He [German Admiral Usedom] said that the Armenians were in the way, that they were an obstacle to German success, and that it had therefore been necessary to remove them, just like so much useless lumber. He spoke about them as detachedly as one would speak about removing a row of houses in order to bombard a city.
-Ambassador Morgenthau's Story by Henry Morgenthau
WHEN WAS IT?
© SOFIA KONTOGEORGE KOSTOS
When was it?
that Germans and Turks,
Central Powers, too--
pulled from their uniforms,
ORDERS FROM CENTRAL HEADQUARTERS:
"Start from the East; sweep to the Black Sea;
continue through to Cappadosía; later-
swing towards the Ionian West.
There's a shortage of bullets,
take as long as it takes-be thorough!
"Release your lusts.
Rip! Rape! Plunder!
Chop all useless lumber.1
Without mercy: Stab,
kick, drown, burn!
Strip trunks, roots,
branches. Tear! Uproot! Bury!
Clear the land-no twigs,
nor splinters leave.
"Sticks and stones
will break their bones,
and names will mark them.
Call them useless lumber1 -
until all Armenians, Greeks,
Assyrians, are diminished.
"Prevent Ambassador Morgenthau from
publishing particulars of our crimes!
Render him and his protests useless.
Confiscate all witness books,
‘Was Their Fault' must be our motto.
Carry on, until the job is done!"
For the lure of coveted minerals,
and the Baghdad Railway Lines-
church bells toll no longer. And,
Moskarópoulos, Papazián, Pincáro,
are not heard either.
When hell fell over Asia Minor,2
pain knew no bounds
--in the land of their mothers,
and their mothers' mothers
So it was in 1914
through to 1923.
--SOFIA KONTOGEORGE KOSTOS
German: 1nutzloses bauholtz English: useless lumber
Turkish: 1faydasiz kereste English: useless lumber
2Asia Minor (Turkey now)
Adelaide: Tuesday, May 20, 1914
GERMANY AND THE ARMENIAN
The character and extent of Ger-
many¹s relation to the massacre
of the Armenians are impress-
sively indicated in the memoirs of Mr.
Henry Morgenthau, the American Am-
bassador at Constantinople for some
years prior to February, 1916, when he
resigned and returned to Washington.
Still more brutally implacable
towards the Armenians was the Ger-
man Naval Attaché in Constantinople,
Herr Humann, a personal emissary of
the Kaiser. In reply to American pro-
tests, Humann said the Turks had to
protect themselves, and from that
point of view they were entirely justi-
fied in treating the Armenians as they
were doing. Various attempts were
made to prevent Mr. Morgenthau
publishing particulars of the crimes.
While his son, Henry Morgenthau,
jun., was on a visit to the Gallipoli
Peninsula, Gen. Liman von Sanders
(the German commander) remarked to
him:<³Your father is making a great
mistake in giving out the facts about
what the Turks are doing to the
Armenians. That really is not his busi-
ness.² A German Jew from Berlin,
Dr. Nossig, apparently on behalf of
the Embassy, waited twice on the
Minister and advised him that his pro-
tests would be useless, and that the
Turkish Government was contem-
plating asking for his recall. He
added, ³All of us Jews, are proud of
what you, a Jew, have done, and we
would hate to see your career end disas-
trously.² Morgenthau retorted that
he could think of no greater honour
than to be sacrificed because he, a Jew,
had been exerting all his powers to
save the lives of hundreds of thousands
Mr. Morgenthau observes that when
Turkey decided on the deportation and
massacre of her subject peoples, espe-
cially the Armenians and Greeks, she
signed her own economic death
warrant. ³These were people who
controlled her industries and her
finance and developed her agriculture,
and the material consequences of this
great national crime began to be
everywhere apparentS As the
Armenians and Greeks were the largest
taxpayers, their annihilation greatly re-
duced the State revenues, and the fact
that practically all Turkish ports were
blockaded shut off customs collec-
tions.² Regarding Germany¹s war
aims, the American Embassy was in-
formed by Enver Pasha (who had been
enlightened on the subject by Gen.
Falkenhayn) that the Kaiser¹s main
purpose was to achieve the Pan-
German ³Mittel Europa² ambition.
The things on which the German
leaders had definitely settled were the
dismemberment of Serbia would practically disappear as an inde-
pendent State hindered route from Berlin to Con-
stantinople and the East. After finally
leaving Turkey, Mr. Morgenthau
journeyed to Copenhagen via Berlin.
En route he obtained further light on
the German attitude towards the
Armenian massacres. Admiral Use-
dom, who had been captain of the
Kaiser¹s yacht, the Hohenzollern, told
him that the Armenians were in the
way, that they were an obstacle to
German success, and that it had, there-
fore, been necessary to remove them,
just like so much useless lumber!
³One would never have guessed from
his remarks that the lives of a million
human beings had been involved.²
Although he is a native of Germany
(he was taken to America at the age
of nine years by his parents), Mr. Morg-
genthau expresses deep abhorrence of
Germany¹s conduct in the war. The
proof which he supplies of her passive
acquiescence in the most extensive and
demonical massacre of modern
times, and the many independent
records of her active policy of fright-
fullness on land and sea for four years,
must have weighed heavily in the judg-
ment pronounced against Germany by
the Peace Conference.
More poems by Sofia Kontogeorge Kostos in the following publication
Gregory Djanikian, George Hobson, Dean Kostos, Sofia Kontogeorge-Kostos, David Kherdian, Gregory Topalian, Nora Armani. Edited by Ara Sarafian.
Dedicated to the memory of the destruction of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks in Ottoman Turkey. The destruction of native Americans. The annihilation of Gypsies during WWII. Rwanda, Darfur and other victimised groups whose memory has been forgotten.