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born 1908, Papert (Baiburt)

I do not remember how many days our decimated
caravan marched southward toward the Euphrates River.
Day by day the men contingent of the caravan got smaller
and smaller. Under pretext of not killing them if they
would hand over liras and gold coins, men would be
milked by the gendarmes of what little money they had.
Then they would be killed anyway.
Days wore on. We marched through mountain roads
and valleys. Those who could not keep up were put out
of their misery. Always bodies were found strewn by the
wayside. The caravan was getting smaller each day. At
one place, my little grandmother, like Jeremiah incarnate,
loudly cursed the Turkish government for their
inhumanity, pointing to us children she asked, “What is
the fault of children to be subjected to such suffering.” It
was too much for a gendarme to bear, he pulled out his
dagger and plunged it into my grandmother’s back. The
more he plunged his dagger, the more my beloved Nana
asked for heaven’s curses on him and his kind. Unable to
silence her with repeated dagger thrusts, the gendarme
mercifully pumped some bullets into her and ended her
life. First my uncle, now my grandmother were left
unmourned and unburied by the wayside.
We moved on.