In Anatolia the Turkish authorities’ extermination of the Armenians continues. By now so many of the Armenians have been sent off to die in the Syrian desert that the Turks are struggling to find more Armenians to get rid of. They turn their attentions increasingly to those Armenians working on the construction of the railway line from Constantinople to Baghdad. The strategic importance of the railroad had given a certain protection to the men building it. Now, though, the Turks order the deportation of the Armenian railway workers.
The German and Austro-Hungarian engineers directing the railway’s construction are aghast. Without the Armenian workers, progress on the railway will slow to a crawl. But the Turks are adamant. Out of perhaps as many as 10,000 Armenian railway workers, only around a hundred specialists are not sent away on death marches. Even these survivors are put under increasing pressure to convert to Islam.
Turkish troops guard Armenian deportees (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)