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Emet m'Tsiyon

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jews Caught Up in the Armenian Genocide -- Part 3

The roads were strewn with the corpses of murdered Armenians.
That's how the previous instalment of Eitan Belkind's account of the Armenian genocide [part 2] ended. Belkind traveled north on the road to Urfa and "witnessed several mass exterminations of the Armenians." [Urfa was the Biblical Ur of the Chaldees, now in southeastern Turkey. Nowadays, the Biblical Ur Kasdim, אור כסדים Ur of the Chaldees, is usually mistakenly identified with the Ur in southern Mesopotamia dug up by Woolley. In fact, several ancient cities in the region have Ur as part of their name]. In another passage, Belkind describes Jews caught up in the Armenian genocide.
. . . I went to the sheikh's tent and was very happy to find my friend Jacob Baker. . . I told him [speaking French for security] about these things that happened to me in Urfa and about Armenian pogroms that I saw on my way and he told me about his work in Mosul. We sat talking late in the night, when suddenly the child whom we mistook for a Bedouin told us in French that he and his mother are Armenians and the chief of the tribe had saved them from extermination. His mother became the sheikh's wife and he helped welcoming guests. The child went on and told us that the chief of the other tribe had a Jewish wife taken from a family of the city of Caesarea in Anatolia. Her husband had been killed and the sheikh took her.

We were shocked upon hearing this and asked the boy whether we could meet the woman. In spite of the danger, the child got into the tent where the Jewess was. Everyone in the tent was asleep and the woman managed to get out unnoticed. She was 25 and very beautiful. She told us her surname was Biram, a typical Turkish name. Her family lived in the Armenian quarter of the city and when they were taking the Armenians, they also took this woman with her husband and child despite all their protests. Her husband and child had been killed but she was rescued by the Arab sheikh who took her as his wife. We promised to take care of her.
[grammatical and spelling corrections made by Eliyahu to the translated quotes from Eitan Belkind's book, That's How It Was, the Story of a Member of Nili (Tel Aviv: 1977; in Hebrew; translation by the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute).
כך זה היה : סיפורו של
איש ניל''י [תל אביב:
משרד הבטחון [
As we have commented before, what Belkind is describing is genocide. Here he shows that Jews too were caught up in the Armenian genocide. It was apparently convenient to take this family since they lived in the Armenian quarter of their town. Their protests did them no good. The Jewish and Armenian women were grateful to be saved even at the cost of becoming an Arab sheik's subservient wives. The next instalment will indicate how Imperial Germany felt about the mass murder of their fellow Christians. Aaron Aaronsohn also mentions the German attitude and participation in the genocide, as quoted by Ronald Florence in Lawrence and Aaronsohn.
Can we have less silly chatter from academics that there was no Armenian genocide??
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Coming: more on Jews caught up in the Armenian genocide, peace follies, propaganda, Jews in Jerusalem, Hebron, etc., How Israel should have handled the hostage-takings, etc.

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