Second wave of Armenian massacres in Baku in 1918


YEREVAN, JANUARY 15, ARTSAKHPRESS. In September 1918, 23 thousand Armenians fell victim of thoroughly planned pogroms against the ethnic Armenian population of Baku. Stores, houses and oil factories owned by Armenians were razed to ground or looted. The Armenian community of Baku suffered not only human but also financial losses. The pogroms started in mid-September when the city was seized by Turkish army and went on till November of the same year. There is incontrovertible evidence related to the pogroms kept in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany. The evidence includes records and reports of the German soldiers who, at the time, were in Baku or in other places adjacent to the city. The most detailed calculation of human losses of the Armenian population was conducted by Bakhshi Ishkhanyan who, at that period, was the head of the Statistical Commission of the Armenian National Council of Baku. Bakhshi Ishkhanyan presented the results of those surveys in his book “Great Horrors of the city of Baku: Statistical research of the events of September 1918”, weighing them up with other sources as well, which was published in 1919. As of September 1918 more than 100 000 Armenians, including refugees from different regions of Azerbaijan that escaped to Baku because of the Turkish offensive, were living in Baku. Although until the city’s surrender to Turkish forces in September, 1918, ⅓ of the Armenian population was able to evacuate the city by the sea, the majority of Armenians remained in their homes falling victim to Turkish-Tartar attacks.

From the research of the Statistical Commission under the Baku Armenian National Council. The list does not include the number of refugees from other regions and labor migrants, who had no relatives in Baku. Armenian pogroms were deliberate in nature and coordinated not only by the Turkish forces but also by the authorities of the newly-formed Azerbaijan Democratic Republic which then was settled in Elizavetpol (Gandzak, nowadays Gyanja). It is noteworthy that there was a secret order by the Minister of Interior Affairs of ADR, Behbud Khan-Jevanshir, addressed to the mayors of Nukhi, Shemakhi and Baku, stating: “It is necessary to knock the Armenians down and step over their bodies in order to achieve our goals. Do not feel sorry for anyone and follow the orders given to you”. According to the reports of the Statistical Commission presided by Bakhshi Ishkhanyan in just 3 days approximately 9 thousand people were murdered. The death toll consists of 5248 names to which were also added the numbers of the victims among Armenian refugees from Shemakhi and Goycha. The committee also took into consideration the fact that there were many Armenian workers in the city’s oil factories who, unfortunately, had no relatives left in the city to clarify their fate.

  • Murdered during the pogroms of 15-17 September (only according to the death toll) – 5248 ○ Men – 3763 ○ Women – 1485 ○ Children aged 1-15 ● Missing – 3572 ○ Of which 3215 were killed (according to the surveys) ● Prisoners – 4246 ○ Of which 2972 were killed in the result of slave labour ● Killed in 3 months – 8139 (of illnesses and epidemics – includes the number of refugees leaving for Persia, South Caucasus and Central Asia)

According to the surveys and reports, the number of people who were killed or died during the pogroms as well as afterwards, as a result of the pogroms, in the period of Baku’s Turkish-Azerbaijani governance up to the entry of British forces, and also considering the number of missing people and dead in captivity from hard labor, and Armenians who lost their lives because of diseases and epidemics as a result of deportation from the city, brings the total number of victims to 23 314 people. During that time, the Chief of Staff of the Turkish Army’s East group, German Lt. Colonel Paraken noted in a report dated 26.09.1918 to Lt. General Von Seeckt: “Atrocities generally happened inside the houses. That’s the reason why there were comparatively less corpses in the streets. In general, they [the corpses], were at the corners thus we often could feel them in smell. I saw 7 corpses piled together, among them children as well…Almost all of the corpses were covered with bruises. The basements had putrid smell… At the presence of other witnesses a German told me that together with the Nuri Pasha’s adjutant they had entered a home where 13 Georgians were indiscriminately killed. When he drew the attention on the fact that the victims are Georgian, i.e. people under the auspices of Germans, the adjutant of Nuri shrugged and said: “They were simply mistaken for Armenians”. These genocidal acts against Armenians were left unpunished which naturally led to their repetition in the late 80’s, when a heinous crime against the Armenian community was committed in Baku again, for the third time in the history of the city.

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