told that they may do as they wish with the women and girls’. (58) And most of them did. The Danish relief worker and League of Nations Commissionary Karen Jeppe, who was working from her base in Aleppo to secure the release of the tens of thousands of Armenian women and children from Muslim households who had been forcibly abducted during the genocide, stated in 1926 that out of the thousands of Armenian females she had come into contact with, all but one had been sexually abused. (59) It is clear that in addition to starvation, diseases, beatings, and general exhaustion, Armenian females were subjected to a deliberate pattern of constant, systematic sexual abuse and humiliations for weeks, sometimes months.

In some areas of the empire, especially in Eastern Anatolia, the collapse of moral values happened so fast and was so complete that the abuse took place openly. This was probably as a consequence of a combination of factors, like the closeness to the frontline; brutalization through warfare; vengeance for atrocities committed against Muslim civilians and for (perceived) Armenian resistance and revolutionary activity; and the officially sanctioned view of all Armenians as being inner representatives of the main outer enemy, the Russians. Examples of atrocities committed include a case where government officials in Trabzon were reported to have picked up ‘some of the prettiest Armenian women of the best families. After committing the worst outrages on them they had them killed. Cases of rape of women and girls even publicly are very numerous. They were systematically murdered after the outrage’. (60) A report from Mush stated that female relatives of male torture victims were raped in front of their husbands or brothers as part of the punishment. (61) In that same region, ‘good-looking’ Armenian women and children were abducted to be Turkified or adopted into Kurdish households (thus securing the loyalty of tribesmen and villagers by allowing them to accept Armenians as ‘payment’), but the rest were burned alive rather than deported. (62)

But most of the gender-specific abuse took place during the deportations, far removed from the frontline. The deportations constituted what was widely regarded as a particularly prolonged, grueling, and humiliating way of killing, a fate that was ‘worse than dying’, i.e., worse than immediate killing. (63) As the marches could drag on for months, so could the suffering. The deportees, walking barefoot over mountain passes and through deserts, were regularly clubbed, beaten, whipped, robbed, sold, abducted, or sexually abused by their guards or by ‘the ruffians of every village through which they passed as the former allowed the latter to enter the camp of the exiles at night and even distributed the girls among the villagers for the night’. (64) An Armenian woman from Mush told that 8 to 10-year-old girls were raped in front of the other deportees and subsequently shot since they could not walk as a consequence of the abuse. (65) Sexual violence was quite simply the norm on the death marches. Still, whether the individual woman or girl was raped, killed, abducted, or (temporarily) left unmolested could sometimes, as it has been put, depend on ‘the whim of the moment’. (66) Knowing this, mothers would intentionally keep the faces of their daughters dirty to make them unattractive and thereby hopefully keep them from being raped. (67) For that same reason, Armenian women, like German women in 1945 when facing the Soviet Army (68) or women in Japanese POW camps during WWII, (69) would apply strategies like cutting their own hair, wearing ragged clothing and veils, and putting medicine in their eyes to appear blind. (70)

Other gender-specific violations on the death marches include the numerous examples of women giving birth and having to leave their infants to die, whether out of exhaustion or desperation, or because they were ordered to do so by the escorting gendarmes, and the women themselves often died of hemorrhages as a consequence of not being allowed rest or treatment after giving birth. (71) A typical report by a German source on the ‘convoys of exiles’ states that [t]he girls were abducted almost without exception by the soldiers and their Arab hangers-on. [ . . . ] The children left behind by the Armenians on their journey are past counting. Women whose pains came upon them on the way had to continue their journey without respite. A woman bore twins in the neighbourhood of Aintab; next morning she had to go on again. She very soon had to leave the children under a bush, and a little while after she collapsed herself. Another, whose pains came upon her during the march, was compelled to go on at once and fell down dead almost immediately. There were several more incidents of the same kind between Marash and Aleppo. (72)

As has been the case with other instances of mass crime, (73) there are also several examples of pregnant women having their wombs opened to cut out unborn children. (74) Helen Fein, paraphrasing Roger W. Smith, notes on such atrocities that in the history of genocide ‘[c]utting open pregnant women was a recurrent form of terrorizing display . . . ’. (75) Such ‘displays’ are perhaps not only meant to terrorize, but also to symbolize the complete destruction of the victim group, including the most defenseless and vulnerable. That ‘complete destruction’ was desired by the CUP was expressed by Interior Minister Talaat Pasha, one of the main architects behind the genocide: ‘We have been reproached for making no distinction between innocent Armenians and the guilty, but that was utterly impossible, in view of the fact that those who were innocent today might be guilty tomorrow.’ (76)

Also, since bribing guards or villagers was often the only way to survive – by acquiring food and water, and avoiding or, more likely, postponing physical abuse or murder (77) – Armenian women who had not been robbed completely before being deported were at times forced to hide gold coins or other valuables inside their body as a means of survival. (78) A US report based on survivor accounts relates how the existence of such ‘protection money’ was both necessary and, at the same time, another potential source of danger and humiliation: When they came near an Arab village, in that naked state, the Arabs pitied them and gave them old pieces of clothes, to be covered with. Some of the exiles who had money left, bought some clothes. But there were still some left, who came in that naked state up to the city of Haleb [Aleppo, MB]. The poor women could not walk for shame, they were all bent forward. In this naked state they had found some ways to keep the little money they had. Some kept it in their hair, some in their mouths and some in their wombs. And when the robbers attacked them, some were clever enough to search for the money in those secret places and that in a very beastly manner, of course. (79)

Amidst the horrors and the humiliations, this shows that even though deportees were fair game, and escape or actual physical resistance was rarely possible, some still managed to be resourceful by hiding money in order to be able to buy means of survival for their children or themselves. Under the circumstances, it can be argued that resourcefulness could even include suicide, an option many Armenian women chose by drowning themselves individually or collectively in rivers. This seems usually to have been done out of despair, fear, and exhaustion, after sexual abuse, or after having witnessed the murder of relatives. (80) According to Sevart Mikaelian, a deportee from Erzerum, her aunt’s four children were killed on the march, and when the deportees came to a stream her aunt could not stand it any longer and managed to drown herself despite efforts to save her. (81) The women often also faced impossible choices before or during the marches, like having to choose between keeping a child that would almost certainly die, or selling or giving it to a Muslim. (82) An example is given by Surpurhi and Diuhi Stefanian, two sisters from Ismid who were deported on 26 June 1915. Nineteen-year old Diuhi had a three-year old son, Magreditz, who at some point was unable to walk any further, and since the mother could no longer carry or feed him, she tried sell him to local Arabs. As Magreditz clung to his mother and pleaded not to be sold, Diuhi decided to try to keep him anyway. But he died after a few days on the road from Osmanieh, while the other four of the two sisters’ five children died within the next ten days. (83)

There are also plenty of examples of altruistic behavior by the deportees, including examples of ‘altruistic suicide’, as when mothers or grandmothers gave whatever food or water they had to the children, or when mothers decided to stay and die with their children, rather than abandoning them. (84) But suicide – sometimes mass suicide – could also be what at least partly seem to be acts of defiance, that is, resistance by denying the perpetrators the right to decide over body and life of the victim. (85) In such cases the traditional religious notion of suicide as ‘sinful death’ seems to have been replaced by the notion of suicide as an heroic act (86) – ‘defiant suicide’. (87) This ethos of ‘death before dishonour’ is even described (and honored) in some of the many songs about the genocidal experience sung by Armenian survivors in exile: Armenian girls going, going! One day death will come upon us, Before becoming the enemy’s wife, Let us find our death in the Euphrates. (88)

Such songs are comparable to songs or stories celebrating the instances of armed Armenian resistance or of post-genocidal revenge acts (89) in that they seek to deny or modify the sense of powerlessness of the genocide survivor, instill a sense of personal or national pride, and give some meaning to a basically meaningless experience. And instead of risking that violated women would stand as a lone metaphor for not only the women themselves, but for the ‘ravaged’ or ‘ravished’ Armenian nation as such (as in the 1919 US motion picture Ravished Armenia based on genocide survivor Aurora Mardiganian’s account), celebrating or commemorating acts of defiance or resistance have resulted in the creation of a ‘counter-metaphor’. (90)

Sexual violence on the death marches could take forms in which the violent elements of the abuse were less direct, and where the victim managed to preserve some measure of bargaining power. An example is given by Vahram Touryan who lost most of his family on a death march from the village of Darman in Eastern Anatolia. As was the rule, Ibosh, the Turkish gendarme leading the caravan, had orchestrated murderous attacks en route, in this case by Kurds, but Ibosh was also the person who ended up rescuing Vahram and his older sister Siroun. When the caravan reached Palu in the Mamouret-ul-Aziz region, Ibosh was about to be replaced, and he had decided to abduct Siroun to his father’s house in the mountains near Harput. Siroun had no choice but to follow, even though she was engaged to be married. But she strongly insisted that Vahram should go with them, and the gendarme, wanting to win her favor, accepted it. The rest of what was left of their family continued with the caravan and were never seen again. (91)

Sexual violence – means or end?

Western eyewitnesses like Bergfeld, German consul at Trabzon, did state that the rapes of Armenian females were part of a plan to exterminate the Armenian people. (92) This is not unlikely, but contrary to other genocidal campaigns of the twentieth century, the pattern of sexual violence and other atrocities before and during the death marches seems generally to have had relatively little ‘practical’, i.e., tactical or strategical, purpose. It is difficult to state with certainty what the goal(s) were, as little is known of the overall, local, or individual motives for the sexual violence during the Armenian genocide. But considering the evidence at hand, and assuming that the executors were generally no different from executors of other mass crimes, the main purposes on a local and individual level are likely to have been sadism; (93) gratification by total domination; symbolic purification (the exorcizing of ‘evil’ through rituals of degradation); (94) ‘mutual demonstrations of masculinity’ in the cases of gang rape; (95) and humiliation, intimidation, and dehumanization of the immediate victim, the victim’s male relatives, and of the Armenians as a group (the rape of women as the symbolic rape of a whole community), (96) as most of the women and girls were killed after the abuse, committed suicide, died, or were at least expected to die during or after the deportations.

To put it another way, sexual violence during the Armenian genocide can at least partly be seen as a result of a thoroughly brutalized environment that left room for local initiatives when it came to the methods of killing and humiliation, initiatives that satisfied individual needs, not only for self-gratification but also for variation. Killing and abuse can become routine, and one way of breaking the monotony, showing off, or distancing oneself from the act is to invent ‘games’, (97) like during the Japanese massacre at Nanjing and surrounding areas in 1937, where killing and gang rape could be viewed as a sport. (98) Hagop Der-Garabedian, a survivor of labor battalions, torture, and imprisonment, literally described the torture of Armenians by Ottoman soldiers as ‘creative play’. (99) A concrete example is given by the radically pro-Turkish and anti-Armenian Danish engineer O. A. Rygaard. In 1928–1929 he was travelling through Anatolia on horseback, encountering the after-effects of the Armenian genocide. In Sarki Karahissar he had frank conversations with several of the local Turkish men about the massacres of Armenians there in August 1915: ‘While laughing coarsely they remind each other about how they then tried to find out how many victims a single rifle bullet could penetrate. “We managed up till 10”, says one of them, “but then the Turkish soldier’s rifle is a fine gun”, he adds proudly and joyfully’. (100)

Sexual violence during the Armenian genocide was probably primarily a gender-specific way of degrading and killing, and to the extent that such abuse was directly and explicitly sanctioned from local or toplevel CUP leadership, it would most likely be for reasons of securing popular male participation in the extermination process. The constantlyrepeated rituals of violence would have helped to create bonds between the CUP and the general population that they were trying to mobilize. This would be reminiscent of how the distribution of Armenian wealth and people was used to secure loyalty. In fact, plunder and rape during wars and genocide seem in many cases to be phenomena that are inextricably linked to each other. (101) If women (as was often the case in the Ottoman Empire) are basically viewed as chattel, as male property by soldiers, gangs, or the general population who have been given more or less explicit permission to live off the land during war and genocide, sexual violence can be seen as a right, as a natural extension of the right to plunder – rape as ‘the most extreme violation of the domestic interior’, as it has been put. (102)

But since most of the battle-age male Ottoman Armenian population at the time had been killed, and the survivors offered little organized resistance, it seems less likely that the CUP leadership would be using sexual violence against Armenian females with a main motive of ‘sending a message’ to a designated enemy, although this rationale as well as the other rationales mentioned below could have been motivating factors on a regional and local level. (103) Sexual violence seems rather to have been a completely accepted, often encouraged, ‘by-product’ of the overall genocidal program. Regardless of whether the Ottoman government or the CUP directly authorized the sexual abuse as a separate policy or not, it was an integral part of the widespread and systematic attacks against a civilian population with the aim of destroying this population, thus making the sexual abuse genocidal as such. It is not unlikely, though, that rape, together with the other abuses and the deprivations of the marches, in some cases was a conscious means of weakening young women and children, thus preparing them for absorption into Muslim households (see discussion of the forced assimilation below). (104) But this is still somewhat different from the frequent use of organized rape as a political strategy and a military weapon in other, less total, genocidal campaigns, where the ultimate goal is not (or has not yet developed into) annihilation, but rather the submission, partial destruction, and/or forced emigration of a group.

The aim of organized rape in such instances is to destroy family ties and group solidarity; to undermine military morale by inflicting trauma, humiliation, and fear; to block procreation of the group; and to impregnate women in order to affect the ethnic composition of populations. Such crimes are therefore rightly included in the UN Genocide Convention as part of what can constitute the crime of genocide. (105) As Ruth Seifert expresses it, ‘rape is not an aggressive manifestation of sexuality, but rather a sexual manifestation of aggression’, and when occurring in a systematic, organized fashion during genocidal campaigns, rape becomes an integrated part of the arsenal of destruction. (106) Examples include the Serbian rape camps during the Bosnian genocide, (107) the 1971 massive killings and abuses committed by Pakistani forces against the Bengali population of Bangladesh, (108) and the 1914 attempted ‘cleansing’ of Ottoman Greeks from the Aegean littoral during the pre-war phase of the CUP campaign of Turkification or ‘ethnic reconfiguration’ (109) of the Ottoman Empire. According to Alfred Van der Zee, Danish Consul at Smyrna (Izmir), in March 1914, the valis (general governors) of Smyrna and the nearby regions had made tours of inspection to the coastal towns and villages, ‘advising’ the local officials to force the Greek population out, first by economic boycotts, then, when this did not have the desired effect, by violent persecution: ‘Armed “Bashibozuks” [state-financed gangs, MB] attacked the Greek population, raped the Greek women, killed the children, etc. Finally, the gangs also violated non-Ottoman citizens’. (110)

I must underline that the attempt to compare the ways systematic sexual violence has been rationalized, instrumentalized, and carried out by various perpetrators in various genocidal campaigns is part of an attempt to clarify the differences and similarities of conceptually related, but historically and geographically distinct events. It is not an attempt to minimize or relativize the suffering of one group or individual compared to that of another group or individual. Such an attempt would be morally dubious, and the measuring of suffering would be practically impossible as well as irrelevant for scholarly purposes. What tie these instances of organized sexual abuse together is that innocent individuals were systematically violated within the context of larger campaigns of destruction. For instance, in both the Armenian and Bosnian cases, the abuse happened after or during a period of what has in a Bosnian context been called a social production of fear and vengefulness directed against a victim group, (111) and during wars of conquest that were aimed not only at acquiring territory, but also at creating an ethnically pure Lebensraum for the preferred group. (112) Also, mass violence during these campaigns was systematically directed against members of groups, a large proportion of whom shared what one might call traditional, conservative values and lifestyles. In such groups, sexual violence against women carries a comparatively large stigma, as virginity before, and chastity after, marriage is not only highly valued, but is a matter of personal, family, and national honor. (113) Thus, all victims from all groups had to suffer the trauma of not only the personal violations and of the attempted destruction of their group, but often also of the added trauma of being ostracized by surviving family members or other members of the group. (114)

‘Relocation’: The end of the death marches

The remnants of the death marches that actually managed to reach the area of the Syrian desert found none of the settlements promised by the government, only enormous, chaotic concentration camps on open fields, (115) and those who were not forcibly assimilated or managed to escape suffered further persecution, killings, and exposure to diseases and starvation that killed approximately 400,000, culminating with the outright massacre of some 200,000 survivors in 1916. (116) Late in July 1915, Jackson, American Consul at Aleppo, was informed of the arrival in the Diarbekir region of a group of more than 1000 Armenian women and children from Harput. There they were handed over to a band of Kurds who rode among them, selecting what were deemed to be the most attractive women, young girls, and children. Some terrified women tried to resist, thereby agitating the Kurds who killed a number of the women on the spot. Before carrying off the selected Armenians, they stripped most of the 300 remaining Armenians and forced them to continue the march for the next six days through the desert until they reached Ras-el-Ain in northern Syria, ‘burned to the color of a green olive, the skin peeling off in great blotches, and many of them carrying gashes on the head and wounds on the body’, as witnessed by Jackson himself. (117) Practically no subsistence was furnished by the authorities, which meant that unless surviving deportees could get illegal assistance from local Muslims or Westerners, or from Armenians in Aleppo who had not yet been deported, (118) they were left to die of fatigue, hunger, or diseases, or, as was frequently the case, to sell their children to prevent starvation for themselves and their offspring. (119) By then, slave trade of Armenian women, young girls, and children had become a lucrative business for Bedouin and Kurdish tribes in the Arab regions of the empire. (120)

Dr Martin Niepage, a German teacher at the German technical school in Aleppo, witnessed how thousands of deported Armenians, almost exclusively women and children, were lying dead or dying in the streets and backyards of the city, or were hidden in the houses of Christians or of Muslims opposed to the genocide. The deportees did not receive any aid from the authorities, and, like other observers, Niepage concluded that the aim was to destroy the Armenians completely. He and his colleagues desperately tried to save as many as possible, but the need was overwhelming, and Niepage felt that reading fairy tales to his mainly Armenian pupils or trying to teach them to conjugate verbs was a slap in the face of true morality and a mockery of human compassion when the children’s compatriots were starving to death in the near vicinity of the school. (121) Some Armenian females were bought by Europeans from Turkish soldiers who had raped or gang raped them, and the women and girls were now all showing signs of severe trauma, like speechlessness or delirium, because of the abuse and because they had had to watch relatives getting their throats cut. (122) Gertrude Bell – British traveller, archeologist, and government official – after having interrogated captured Turkish soldiers about the massacres and abuse of Armenians at Ras-el-Ain, wrote on the fate of Armenian women that ‘[n]o man can ever think of a woman’s body except as a matter of horror, instead of attraction, after Ras al-Ain’. (123) The abuse was indeed so frequent and systematic that H. Hoffmann-Fölkersamb, German Consul at Aleppo, by late 1915 concluded that rape had become official policy, a fact the authorities did not even bother to hide. (124)

Genocide by forced assimilation: Background and rationale

But another fate worse than death had, on the basis of a gender- and agespecific calculus, been decided for some Armenian children and women of child-bearing age, in common with other cases of genocide. In fact, Roger W. Smith contends that genocide has generally affected women differently from men in at least three ways: Women have seldom participated directly in genocide, though this has begun to change in the twentieth century (e.g., in Nazi Germany and Cambodia); women have been victimized in ways different from men to a large extent (rape and enslavement); and the consequences of genocide (incorporation into the perpetrator’s society; or ostracism of victims of rape, as in Bangladesh) have often been different as well. All these differences can be explained in terms of: 1. the specific biological attributes of women (sexuality, reproductive capacity, and maternity) that historically made them both vulnerable and valuable; and 2. the assumptions of patriarchal society that women are weak, dependent, and the sexual property of males, who may appropriate their bodies, labor, and reproductive power. (125)

In the case of the Armenian genocide, a significant number of women and children – all in all an estimated 100,000–200,000, or between 5 and 10 percent of the whole Ottoman Armenian population – were, because of their biological attributes, deemed fit to be incorporated into what would now be Turkish, not Ottoman, society. As it has been put, Armenian men were the bearers of ethnicity, while Armenian women and children were susceptible to assimilation. (126) This was not only a consequence of individual abductions, forced marriages, etc., but of official CUP policy, and was, as Ara Sarafian states, part of the same genocidal calculus as the massacres, rapes, and death marches, (127) making the Armenian genocide a ‘differentiated program’. (128) Contemporary Western observers, whether neutral, allied, or at war with the Ottoman Empire, also concluded that this policy of forced conversion was one of the methods used to secure the disappearance of the Ottoman Armenians. (129) According to W. Spieker, a German employee at the Baghdad railway, a Turkish commissioner had related to him in July of 1915 that the authorities no longer had any survey of the number of women and girls who had been abducted either, as expressed by the commissioner, ‘by force’ (i.e., without explicit official consent and cooperation) or in agreement with the government. The commissioner saw this as the fulfillment of a long-desired plan that had left nine out of ten Armenians dead. (130) But even the limited number of converted Armenians worried CUP leader Talaat, and was at times being further ‘restricted’. (131) Thus, many converted Armenians, including some of those who had been forcibly converted after the large-scale 1894–1896 massacres of Armenians during the reign of sultan Abdul-Hamid II, (132) as well as thousands of orphaned Armenians originally designated for Turkification, were killed. (133) Sarafian operates with four categories of how Armenians were transferred, forcibly converted, and absorbed into Muslim households in the course of 1915–1916:

1) ‘Voluntary’ conversions of individuals in the initial stages of the 1915 persecutions.

2) Selection of individual Armenians by individual Muslim hosts for absorption into Muslim households.

3) Distribution of Armenians to Muslim families by government agencies.

4) The use of Ottoman government–sponsored orphanages as a direct means of assimilating Armenian children. (134)

The fact that the disappearance of what was commonly known at the time as ‘the Armenian race’ was achieved partly by an official policy of absorption of Armenians into the Muslim population is a clear indication that the widespread anti-Armenian sentiments among CUP leaders and the general population (and, for that matter, among many contemporary Western observers) were generally not based on a notion of biological racism, as was the case with the anti-Semitism of the Nazis. (135) There are many similarities between anti-Armenian sentiments and anti-Semitism – Armenians were even believed by some to be ‘Jews of the East’, which was not meant as a compliment. (136) But although hatred of Armenians and other Christians based on the relatively modern concept of eliminatory biological racism did exist among some influential Young Turks, (137) the prevalent variant of racism in the Ottoman Empire was based mainly on ethno-religious hatred: Armenians were believed to be subversive, disloyal, greedy, cunning, infidel, etc., an ‘ethno-religious anomaly’. (138) According to Carl Ellis Wandel, the Danish diplomat at Constantinople, anti-Armenianism was the main ingredient of the general nationalist xenophobia that the CUP had since 1913 made their leading political principle. (139) This hatred or distrust of ‘cunning’ and ‘treacherous’ Armenians was a necessary, but not sufficient factor leading to genocide. One also has to take into consideration the related fact that in 1915, when the World War was raging, Ottoman Armenians had become completely identified with the main outer enemy, Russia. As US doctor William S. Dodd reported from Konia, 15 August 1915: The Turks here are saying, ‘The Armenians must die and we are sending them down there for that purpose’. The Turks of Konia have been noted for their mildness and opposition to such measures, but their temper we can see is changing. The papers are publishing articles against the Armenians as traitors, as revolutionists, telling of atrocities committed by them in Van, 60,000 Turks killed by them etc, everything to inflame their minds and poison their thoughts. It is the same course that I saw at the time of the massacres twenty years ago [the 1894–96 massacres of Ottoman Armenians, MB]. (140)

Furthermore, Jihad had been declared against ‘infidels’, further inflaming anti-Christian sentiments in the empire, (141) and it was also widely believed that the Turkish nation and Turkish individuals would reap economical, political, and territorial benefits by getting rid of Armenian competition, and the war proved to be the perfect opportunity for such a project. These factors were sufficient to mobilize a large portion of the Muslim population for participation in the elimination of the Armenians. But since ‘Armenianness’ was generally not considered to be based on biology, elimination could be partly achieved by forced assimilation. Ethnicity and religion were the principal markers of difference, making ‘Armenianness’ to the Turks less indelibly fixed than ‘Jewishness’ would be to the profoundly racist Nazis. (142) Both the CUP and the Nazi genocidal regimes worked toward securing the complete disappearance of an unwanted group. But for the CUP, annihilation was directed at all visible traces of Ottoman Armenians and their 3000-year history in Anatolia and Cilicia, including churches, names of persons and cities, etc.; they wanted to ‘destroy the Armenian name’ and leave Turkey for the Turks, as a Turkish official toldW. Spieker. (143) The Nazis, on the other hand, wanted even the invisible traces – the allegedly dangerous blood and genes of first and foremost Jews – to disappear. This also explains the fact that while it was legally forbidden in Nazi Germany for an ‘Aryan’ to have sexual intercourse with a Jew, there were seemingly no restrictions against a Turkish man having sexual intercourse with and even impregnating an Armenian woman. (144)

In other words, by changing religion and forgetting or ignoring language, cultural background, upbringing, and experiences, including the extermination of most of one’s fellow Armenians, a limited number of Armenian females (but generally no Armenian males above the age of 10–15 years) could, at least theoretically, become Turkish in every sense of the word. As it has been put, ‘Traditional society in the Middle East still looked upon women and children as chattel, persons lacking political personality and of transmutable ethnic identity. The cultural values of children and females could be erased or reprogrammed. Genetic continuity was a male proposition’. (145) In a society and a time where the more or less rudimentary concepts of ‘race’, nation, ethnicity, and culture were so closely linked to the concept of religion, it made sense to many that one could change ‘race’ by changing religion. (146)

For example, Yeghsa Khayadjanian from Harput, 15 years old in 1915, recalled that when she and a group of other young Armenians were given the choice between conversion or death, they were not asked whether they wanted to become Muslims, but whether they would ‘become Turks or not?’ (147) Likewise, Khanum Palootzian tells how Turkish gendarmes prior to a massacre told Armenian women that ‘those who want to be Turks can go to the 3 houses on the road and be saved’. (148) What had to be formally changed as well as violently and systematically suppressed, then, was not only religion, but also expressions of Armenian language, culture, and even the personal names of the survivors, whether in private homes, government-run orphanages, or the public sphere, leaving only the biological ‘raw material’ to be systematically Turkified. This is one of the ways in which the forced assimilations correspond with the more direct sexual violence of the death marches: in the minds of the perpetrators, neither assimilation nor rape was a matter of encounters between persons, but rather of encounters between the person of the perpetrator and the body of the victim. But the first and most important step of the forced assimilation process was the conversion to Islam, which, for women, could only be ratified by immediate marriage to a Muslim and by the surrender of Armenian children to be brought up as ‘true Muslims’, with Muslim names in Muslim families. (149) Thereby these Muslim families, by participating in the forced conversions and by controlling the faith and actions of the converted afterward, became crucial agents for what amounted to a centrally organized program of forced assimilation within the grander genocidal design.150 The Young Turk leaders themselves were often secularists, even atheists, but they believed that successful Turkification could only be built on Islamization.

For Armenian boys, the forced conversions could be followed by public circumcisions performed by local Muslim clerics. (151) Supposedly, this often-painful and humiliating ritual marked a ‘point of no return’ in the conversion from being a Christian Armenian to becoming a Muslim Turk. Sarkis Saroyan, four years of age in 1915, even remembered that the ‘excised piece of flesh’ was dried in the sun and kept as a proof of his becoming a Muslim and a Turk. (152) Naturally, conversion to avoid persecution or destruction was not a desirable option as it evoked fears of divine punishment and social exclusion among the usually very religious Armenians, where martyrdom, not surrender, was highly valued. (153) But as the examples show, they had little choice. That choice, however, was far from always offered; in fact, the authorities often turned down desperate requests to convert, preferring to have the Armenians killed. (154) Missionaries Wedel-Jarlsberg and Elvers witnessed and describes just how desperate the situation was for the surviving Armenian women in Erzinjan, telling about a woman shouting to them in the street that, ‘We want to become Muslims. We want to become Germans, whatever you want, just save us, they are about to take us to Kemagh and slit our throats’. (155) Dr Niepage relates that in some instances, Armenian adults were allowed, as a means of saving their lives, to apply to local administrations for the right to convert, only to see the application being rejected by officials who answered that ‘religion is not something to be toyed with’. They preferred to have the applicants killed, but according to Niepage they first wanted to humiliate the Armenians and their European benefactors. (156) On the other hand, when a sincere choice was offered of applying for an erzuhal, a petition for religious conversion, (157) many other Armenians chose death rather than conversion. (158)

According to some contemporary Western observers, one of the reasons that the CUP in some instances preferred conversion to murder was that some of the perceived ‘racial’ traits of Armenians were deemed desirable if somehow disassociated from any actual ‘Armenianness’, i.e., from any visible manifestation of anything ‘Armenian’. Henry Morgenthau, US ambassador at Constantinople, stated regarding the forced assimilation of Armenian females that, [t]he most beautiful and healthy Armenian girls could be taken, converted forcibly to Mohammedanism, and made the wives or concubines of devout followers of the Prophet. Their children would then automatically become Moslims and so strengthen the Empire, as the Janissaries had strengthened it formerly. These Armenian girls represent a high type of womanhood and the Young Turks, in their crude, intuitive way, recognized that the mingling of their blood with the Turkish population would exert a eugenic influence upon the whole. (159)

That the often Western-educated Young Turks, according toMorgenthau, were thinking in rudimentary terms of eugenics could indicate that they were not foreign to the modern ideas of human beings as divided into a hierarchy of biologically defined races, and of ‘certain social behaviors as reflective of a transgenerational, immutable biological or cultural constitution, either of a superior or a degenerative nature’. (160) The view that the Turkish authorities somehow appreciated the Armenian ‘gene pool’ is also expressed by an Armenian survivor and by US missionary Mary Graffam. (161)

Whatever the reason, the authorities did organize special orphanages for the direct assimilation of Armenian children. (162) Also, on a local level, it was sometimes realized that in times of war, with many Muslim men serving in the army, the local population needed cheap or free labor – shepherds, servants, farmhands – which could be provided by Armenian women and children distributed by the authorities. (163) Danish missionary Hansine Marcher stated in a 1916 testimony that [i]n the Turkish villages agricultural work was being largely carried on by the Armenian women and children, who had been handed over to the Moslem peasants by the authorities. Sister [Marcher, MB] saw quantities of them everywhere, practically in the condition of slaves. They were never allowed to rest in peace, but were constantly chivied about from one village to another. (164)

In Diarbekir, in the early spring of 1916, Marcher encountered some of the few surviving Armenians of the city, a number of children living as servants and slaves, with Turkish names and speaking only Turkish. (165) But generally, the CUP were reluctant to accept exemptions from physical destruction, even though the economy, the international prestige, and the war effort suffered severely as a consequence. (166)

There is nothing unique in the way religion and ethnicity or ‘race’ could become interchangeable in the Ottoman Empire. When compared to the Holocaust, where a modern, dominant ideology of extreme biological anti-Semitism ruled out conversion or assimilation as a means of survival, in the case of the Armenian as well as the Bosnian genocide, ideologies based on ethno-religious hatred both incited murder and, to a limited extent, also provided paths of survival, even where ethnoreligious affiliation had started to be viewed as a modern ‘racial’ marker. As Michael Sells describes it, in the Balkans, Croat and Serb nationalists to this day still refer to Bosniaks – Slavic Muslims – as Turks, even though they share language, tribal descent, and cultural and physical traits with their Christian neighbors. The idea behind the notion of Slavs changing ‘race’ and becoming Turks is that conversion to Islam is actually Turkification, a ‘racial’ or ethno-religious transformation. In this view, Slavs are not and cannot be Muslims, and conversion, whether voluntary or not, equals betrayal of not only religion, but of ‘race’ and culture. (167) Also, in the imagination of some Serbs and Bosniaks, women, whether Christian or Muslim, are basically incubators who secure the reproduction of male genes, meaning that through rape, Muslim and Serbian women could give birth to ‘pure’ Serbian and Muslim children, respectively. (168)

Forced assimilation as a practical experience

In reality, for an Armenian to go through the required motions of becoming a Turk did not mean that he or she at any point of time truly accepted ‘reprogramming’. That depended on various factors, age being seemingly the most important one: younger children tended to completely forget about native tongue, religion, and national or ethnic identity, while older Armenians tended to maintain at least parts of their ‘Armenianness’ and to remember the murder of their close relatives. Often, older children also tried to escape. (169) Nor was this ‘reprogramming’ necessarily truly accepted by ethnic Turks, Kurds, or Arabs. Many who were forcibly converted and placed in Muslim households were not being assimilated or treated as equals at all, but as servants or slaves. The story of the Armenian girl, Hansa, illustrates this. She lost all her relatives in 1915 when she was six, and was abducted by Bedouins where she was not treated as ‘one of their own’, but was abused and had to steal bread from the Beduin children she was looking after. She escaped several times, only to fall into the hands of other abusers. (170) Many converts did not even speak Turkish, and were still considered to be gâvur,i.e., infidel, as was the case with another young Armenian girl: Initially I was with a Turkish family where the man had two wives. One of them had children and the other did not. The wife without children used to take care of me, but the other was envious, saying that she was taking care of a gâvur, taking the food away from her own children. The man being the cause of the strife between them [the two women] took me to another house. Here the woman was paralyzed and very thin. She had a child and couldn’t take care of her. So I was to do all the chores around her. I was so young myself and didn’t understand her language [Turkish]. (171)

It is also in the survivor testimonies that one can get an idea of the organized nature of the assimilations, with Ottoman bureaucracy, police, judiciary, and clergy being involved in the approval of forced marriage, conversion, and adoption, keeping accounts of these official acts, compiling lists of those who were to be deported, adopted, or converted, etc.(172) In Sivas, nine-year old Henry Vartinian, his widowed mother, and his four siblings had survived 1915 by being protected by an influential Turkish friend, Ali Effendi, who eventually had to tell the family that he could no longer hide them as he would be hanged if the authorities learned about his actions. He advised the Vartinians that they could only survive by converting, which the mother, a devout Christian, refused at first; but Ali told her that the alternative would be that her children would be killed in front of her and that she would be forced to marry a Turk. Left with such a choice, she decided to convert, but only ‘externally’, remaining Christian in secret. Conversion required that they all went to a judge in the city council, denounced their faith, and declared their adherence to Islam. They were then given new names (Henry Vartanian became Abdul Rahman oghlu Assad) and outward symbols (fez and turban), got registered with the authorities, and were issued new identity papers. The boys were circumcised by a Muslim cleric and went to a Turkish school, but were still harassed by ethnic Turkish boys who called them dönme, ‘turncoats’. (173)

Early in 1916 US missionary FrederickW. MacCallum wrote a letter from Tiflis (now Tbilisi, Georgia) describing the conditions and experiences of Armenian refugees in the area: I heard a great many stories of individual suffering – men flayed alive, hacked to pieces with axes, starved to death, buried alive, burned to death, starved to death in holes of indescribable filth, of women outraged in the most cruel and disgusting manner, pregnant women ripped open, breasts cut off, delicate, refined young women compelled to travel day after day perfectly naked, innumerable cases of women being forced into Moslem harems; of children also tortured and killed in the most brutal manner. But all I have seen myself are some of the effects of this treatment, scars, sickness, insanity, fright, desperation, hatred, desire for revenge on the Turks, etc. (174)

Niall Ferguson states that ‘[i]t would certainly be simplistic to regard raping women as a form of violence indistinguishable in its intent from shooting men.’  (175) As this study has aimed to show, this is true regarding the Armenian genocide. There is ample evidence that the destruction of the Ottoman Armenians was characterized by distinct gendered aspects, not least the particular timing and the methods of killing women and children, that females were subjected to massive, systematic sexual abuse, and that a number of women and children were allowed to survive as Muslim Turks. Also, while the context and exact execution of the violence against Armenian females makes this case in some ways a particular phenomenon in the history of sexual abuse during mass violence, the experiences – separation of families, rape, starvation, dehumanization, forced assimilation, etc., all within the context of an exterminatory scheme carried out during a war – are of profoundly universal importance. The violence against Armenian women during WWI, as well as the immediate and long-term effects of this violence (subjects that fall outside the scope of this paper), is a phenomenon that deserves far more attention than it has already received, not least because it can in meaningful, illuminating ways be compared to other instances of large-scale, systematic sexual violence during war and genocide, and used in conceptual discussions aimed at analyzing causes, modes, and, ideally, prevention of such events.


1. A. Sarafian, comp., United States Official Documents on the Armenian Genocide 1915–1917 (Princeton and London, 2004), p. 199.

2. M. Levene, ‘Creating a Modern “Zone of Genocide”: The Impact of NationandState-Formation on Eastern Anatolia’, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, XII, no. 3 (Winter 1998), 395; R. F. Melson, Revolution and Genocide: On the Origins of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust (Chicago, 1992); A. Destexhe, Rwanda and Genocide in the 20th Century (New York, 1995). C. P. Scherrer, ‘Comparing Total Genocide in the 20th Century: A 22-Point Comparison’, Paper Prepared for the Workshop on Comparative Research on Genocide and Mass Murder, Hiroshima (March 2004), adds the Cambodian genocide 1975–1979 to the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, and the Rwandan genocide in his category of ‘total genocides’.

3. Recent monographs on the Armenian genocide include: T. Akcam, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (New York, 2006); T. Akcam, From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide (London and New York, 2004); D. Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians (Oxford, 2005); V. N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide – Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus (Oxford, 1997). On the Assyrian and Armenian genocides: D. Gaunt, Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim-Christian Relations in Eastern Anatolia During World War I (New Jersey, 2006).

4. R.W. Smith, ‘Women and Genocide: Notes on an Unwritten History’, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, VIII, no. 3 (Winter 1994), 315–334; D. E. Miller and L. T. Miller, Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide (Los Angeles, 1993), p. 94; C. Card, ‘Genocide and Social Death’, in C. Card and A. T. Marsoobian, eds, Genocide’s Aftermath: Responsibility and Repair (Malden, MA, 2007), pp. 10–11.

5. For a notable exception: K. Derderian, ‘Common Fate, Different Experience: Gender-Specific Aspects of the Armenian Genocide, 1915–1917’, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, XIX, no. 1 (Spring 2005), 1–25.

6. On the concept of ‘gendercide’, A. Jones, ed., Gendercide and Genocide (Nashville, 2004). For what I believe to be relevant critiques of this often arbitrarily applied and perhaps not very accurate or illuminating concept, see S. Stein, ‘Geno and Other Cides: A Cautionary Note on Knowledge Accumulation’, ibid., pp. 196–229; R. C. Carpenter, ‘Beyond “Gendercide”: Operationalizing Gender in Comparative Genocide Studies’, ibid., pp. 230–256.

7. See, e.g., J. Hagan, Justice in the Balkans: Prosecuting War Crimes in the Hague Tribunal (Chicago and London, 2003), pp. 85–88.

8. A. Jones, ‘Gendercide and Genocide’, Journal of Genocide Research, II, no. 2 (June 2000), 185, 193. Online version: www.gendercide.org/gendercide_and_genocide_2.html.

9. See, e.g., the testimonies of Sevart Mikaelian and Khanum Palutian (Palootzian), Rigsarkivet [Danish National Archives], Kvindelige Missions Arbejdere [Women Missionary Workers, hereafter: KMA], 10.360, no. 15, ‘Armenier-Missionen, Diverse Skildringer vedr. Arminierne [sic] 1906–1927’; V. M. Garougian, Destiny of the Dzidzernag (Princeton and London, 2005), pp. 205, 292–293, n. 22. For a man to disguise himself as a woman was made easier by the fact that it was common for Armenian peasant women to have veiled faces.

10. R. Hukanovic, The Tenth Circle of Hell: A Memoir of Life in the Death Camps ofBosnia (London, 1998), pp. 35, 75–76; A. Cavelius, Leila, En Bosnisk Flicka, trans. M. Hoelstad (Stockholm, 2002), pp. 86–87.

11. See, e.g., R. Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (London, 2004), p. 430; Ø. Kyrø, Godmorgen, Rwanda – er I begyndt at arbejde (Copenhagen, 2004), pp. 116–117.

12. G. Daws, Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of the SecondWorldWar in the Pacific (London, 2007 [1994]), p. 363.

13. J. Horne and A. Kramer, German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial (New Haven and London, 2001), e.g., pp. 34, 185–187, 232–234.

14. H. H. Riggs, Days of Tragedy in Armenia: Personal Experiences in Harpoot, 1915–1917 (Ann Arbor, 1997), pp. 57–58.

15. Quoted in J. Bryce and A. Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915–1916, Uncensored Edition, ed. by A. Sarafian (Princeton, NJ, 2000 [1916]), p. 67. See also Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 85; Sarafian, comp., 2004, p. 158; C. D. Ussher, An American Physician in Turkey: A Narrative of Adventures in Peace and War (Boston and New York, 1917), pp. 238, 283.

16. Quoted from a contemporary Russian-Armenian newspaper article, in E. G. Danielyan, The Armenian Genocide of 1894–1922 and the Accountability of the Turkish State (Yerevan, 2005), p. 32. On the massacre and mutilations of Christians in the Urmia region, see also Gaunt, 2006, pp. 81–120. On mutilations of Armenian women and men in and around Bitlis and Diarbekir witnessed by Myrtle O. Shane and Floyd O. Smith, J. L. Barton, comp., Turkish Atrocities: Statements of American Missionaries on the Destruction of Christian Communities in Ottoman Turkey, 1915–1917 (Ann Arbor, MI, 1998), pp. 9, 12, 92–93. For an example of male genital mutilation during the Armenian genocide, see also H. L. Larsen, Fra Blodets og Taarernes Land i Europa. En Orientrejse 1922 (1922), p. 40. On the emasculation and dismemberment of male corpses, see also A. Ter Minassian, ‘Van 1915’, in R. G. Hovannisian, ed., Armenian Van/Vaspurakan (Costa Mesa, CA, 2000), p. 218. For comparable examples of rape, mutilations (e.g., the cutting off of ears and noses), and the use of young sex slaves in Wehrmacht officers’ brothels on the Eastern front during WWII, K. C. Berkhoff, Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine Under Nazi Rule (Cambridge, MA and London, 2004), pp. 114–115, 217, 222, 302. On mutilations of Muslims during the 1912 Balkan War, see, e.g., S. Cagaptay, Islam, Secularism, and Nationalism in Modern Turkey (London and New York, 2006), p. 7.

17. See, e.g., W. Gust, ed., Der Völkermord an den Armeniern 1915/16: Dokumente aus dem Politischen Archiv des deutschen Auswärtigen Amts (Springe, 2005), p. 181; H. Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story (Detroit, MI, 2003 [1918]), p. 209. Some Armenian soldiers were (temporarily) left alive to fight for the Ottoman Empire while their families were being massacred or deported: e.g., Larsen, 1922, pp. 32–33, 55; E. J. Zürcher, ‘Ottoman Labour Battalions in World War I’, in H.-L. Kieser and D. J. Schaller, eds, Der Völkermord an den Armeniern und die Shoah/The Armenian Genocide and the Shoah (Zürich, 2002), p. 192; Sarafian, comp., 2004, pp. 27–28, 249, 255.

18. L. Kuper, Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century (London, 1981), p. 111; M. Niepage, Rædslerne i Aleppo. Sete af et Tysk Øjenvidne (London, 1917), pp. 3–4; Sarafian, comp., 2004, p. 51. According to Bastendorff, a German engineer working at the Baghdad railway, Sükrü Bey, the director of the Directorate, was an actual racist in the modern, biological sense who believed that the end result of the anti-Armenian policies ‘had to be the extermination of the Armenian race. It is the eternal battle between Muslims and Armenians, which is now being fought to the end. The weakest must disappear’. In Gust, ed., 2005, p. 421. For a similar view expressed by a German diplomat, see Morgenthau, 2003, p. 257. For a contemporary official Turkish view of the deportations and of the ‘Armenian Question’ in general, see, e.g., A. Djemal Pascha, Erinnerungen eines Türkischen Staatsmannes (München, 1922), pp. 313ff.

19. On the generally strongly patriarchal social organization of the Ottoman Armenians, especially in rural areas, S. H. Villa and M. K. Matossian, Armenian Village Life Before 1914 (Detroit, 1982), e.g., pp. 24, 26–27, 71–72.

20. Armenian women did, however, participate alongside men in resistance activities, like in the attempted defense of the Armenian quarter in Urfa, October 1915: Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 75.

21. See, e.g., Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 78; A. Ohandjanian, 1915: Irrefutable Evidence. The Austrian Documents on the Armenian Genocide (Yerevan, 2004), e.g., pp. 95, 103. It is estimated that an average of no more than 20–25 percent of deportees reached the Arabian provinces alive: R. P. Adalian, ‘The Armenian Genocide’, in S. Totten, W. S. Parsons, and I. W. Charny, eds, Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views (New York and London, 1997), p. 43; Å. M. Benedictsen, Armenien – Et folks Liv og Kamp gennem to Aartusinder (Copenhagen, 1925), p. 254. German eyewitness Niepage estimated that 90 percent of deportees were killed before reaching Aleppo from Anatolia: Niepage, 1917, p. 5. Deportees from Western Anatolia had a higher rate of survival as they were generally not massacred en route and were often transported by train. This was only a slightly less inhumane way of ‘relocation’ than the death marches: Armenians had to pay to be cramped in cattle carts, with little or no food and water, and, once in the desert, they usually met the same fate as other Armenians: H. Kaiser, At the Crossroads of Der Zor: Death, Suvival, and Humanitarian Resistance in Aleppo, 1915–1917 (Princeton and London, 2002), pp. 9–13. See also Y. Auron, The Banality of Indifference: Zionism and the Armenian Genocide (New Brunswick and London, 2003), pp. 177–178.

22. See, e.g., V. N. Dadrian, ‘The Turkish Military Tribunal’s Prosecution of the Authors of the Armenian Genocide: Four Major Court-Martial Series’, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, XI, no. 1 (Spring 1997), 35, 41; A. Sarafian and E. Avebury, eds, British Parliamentary Debates on the Armenian Genocide, 1915–1918 (Princeton and London, 2003), Appendix III, p. 91.

23. See, e.g., Dadrian, HGS, 1997, 33; P. Balakian, The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response (New York, 2003), p. 272; H. Stürmer, Two War Years in Constantinople: Sketches of German and Young Turkish Ethics and Politics, annot., rev., and intr. by H. Kaiser (London, 2004 [1917]), pp. 41ff; R. Kloian, comp., The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts From the American Press: 1915–1922 (Richmond, CA, 2005).

24. Rigsarkivet [Danish National Archives], Udenrigsministeriets Arkiver [Archives of the Foreign Ministry, hereafter: UM], 139. D. 1., ‘Tyrkiet – Indre Forhold’, Pk. 1, til 31 December 1916, nr. CXIII, 4/9 1915 (20/9). On Wandel, Denmark, and the Armenian genocide, see M. Bjørnlund, ‘“When the Cannons Talk, the Diplomats Must Be Silent”: A Danish Diplomat in Constantinople During the Armenian Genocide’, Genocide Studies and Prevention, I, no. 2 (Fall 2006), 197–223.

25. M. Jacobsen, Maria Jacobsen’s Diary 1907–1919, Kharput – Turkey (Antelias, 1979), pp. 210–211. A facsimile of the original, handwritten Danishlanguage diaries is included in this volume. For an English translation: M. Jacobsen, Diaries of a Danish Missionary: Harpoot, 1907–1919 (Princeton and London, 2001).

26. There are numerous testimonies re. Muslims as protectors and re. the death penalty for such acts: e.g., A. Lange, Et Blad af Armeniens Historie: K.M.A. 1910–1920 (Copenhagen, 1920), p. 51.

27. Sarafian and Avebury, eds, 2003, Appendix III, pp. 91–92. See also report by Lt.Maaroue, ibid., pp. 93–94. The Shotas, or Chetes, were parts of the Special Organization, a secret organization created by the CUP leadership in order to wage guerilla warfare behind enemy lines, as well as to act as the main killer units massacring Armenians in Eastern Anatolia. The Chetes were usually made up of released convicts and/or Muslim tribesmen and refugees, and were led by officers or by CUP officials: Bloxham, 2005, pp. 69–70, 78–79, 86–87; Akcam, 2004, pp. 158–166.

28. V. Svazlian, The Armenian Genocide and Historical Memory (Yerevan, 2004), p. 58. See also Riggs, 1997, p. 140. The same method of marching deportees back and forth or in circles as a method of mass killing was also used against Ottoman Greeks by Kemalists in the early 1920s: Telegram no. 201, British High Commissioner Sir H. Rumbold to the British Government, 10 May 1922, quoted in H. Tsirkinidis, At last we Uprooted Them . . . : The Genocide of the Greeks of Pontos, Thrace and Asia Minor through the French Archives (Thessaloniki, 1999), pp. 241–242.

29. See, e.g., Sevart Mikaelian’s testimony, in KMA, 10.360, Pk. 15, ‘Armenier-Missionen, Diverse Skildringer vedr. Arminierne [sic] 1906–1927’; Barton, comp., 1998, p. 17.

30. H. Kaiser, ed. and intr., Eberhard Count Wolffskeel Von Reichenberg, Zeitoun, Mousa Dagh, Ourfa: Letters on the Armenian Genocide (Princeton and London, 2004 [2nd. edn]), p. ix.

31. See, e.g., V. N. Dadrian, ‘The Role of Turkish Physicians in the World War I Genocide of Ottoman Armenians’, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, I, no. 2 (1986), 175, 185, n. 15.

32. Gust, ed., 2005, p. 262. See also ibid., p. 289.

33. Khanum Palutian’s [Palootzian] testimony, KMA, 10.360, Pk. 15, ‘Armenier-Missionen, Diverse Skildringer vedr. Arminierne [sic] 1906–1927’. See also 1920 testimony given by Palaidzu Captanian under oath at the office of the British High Commission in Constantinople, quoted in G. S. Graber, Caravans to Oblivion: The Armenian Genocide, 1915 (New York, 1996), pp. 102–104.

34. H. Kaiser, ‘ “A Scene from the Inferno.” The Armenians of Erzerum and the Genocide, 1915–1916’, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, p. 129; L. A. Davis, The Slaughterhouse Province: An American Diplomat’s Report on the Armenian Genocide, 1915–1917 (New York, 1989), pp. 79–87.

35. See, e.g., Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 83.W. Litten, German Consul at Tärbis, believed that an advantage of the marches was that it was hard to determine the actual killer: Gust, ed., 2005, p. 446.

36. See, e.g., Riggs, 1997, especially chapter, ‘The Turkish Soldier’s Woes’, as well as pp. 127–128.

37. Gust, ed., 2005, p. 259. On the charges of mass rapes of 250 Armenian women and children around Erzinjan by Captain Mehmed Hassan and his men: Dadrian, 1986, 174.

38. T. Atkinson, ‘The German, the Turk and the Devil Made a Triple Alliance’: Harpoot Diaries, 1908–1917 (Princeton, NJ, 2000), p. 88. On a related note, Governor Faik at Merzifun (Marsovan) told Greek professor Xenidhis, when confronted with the reality of the deportation and literal butchery of Armenians in the area, that he and the commandant of the gendarmes were only following orders: Dadrian, 1986, 180.

39. See, e.g., Lt. Col. D. Grossman, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society (Boston, New York, and London, 1996), pp. 209–210.

40. J. Hatzfeld, Into the Quick of Life. The Rwandan Genocide: The Survivors Speak (London, 2005), p. 72. See also T. Longman, ‘Placing Genocide in Context: Research Priorities for the Rwandan Genocide’, Journal of Genocide Research, VI, no. 1 (March 2004), 35. On brutalization of Nazi perpetrators, T. Jørgensen, Stiftelsen – Bødlerne fra Aktion Reinhardt (2003), pp. 124–127.

41. E. H. Jones, The Road to En-Dor (London, 1973 [1920]), p. 83; quoted in R. Fisk, The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East (London, New York, Toronto, Sydney, 2006 [2005]), p. 403. On the Yozgad massacres, see also Vahram Dadrian, To the Desert: Pages from My Diary (Princeton and London, 2003), p. 23; Gust, ed., 2005, pp. 323, 455. For discussions of ‘ordinary men’ as perpetrators, C. R. Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (1998 [1992]), passim; M. Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 26–30. For a conceptual discussion of the Armenian genocide, ibid., pp. 111–179.

42. UM, 139. D. 1., ‘Politiske Begivenheder i Tyrkiet i 1914’, indsendt af Gesandtskabet i Konstantinopel 26/1 1915, p. 2; UM, 139. D. 1., ‘Tyrkiet – Indre forhold’, Pk. 1, til 31 December 1916, nr. LXXI, 7/6 1915 (21/6); H.-L. Kieser, ‘Dr Mehmed Reshid (1873–1919): A Political Doctor’, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, p. 257.

43. See, e.g., A. J. Kirakossian, ed., The Armenian Massacres 1894–1896: U.S. Media Testimony (Detroit, 2004).

44. See, e.g., N. Saupp, Das Deutsche Reich und die Armenische Frage 1878–1914 (Köln, 1990), pp. 167ff.

45. N. M. Naimark, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe (Cambridge, Mass., 2002), p. 23. See also Balakian, 2003, p. 157: ‘As the concept of Armenian massacre was hammered deeper and deeper into the social psychology of Turkish society, the Armenian Question was inculcated as an issue that could only be solved by unmitigated state-sponsored and state-sanctioned violence.’

46. See, e.g., Jacobsen, 1979, p. 229; Garougian, 2005, pp. 205, 243; Riggs, 1997, p. 125; C. A. Krethlow, ‘Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz und der Genozid an den Armeniern 1915–1916’, Sozial. Geschichte, XXI, no. 3 (2006), 64.

47. Quoted in A. Sarafian, ‘The Absorption of Armenian Women and Children into Muslim Households as a Structural Component of the Armenian Genocide’, in O. Bartov and P. Mack, eds, In God’s Name: Genocide and Religion in the Twentieth Century (New York and Oxford, 2001), p. 214. See also Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 174; R. A. Parmalee, A Pioneer in the Euphrates Valley (Princeton and London, 2002), p. 24.

48. Jacobsen, 1979, p. 270. Another Danish missionary in Harput, Karen Marie Petersen, describes the deportees in a similar way: E. Bockelund, En Tjenergerning blandt Martyrfolket. Kvindelige Missions Arbejdere 1900–1930 (1932), pp. 36–37. See also Atkinson, 2000, pp. 40, 53; Riggs, 1997, pp. 146–147; Barton, comp., 1998, p. 68.

49. Khanum Palutian’s [Palootzian] testimony, KMA, 10.360, Pk. 15, ‘Armenier-Missionen, Diverse Skildringer vedr. Arminierne [sic] 1906–1927’.

50. On the Malatia slave market, see Kaiser, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, pp. 160, 165. On a slave market in Erzinjan, see Gust, ed., 2005, p. 260.

51. Sarafian, in Bartov and Mack, eds, 2001, p. 215; Kaiser, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, p. 166; Riggs, 1997, pp. 148–149; Barton, comp., 1998, p. 42. It is possible that the doctors also checked if the girls were virgins as the price could then be four times higher than the price of a raped girl: Benedictsen, 1925, p. 254. According to Villa and Matossian, 1982, p. 73, Turks valued Armenian virgins rather than non-virgins, so one reason that prepubescent Armenian girls sometimes married was to protect them from violation: ‘Generally speaking, the more physically or politically insecure the villagers felt, the younger the age for marriage’. On an incident in 1922 where a deported Greek girl in Harput married a Greek man to avoid abduction, Garougian, 2005, p. 200. On the connections between rape, abductions, looting, and forcible conversions of Armenians before and during WWI, J. J. Reid, ‘Total War, the Annihilation Ethic, and the Armenian Genocide, 1870–1918’, in R. G. Hovannisian, ed., The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics (Hampshire and New York, 1992), p. 39ff.

52. V. N. Dadrian, ‘The Armenian Genocide: An Interpretation’, in J. Winter, ed., America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915 (Cambridge, 2003), pp. 83–84. Armenian survivors at the Yozgat Tribunal in 1919 testified that ‘[w]ith very few exceptions, young Armenian females were [ . . .] the victims of rape, often serial rape’: A. Höss, ‘The Trial of Perpetrators by the Turkish Military Tribunals: The Case of Yozgat’, in Hovannisian, ed., 1992, p. 217. At a similar post-war tribunal at Kayseri (Cesarea), leading local officials were charged with rape and serial rape: V. N. Dadrian, ‘The Agency of “Triggering Mechanisms” as a Factor in the Organization of the Genocide Against the Armenians of Kayseri District’, Genocide Studies and Prevention, I, no. 2 (Fall 2006), 120–121.

53. See, e.g., Kaiser, 2002, pp. 91–92, n. 102; Derderian, 2005, 7–8; E. Mugerditchian, I Tyrkernes Kløer: En Beretning om en Armenisk Families Flugt (London, 1918), p. 20; D. E. Miller and L. T. Miller, ‘Women and Children of the Armenian Genocide’, in Hovannisian, ed., 1992, p. 160. There are also reports that Armenian boys were distributed for sexual abuse: J. Künzler, Im Lande des Blutes und der Tränen. Erlebnisse in Mesopotamien Während des Weltkrieges (Berlin-Potsdam, 1921), pp. 77, 87. See also V. N. Dadrian, ‘Children as Victims of Genocide: The Armenian Case’, on http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/cragsite/Children.htm.

54. H. Arendt, Essays in Understanding – 1930–1954 (New York, 1994), p. 304.

55. S. Zizek and C. Hanlon, ‘Psychoanalysis and the Post-Political. An interview with Slavoj Zizek’, New Literary History, XXXII, 1 (2001), 19. Quoted in B. Diken and C. B. Laustsen, Becoming Abject: Rape As a Weapon of War (Aalborg, 2004), p. 19. On mass violence and sexual abuse as ‘carnival’, see alsoW.W. Hagen, ‘The Moral Economy of Popular Violence: The Pogrom in Lwów, November 1918’, in R. Blobaum, ed., Antisemitism and Its Opponents in Modern Poland (Ithaca and London, 2005), p. 125ff.

56. Quoted in A. Nassibian, Britain and the Armenian Question 1915–1923 (London, Sydney, and New York, 1985), p. 72. For a poetical treatment of the ‘carnivalistic’ atmosphere that could characterize the killings of Armenians in the empire, Siamanto (A. Yarjanian), Bloody News from My Friend, trans. P. Balakian and N. Yaghlian (Detroit, 1996). This collection of poetry, originally published in 1911, was directly inspired by the massacre of some 20,000 Armenians in and around the Cilician town of Adana in 1909. An excerpt from the poem ‘Grief’, p. 38, reads: ‘ . . . what a mob, what dances, what joy / and what feasts everywhere . . . ./Our red shrouds are victory flags./ The bones of our pure brothers are flutes . . . / with them others are making strange music.’ Siamanto was one of the Armenian intellectuals killed 24 April 1915.

57. R. de Nogales, Four Years Beneath the Crescent, trans. M. Lee (London, 2003 [1924]), pp. 59ff.

58. Sarafian, comp., 2004, p. 41. See also letter from Dr Shepard, Aintab,

20 June 1915, in Bryce and Toynbee, 2000 (1916), p. 483; Dadrian, in Winter, ed., 2003, p. 83; Riggs, 1997, pp. 120–121.

59. K. Jeppe, Armeniervennen, VI, nos 7–8 (July–August 1926), 28. Considering (a) the amount of evidence that points to the fact that sexual abuse was the norm on death marches, and, (b) that Armenian females who were released by Jeppe’s organization were released from Muslim households where they would most likely have been sexually abused, Jeppe’s statement does not seem unlikely. On Jeppe’s experiences as eyewitness and rescue worker during and after the genocide, see M. Bjørnlund, ‘Karen Jeppe, Aage Meyer Benedictsen, and the Ottoman Armenians, National survival in imperial and colonial settings’, Paper presented at Nordic Perspectives on Colonialism. Conference arranged by Netværk for Global Kulturhistorie (Network for Global Cultural History), University of Aarhus, in Höör, Sweden 11–12 January 2007.

60. Sarafian and Avebury, eds, 2003, Appendix III, Report by Lt. Baas, p. 92. F. H. Leslie reported 6 August 1915: There must be no less than five hundred abducted now in the homes of the Moslems in this city [Urfa, MB] and as many more have been sexually abused and turned out on the streets again. They have even abused these girls openly on the streets and before the eyes of the foreigners. In Sarafian, comp., 2004, p 199. See also G. H. Knapp, The Tragedy of Bitlis (London, 2002 [1919]), pp. 42ff.; Ter Minassian, ‘Van 1915’, in Hovannisian, ed., 2000, p. 218.

61. Quoted in Bryce and Toynbee, 2000, p. 121. For a description of a comparable incident during the Armenian genocide, Fisk, 2006, pp. 391–392. For a similar occurence during the Bosnian genocide, A. Stiglmayer, ‘The Rapes in Bosnia-Herzegovina’, in A. Stiglmayer, ed., Mass Rape: The War against Women in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Lincoln and London, 1994), p. 82. For similar occurences during the German WWI-occupation of Belgium and parts of France, Horne and Kramer, 2001, pp. 196–204.

62. See, e.g., Svazlian, 2004, pp. 49–50; Balakian, 2003, pp. 273–274; de Nogales, 2003, pp. 116–117.

63. See, e.g., Bryce and Toynbee, 2000, p. 356; D. Jensen, Et Hjemløst Folk: Spredte Træk fra min Rejse i Orienten (1929), p. 37.

64. F. H. Leslie, Urfa, 28 June 1915, report on deportion from Zeitun: Sarafian, comp., 2004, p. 85. See also Svazlian, 2004, p. 57; Miller and Miller, 1993, pp. 88–89; Gust, ed., 2005, e.g., pp. 217, 287, 406–407, 420; Atkinson, 2000, p. 39; Fisk, 2006, p. 433; Garougian, 2005, pp. 23–24; Fâiz El-Ghusein, Martyred Armenia (London, 1917), pp. 12–17; Barton, comp., 1998, passim.

65. Bryce and Toynbee, 2000, p. 128. See also Miller and Miller, 1993, pp. 102–103.

66. Bryce and Toynbee, 2000, p. 640. On how ‘[t]he variants in the systematic rape presumably reflected the predilections of local commanders or their political bosses’ during the Bosnian genocide: Gutman, ‘Foreword’, in Stiglmayer, ed., 1994, pp. x–xi.

67. Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 101; Atkinson, 2000, p. 51; Riggs, 1997, p. 126.

68. A. Nesaule, AWoman in Amber (New York, 1995), p. 26.

69. L. Warner and J. Sandilands, Women beyond the Wire (1997), p. 95; N. Lillelund, En Brutal Bagage: Barndom i en japansk fangelejr (Copenhagen, 2004), p. 60.

70. Testimonies of Sevart Mikaelin and Khanum Palutian [Palootzian], KMA, 10.360, Pk. 15, ‘Armenier-Missionen, Diverse Skildringer vedr. Arminierne [sic] 1906–1927’. See also Derderian, 2005, 1718, n. 16; Atkinson, 2000, pp. 46–47; Garougian, 2005, pp. 293–294, n. 30; Riggs, 1997, p. 126; Barton, comp., 1998, pp. 30, 68–69; Naimark, 2002, p. 31.

71. See, e.g., despatch from Jackson, Aleppo, 8 June 1915, in Sarafian, comp., 2004, p. 60; statement by Merrill, Marash, ibid., pp. 68–69; statement by US Consul General at Beirut, Hollis, ibid., p. 118; letter from Dr Shepard, Aintab, 20 June 1915, in Bryce and Toynbee, 2000, p. 482; Report by Hunecke, July 1915, in Sarafian and Avebury, eds, 2003, p. 67; Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 102; Kaiser, 2002, p. 25; Gust, ed., 2005, p. 255; Atkinson, 2000, p. 47; El-Ghusein, 1917, p. 14; L. Einstein, Inside Constantinople (London, 1917), p. 126.

72. Quoted in Bryce and Toynbee, 2000, pp. 68, 160.

73. A. Jones, ‘Gender and Genocide in Rwanda’, in Jones, ed., 2004, pp. 118–119; C. A. MacKinnon, ‘Turning Rape into Pornography: Postmodern Genocide’, in Stiglmayer, ed., 1994, p. 80; R. Seifert, ‘War and Rape: A Preliminary Analysis’, ibid., p. 65; G. Grandin, ‘History, Motive, Law, Intent: Combining Historical and Legal Methods in Understanding Guatemala’s 1981–1983 Genocide’, in R. Gellately and B. Kiernan, eds, The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective, (Cambridge, 2003), p. 350; J. Nevins, A Not-So-Distant Horror: Mass Violence in East Timor (Ithaca and London, 2005), p. 109. On pregnant Jewish women being shot in the belly ‘for fun’: E. Klee, W. Dressen, and V. Riess, eds, ‘The Good Old Days’: The Holocaust As Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders (1991 [1988]), p. 179. Some may claim that such acts are myths or symbols, but there seem to be too many confirmed occurences during war and genocide to dismiss the phenomenon as fabrication, although some occurrences may be categorized as such. On the fabrication of ‘atrocity myths’, Horne and Kramer, 2001, pp. 196–225.

74. Derderian, 2005, 9; Kaiser, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, p. 162; R. G. Hovannisian, ‘Bitter-Sweet Memories: The Last Generation of Ottoman Armenians’, in R. G. Hovannisian, ed., Looking Backward, Moving Forward: Confronting the Armenian Genocide (New Brunswick and London, 2003), p. 120; Bryce and Toynbee, 2000, p. 319; M. D. Peterson, ‘Starving Armenians’: America and the Armenian Genocide, 1915–1930 and after (Charlottesville and London, 2004), p. 55.

75. H. Fein, ‘Genocide and Gender: The Uses of Women and Group Destiny’,Journal of Genocide Research, I, no. 1 (March 1999), 45.

76. Quoted in D. G. Dutton et al., ‘Extreme Mass Homicide: From Military Massacre to Genocide’, Aggression and Violent Behaviour, X (2005), 443.

77. e.g., ‘En Redegørelse for Dr Khosrov Krikorians Oplevelser i Ørkenen fra 1915–1918’, KMA, 10.360, Pk. 15, ‘Armenier-Missionen, Diverse Skildringer vedr. Arminierne [sic] 1906–1927’, 1.

78. Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 89; Kaiser, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, pp. 157–158, 161.

79. Sarafian, comp., 2004, p. 331. See also Gust, ed., 2005, pp. 217, 284–285; Larsen, 1922, p. 32; Riggs, 1997, p. 142; Vahram Dadrian, 2003, p. 78.

80. See, e.g., Svazlian, 2004, p. 84; Miller and Miller, 1993, pp. 80, 96, 103–105; Gust, ed., 2005, p. 281; B. Nercessian, I Walked through the Valley of Death (New York, 2003), p. 25; Atkinson, 2000, p. 40; Knapp, 2002, p. 47; Riggs, 1997, pp. 136–137; K. Meyer, Armenien und die Schweiz (Bern, 1974), p. 96; Ussher, 1917, p. 312. Collective suicide to avoid sexual abuse also occurred in Eastern Germany in WWII when whole female populations of villages threw themselves in rivers to avoid being raped by Russian soldiers: Gellately and Kiernan, ‘Introduction’, in Gellately and Kiernan, eds, 2003, p. 14.

81. Sevart Mikaelian’s testimony, KMA, 10.360, Pk. 15, ‘Armenier-Missionen, Diverse Skildringer vedr. Arminierne [sic] 1906–1927’.

82. Miller and Miller, 1993, pp. 97–103; Kaiser, 2002, p. 12; Gust, ed., 2005, pp. 214, 264.

83. Larsen, 1922, pp. 55–56.

84. Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 104. For examples of more general altruistic behaviour, see, e.g., S. B. Harper, ‘Mary Louise Graffam: Witness to genocide’, in Winter, ed., 2003, p. 231.

85. Re. resistance to genocide as a broader concept than, say, taking up arms, see C. Tatz, With Intent to Destroy: Reflecting on Genocide (London and New York, 2003), p. 24, who quotes Yehuda Bauer for stating that resistance to Nazi decrees during the Holocaust was ‘any group action consciously taken in opposition’ to such decrees.

86. On the subject of the existence from the early modern period of the discourses of suicide as ‘sinful’, as ‘a medical condition’ (‘the product of an unsound mind’), and as ‘heroic’, respectively, and of what is described as the post-WWI decriminalization of acts of suicide, R. M. Brown, The Art of Suicide (London, 2001), e.g., pp. 13–14, 147.

87. Miller and Miller, in Hovannisian, ed., 1992, p. 170.

88. Svazlian, 2004, p. 83. See also Miller and Miller, 1993, pp. 103–105; Gust, ed., 2005, p. 253; Kaiser, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, pp. 160, 163; Knapp, 2002, p. 47; El-Ghusein, 1917, pp. 14, 17; Meyer, 1974, p. 95.

89. See, e.g., Svazlian, 2004, pp. 106, 108; R. Peroomian, ‘Armenian Literary Responses to Genocide: The Artistic Struggle to Comprehend and Survive’, in Hovannisian, ed., 1992, pp. 224–226.

90. For a discussion of collective Armenian victimhood and attempts at redressing this, R. Panossian, The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars (London, 2006), pp. 236ff.

91. Miller and Miller, 1993, pp. 11–13. It must be noted that in such instances where there seems to be no physical violence involved in the abduction of a woman, it is in my opinion still an act of gender-specific violence, and intercourse during forced marriages and/or slavery are still acts of rape. The Trial Chamber at The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda used what I believe is a sensible definition of rape as ‘a physical invasion of a sexual nature, committed on a person under circumstances which are coercive’, and sexual violence, including rape, as ‘any act of a sexual nature which is committed on a person under circumstances which are coercive’. Quoted in N. Pillay, ‘Sexual Violence in Times of Conflict: The Jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’, in S. Chesterman, ed., Civilians in War (London, 2001), p. 173. For a further discussion of rape as genocide, C. Eboe-Osuji, ‘Rape as Genocide: Some Questions Arising’, Journal of Genocide Research, IX, no. 2 (2007), 251–273. For an illustrative description of life as an Armenian woman in a forced marriage, testimony of Digin Versjin, KMA, 10.360, Pk. 15, ‘Armenier-Missionen, Diverse Skildringer vedr. Arminierne [sic] 1906–1927’. The fate of Digin (‘Lady’, ‘Mrs’) Versjin (here spelled ‘Vergene’) is also mentioned in Atkinson, 2000, p. 72.

92. Dadrian, in Winter, ed., 2003, p. 83.

93. See, e.g., B. A. Valentino, Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the 20th Century (Ithaca and London, 2004), pp. 40–43; Dutton et al., 2005, 470.

94. Mark Levene, ‘Introduction’, in M. Levene and P. Roberts, eds, The Massacre in History (New York and Oxford, 1999), p. 17.

95. R. Seifert, ‘War and Rape: A Preliminary Analysis’, in Stiglmayer, ed., 1994, p. 56.

96. See, e.g., Fein, 1999, 43–44; Horne and Kramer, 2001, pp. 199–200; D. Baro, ‘Children Witnessing Atrocities against Parents or Caregivers, a Human Rights Perspective’, Torture – Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture, XVI, no. 3 (2006), 194–196; K. Weis and S. Weis, ‘Victimology and the Justification of Rape’, in I. Drapkin and E. Viano, eds, Victimology: A New Focus. Vol. V. Exploiters and Exploited: The Dynamics of Victimization (Lexington, Toronto, and London, 1975), p. 14.

97. See discussion in R. F. Baumeister, Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty (New York, 2001), chapter 7.

98. H. Katsuichi, The Nanjing Massacre (2000), passim. The arrest of a group of Armenian women in Bitlis was described as ‘a sport’ by an American eyewitness: Barton, comp., 1998, p. 11. On killing as ‘sport’ during the Holocaust, see, e.g., Browning, 1998, pp. 101, 134.

99. H. S. Der-Garabedian, Jail to Jail: Autobiography of a Survivor of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, trans A. H. Der-Karabetian (New York, Lincoln, Shanghai, 2004 [1957]), pp. 76–77.

100. O. A. Rygaard, Mellem Tyrker og Kurder. En Dansk Ingeniørs Oplevelser i Lilleasien (1935), p. 165. For a description of a similar occurrence in the course of the destruction of Assyrian and Armenian populations in Persia’s Urmia region in 1915, Gaunt, 2006, p. 113. For a description of a similar occurrence during the 1894–1896 massacres of Armenians, Balakian, 2003, p. 65. On killings of Armenians as ‘a sport’, see also Einstein, 1917, p. 231. On the massacre of Armenians in Sarki Karahissar (Shabin Karahissar), Nercessian, 2003, pp. 8–13; New York Times, 18 August 1915. For a description of what appears to be ritualized mass killings of Muslim Arabs by Ottoman regular cavalry, including the sexualized mutilation and killing of a pregnant woman, T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars ofWisdom (1983), p. 652, quoted in J. J. Reid, ‘The Concept ofWar and Genocidal Impulses in the Ottoman Empire, 1821–1918’, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, IV, no. 2 (1989), 187. On the rape of Armenian and Jewish women by Ottoman forces in Ottoman Palestine: H. V. F. Winstone, The Illicit Adventure: The Story of Political and Military Intelligence in the Middle East from 1898 to 1926 (London, 1982), p. 234.

101. See, e.g., N. J. Mitchell, Agents of Atrocity: Leaders, Followers, and the Violation of Human Rights in Civil War (2004), pp. 9–10, 48–50. See also E. K. Jernazian, Judgment unto Truth: Witnessing the Armenian Genocide (New Brunswick and London, 1990), p. 65.

102. Horne and Kramer, 2001, p. 198. See also Katsuichi, 2000, p. xx, on the Nanjing (Nanking) massacre: ‘[To] most men in Japan’s peasant army, women were chattels, to be used at a man’s convenience. This was especially true of Chinese women – who, according to many of their officers, were a subrace. Once looting was allowed, rape was sure to follow’.

103. See, e.g., Derderian, 2005, 5, who contends that ‘physical abuse and rape of female relatives was also used to intimidate the Armenian leadership and dampen its will to resist’.

104. Sarafian, in Bartov and Mack, eds, 2001, p. 210.

105. Diken and Laustsen, 2004, pp. 1, 5. For an introduction to the ICTR judgment of Jean-Paul Akayesu, mayor of a Rwandan commune, who was convicted of counts relating to rape and sexual violence as genocide, A. Stiglmayer, ‘Sexual Violence: Systematic Rape’, in R. Gutman and D. Rieff, eds, Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (New York and London, 1999), p. 327.

106. Seifert, in Stiglmayer, ed., 1994, p. 55.

107. See, e.g., Stiglmayer, ed., 1994; T. Shanker, ‘Sexual Violence’, in Gutman and Rieff, eds, 1999, pp. 323–326; G. Rodrigue, ‘Sexual Violence: Enslavement and Forced Prostitution’, ibid., pp. 328–329.

108. See R. Jahan, ‘Genocide in Bangladesh’, in Totten, Parsons, and Charny, eds, 1997, p. 298: ‘[S]ystematic and organized rape was the special weapon of war used by the Pakistani army during the second phase of the liberation struggle. While during the first phase, young able-bodied males were the victims of indiscriminate killings, during the second phase, girls and women became the special targets of Pakistani aggression. During army operations, girls and women were raped in front of close family members in order to terrorize and inflict racial slander. Girls and women were also abducted and repeatedly raped and gang-raped in special camps run by the army near army barracks. Many of the rape victims either were killed or committed suicide. Altogether, it is estimated that approximately 200,000 girls and women were raped during the 1971 genocide’. See also K. K. Roy, ‘Feelings and Attitudes of Raped Women of Bangladesh towards Military Personnel of Pakistan’, in Drapkin and Viano, eds, 1975, pp. 65–72.

109. Cagaptay, 2006, p. 9.

110. UM, 5. L. 15., ‘Grækenland-Tyrkiet: Politiske Forhold’, Pk. 1, Juni 1914–31/12 1945, nr. 31, 23/6 1914.

111. P. Parin, ‘OpenWounds: Ethnopsychological Reflections on theWars in the Former Yugoslavia’, in Stiglmayer, ed., 1994, p. 42.

112. On the relations between expansionism and genocide – the attempts by genocidal regimes to purify a territory rather than, or combined with, purifying a ‘race’: B. Kiernan, ‘Twentieth-Century Genocides: Underlying Ideological Themes from Armenia to East Timor’, in Gellately and Kiernan, eds, 2003, pp. 33–37. On the ‘purification’ of Anatolia, M. Bjørnlund, ‘The 1914 Cleansing of Aegean Greeks As a Case of Violent Turkification’, Journal of Genocide Research, X, 1 (2008), 41–58; Stürmer, 2000, pp. 48, 93; H. Kaiser, ‘The Ottoman Government and the End of the Ottoman Social Formation, 1915–1917’ (2001), http://www.hist.net/kieser/aghet/Essays/EssayKaiser.html; N. Seker, ‘Demographic Engineering in the Late Ottoman Empire and the Armenians’, Middle Eastern Studies, XLIII, no. 3 (May 2007), 463.

113. On Bosnia, see, e.g., R. Gutman, ‘Foreword’, in Stiglmayer, ed., 1994, p. x; on Armenia, Villa and Matossian, 1982, p. 124.

114. Seifert, in Stiglmayer, ed., 1994, p. 59; J. Hagan, Justice in the Balkans: Prosecuting War Crimes in the Hague Tribunal (Chicago, 2003), p. 186; A. Gram, Blandt Armeniske Flygtninge i Grækenland. Med Erindringer af den tidligere Armeniermissionær Margrethe Jepsen (1953), p. 18; Industrimissionens Blad, I, no. 4 (December 1922), 49.

115. See, e.g., Vahram Dadrian, 2003, pp. 51ff.

116. See, e.g., Kaiser, 2002, pp. 10–12, 66–68; M. Levene, ‘The Experience of Genocide: Armenia 1915–16 and Romania 1941–42’, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, pp. 436–37; R. H. Kevorkian, ‘Ahmed Djémal Pacha et le sort des déportés armeniéns de Syrie-Palestine’, ibid., 206–207; V. N. Dadrian, HGS, 45; Larsen, 1922, p. 36. For an eyewitness testimony of the 1916 Der Zor massacres by the Armenian deportee Sanduk Gorjaslian, 7 Gamle Koner (Lemvig, 1927), pp. 9–10. These massacres could be preceded by mass rape, as testified in Sarafian, comp., 2004, p. 550: ‘I am reliably informed that the Mutessarif [local CUP official Zekki/Zeki Bey,MB] of Der-el-Zor has arranged and carried out the massacre of all the remaining Armenians that were there, some 12,000 in all, having gone personally to superintend the work. That before the end all the presentable women and girls were outraged by the “Chachames” of the Arab tribes there, whose participation was at the invitation or command of the Mutessarif’. See also ‘En Redegørelse for Dr Khosrov Krikorians Oplevelser i Ørkenen fra 1915–1918’, KMA, 10.360, Pk. 15, ‘Armenier-Missionen, Diverse Skildringer vedr. Arminierne [sic] 1906–1927’, 2–4.

117. Quoted in Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 19. See also Riggs, 1997, pp. 137–138.

118. Kaiser, 2002, passim; Ohandjanian, 2004, p. 118.

119. Sarafian, comp., 2004, p. 169.

120. V. Tachjian and R. H. Kévorkian, ‘Reconstructing the Nation with Women and Children Kidnapped During the Genocide’, trans. M. R. Appel, Ararat, XLV, no. 185 (Winter 2006), 5–14. See also Auron, 2003, p. 191.

121. Niepage, 1917, pp. 3–7. See also Kaiser, 2002, pp. 13–18.

122. Niepage, 1917, pp. 13–14.

123. H. V. F. Winstone, Gertrude Bell (London, 2004), pp. 276–277, quoted in Fisk, 2006, p. 402. On the large-scale massacre and abuse of Armenians at Ras-el-Ain, see also testimony of an Armenian woman deported from Bitlis with her family, in Jensen, 1929, p. 37; Auron, 2003, p. 182.

124. Kaiser, 2002, p. 27.

125. Smith, 1994, p. 316.

126. Derderian, 2005, 4.

127. Sarafian, in Bartov and Mack, eds, 2001, p. 210. On the number of assimilations, see also E. G. Danielyan, The Armenian Genocide of 1894–1922 and the Accountability of the Turkish State (Yerevan, 2005), p. 27.

128. Kaiser, 2002, p. 1. See also Morgenthau, 2003, pp. 200–201; Tachjian and Kévorkian, 2006, 5; Derderian, 2005, 2; A. Baum et al., ‘Review of Mass Homicides of Intelligentsia As a Marker for Genocide’, The Forensic Examiner, XVI, no. 3 (Fall 2007), 34–41. On the continuation of the policy of forced assimilation of Armenian and Greek women in the early 1920s during Kemalist rule, see, e.g., H. J. Psomiades, ‘The American Near East Relief (NER) and the Megali Catastrophe in 1922’, Journal of Modern Hellenism, XIX–XX (Winter 2002–2003), 135–150.

129. Sarafian, in Bartov and Mack, eds, 2001, p. 211. See also Kaiser, 2002, p. 1.

130. Gust, ed., 2005, p. 217.

131. Kaiser, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, p. 151. See also Derderian, 2005, 4; T. Hofmann, ed., Der Völkermord an den Armeniern vor Gericht: Der Prozess Talaat Pascha (Göttingen andWien, 1985 [1921]), pp. 133–136; Riggs, 1997, p. 97; U. Ü. Üngör, ‘Center and Periphery in the Armenian Genocide: The Case of Diyarbekir Province’, in H.-L. Kieser and E. Plozza, eds, Der Völkermord an den Armeniern, die Türkei und Europa/The Armenian Genocide, Turkey and Europe (Zürich, 2006), p. 80.

132. Bryce and Toynbee, 2000, p. 297; Kieser and Schaller, ‘Einleitung’, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, p. 31; Kaiser, ibid., p. 159; Sarafian, comp., 2004, p. 154.

133. Jacobsen, 1979, pp. 284, 288, 316; Bryce and Toynbee, 2000, p. 288; Davis, 1989, pp. 64, 169; Gust, ed., 2005, p. 236.

134. Sarafian, in Bartov and Mack, eds, 2001, pp. 210–211. On government-run orphanages as part of the genocidal calculus, see also Benedictsen, 1925, p. 257; Barton, comp., 1998, pp. 164–165.

135. On (proto-)racist prejudice, Turkish and Western, against Armenians, W. Gust, ‘Die Verdrängung des Völkermords an den Armeniern – ein Signal für die Shoah’, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, pp. 463–480; S. H. Astourian, ‘Modern Turkish Identity and the Armenian Genocide: From Prejudice to Racist Nationalism’, in R. G. Hovannisian, ed., Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide (Detroit, 1998), pp. 23–50; Bjørnlund, ‘Karen Jeppe, Aage Meyer Benedictsen . . . ’, 2007; M. L. Anderson, ‘ “Down in Turkey, Far Away”: Human Rights, the Armenian Massacres, and Orientalism inWilhelmine Germany’, Journal of Modern History, LXXIX (2007), 80–111; C. E. Bechhofer, In Denikin’s Russia and the Caucasus, 1919–1920 (1992 [1921]), pp. 257ff.

136. Gust, ed., 2005, p. 227. For comparisons between anti-Armenianism and anti-Semitism, see also Raphael Lemkin, quoted in D. J. Schaller, ‘ “La question arménienne n’existe plus”: Der Völkermord an den Armeniern während des Ersten Weltkriegs und seine Darstellung in der Historiographie’, in Fritz Bauer Institut, ed., Völkermord und Kriegsverbrechen in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts (Frankfurt and New York, 2004), p. 113; S. H. Astourian, ‘Genocidal Process: Reflections on the Armeno-Turkish Polarization’, in Hovannisian, ed., 1992, p. 59. US diplomatic minister at Copenhagen during WWI, Maurice Francis Egan, stated that his Turkish colleagues looked upon Armenians as ‘deadly parasites’, and he compared their views on Armenians with the way Russian noblemen viewed ‘inferior Jews’: M. F. Egan, Ten Years Near the German Frontier: A Retrospect and aWarning (New York, 1919), p. 312. On one of these diplomats in Copenhagen during WWI, Djevad Bey, and, e.g., his insistence on a ‘Turkey for the Turks’, see Bjørnlund, ‘“When the Cannons . . . ” ’, 2006, 205.

137. See especially Kieser, ‘Dr Mehmed Reshid . . . ’, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, pp. 245–280.

138. Adalian, in Totten, Parsons, Charny, eds, 1997, p. 46. See also, e.g., Seker, 2007, 463.

139. UM, 139. D. 1., ‘Tyrkiet – Indre Forhold’, Pk. 1, til 31 December 1916, nr. CXXV, 22/9 1915 (5/10); UM, 139. D. 1., ‘Tyrkiet – Indre Forhold’, Pk. 1, til 31 December 1916, nr. XCVII, 14/8 1915 (25/8).

140. Quoted in Sarafian, comp., 2004, p. 194. See also ibid., p. 446. On the discussion of Armenian resistance/rebellion at Van, see, e.g., Ter Minassian, ‘Van 1915’, in Hovannisian, ed., 2000, pp. 209–244.

141. See, e.g., R. Bonney, Jihad: From Qur’an to bin Laden (Hampshire and New York, 2004), pp. 150–153.

142. R. G. Suny, ‘Religion, Ethnicity, and Nationalism: Armenians, Turks, and the End of the Ottoman Empire’, in Bartov and Mack, eds, 2001, pp. 53–54.

143. Gust, ed., 2005, p. 291. Re. the CUP principle of ‘Turkey for the Turks’, see also O. L. von Sanders, Fünf Jahre Türkei (Berlin, 1920), p. 200.

144. On the Nazi race laws, etc., see I. Kershaw, The Nazi Dictatorship (London, 1993 [3rd edn]), pp. 92–93; Fein, 1999, 52–53. Despite the race laws, many Jewish women were still subjected to rape, sexual humiliation, slavery, and mutilation during the Holocaust: e.g., A. L. Gold, Fiet’s Vase and Other Stories of Survival, Europe 1939–1945 (New York, 2003), p. 108; M. Gilbert, The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe during the Second World War (New York, 1987), p. 301; E. Schloss, Eva’s Story (New York, 1990), pp. 76–77; Browning, 1998, pp. 152–153.

145. Adalian, in Totten, Parsons and Charny, eds, 1997, p. 52. See also Diken and Laustsen, 2004, pp. 7–8.

146. That such a linkage between ‘race’ and religion could exist in the eyes of Turkish authorities is expressed in a quote related by Garougian, 2005, pp. 134–135. Around 1921, when Pontian Greeks were being massacred or deported from the Black Sea coast to the interior, Armenian survivors in Harput inquired with Turkish officials about feeding what were described as the wretched and sick deportees. According to Garougian, the response was that ‘[t]hey’re part of your own race. You help them!’ Here, the fact that both Greeks and Armenians are generally Christian seems to have been interpreted as meaning that both groups were belonging to the same ‘race’.

147. Svazlian, 2004, p. 81. See also Miller and Miller, 1993, pp. 71, 108, 183; Adalian, in Totten, Parsons, Charny, eds, 1997, p. 72; Garougian, 2005, p. 215; B. Morley, Marsovan 1915: The Diaries of Bertha B. Morley (Ann Arbor, MI, 2000), pp. 16, 23; A. I. Elkus, The Memoirs of Abram Elkus: Lawyer, Ambassador, Statesman (Princeton and London, 2004), p. 68.

148. Khanum Palutian’s [Palootzian] testimony, KMA, 10.360, Pk. 15, ‘Armenier- Missionen, Diverse Skildringer vedr. Arminierne [sic] 1906–1927’. See also R. G. Hovannisian, ‘Intervention and Shades of Altruism during the Armenian Genocide’, in Hovannisian, ed., 1992, p. 181, 191–192. For a pre-CUP example, see The Friend of Armenia, no. 25 (Spring 1906), ‘Orphans of Diarbekir’, 154, about a widowed Armenian mother, wounded during the 1890s massacres, who ‘in her misery, turned Turk’, i.e., converted to Islam. The same principle seems to have been applied in one of the rare cases where a Muslim Turk converted to Christianity. According to Maria Jacobsen, the young woman in question who had voluntarily (and, considering this was an offence punishable by death, most likely secretly) converted to Christianity, was thus not only no longer a Muslim, she was no longer a Turk: KMA, 10.360, no. 15, ‘Armeniermissionen, Korrespondance til og fra Frk. Marie [sic] Jacobsen (1912–1919), “1914”, letter from Jacobsen to KMA, Harput 19 March 1914.

149. Kuper, 1981, p. 111. ‘Taking another name’ or ‘changing name’ were in fact used as expressions denoting forced conversion and assimilation: Larsen, 1922, p. 35; Barton, comp., 1998, p. 83.

150. Sarafian, in Bartov and Mack, eds, 2001, p. 217.

151. See, e.g., Kaiser, 2002, p. 51; Sarafian, comp., 2004, p. 256; Dadrian, ‘Children As Victims . . . ’. See also Barton, comp., 1998, p. 127.

152. Svazlian, 2004, p. 82.

153. O. Bartov and P. Mack, ‘Introduction’, in Bartov and Mack, eds, 2001, p. 8.

154. See, e.g., Kaiser, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, p. 159.

155. Gust, ed., 2005, p. 260. On the massacres at the Kemakh Gorge, south of Erzinjan on the Euphrates, see, e.g., S. Payaslian, ‘The Death of Armenian Karin/Erzerum’, in R. G. Hovannisian, ed., Armenian Karin/Erzerum (Costa Mesa, Ca., 2003), pp. 353–355; I. K. Hassiotis, ‘The Armenian Genocide and the Greeks: Response and Records (1915–23)’, in Hovannisian, ed., 1992, pp. 146–147.

156. Niepage, 1917, pp. 14–15. On rejections of such applications, see also Morley, 2000, pp. 36–37; T. Hofmann and M. Pehlivanian, ‘ “Der Schlimmsten Orte Einer . . . ”: Malatia 1915 bis 1918’ (1998), http://www.aga-online.org/de/texte/malatia/index.php#1.

157. Morley, 2000, pp. 50, 83.

158. See, e.g., Gust, ed., 2005, p. 263.

159. Morgenthau, 2003, pp. 200–201. On Islamization and ‘mingling of blood’ (here called ‘amalgamating races’) as means of forced assimilation and Turkification of Ottoman Greeks, as well as on sexual abuse of Armenian women, see H. Morgenthau, United States Diplomacy on the Bosphorus: The Diaries of Ambassador Morgenthau, 1913–1916 (Princeton and London, 2004), p. 275. On the Islamization and sexual abuse of Armenian women, see also ibid., e.g., p. 322.

160. E. D.Weitz, ‘The Modernity of Genocides:War, Race, and Revolution in the Twentieth Century’, in Gellately and Kiernan, eds, 2003, p. 56.

161. Svazlian, 2004, p. 83; S. E. Moranian, ‘Bearing Witness: The Missionary Archives as Evidence of the Armenian Genocide’, in Hovannisian, ed., 1992, p. 115. See also Dadrian, 1986, 184.

162. Sarafian, in Bartov and Mack, eds, 2001, p. 216.

163. Dadrian, in Winter, ed., 2003, p. 85; Kaiser, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2002, p. 167. According to J. Winter, ‘Under Cover of War: The Armenian Genocide in the Context of TotalWar’, in Gellately and Kiernan, eds, 2003, p. 194, 50–60 percent of the adult male population of the Ottoman Empire were mobilized during WWI.

164. Bryce and Toynbee, 2000 (1916), p. 289.

165. H. Marcher, Oplevelser Derovrefra (1919), p. 16.

166. Kaiser, in Kieser and Schaller, eds, 2003, p. 142; Zürcher, ibid., p. 193.

167. M. Sells, ‘Kosovo Mythology and the Bosnian Genocide’, in Bartov and Mack, 2001, pp. 182–83, 189. See also Hukanovic, 1998, p. 31; L. Jones, Then They Started Shooting: Growing up inWartime Bosnia (2004), e.g., pp. 46–47, 75–77.

168. Diken and Laustsen, 2004, pp. 4–5.

169. See, e.g., Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 122; Bockelund, 1932, pp. 46–47.

170. J. Svanenskjold and U. Fugl, eds, K.M.A.s Arbejde gennem Femogtyve Aar, 1900–1925 (Copenhagen, 1925), pp. 42–43.

171. Quoted in Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 113.

172. Sarafian, in Bartov and Mack, eds, 2001, pp. 212–214; Miller and Miller, 1993, p. 110; Jacobsen, 1979, pp. 235–236; H. M. Chitjian, A Hair’s Breadth from Death (London and Reading, 2003), pp. 100–101.

173. Miller and Miller, 1993, pp. 145–146.

174. Quoted in Peterson, 2004, p. 55.

175. N. Ferguson, The War of the World: History’s Age of Hatred (London, 2007), p. 1.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+