- Armenian Literature, History, Religion in in Russian

Armin T. Wegner


The first day of trial   Continuation of the trial after the noon recess   The second day of trial



Participants at court

Presiding Justice of the District Court: Dr. Lehmberg
Associate Justice of the District Court: Dr. Bathe
Associate Justice of the District Court: Dr. Lachs
Recording Secretary: Warmburg
District Attorney: Gollnick


Wilhelm Grau — mason, Nawen, near Berlin
Rudolf Grosser — merchant, Bernow (Mark)
Kurt Bartel — jeweler, Berlin
Adolf Kühne — landlord, Berlin — Bankov
Otto Ewald — landlord, Charlottenburg
Otto Wagner — roofer, Charlottenburg
Otto Binde — locksmith, Schönerlinde
Otto Reinecke — executive, Degel
Eugene de Price — painter, Wilmersdorf, Berlin
Albert Belling — pharmacist, Charlottenburg
Hermann Golde — locksmith, Charlottenburg
Robert Heise — brick manufacturer, Charlottenburg

Alternate Jurors

Julius Furch — landlord, Charlottenburg
August Bliesener — butcher, Degel

Defense Attorneys

Dr. Adolf von Gordon — privy legal counselor, Berlin
Dr. Johannes Werthauer — privy legal counselor, Berlin
Dr. Kurt Niemeyer — privy legal counselor, Professor of Law, Köln University

The Presiding Justice of the District Court, Justice Lehmberg, opened the proceedings at exactly 9:15 A .M. The presence of the three defense attorneys and the defendant was noted, and the two interpreters, Vahan Zakarian and Kevork Kaloustian, took the oath.

Subsequently, the jurors were chosen by balloting and each one took an oath stating that he would give his verdict as his conscience dictated.

Then, the presence of the witnesses and the expert witnesses was verified.

THE PRESIDING JUSTICE (addressing the witness and expert witnesses) — In this trial, you will be heard as witnesses or as expert witnesses. The subject matter of this trial is already familiar to you. I would like, however, to bring to your attention the importance and the sanctity of taking the oath. You should be aware that our laws provide for severe punishment for those who either inadvertently or intentionally give false testimony after taking the oath. Furthermore, any information you give pertaining to the defendant or your association with him has to correspond to the truth.
Therefore, I will now ask you to leave this courtroom and wait to be called in. We will probably decide that some of the witnesses need not be present today; consequently I would request that you please stay close to the door.

All the witnesses exit from the courtroom. The following expert witnesses take their seats:

Dr. Thiel, regional assistant physician, Berlin - Friedenau.
Dr. Schmilinsky, privy sanitation counselor, Charlottenburg.
Dr. Schloss, physician, sanitary warden 7.
Dr. Störmer, court physician and privy medical counselor, Berlin.
Dr. Hugo Liepmann, psychiatrist distinguished professor at Berlin. University, and privy medical counselor, Berlin.
Dr. Richard Cassirer, neurologist and professor at Berlin University
Prof. Dr. Edmund Forster, psychiatrist and chief physician of the University Neurological Clinic of Mercy Hospital, Berlin.
Dr. Bruno Haake, neurologist, Berlin.
Mr. Barella, royal gunsmith and expert on firearms, Berlin.
Dr. Phil P. Pfefer, French interpreter, Berlin — Friedenau.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the members of the court and to the defense attorneys) — After reading the indictment, I intend to examine the defendant in as much detail as possible and hear Mrs. Taint, merchant Jessen, servant Dembicki, police officer Gnass, Chief of Police Schultze, Advisor to the Court Schultze, Dr. Schloss, Mr. Barella, and also the eyewitnesses to the incident. Secondly, I shall question only those witnesses who knew the defendant and associated with him while he was in Berlin and Paris; namely, Mrs. Stellbaum, Mrs. Dittmann, Miss Lola Beilenson, the teacher, Mr. Apelian, Mr. Eftian, Mr. Terzibashian, Mrs. Terzibashian, and the recently subpoenaed Samuel Vosganian.

VON GORDON — We agree.

PRESIDING Justice — Hence, I would like to ask the defense attorneys to refrain, if possible, from alleging any further evidence, other than what has already been mentioned.

VON GORDON — It is clear that we can only make a decision on this matter later on in the trial. This case involves a very complicated issue. On the one hand, we are obligated to protect the rights of the defendant and, on the other hand, we also feel obligated to protect the interests of the German government.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then I shall be satisfied with the witnesses on lists one and two for today, and, tomorrow, I shall examine those who were subpoenaed in writing on May 30th or before. Therefore, nineteen witnesses remain for today.
Perhaps it would also be advisable to designate a lunch break. How do the jurors feel about this? (Jurors agree) We will take a short break at 1:30 and tomorrow morning we shall examine the rest of the witnesses. Successively we shall also hear the expert witnesses, Professor Dr. Cassirer, Dr. Störmer, privy counselor Dr. Liepmann, and Professor Forster.

VON GORDON — We request the names of Dr. Lepsius and His Excellency General Liman von Sanders be added to the list of expert witnesses. We also request that these two expert witnesses be heard as experts on the whole Armenian Question.
Evidence will be introduced at this trial, gentlemen of the jury, that is foreign to you and to us; therefore we need a key in order to understand, especially, the character of the Armenians. For this purpose, the most qualified individual is Dr. Lepsius who has lived for an extended period of time there and has personal knowledge of the events that took place. Also His Excellency, General Liman von Sanders who, as we all know, has lived in Turkey for many years, not only during the war but before as well.
We had planned to call, as an expert witness, the former German Consul to Aleppo. Syria, Mr. Roessler, who presently is in Eger. He sent me a telegram from there, stating that he could come as an expert witness if the Foreign Office gave permission. The Foreign Office had initially given permission; however, as of last night, they would not allow the Consul to come and be heard as a witness. As to the questions that we could have asked the Consul, we are in the process of corresponding with him and we hope to have this matter resolved today.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY — I would like to point out that the incident in question did not take place in Armenia, but rather in Berlin. In my opinion, it is not necessary to hear the testimony of such expert witnesses on Armenia. However, since the defense attorneys have already invited expert witnesses, they have to be heard according to the provisions of our penal code. We cannot object to that. However, I would like to request that the evidence not be expanded to matters which, in my opinion, have no relation to the issues that are before us.

VON GORDON — We shall try, as much as possible, to limit our evidence to the issues. But I beg of you that nothing be left out. Believe me, gentlemen, it is in the interests of the German government that nothing be left out.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — This Court has decided that Professor Dr. Lepsius and His Excellency General Liman von Sanders will be heard as expert witnesses. They both have the right to be present throughout this trial.

(Professor Dr. Lepsius and General Liman von Sanders enter the room)

I would like to inform the two gentlemen that, at the request of the defense counsels, they will be heard as expert witnesses.
I would like to repeat that witnesses Sister Tora von Wedel, Sister Eva Elvers, Sister Didzum, Mrs. Schbiker, writer Aram Andonian, Lieutenant Ernest Barakine, Captain Franz Karl Endress, and Vice-Prelate Balakian will be heard tomorrow. Therefore they may leave today, but they must be here at 9:00 MM. tomorrow. The other witnesses have to be here today.
Now we will open the proceedings by putting the defendant on the stand and begin the questioning about his background.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Is it true that you were born on April 2, 1897 in Pakarij?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — What line of business were your parents in?

DEFENDANT — They were merchants.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did they live?

DEFENDANT — In Pakarij.


DEFENDANT — When I was only two or three years old, they moved to Erzinga.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How many brothers and sisters did you have?

DEFENDANT — Two brothers and three sisters.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Until 1915, were they all living with your parents?

DEFENDANT — All except one of my sisters who was married.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did you go to school?

DEFENDANT — In Erzinga.


DEFENDANT — About eight or nine years.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you successfully graduate?

DEFENDANT — Yes, successfully.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were your parents in a good financial position?

DEFENDANT — Yes, very good.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did they suffer any losses as a result of the World War?

DEFENDANT — Until the massacres, our family did not suffer any losses. But business had slowed down a little.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was one of your brothers a soldier?

DEFENDANT — Yes, one of my brothers was a soldier.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did he fight, on which front?

DEFENDANT — He did not go to the front; he was in Kharpert, south of Erzinga.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Is Kharpert in Armenia?

DEFENDANT — Yes, in Asian Turkey.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — In 1915, was your brother at home?

DEFENDANT — Yes, in 1915, he was home on leave when the massacres started.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did the massacre at Erzinga come as a complete surprise to you or were there already signs of it?

DEFENDANT — We thought that there would be massacres, since news was circulating that people had been killed.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What were peoples thoughts about the massacres? What was said? What was the cause of them?

DEFENDANT — Massacres had taken place all along. From the time I was born and from the time my parents settled in Erzinga. they always used to tell us that massacres had taken place.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Previously as well? When did these massacres take place?

DEFENDANT — In 1894 there were massacres in Erzinga.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were there warnings prior to the 1915 massacres? Was the reason for the impending massacres known?

DEFENDANT (misunderstands the question) — At the time, I had not yet been born.


DEFENDANT — We always lived in constant fear that the massacres would take place, but we knew nothing about the reasons.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were the people fearful of such massacres?

DEFENDANT — For years they lived in fear and, for a long period of time prior to the massacres, they were afraid these would take place.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you hear anything as to the reasons for the massacres in the conversations you had at home or on your own?

DEFENDANT — I did not understand the question.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were any reasons for the massacres mentioned in conversations at home?

DEFENDANT — It was mentioned that the new Turkish government would take measures against us.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Perhaps the Turkish government argued that military exigencies demanded it. Generally speaking, what was said regarding the matter?

DEFENDANT — At that time, I was still quite young.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — But, at the time, you were already 18 years old.

DEFENDANT — At that time, they would tell me that there were religious and political reasons.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — I feel it would be worthwhile to include these events, prior to the incident, in your examination of the defendant.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY — I feel that it would be best if we set this aside and read the indictment.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (after consulting his associates) — This court would like to hear from the defendant in detail how these massacres came about and what his family went through. Let the defendant relate bit by bit and let what he says be translated later.

DEFENDANT — In 1914, the war started and the Armenian young men were conscripted into the army. In May 1915, word spread that alt schools were to be closed and that the leaders of the Armenian community and the teachers were to be sent elsewhere in groups.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were they assembled at certain gathering places?

DEFENDANT — I do not know. They were assembled and taken away. I was quite fearful. I did not want to go out of the house. These groups had already been taken away when news was spread that those previously deported had been killed. Later, we received a telegram that there was only one survivor, Mardirossian, from among those deportees.
In the early part of June, an order was issued for the people to get ready to leave the city. We were all told that money and valuables could be given to the government for safekeeping. Three days later, early in the morning, the people were taken out of the city.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — In large groups?

DEFENDANT — As soon as the order was issued, on the outskirts of the city, they divided the people into groups and marched them off in caravans.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was there an order to take with you what you had?

DEFENDANT — It was impossible to take everything with us since we did not have a horse or an ox. We were able to take only what we could carry.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you have a cart to take your belongings?.

DEFENDANT — We had a horse, but they took it as soon as the war started. We then bought a donkey.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was the donkey to carry all your belongings? Did you not have a cart?

DEFENDANT — We had an ox cart.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How many days did you walk?

DEFENDANT — I do not know. The very same day that we left town, my parents were killed.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where were you being taken?

DEFENDANT — Toward the south.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Who accompanied the caravans?

DEFENDANT — Gendarmes, cavalry, and other soldiers.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — In large numbers?

DEFENDANT — They were all along the road on both sides.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What about the front and rear of the caravan?

DEFENDANT — Just on the sides.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was that so no one would get away?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — How did your parents, brothers and sisters die?

DEFENDANT — As soon as the group had gone a little distance from the city, it was stopped. The gendarmes began to rob us. They wanted to take our money and anything else of value that we had.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Therefore, even the soldiers were robbing the deportees?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — What reason was given for those acts?

DEFENDANT — Nothing was said about that. It is inexplicable to the whole world, but in the interiors of Asia Minor it is possible.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Therefore, such things were happening without the reasons being understood?

DEFENDANT — Yes, they were.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did this happen to other nationalities?

DEFENDANT — The Turks only treated the Armenians in this manner.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How did your parents die?

DEFENDANT — While we were being plundered, they started firing on us from the front of the caravan. At that time, one of the gendarmes pulled my sister out and took her with him. My mother cried out, "May I go blind." I cannot remember that day any longer. I do not want to be reminded of that day. It is better for me to die than describe the events of that black day.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — However, I want to point out to you that, for this Court, it is very important that we hear of these events from you. You are the only one that can give us information about those events. Try to pull yourself together and not lose control.

DEFENDANT — I cannot say everything. Every time I relive those events... They took everyone away... and they struck me. Then I saw how they struck and cracked my brother's skull with an axe.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Your sister, the one whom they pulled and took with them, did she return?

DEFENDANT — Yes, they took my sister and raped her.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did she return?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Who cracked your brother's skull with an axe?

DEFENDANT — As soon as the soldiers and the gendarmes began the massacres, the mob was upon us too and my brother's head was cracked open. Then my mother fell.


DEFENDANT — I do not know, from a bullet or something else.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where was your father?

DEFENDANT — I did not see my father; he was in another group ahead of us, but there was fighting going on there too.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What did you do?

DEFENDANT — I was struck on the head and fell to the ground. I have no recollection of what happened after that.

PRESIDING JUSTICE Having fallen, did you remain at the site of the massacres?

DEFENDANT — I do not know how long I stayed there. Maybe it was two days. When I opened my eyes, I saw myself surrounded by corpses. All the members of the caravan had been killed. Because of the darkness I could not distinguish everything. At first I did not know where I was then I began to realize that I was surrounded by corpses.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Among the dead, did you find the bodies of your parents, brothers, and sisters?

DEFENDANT I saw my mother's body; she had fallen face down. My brother's body had fallen on top of me. I could not ascertain anything more.

PRESIDING JUSTICE What did you do when you opened your eyes and stood up?

DEFENDANT — When I stood up I realized that my leg was injured and my arm was bleeding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you have a wound on your head?

DEFENDANT — I was first struck on my head.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Do you know what kind of instrument they wounded you with?

DEFENDANT — When they started the massacres, I put my head in my hands so that I was not able to see what was happening. I only heard screams.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — First you said it was the guards, gendarmes, and cavalry soldiers who attacked you, but then you said the mob attacked you. What do you mean by this?

DEFENDANT — The Turkish population of Erzinga.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then the Turkish population was there and took part in the robbery?

DEFENDANT — All I know is that when the gendarmes started the massacres, the Turkish population fell upon us.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then, after one or two days, you regained consciousness and found yourself under your brother's body. Were you not able to determine if your parents' bodies were there too?

DEFENDANT — All I saw was my older brother's body on top of mine.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY — I believe it was your youngest brother whose head had been split open with an axe.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was it your younger brother's body?

DEFENDANT — No, my older brother.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — But did you see your younger brother being hit by an axe in front of you?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Have you seen your parents since that day?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — And what about your brothers and sisters.

DEFENDANT — No, I have not seen them either.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then, are they lost without a trace?

DEFENDANT — As of today, I have not found any trace.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What did you do, finding yourself helpless and without any means?

DEFENDANT — I went to a village in the mountains. An old lady took me to her family's home but, when my wounds healed, they said they would not hide me any longer as it was contrary to the orders of the government and those who harbored Armenians would be put to death.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were the ones who took you into their home Armenians?

DEFENDANT — No, they were Kurds.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did you go from there?

DEFENDANT — Those Kurds were very kind people. They advised me to go to Persia. They gave me old Kurdish clothes as mine were torn and bloodstained. I burned mine.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You were deprived of everything. How did you manage to get by?

DEFENDANT — On barley-bread.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How long did it take for your wounds to heal?

DEFENDANT — Twenty days or a month.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — After that, where else did you find refuge for an extended period of time?

DEFENDANT — First, I stayed with the Kurds.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — For how long? The 1915 massacres took place in June.

DEFENDANT — I stayed with the Kurds of Dersim for two months. During that time, I was joined by fugitives from whom I learned that there had been massacres in Kharpert. The three of us together escaped from village to village through the mountains. There were days when all we had to eat was grass. One of my friends died along the way from eating poisonous grass. My second friend was quite educated. He used to say: "If we continue to walk on like this, we will surely reach Persia and, from there the Caucasus.'' We decided we would cross the mountains and get to Persia. We used to sleep during the day and walk at night. We had walked for approximately two months when we arrived at a place where we came across Russian soldiers. We were wearing Kurdish clothes but no shoes or hat. They arrested us and began to question us. My friend, by speaking in French and English, was able to communicate to the Russians that we were survivors of a massacre. They let us go in the direction of Persia but would not allow us to cross into the Caucasus. I arrived in Persia where there was no war. I became ill and stayed in Salmasd. My friend continued on to Tiflis. Later on, I went there as well and stayed for a year.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What were you doing in Tiflis?

DEFENDANT — As soon as I arrived there, I went to the Armenian church, where I was given food, clothing, and money. Before departing, my friend took me to an Armenian merchant. I lived with him and worked in his shop.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How long did you stay there?

DEFENDANT — I was in Tiflis a little over a year.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then where did you go?

DEFENDANT — We heard that the Russian army had captured Erzinga, so I decided to go back to look for my family and relatives. Furthermore, I knew we had money hidden at home so I wanted to get that money. However, the Armenian merchant tried to dissuade me.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When did you arrive in Erzinga?

DEFENDANT — At the end of 1916.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What did you find there?

DEFENDANT — When I arrived there I found all the doors of our house shattered. One side of the house was demolished. When I went into the house I passed out.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you lose consciousness?

DEFENDANT — Yes, I lost consciousness.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you stay in that condition for long?

DEFENDANT — I cannot say how long I was unconscious.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What did you do when you regained consciousness?

DEFENDANT — After regaining consciousness, I found two Armenian families, the only survivors in the entire town. They had become Moslems.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — In other words, you found only two families left from the entire Armenian community, who had become Islamized. Now, when the Russians captured Erzinga, did they convert back to Christianity and did they feel they were Christians? Was this all that was left of the Erzinga population?

DEFENDANT — Yes, these were the only two families. Here and there, there were a number of individuals, altogether about twenty, but only these two families.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you find any belongings at home?

DEFENDANT — Yes, I found a few items. The rest had been destroyed and burned. I also found the hidden money.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you know about that from your parents?

DEFENDANT — My two brothers, my father, my mother, and I knew where the money was hidden; my sisters did not know.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How much money did you find?

DEFENDANT — I found 4800 Turkish gold pieces.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you take the money?

DEFENDANT — Of course.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did you go after that?

DEFENDANT — I stayed a little longer there. I was hoping that there would be other deportees who had escaped. I was hoping that I would perhaps come across one of my relatives.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How long did you stay in Erzinga?

DEFENDANT — Approximately a month and a half.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did you go from there?

DEFENDANT — To Tiflis.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What did you do there?

DEFENDANT — I went to school to learn Russian.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What school was that?

DEFENDANT — An Armenian school called the Nersisian Academy. They had begun special classes for the exiles and refugees to attend.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you learn Russian there?

DEFENDANT — As much as it was possible to learn in five months. I recall I could not learn very much. My mind was elsewhere. I could not concentrate.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Later on did you learn French too?

DEFENDANT — Yes, but not as much as I would have wished.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How long did you stay in Tiflis?

DEFENDANT — Approximately two years.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When did you leave Tiflis?

DEFENDANT — In 1919, probably in February.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did you go?

DEFENDANT — To Constantinople.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What did you do there?

DEFENDANT — I put an advertisement in the paper, thinking that I could find relatives of mine who might have survived and fled from Mesopotamia.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — At that time a revolution had already taken place in Constantinople. How long did you stay in Constantinople?

DEFENDANT — Almost two months.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did you go from there?

DEFENDANT — Salonika, Greece.


DEFENDANT — To Serbia.


DEFENDANT — Back to Salonika.



PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you plan to settle down somewhere? What was the reason for this wandering?

DEFENDANT — I wanted to study, but my mind was all confused. I did not want to settle down in one place, since I had no special calling.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you attend school and were you studying in Salonika and Serbia?

DEFENDANT — No. In Salonika, I stayed with relatives to receive medical attention.
PRESIDING JUSTICE What disease did you have?

DEFENDANT — A nervous breakdown.

PRESIDING JUSTICE How many times did you suffer repetitions of the nervous breakdown, which you had the first time when you saw your home again?

DEFENDANT — I had two when I returned to Erzinga and saw my home, but I cannot specify what sort of breakdowns they were. Every time I pictured the massacres, I would have a breakdown.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did You have such nervous breakdowns when you were in Constantinople, Salonika, and Serbia?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — When did you arrive in Paris?

DEFENDANT — In 1920.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The beginning of 1920?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you have a lot of contact with people in Constantinople, Salonika, and Serbia?

DEFENDANT — Yes, mostly with my relatives.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you discuss the massacre with your relatives and other refugees and, by so doing, was your memory of it revived?

DEFENDANT — Yes, I used to talk about the massacres a lot.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Who was considered responsible for these barbaric acts?

DEFENDANT — I found out who the authors of these acts were from the newspapers, while I was in Constantinople.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Prior to that, did you know who the person responsible for these massacres was? At home who was considered the author?

DEFENDANT — I did not know anything about it.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then did you come to the conclusion that Talaat Pasha was the author of the massacres?

DEFENDANT — When I was in Constantinople, I became convinced that he was the person responsible from reading the newspapers.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When you were in Constantinople, did you receive any information as to the whereabouts of Talaat Pasha at that time?

DEFENDANT — I thought he was hiding somewhere in Constantinople.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you make up your mind, at that time, to take revenge against Talaat, as the one guilty for your family's sad misfortune?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Fine, I think it is time the indictment is read.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY VON GORDON: — I would also like to ask the defendant whether or not he had read in the newspapers that Talaat Pasha had been condemned to death for these massacres by the Court Martial in Constantinople?

DEFENDANT — Yes, I had read that. I was also in Constantinople when Kemal, one of the authors of the massacres, was hanged. On that occasion, it was written in the papers that Talaat and Enver were also condemned to death.

VON GORDON — How many Armenians were living in Erzinga?

DEFENDANT — Roughly twenty thousand.

VON GORDON — In June 1915 was there an order or were arrangements made for the Armenians to be taken out of town in groups?

DEFENDANT — Yes, such an order was given.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY — Was this an order from the Vali [governor-general] or was it from the military authority?

VON GORDON — During this period, a state of siege had already been declared.

DEFENDANT — It was said that the orders came from Constantinople.

VON GORDON — What was the length of the caravan? Was it one hour's walk from beginning to end?

DEFENDANT — I do not know; maybe it was five hours.

VON GORDON — Was the entire population removed and deported, and did you find only two families and a few individuals on your return to Erzinga?


NIEMEYER — Would you please ask the defendant whether he was aware that, in 1908, the Armenians, having united with the Young Turks, especially with Enver and Talaat Pashas, brought about a revolution and entrusted their national aspirations to them but then became terribly disappointed when they saw that the Young Turks behaved worse than Sultan Hamid?

DEFENDANT — In 1908, I was too young to understand such things, but later I was told that young Armenians had worked with the Young Turks and had become quite disenchanted when 40,000 Armenians were massacred in Adana in 1909.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — I would first like to have the indictment read.

CLERK — A student in Mechanical Engineering, Soghomon Tehlirian, born April 2, 1897 in Pakarij. citizen of Turkey, Armenian-Protestant, who was residing at 37 Hardenbergstrasse in Charlottenburg with Mrs. Dittmann and since March 16, 1921 is in the City Jail, is accused of: Intentionally and with premeditation assassinating the former Grand Vizir, Talaat Pasha, on March 15, 1921 in Charlottenburg. According to Article 211 of the Penal Code this is a crime of homicide. In view of the above mentioned facts, the incarceration continues.

Berlin, April 16, 1921
3rd State Court, Criminal Department No. 6.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the interpreter) — Please relate to the defendant that the indictment accuses him of killing Talaat Pasha with premeditation.

(The defendant remains silent)

PRESIDING JUSTICE — If you were obliged to give an answer to this indictment, would your answer be in the negative or in the affirmative?

DEFENDANT — Negative.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — But, prior to this trial, you thought differently. You admitted that you had premeditated that act.

DEFENDANT — When did I say that?

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Fine, you do not want to admit that today. Let us follow the events since your arrival in Paris... But, on various occasions and at various times, you have admitted that you had decided to kill Talaat Pasha.

VON GORDON — Would you please ask the defendant why he does not consider himself guilty?

(The Presiding Justice directs the same question to the defendant)

DEFENDANT — I do not consider my self guilty because my conscience is clear.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Why is your conscience clear?

DEFENDANT — I have killed a man. But I am not a murderer.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You say that you have no pangs of conscience, your conscience is clear. Do you not reprove yourself? But ask yourself, did you want to kill Talaat Pasha?

DEFENDANT — I do not understand the question. But I have already killed him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What I want to say is, did you have a plan to kill him?

DEFENDANT — I had no such plan.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When did the idea first occur to you to kill Talaat?

DEFENDANT — Approximately two weeks before the incident. I was feeling very bad. I kept seeing over and over again the scenes of the massacres. I saw my mothers corpse. The corpse just stood up before me and told me, You know Talaat is here and yet you do not seem to be concerned. You are no longer my son.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (repeats those words to the jury) — So what did you do?

DEFENDANT — I woke up all of a sudden and decided to kill that man.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When you were in Paris and Geneva or at the time you came to Berlin, had you already made that decision?

DEFENDANT — I had made no decision whatsoever.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you have a general idea that Talaat Pasha was in Berlin?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you spend the whole year 1920 in Paris?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — What were you doing there? Did you learn French?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Nothing else? Were you pursuing any technical study?

DEFENDANT — No, I had no other occupation.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — But did you intend to pursue those studies in Berlin?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was your purpose in going to Geneva to facilitate your coming to Berlin?

DEFENDANT — I wanted to see Geneva at least once.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were you with a compatriot of yours in Paris? Tell us how you arrived in Geneva and then Berlin.

DEFENDANT — In Paris, I went to the Swiss Embassy to obtain the necessary visa to go to Switzerland. There I met an Armenian who was a citizen of Switzerland and owned a home in Geneva. I asked him how I could obtain a visa. He told me that it would facilitate matters if I claimed his home in Geneva as mine, since be was on his way to Armenia. I agreed. He gave me a letter of introduction to give to his landlady, and thus I was able to obtain a visa for Switzerland. I left Paris for Geneva on November 21st. I stayed in Geneva for a little while and then came to Berlin. In early December of 1920 I was already in Berlin.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What steps did you take to come here?

DEFENDANT — I had a visa attached to my passport.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Initially, did you have a visa for merely a short stay in Germany?

DEFENDANT — Only for eight days.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — After arriving here, what section of Berlin did you go to?

NIEMEYER — May I ask a few personal questions of the defendant? Do you know what country you are a citizen of? On March 15th, did you know what country you were a citizen of? Do you know what country Talaat is a citizen of? Are you aware that from February 1921, Turkey and the Armenian Republic had been at war and that the fighting reached its peak between March 1 and April 1, 1921, extending over an area of 120,000 square meters?

DEFENDANT — Yes, I know.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How do you know?

DEFENDANT — It was written in the newspapers.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The state of war between Armenia and Turkey had existed only since March 1. This incident occurred on March 15. Did you read about it in between those dates?

DEFENDANT — Yes, I read about it in the newspapers.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When did the war start?

DEFENDANT — At the end of 1918. The Turks came as far as Tiflis.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was there an official declaration of war?

NIEMEYER — Yes, total.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Therefore, starting on March 1st, were the Bolsheviks and the Young Turks fighting side by side against Armenia? Were you aware that Moscow had given its blessings for the Turco-Bolshevik attack against Armenia and had sent Enver Pasha to command the front?

DEFENDANT — Yes, I knew that as well.

DR. LIEPMANN — Would you please ask the defendant whether he saw his mother in a dream or was he partially awake at the time?

PRESIDING JUSTICE — I shall get to that later. First you had a permit to remain here for only eight days. Then did you obtain a permit to remain here permanently?

DEFENDANT — Yes, I filed a petition.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — At the beginning of January did you move to Augsburgerstrasse?

DEFENDANT — In December.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You informed the police department in January. Did your compatriot, Mr. Apelian, reside in the same building?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then did you change your residence?



DEFENDANT — Almost two weeks ago.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — On March 5th, you moved to Mrs. Dittmann building. Why?

DEFENDANT — When I saw my mother in my dream, I decided to kill Talaat. For this reason, I also changed my apartment.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were you, we might say, preparing to commit the act?

DEFENDANT — The second day after my mother instructed me what to do, I told myself I had to kill him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — From that moment on, was it your intention to implement that decision?

DEFENDANT — When I moved to my new residence, I forgot somewhat my mothers instructions.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You forgot about it? I thought that was the very reason you changed residences, because your mother had reprimanded you for having become indifferent.

DEFENDANT — I began to deliberate. I asked myself how I could kill a human being.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You asked yourself how you could kill Talaat Pasha?

DEFENDANT — I told myself that I was unable to kill a human being.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — I do not understand this too well. A little while ago, you replied that, from the day your mother appeared to you, you decided to move to Hardenbergstrasse. Does this mean you knew that Talaat Pasha lived across from you?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then was it your intention to live near him?

DEFENDANT — After hearing the words of my mother.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — At that time you made a decision. What was that decision?

DEFENDANT — That I wanted to kill him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Tell me, please, is it true that prior to this you had already verified that Talaat Pasha was living in Berlin?

DEFENDANT — Yes. About five weeks before I had seen him.


DEFENDANT — On the street. He was coming from the vicinity of the zoo with two or three other men. I heard they were speaking Turkish. They referred to one of their number as Pasha. I looked back and saw that the man was Talaat Pasha. I followed them until I came to a movie theater. From the entrance to the theater I saw one of them depart but, prior to doing so, he kissed the hand of Talaat and called him Pasha. The other two entered a house.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you intend to kill Talaat Pasha at that moment?

DEFENDANT — No, I did not. But I felt bad. I entered the theater and, while watching the movie, all I could see were the pictures of the massacres. I left the theater and went home.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Therefore, as you said, all this happened four to five weeks prior to your moving to Hardenbergstrasse?

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Is it not true, therefore, that even before this, you knew Talaat Pasha was living in Berlin?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — The reason I asked this question is because the defendant on another occasion stated that he had come to Berlin to study and also because he knew that Talaat was living in Berlin.

VON GORDON — The statements made by the defendant today correspond to his last statement. That is, two weeks prior to the incident, the appearance of his mothers spirit made him decide to kill Talaat and for that reason he moved to Hardenbergstrasse.


PRESIDING JUSTICE — From that moment on did you make it your business to stalk Talaat Pasha?

DEFENDANT — No, when I moved to my new apartment, I had already decided to continue with my ordinary routine.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then, were you physically able to engage in your everyday work and continue your studies with Miss Beilenson?

DEFENDANT — I tried to advance in my studies. While I was under the care of Professor Cassirer, I felt so bad and weak that I could not work at my studies much. Consequently, I told Miss Beilenson that I could not continue to take lessons from her inasmuch as I needed a rest. In fact I was not studying during this latter period.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you continue your relationships as usual with your fellow Armenians until March 15th?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did your mother appear to you on that occasion?

DEFENDANT — The massacres and especially certain scenes from the massacres often appeared before my eyes. As for my mother, a few times only.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When did you have your visions, during the day?

DEFENDANT — No, at night.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What were your reasons for seeking the services of Professor Cassirer at that time?
DEFENDANT — I was feeling very bad.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Here in Berlin you also suffered from a nervous disorder, Is that not so?

DEFENDANT — Yes, on a few occasions.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When was the first time?

DEFENDANT — I cannot say for sure.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When was it that you had a dizzy spelt and an employee of the bank took you from Erusalemerstrasse to your home?

DEFENDANT — That was my first attack in Berlin.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — At that time were you still living on Augsburgerstrasse?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — How did the first attack come on?

DEFENDANT — I was walking along Erusalemerstrasse. I do not remember whether I fell down in front of the door or in the street. When I came to, I saw a crowd had gathered around me. Someone had given me medication. An officer asked me where I lived and accompanied me to the subway. I took the subway and, after reaching my house, I again passed out on the stairs.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Why did you go to Prof. Cassirer? Was it because of these attacks or did you have another illness?

DEFENDANT — I went to be treated.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you tell your friend Mr. Apelian about passing out and was it on his advice that you went to see Prof. Cassirer? We shall elicit this evidence from the witnesses themselves.

VON GORDON — A little while back, a remark was made which was not clear to me. Did I understand the defendant correctly, that after having rented an apartment on Hardenbergstrasse, to be near the residence of Talaat Pasha, the defendant forgot the reason for his move, as he said, because he could not envisage killing a human being? In short, did the decision which he had made after the appearance of his mothers spirit stay firm or did he forget about it after a while and carry on with his usual business because he thought it was not right to kill?

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The defendant stated that he was hesitant.

DEFENDANT — Yes, I was irresolute. When I felt sick I thought of following my mothers instructions. However, when I felt better, I would tell myself that I could not take a human life.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Therefore, the defendant continued with his regular daily life, even though it was somewhat difficult for him to do so. Did you notice any change in your relationships with your friends? By the way, who were your friends?

DEFENDANT — Terzibashian, Eftian, Kaloustian, and Apelian.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (turning to the interpreter) — Were you a friend of his too?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Since January, besides taking private lessons in German from Miss Beilenson, what else did you do?

DEFENDANT — I visited Armenian families and went to the theater and dances.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — I believe you also took dancing lessons, right?



DEFENDANT — Since January.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Is it true that you had an attack during one of your dance classes?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Is it true that you suffered such an attack in January?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Other than these two attacks, one during the dance class and the other in the street, did you have any others?

DEFENDANT — Yes, at home.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Only at home? Not in the streets?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — What else did you do to pass the time?

DEFENDANT — I had a very close relationship with Terzibashian, Eftian, and Apelian.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you go to the theater?

DEFENDANT — Yes, but I used to go to the movies more often.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How did you keep busy during an average day?

DEFENDANT — In the mornings I studied languages and then had my classes with Miss Beilenson.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did you have your meals?

DEFENDANT — I did not go to any particular restaurant as such.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you also have lessons in the afternoon?

DEFENDANT — My classes were mostly in the afternoon.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — In addition to language, did you pursue any technical studies?

DEFENDANT — No, I just concentrated on learning languages.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What newspapers did you read?

DEFENDANT — When I visited Armenians, I read the Armenian papers they had.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you read any other foreign papers?

DEFENDANT — On a few occasions I came across Russian papers and I read them.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Let us go back to the month of March when you moved into Mrs. Dittmann's apartment building. How was your relationship with your farmer landlady, Mrs. Stellbaum?

DEFENDANT — I had a very good relationship with her.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were you satisfied with Mrs. Dittmann?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — How did it come about that you committed this homicide?

DEFENDANT — It was because of what my mother told me. I was thinking about that and on March 15th I saw Talaat...

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did you see him?

DEFENDANT — While I was walking around in my room, I was reading and I saw Talaat leave his house.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you see him leave the house?

DEFENDANT — First I saw him on the balcony of his apartment. Then, he left the house. When he stepped out of the house, my mother came to my mind. I again saw her before me. Then, I also saw Talaat, the man who was responsible for the deaths of my parents, my brothers, and my sisters.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You also saw your relatives before your eyes and thought that Talaat Pasha was responsible not only for their deaths but also for the deaths of your fellow nationals. Did you know perhaps that Talaat was going to leave the house?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then what did you do?

DEFENDANT — The minute I saw him step out of the house, I took my pistol, ran after him, and shot him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did you keep your pistol?

DEFENDANT — With my underclothes in a trunk.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was the pistol loaded?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — How long had you had that pistol?

DEFENDANT — I bought it when I was in Tiflis in 1919 and brought it with me. I had heard that if the Turks returned and did not find Germans there, they would again carry out massacres.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — As Talaat left the house, did you again have the vision of your mother?

DEFENDANT — I cannot say for sure. When I saw him, I saw my mother and dashed out to the street.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When you went outside, did you see Talaat on the opposite sidewalk?

DEFENDANT — Yes, he was walking in the direction of the zoo.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you approach him and did you deliberately cross Hardenbergstrasse?

DEFENDANT — No, I ran along the same side of the street as my apartment building. When I caught up to him, I crossed the street and was upon him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you see his face? Did you talk to him?

DEFENDANT — I did not speak to him. I walked past him on the sidewalk and then I shot him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Are you sure that you passed him first? Did you shoot him as he was walking toward you or did you approach him parallel from the back and fire at him?

DEFENDANT — By the time I approached Talaat Pasha I was already behind him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then you shot him from the back?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you aim at his head?

DEFENDANT — I came very close to him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you hold the barrel to his head?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then what happened?

DEFENDANT — I only know this much. I cannot be any more specific. Talaat Pasha fell to the ground, blood gushed from his face, and a crowd was standing all around him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you see anyone accompanying Talaat?

DEFENDANT — No, I did not see anyone.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you not see his wife either?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — What did you do after the killing?

DEFENDANT — I do not know what I did.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You escaped. Do you not remember that you fled the scene?

DEFENDANT — I do not remember running away. All I saw was blood flowing and that there was a crowd around him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you flee after seeing that?

DEFENDANT — When I saw the crowd standing around me, I figured they might beat me. That is why I ran away.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were you apprehended right next to the body or was it after you ran away?

DEFENDANT — I do not know how it happened.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You had run quite a way toward Fazanenstrasse. Is that not true?

DEFENDANT — I do not know.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You threw your pistol away, is that not true?

DEFENDANT — I do not know.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What feeling did you have, seeing Talaat Pasha dead before you? What were your thoughts?

DEFENDANT — I do not know what I felt immediately after the incident.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — But after a while you must have realized what you had done.

DEFENDANT — I realized what I had done after they brought me to the police station.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then, what did you think of what you had done?

DEFENDANT — I felt a great satisfaction.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How do you feel about it now?

DEFENDANT — Even today, I feel a great sense of satisfaction.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You are aware, of course, that under normal circumstances, no one has the right to be his own judge, no matter how much one has suffered.

DEFENDANT — I do not know. My mother instructed me to kill Talaat Pasha since he was guilty for the massacres and I was under this compulsion so entirely that I did not realize that I should not have killed.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — But did you know that our laws prohibit the killing of human beings?

DEFENDANT — No, I do not know that law.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Is there a rule of vendetta among the Armenians?


NIEMEYER — At the time the crowd was beating you up and while you were bleeding, you said something. Do you remember what you said to the crowd in order to justify your act?

PRESIDING JUSTICE — His testimony would seem to indicate that he did not run away. He only saw the blood and the crowd and he was arrested on the spot. Do you remember whether or not someone from the crowd spoke to you or did you say anything to any one of those who grabbed you and were beating you? Did you justify your action to them?

DEFENDANT — I told them that I was a foreigner, the victim was foreigner, and therefore why should the Germans get involved in something that did not concern them?

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You supposedly told the crowd that you knew what your were doing, that it was no loss to Germany.

(Defendant repeats his last remark)

NIEMEYER — Did you know that such an act would be punishable in Germany? I would like an explanation.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — That point has already been explained. The defendant has been incarcerated from the day he committed the crime. There is no contradiction whatsoever between the testimony he has given today and the confession he has previously given.

VON GORDON — On which floor of 34 Hardenbergstrasse did you live? Talaat Pasha lived at 4 Hardenbergstrasse — that is, in the house between Schillerstrasse and Gnezebegstrasse.

DEFENDANT — I lived on the first floor.

VON GORDON — On March 15th you saw Talaat Pasha leave his house. You took your revolver, put on your hat, descended the stairs, and came out to the street. At that time, as far as I can tell, Talaat Pasha must have already gone some distance past Gnezebegstrasse.

DEFENDANT — I told you already that in order to catch up with him, I ran.

VON GORDON — In that case you walked over some plants in the middle of Hardenbergstrasse. Were you ahead of Talaat?

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The defendant has emphatically denied that he approached Talaat from behind.

VON GORDON — Please put the question again to the defendant.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Explain this matter again.

DEFENDANT — I went ahead of Talaat Pasha and waited for him. When he passed me, I fired.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — That sounds quite feeble-minded to me. Talaat Pasha could Have seen you and could have suspected that you were contriving to do something against him. That was really a foolish move. Are you sure you did not approach Talaat from behind?

DEFENDANT — I did not think of such things.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — There are two possibilities. Either you approached Talaat Pasha from behind or you went ahead of him. We are still unable to determine whether or not Talaat Pasha passed you.

VON GORDON — From what the defendant has testified, I understand it to mean that Talaat passed the defendant. This is what the defendant has repeatedly stated. Did you see Talaat's face?

DEFENDANT — Yes, while I was walking on the other side of the street, before I crossed over to the side on which he was walking.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — We shall see what the other witnesses testify on this point.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY — In answer to a question put by one of the defense counsels, the defendant stated that he was aware Talaat Pasha had been sentenced to death in Constantinople. It is true there was such a verdict, but it is essential for me to clarify that the verdict was rendered when the control of the city of Constantinople was in the hands of a different government. Turkey had lost the war and Constantinople was at the mercy of the British Navy. I leave it to the court to determine what value that death sentence had. I would like the defendant to answer a question. He said that he had found his brothers body. Did he bury his brother?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — The defendant fled. His life was in danger.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY — The defendant also testified that he received medical treatment. Does he have wounds or scars on his body?

DEFENDANT — Certainly.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY — I request that such be confirmed later on. I would like the defendant to be asked again the following question: How did he know that person was Talaat? Had he seen him before or did he recognize him from the pictures he had seen?

DEFENDANT — No, I had never seen him. I recognized him only from pictures in the newspapers.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY — The defendant testified that the massacres took place just outside the city limits of Erzinga. I am informed that, after the caravan had gone quite a distance from Erzinga, armed Kurdish bandits attacked the caravan in a pass and even many Turkish gendarmes were killed trying to protect the caravan. Would the defendant please answer whether or not they were attacked by Kurdish bandits?

DEFENDANT — I was told that it was the Turkish gendarmes who opened fire on us.

NIEMEYER — I hope the matter of these Kurdish bandits will be clarified.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY — It seems quite strange to me that the defendant was able to find a place on Hardenbergstrasse in such a short period of time.

NIEMEYER — I believe we can resolve the question of the Kurds this way. The principal modus operandi of the Turkish massacres was to arm the mountainous Kurds, the arch-enemies of the Armenians, as gendarmes to watch over the Armenians.

DEFENDANT — There are various types of Kurds. Some were the enemies of the Armenians, while others were quite friendly to them.

NIEMEYER — The defendant stated that he found refuge among the Kurds. Thus there are good Kurds and bad Kurds. This is evident from the defendants statement that the Kurds were very hospitable to him. But there are also Kurds who are friendly with the Turkish government.

DEFENDANT — The majority of the Kurds worked for the government.

WERTHAUER — How old were your parents when your father died?

DEFENDANT — My father was fifty-five; my mother, fifty-two or fifty-three; my brothers, twenty-eight and twenty-two; one sister, twenty-six or twenty-seven; another, sixteen and a half; and the youngest fifteen.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was your married sister deported together with her husband and child?

DEFENDANT — Yes, they left together but, in the caravan, they were a little apart from each other.

WERTHAUER — The defendant stated today that, except for his brothers body, he did not see the corpses of any of his relatives. However, he had told me something else before. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding. I would like to ask him whether or not he saw one of his sisters disappear into the far-off brush and whether or not he again found that sister?

DEFENDANT — I saw my mother fall, my dead brother, and other corpses. I could not verify any others, as I was trying to escape.

WERTHAUER — You testified that in Erzinga there were 20,000 Armenian Christians. What other nationalities were there?

DEFENDANT — There were some 20,000-25,000 Turks living in Erzinga.

WERTHAUER — Were notices posted on the walls instructing the Armenians to leave their houses or were oral instructions to this effect given? How were 20,000 Armenians informed in such a short time? As I understood, it all happened during the course of one morning. A few moments ago, I understood that the orders were given for the Armenians to leave the city. How did this happen?

DEFENDANT — The Armenians living in the city and in the surrounding areas were gathered together and taken out of the city. Those left behind were driven out later.

WERTHAUER — Was the order from the government?

DEFENDANT — Yes, we were told that the order came from Constantinople; it was Talaat Pashas order.

WERTHAUER — At the time were you told that the order had come from Talaat Pasha?

DEFENDANT — Yes, that is what was said. That was the news that was circulated.

WERTHAUER — Would you please ask the defendant whether the schools were closed in February, whereas he remained in Erzinga until May?

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The defendant has already told us that the schools were closed a month before the incident.

DEFENDANT — Two or three months before the incident.

WERTHAUER — Would you please ask him whether the money he found at home was in gold coins?

DEFENDANT — It was gold coins.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was that money sufficient to last you all this time?


WERTHAUER — The amount was 4800 Turkish gold pounds; one Turkish pound is worth 20 gold marks.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Are you stilt living on that money?


VON GORDON — When they dragged away your younger sister, did you hear her cry out?

DEFENDANT — Yes, I heard her cry and my mother saw her too. My mother came next to me and cried out, May I be struck blind.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Are there any questions to be directed to the defendant?

DISTRICT ATTORNEY — I would like one more explanation. How did the defendant bring that money into Germany?

DEFENDANT — I had same in my pockets and the rest in my suitcase.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — If there are no other questions, let us start calling some of the witnesses.

Witness Nicholas Jessen (a merchant from Charlottenburg District of Berlin, Protestant, 40 years old) takes the oath.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were you an eyewitness?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Would you relate to us what you saw?

WITNESS — On Tuesday, March 15th, at 11:00 o'clock in the morning, I was walking along Hardenbergstrasse going toward Wittenberg Square to see various customers. I am a representative of a meat packing company. Ahead of me, a man wearing a gray Ulster coat was walking slowly. All at once this defendant passed me going at a brisk pace. He put his hand in his pocket

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where were you going? Were you walking on the right-hand sidewalk?

WITNESS — Yes, I was going toward the zoo.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — During that time, did the defendant walk past you on the sidewalk?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he take the revolver out of his pocket? Which pocket?

WITNESS — I am not certain of the details. I believe he took the revolver out of his right breast pocket. In any case it was a revolver. He took it out of his pocket and fired at the victims head, at close range, from behind. The victim immediately fell forward, hitting the ground and cracking his skull. The defendant threw the revolver aside and tried to escape. A woman was walking a little way ahead of the victim; she also fell unconscious. First I lifted the woman up, thinking she too was injured. Then I started running after the defendant and I apprehended him on Fazanenstrasse. Naturally a crowd gathered and the people started mercilessly hitting the defendant. One man, in particular, kept hitting the defendants head with a key. Others were shouting, Catch the murderer. I took the defendant to the police station next to the zoo. There the defendant asked for a cigarette. A crowd also formed at the police station and began to beat the defendant.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Are you altogether certain that the defendant walked past you on the sidewalk?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — And he fired at the nape of the victims neck?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he not perhaps cross over from the opposite side and, after letting Talaat Pasha pass him, fire from the back?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he see the victims face from the front?

WITNESS — No. I have to contradict that. The defendant advanced at a fast clip and, without saying anything, took out the revolver and fired at the nape of the victims neck.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he fall to the ground immediately?

WITNESS — He fell forward.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did the defendant not wait at all?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he flee immediately?

WITNESS — Yes. He entered Fazanenstrasse and headed in the direction of Kantstrasse.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — In which direction was the woman walking?

WITNESS — The woman was walking ahead of the victim.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was she not walking next to him?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was she accompanying the victim?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — And she fainted?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was there anyone else close by the victim?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were you the first to get to the victims body?

WITNESS — First, I lifted the woman up.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was it only then that you noticed the victim was already dead?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — At that time did others arrive on the scene?

WITNESS — A furniture truck was passing by then and a man came out of a villa with his servants.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Are there any other questions to be directed to this witness?

(No further questions)

Witness Boleslav Dembicki (a servant from Charlottenburg District of Berlin, 32 years old) takes the oath.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Would you tell us what you know about the incident?

WITNESS — I was walking on Hardenbergstrasse on my way home to have lunch.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — In which direction were you walking?

WITNESS — I was going toward the zoo.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — On the right side of the street?

WITNESS — Yes. The defendant reached me at the corner of Fazanenstrasse.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were you walking on the sidewalk?

WITNESS — Yes, the defendant reached me three or four steps away from the victim. All of a sudden I heard an explosion. I thought a tire had blown out nearby. But then I saw a man fall down in front of me and another began to flee.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he start to flee right away?

WITNESS — Yes, immediately. And, I started to run after him. The defendant entered Fazanenstrasse from the left side but a number of people were in front of him in the street and he could not escape. The witness who just testified was the one who apprehended him. From there we took the defendant to the precinct station next to the zoo.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Are you sure that the man who passed you was the defendant?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did the defendant see the victim from the front or did he move up on the victim from the back?

WITNESS — The defendant went up to the victim from behind, took the revolver out and fired at him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he pass you, coming on the sidewalk?

WITNESS — Yes, he made a slight turn, looked at the balcony of one of the buildings, walked up to the victim, and fired.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — After the incident, did you hear the defendant make any exclamatory remarks?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did people ask him questions? Did he justify his actions?

WITNESS — He was a foreigner, he said. I am a foreigner too. There is no loss.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where did he utter those words?

WITNESS — At the guard house.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he stay next to the victims body?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Right after firing his revolver, did he throw it away and flee?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — And did you run after him?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you notice if there was a woman walking either alongside the victim or a little ahead of him?

WITNESS — No, I did not notice that.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then there was no one immediately next to the victim?

WITNESS — No, there was no one.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then you saw the victim walk calmly down the street?

WITNESS — Yes, very calmly.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — And there was no one next to him?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then were you and Mr. Essen the first ones to get to the body or were there others?

WITNESS — We were the first ones.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Are there any other questions to be directed to the witness?

(No further questions. The questioning of the next witness, Talaat Pasha's widow, was considered superfluous because it came to light that the statements, according to which she was the woman who, at the time of the murder, was with Talaat Pasha and had fainted, were incorrect.)

Witness Paul Schultze (Chief of Police, Charlottenburg District of Berlin, 47 years old) takes the oath.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What do you have to say about the incident?

WITNESS — On the day in question, I was informed by telephone that a homicide had been committed on Hardenbergstrasse and that the murderer had been apprehended. I went to the scene of the crime and saw the victim on the sidewalk. The area was cordoned off by the police.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you not carry out any investigation at the scene of the crime?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you concentrate your attention on the victim or on the defendant?

WITNESS — I was busy with the corpse. I took all his personal belongings from his pockets. I did not see the culprit again.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The indictment against the defendant was based then on what the witnesses told you and was not a result of any investigation on your part. Is that correct?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Are there any questions to be directed to the witness?

VON GORDON — Where was the body? Was it between Fazanenstrasse and Steinplatz or between Steinplatz and Gnezebegstrasse?

WITNESS — Right in front of 17 Hardenbergstrasse, between Fazanenstrasse and Joachimstalerstrasse, and closer to Fazanenstrasse.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Any other questions?

(No further questions)

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Mr. Interpreter, would you please inform the defendant that two witnesses have just testified that he did not walk past the victim but that he walked behind the victim on the sidewalk and, after passing a few people, reached Talaat and shot him from the back.

DEFENDANT — The incident occurred just as I described it to you. I walked past the victim and then shot him from the back.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — That does not correspond to what these witnesses have testified.

VON GORDON — Perhaps the defendant was so excited at the time that he does not remember well.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Perhaps you do not recall definitely how it happened. The two witnesses stated you shot the victim from the back without walking past him.

DEFENDANT — I crossed the Street and fired from the back.

VON GORDON — I would like to ask the Presiding Justice whether the witness Resch is present, as his testimony is essential.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Let one of the officers check and see whether witness Resch has arrived.

(Witness Resch had not arrived yet.)

PRESIDING JUSTICE — I would like to bring to the attention of the preceding two witnesses, Mr. Jessen and Mr. Dembicki, the fact that the defendant has given testimony which is contrary to theirs. The defendant indicates that he crossed the street and was ahead of Talaat. He allowed Talaat to pass him. Then the defendant walked past you both on the right-hand sidewalk and shot Talaat from the back.

JESSEN — Perhaps the defendant is right. However, the defendant walked past me twenty meters before the spot where Talaat was shot. Perhaps he crossed the alley next to the Music School.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then, in that case, did he reach Talaat some distance ahead?

DEMBICKI — He approached the victim on the sidewalk of Hardenbergstrasse and reached him on Fazanenstrasse.

JESSEN — I asked the defendant immediately why he had shot the man. He replied, I am an Armenian. He is a Turk. It is no loss to Germany.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — I believe the defendant probably made that statement later.

JESSEN — I asked him why he had shot the man. Then I searched him to see if he had another gun or perhaps a knife. He then said, I am an Armenian. He is a Turk. It is no loss to Germany. He made this statement some five minutes after the act.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — There is still a discrepancy in these statements. But they are not conflicting. Both statements could be true.

VON GORDON — For me the question is quite clear. Witness Resch’s statement corresponds to what the defendant said and is contrary to the testimony of Jessen and Dembicki

Witness Captain Gnass (Police Department, Charlottenburg District of Berlin) takes the oath.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What do you know about the incident? Did You examine the body and arrange for it to be removed?

WITNESS — I was informed on Tuesday, March 15, at noon that a Turk had been shot on Hardenbergstrasse. The culprit was apprehended and beaten. A day later, I examined the body of the victim and found a bullet hole above the left eye. One could put ones finger into it. I looked with some skepticism at the hole above the left eye. I could not see any injury whatsoever in the back of the head, even though it was covered with blood. In the afternoon I summoned the guilty party. Unfortunately, we had difficulty communicating with each other. I heard that he had admitted killing the victim because he considered the victim responsible for the deaths of his parents. I asked him if he spoke German and how he had killed the victim. I held the revolver in my hand and asked the defendant to show me how he had committed the crime. I held the gun in front of my head and asked him if that is how he had fired. He said no, and indicated that he shot from the back. He did not want to say anything more than that. In the District Attorneys office, he asserted he had committed the crime because he believed the victim to be responsible for his parents deaths. Through further investigation we were able to ascertain that the defendant had come from Geneva at the beginning of March to Berlin-Schöneberg and was living at 51 Augsburgerstrasse.


WITNESS — Yes, in January. In March he changed his residence. I tried to determine the reason for his moving but I could not ascertain any valid reason. At 37 Hardenbergstrasse — the defendants high, ground-floor apartment — faced directly onto the victims apartment. Thus, the defendant had the opportunity to keep the victim under house surveillance. On the day of the incident, a witness declared that he was walking on Hardenbergstrasse, while the defendant was coming from the opposite direction. At the Music School, the defendant crossed the street. Also, a woman was walking ahead of the victim. The defendant approached the victim, took the revolver out of his coat pocket and, without any hesitation, fired. The victim immediately fell to the ground. The defendant bent over him to make certain he was dead and then escaped.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — On that occasion, do you remember if you interrogated witness Resch, who has not arrived yet in this courtroom? Do you remember if you had any discussion as to whether the defendant shot from the back or whether he allowed him to first go past and then shot him?

WITNESS — I do not remember if it was witness Resch or not who stated that he perhaps saw that the defendant came upon the victim from the front or from the back.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What does that mean, from the front or the back?

WITNESS — That he fired at the victim from the back.

NIEMEYER — I believe both perceptions are reconcilable. When one crosses the Street, it is only natural that he would fall behind a person walking on the other side. This is true even if, at the time one person started crossing the street, both were walking parallel to each other. This is especially likely when you consider that Hardenbergstrasse is a very wide boulevard. In my opinion the defendant walked past the victim.

WERTHAUER— The defendant did not live on the ground floor, but rather the first floor.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — He previously said the first floor. He probably meant to say the high, ground floor

Witness Dr. Schloss (42 years old, Charlottenburg, Seventh Sanitary Division) takes the oath.

WITNESS — On March 15th word reached the Seventh Sanitary Patrol Unit from the Sanitary Division of the zoo that a crime had been committed on Hardenbergstrasse. I went there. The street had been closed off by the police. The victim had a bullet hole in the back of his head. I did not feel it necessary to conduct a detailed examination. So much blood had gushed out from the opening that I could not see much more. I have nothing more to add.

(The witness is excused)

Witness Dr. Schmulinsky (Medical Advisor, Charlottenburg, 63 years old) takes the oath.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — On March 15th you performed an autopsy on Talaat Pasha with Dr. Till. Would you give us the results of your examination?

WITNESS — We found a large circular opening in the back of his head. The wound contained countless pieces of pulverized bone. Upon dissecting, we discovered that the brain had become totally black and was bathed in blood. The back of the head was completely smashed and so much blood had gushed to his brain that death was instantaneous. In all probability. he also suffered a heart attack a split second later.

(The witness is excused)

Expert witness Mr. Barella (royal antis maker and munitions expert, Berlin) takes the oath.

Mr. Barella examines the revolver.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (looking at the defendant) — Did you use this weapon to kill Talaat Pasha

DEFENDANT — I cannot be certain.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You had the weapon for a considerable period of time; you must be able to recognize your revolver.

DEFENDANT — It locks as though it is the same as mine.

WITNESS — Its barrel has a diameter of 8-9 mm. It is a weapon officially approved for use by the German Army. It is an automatic and is capable of firing eight bullets without reloading. It is war surplus and was made in 1915 by the Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabrik. The bullets are from army stores.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Can you tell whether or not the weapon has been used extensively?

WITNESS — It is fairly new. In any event, it has been well kept.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (looking at the defendant) — Have you used the weapon at any other time?


(No more questions are directed to the witness)

Witness Elizabeth Stellbaum (landlady at 51 Augsburgerstrasse in Berlin, 63 years old, Protestant) takes the oath.

WITNESS — The defendant lived in my building. I have only complimentary things to say about him. He was very well behaved and modest. I have no maid and, therefore, I do all the housework. The defendant always did whatever he could to make my job easier. For example, he used to polish his own shoes. In every respect, he was decent and modest.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was he ever sick?

WITNESS — He became sick just before Christmas, a few days after he had moved in. For that reason he was late in reporting his new address to the police. From the very first day, I wanted to let the police know where he was, but he had to report personally. On account of his illness he was late. It was a few days after he had moved in. I was in the kitchen when I heard someone fumbling with his keys. I thought to myself that it was probably my new tenant and that he still was not used to using the key. I came to the door and when I saw the defendant he looked odd to me. I thought he was drunk. He greeted me, but I thought he was quite disturbed.
He went to his room and I entered my apartment. I listened, expecting him to turn on the gas heater. I heard him use the washbasin and then I heard him sit in the armchair and then there was quiet. I stood outside his door listening, but all was quiet.
The next day I did not hear anything about what happened the night before and I told my other tenant, Mr. Apelian, that Tehlirian had been drunk the night before. I asked him to tell the defendant that I would not tolerate drunks in my house. I understood Mr. Apelian talked to Mr. Tehlirian about it.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he seem to be sick at any other time?

WITNESS — He was very nervous and could not sleep. Whenever anyone asked him how he was, he always said the same thing.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Do you know which physician he used to go to?

WITNESS — Yes, Professor Cassirer. I recommended a doctor to him specializing in nervous disorders who lived somewhere on Potsdamerstrasse. I do not know the exact address. Acquaintances of mine had told me about him. He was not Dr. Haake in any case.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What else car you tell us about him? Was he neat?

WITNESS — Very neat.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Do you know that he took dancing lessons?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did other Armenians come to visit him often?

WITNESS — Only one person, Levon Eftian.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he often go out with Mr. Apelian?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were you not surprised when he suddenly moved elsewhere?

WITNESS — Of course I was.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What did you say about it then?

WITNESS — He wanted to stay with me until May 1st. So I told him, I thought you were going to stay with me until May 1st. He told me that his doctor had recommended that he should look for a room with sunlight, as gaslight was bad for his health. I believed what he said because he was a very nervous person. He moved on March 5th. His roam was next to mine and I could hear everything that went on in his room. At night he seemed to have nightmares.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he seem normal to you? Was he in possession of his faculties?

WITNESS — He was never impolite. He was very kind and polite. I have only nice things to say about him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you not know anything about his epileptic seizures? Once, as he entered the building, he supposedly fell down.

WITNESS — Yes, that is the incident I described previously.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the interpreter) — Would you please tell the defendant that this witness did not testify against him. She only said that she had seen him sick on one occasion.

(Looking at the attorneys) Are there any other questions to be asked of the witness?

VON GORDON — Did the defendant play any musical instruments?

WITNESS — Yes, he always played his mandolin.

VON GORDON — Did he ever sing?

WITNESS — Yes, he used to sing very melancholy tunes. He always had the mandolin in his hands and, when he was alone, he used to walk back and forth in the room with it in his hands.

VON GORDON — While he was playing his mandolin, did he frequently turn the gas lights off?

WITNESS — Yes, once while the other gentleman was in his room, I went to his apartment and opened the door as I wanted to speak to him. I noticed that both of them were sitting in the dark, smoking and playing their musical instruments. They told me that a better mood was created in the dark.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was it more mystical?

DR. LIEPMANN — The witness said that the defendant was very nervous. What did she mean by that? Was he very serious?

WITNESS — Yes, he was very serious. He was always serious.

DR. LIEPMANN — More sad than jovial?


DR. LIEPMANN — Was he not full of life like others of his age?

WITNESS — Many times I wondered why he was so depressed.

DR. LIEPMANN — Was he lost in thought? Did it seem as if he was preoccupied with something else?

WITNESS — No and, besides, I did not have that much contact with him.

DR. LIEPMANN — What do you mean when you say that he was nervous? Do you mean that his mind wandered?

WITNESS — Yes, many times he would talk out loud to himself, making me think there was someone with him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — In the daytime too?

WITNESS — No, at night.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The expert witness is asking whether he was often absent-minded.

DR. LIEPMANN — Did he keep much to himself? Was he reserved?

WITNESS — Yes, he was always reserved and serious. As soon as he came home, he would pick up the mandolin and play.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he ever speak about the future to you?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you ever ask him why he came to Berlin?

WITNESS — He said he came to study and, indeed, the second day after his arrival he had already found a woman language teacher.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — While he was staying with you did you ever notice a significant change in his emotional state.


PRESIDING JUSTICE — ... or in his manner of living?

WITNESS — No, he always remained the same. But there were times when I heard him whistle; after all, a man cannot be sad all the time. In general, he was a serious, unique sort of person.

VON GORDON — Did he ever tell you about his past? Did he speak about the loss of his parents?

WITNESS — No, a few days after he left me, he came to obtain papers to take to the police department to notify them of his change of address. At that time I asked him about his past, and he told me how he had returned home and found everything in ruins. He also told me his parents, sisters and older brother were killed and he was the only survivor, but that he could not relate the story definitively. This is what he told me then. He cut the conversation short. I noticed he did not want to talk about it any longer.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you notice him getting very emotional as he related his story?

WITNESS — Yes, yes. As it was, he only told me this much and only because I asked him to.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you wish to establish the reason for his moving?

WITNESS — No, no. His friend was still living with me. He said he wanted to speak with him; then he told about his room and at that time I asked him.

(No other questions are directed to the witness)

Witness Mrs. Dittmann (landlady at 37 Hardenbergstrasse in Charlottenburg District of Berlin) takes the oath.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The defendant lived with you for a few weeks. Can you tell us something about his behavior and conduct?

WITNESS — He was a kind, modest, quiet, and clean young man. He kept everything in order. On the morning of March 15th, the day the incident occurred, the maid came in to tell me that the defendant was in his room crying. I told the maid that maybe there was a death in his family and that it was best if we left him alone. I could not help him since he did not understand me. A little while later, I thought I would go up to see how he was doing. I was surprised to find him sitting in his room, drinking cognac. He remained in his room for some time and then left. After he had gone, I went up to his room and saw that the bottle of cognac, from which he had drunk, was still on the table.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Do you know perhaps when he bought the bottle of cognac?

WITNESS — The maid told me the same morning.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How much of the bottle had he drunk?

WITNESS — Almost one third. It was a three-quarter liter bottle of French cognac.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What else did he eat the same morning?

WITNESS — Like any other day he had his cup of tea.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you have any suspicion as to what he was going to do?

WITNESS — Not at all. It was only when the maid came to tell me, Mrs. Dittmann, our gentleman has been killed. I responded What are you crazy or something? Later, I heard that he had killed someone. At first, I did not want to believe it.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did the defendant appear to have his usual comportment that day, or would you say that he was suffering deep down inside and seemed absent-minded?

WITNESS — One of his friends came one day and told me that the defendant was sick and needed a room that had sunlight.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When the defendant came to you, did you notice anything peculiar about him?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — The whole time he stayed with you, did you notice anything peculiar?



WITNESS — Yes, he rarely went out.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he have any visitors?

WITNESS — None at all.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he play a musical instrument?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he seem nervous to you?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he seem hesitant?

WITNESS — He would not look me straight in the eye. He would get confused. He was always apprehensive and shy.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was he frightened of anything?

WITNESS — He had a frightened took.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he seem to suffer from deep emotions?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he ever get incoherent, giving wrong and confusing answers to simple questions?

WITNESS — No, I cannot say that he did.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you ever notice that he looked sick?

WITNESS — No, but he said that he was nervous and sick.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you ever notice if he had epileptic seizures while he was in your building?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Therefore, in conclusion, you only have complimentary things to say about him.

WITNESS — Yes, he was a very proper young man.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the interpreter) — Would you please tell the defendant that this witness also testified in his favor?

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the defendant) — Who went with you to rent the apartment?

DEFENDANT — The president of the Armenian Students Association of Berlin.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Is he here today?


DR. CASSIRER — I would like to verify whether the defendant remembers why he was crying on March 15th and whether he bought the cognac that day.

DEFENDANT — I bought the cognac the day before, as I felt weak. I had a shot that evening and another the next morning with my tea.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you have a lot to drink the day of the incident?

DEFENDANT — No, I only drank a little bit with my tea.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you ask the maid for a glass?

DEFENDANT — Yes, I needed a glass to measure a shot.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The defendant insists that he drank very little. Did he cry that same morning?

WITNESS — Yes, I heard him.

VON GORDON — Was it not, perhaps, a sad song you heard?

WITNESS — It is possible. They do have such sad songs. But I thought he was crying.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the defendant) — Do you remember if, on the morning of the incident, you were crying or humming songs?


VON GORDON (to the witness) — Did you yourself see the defendant open the bottle of cognac or was it the maid who told you that she saw it? When did you see it? Was it around seven or eight o'clock?

WITNESS — It was after nine.

VON GORDON — Then did he go out? When did he return?

WITNESS — He did not come back at all.

VON GORDON — He must have returned since you said that it was seven or eight o'clock when he left the house.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The timing may fit.

WITNESS — It was approximately eleven o'clock when he left. After he had his tea, he remained in his room. It was after eleven o'clock when I went up to put his room in order.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you perhaps hear an unusual commotion prior to his leaving and did you think he was crying? After the defendant left, did you see that one-third of the cognac bottle had been emptied?

WITNESS — I do not know.

VON GORDON — Do you know if the bottle was opened that morning?

WITNESS — The maid would know that better than I.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the defendant) — Had you bought the bottle and drunk from it the day before?

DEFENDANT — I had the battle opened where I bought it.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you drink a little with your tea that evening?

DEFENDANT — Yes, I drank some with my tea.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you drink a glassful in the morning too?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — The defendant denies having drunk the cognac from a glass. I cannot understand that.

DEFENDANT — First I measured it in the glass and then poured it into the tea.

VON GORDON — Had you noticed whether or not the defendant tried to read German and practiced his German?


VON GORDON — Did he take lessons from you?

WITNESS — No, but he had homework. He said he was taking lessons.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you see his revolver?


DR. LIEPMANN — Did the defendant seem annoyed or depressed?

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was he hesitant?

WITNESS — Yes, he was hesitant. (Smiling) At least I thought he was quite hesitant.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to Mrs. Stellbaum) — Did you ever see the defendant's revolver while he was staying with you?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you know that he had the revolver in the trunk?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did the defendant have a lot of personal belongings?

WITNESS — No, he had a trunk which he always left open.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you ever open the trunk?

WITNESS — It was open. He had opened it and put it in the closet.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the defendant) — Where did you keep your revolver?

DEFENDANT — It most likely was in the trunk.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Even when you were at Mrs. Stellbaum's?

DEFENDANT — It was in my trunk.

WITNESS — I did not see it; he only had a piece of hand luggage.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — It is surprising that you have often looked in the trunk, but not seen the revolver.

WITNESS — I cannot say that I looked in the trunk often.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Mrs. Stellbaum, you are under oath. Have you not seen the revolver at least once?

WITNESS — Not even once.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The witness may be excused.

(No more questions were directed to the two witnesses, Stellbaum and Dittmann)

Witness Loin Beilenson (private tutor from Berlin, 21 years old) takes the oath.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were you teaching the defendant German?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Can you tell us something about his comportment and habits?

WITNESS — Since January 18th, I have been giving lessons to the defendant. At the beginning, he used to be well prepared for his lessons, but later on he became absent-minded.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he tell you that he was sick and was seeing a physician?

WITNESS — Later on. He told me that he had seen Professor Cassirer, that the professor had prescribed medication and that he had found it very difficult to study. On one occasion during our lessons, I noticed that he could no longer read and did not know what he had written. It was clear to me that he was sick. I told him that I saw no point in continuing with the lessons. Thus the lessons were interrupted.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Approximately when was that?

WITNESS — In February.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — He started the lessons on January 18th. When did he terminate them?

WITNESS — Approximately February 20th. In any event, it was during the latter half of February.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he later resume the lessons?

WITNESS — He came once and told me that he was not feeling well. It was easy to see that he had an emotional trauma. He always looked sad.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he ever speak about his sadness?

WITNESS — Only once, when I asked him about his homeland. He told me that he no longer had a homeland and that all his immediate family had been killed. This answer so clearly reflected his suffering that I did not wish to pursue the subject any further.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you not ask him any further questions?

WITNESS — Yes, I saw him one more time on either the 27th or the 28th of February.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How was he doing in his studies?

WITNESS — At the beginning he was learning very well. As time went by, he became more and more absent-minded. Even he kept saying, "I cannot understand a thing."

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Is it possible that he might have terminated his studies the first part of March?

WITNESS — Yes, it is possible.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Possibly a few days before March 5th, after changing his apartment?

WITNESS — He never came after moving. He only came when he was living on Augsburgerstrasse.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — It looks as though there was a reason he changed apartments and terminated his studies.

WITNESS — I do not know. In March, maybe a week or so before the incident, he called me by phone to tell me that he had changed apartments and that he wanted to resume his lessons as soon as he felt better.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then he must have terminated his studies in the latter part of February?


PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the defendant) — Was it after you had your vision that you terminated your lessons or did you have other reasons for doing so?

DEFENDANT — I terminated my lessons because I was weak and sick. I called my teacher after I changed apartments to tell her that it was my intention to resume my studies as soon as I felt better.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then your vision had nothing to do with the termination of your studies?

DEFENDANT — I stopped studying on account of my poor health.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — While you were with Mrs. Dittmann, did you not get bored?

DEFENDANT — Why should I have gotten bored?

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Because you no longer had any studying to do.

DEFENDANT — My lessons never gave me much pleasure anyway.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — But if you had been taking lessons, at least they would have provided a change of pace for you. How did you pass your time when you were with Mrs. Dittmann?

DEFENDANT — I often visited my Armenian friends.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you practice your German?

DEFENDANT — After getting up in the morning, I used to read German.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was it a textbook? Did you have any other German books?

DEFENDANT — No, just my textbook.

VON GORDON — Had you advanced in German enough so that, say, you could read your indictment and understand it without too much difficulty?

DEFENDANT — I can read printed much easier than handwritten material.

(No more questions are directed to the witness Beilenson)

Witness Yervant Apelian (Secretary of the Armenian Consulate, Berlin, 23 years old, Armenian-Apostolic) takes the oath. Not related to the defendant by blood or marriage.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you live in Mrs. Stellbaum's building on Augsburgerstrasse with the defendant and did you become friends?

WITNESS — Yes. Last year, in the middle of December, I met the defendant through mutual friends. They introduced him to me and asked me whether I could find lodging for him in the same place where I stayed, since he was a fellow Armenian and did not speak German. He desired to be with his countrymen. So I talked to my landlady and she said she would rent a room, which she had never rented out before, to my friend until May 1st. The defendant came over the next day. This was in December, after Christmas. At that time I was taking dancing lessons with dance-master Friedrich so I convinced Tehlirian to come with me to these lessons. The classes started in November. We used to take dancing lessons every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. This is, the three of us, Tehlirian, Eftian, and I. These private lessons continued for almost three months.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What else did you do? Were you taking care of business at the Consulate? Did you go out every day?

WITNESS — Just in the evenings.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were you with the defendant every day?

WITNESS — We lived together. One day I was alone with him. He said he wanted to get into the technical field. I did not pursue the matter with him. One day, during our dance lessons, he passed out. I helped him up and he regained consciousness. He was out for five or ten minutes. After coming to, he wanted to return home.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he fall down like that at any other time?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was it this incident that prompted him to go and see a physician?

WITNESS — Yes. He went to Dr. Haake, who examined him. I do not know what happened after that, since I was not there.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Were you a witness to any other fainting spells, besides the one that took place during the dance class?

WITNESS — I believe he had the same sort of attacks a number of times. Once it happened on the staircase. But, I was not a witness to these. I only heard about them from him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he complain of headaches?

WITNESS — Yes. He said be had a headache and a wound on his head. I cannot say exactly when he complained of this. It was sometime in January before the attack on the dance floor.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — How did the defendant pass his time? Did he take lessons? Between the middle of January and the middle of February, did he take lessons from Miss Beilenson? How often were these lessons?

WITNESS — I believe three times a week.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he study at home too?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Had you noticed any other symptoms of illness, like nervousness or absent-mindedness?

WITNESS — Yes, he was very sensitive. He would get offended at the slightest remark. However, in general, we got along well.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Do you know anything about his past life? Did he tell you what happened to him in Turkey?

WITNESS — Yes, he told me that he had lost his whole family.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When did he relate that to you?

WITNESS — It was some time ago. I cannot give the exact date.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Had you talked about who the person responsible for the fate of his relatives was?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he mention the presence of Talaat in Berlin or what he ought to do to him?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Had he told you of his intention to move in with Mrs. Dittmann before doing so?

WITNESS — No, he had not told me where he was going to move. However, one day he asked me to tell Mrs. Stellbaum that he wanted to move because his physician had told him that the gas heater was detrimental to his health.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then he had also given you health reasons as his excuse for moving?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he tell you that he had found an apartment on Hardenbergstrasse?

WITNESS — No, I did not know where it was. We were not such close friends any longer.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he have other friends? For example, did Mr. Eftian visit him?

WITNESS — Yes, the three of us were together quite often.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Just prior to his moving, did you notice a change in his comportment or manners, or did he always behave the same?

WITNESS — He was the same.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When he told you he was going to move, did you not raise any objections?

WITNESS — I asked him the reason for his moving.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — And did he give his health as the reason?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you know that the defendant had a revolver?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he have a suitcase?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you ever look in his suitcase?


PRESIDING JUSTICE— What is your opinion — do you think he had his revolver with him when he was residing at Augsburgerstrasse?

WITNESS — That I do not know.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he not ever talk to you about his intentions to kill Talaat Pasha?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Had the defendant not told you he had seen Talaat in the street?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Yet you were together quite often, were you not?

WITNESS — Yes, I wondered about that after the incident. However, we never discussed politics.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — I do not see that this is a matter of discussing politics. Did you know that Talaat Pasha was living on Hardenbergstrasse?

WITNESS — No. As I said before, Tehlirian never spoke to me about Talaat.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — He never spoke to you about Talaat?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did the defendant have any friends besides you, Eftian, and Terzibashian?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Can you tell us anything as to what motivated the defendant to act as he did, or can you tell us anything about this incident?


VON GORDON — Had you heard about his having fainted in the middle of Erusalemerstrasse?


VON GORDON — When was that? In January? February? Before or after the incident at the dance?

WITNESS — I believe it was in January.

VON GORDON — Did Tehlirian tell you that?


VON GORDON — Is it the custom among the Armenians not to speak at all or to speak very little about these massacres?

WITNESS — They speak about them, but not often.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — These events are already a thing of the past.

VON GORDON — When you speak of the massacres, what in particular do you discuss the most?

WITNESS — We speak about what happened to each of our families.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you not know yourself that Talaat was here in Berlin? And had the defendant not ever told you that?

WITNESS — No, I never spoke with him about these topics.

VON GORDON — When the defendant told you that he wanted to move, could you tell from his conversation whether or not he had already rented a room, or was he just telling you that he intended to move?

WITNESS — All he told me was that, by Saturday. he would be out.

VON GORDON — But did the defendant not tell you that he was dissatisfied with his place and that is why he wanted to get out?

WITNESS — No, he did not say that.

VON GORDON — Did you not get the feeling that he had already found a place? Otherwise he could not state so emphatically that he would be out by Saturday, which he did.


VON GORDON (addressing Mrs. Dittmann) — Could you tell us Mrs. Dittmann, when the defendant came and rented a room from you? Was that room already vacant? Did he move in the same day or a few days later?

MRS. DITTMANN — He moved in Sunday morning. It was a few days, approximately 3 or 4 days, after he had rented the place. The room was not vacant until then.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the interpreter) — Would you please tell the defendant that Mr. Apelian has testified that he had knowledge of three fainting spells and that he gave health reasons for moving from Augsburgerstrasse. (This statement is translated.)

VON GORDON (to the witness Apelian) — How many people were taking dancing lessons?

WITNESS — About 60 to 70 people.

VON GORDON — Did the defendant try to talk to the girls? Was he withdrawn or daring?

WITNESS — On the whole, he was not forward. He never danced with any one particular girl. He was hoping to improve his German by striking up conversations with different ones.

DR. LIEPMANN — It sounds quite strange to me that, after all the defendant had gone through, he did not speak to you, his friend, about the massacres.

WITNESS — One day we were reading Professor Lepsius book an Armenia. The defendant snatched the book away from me, saying, "Do not... let us not open old wounds".

DR. LIEPMANN — Are you trying to tell us that the defendant was avoiding the topic of the massacres and did not wish to revive their memory?

WITNESS — The defendant took the book out of my hands and said, Let us put the book away and have some fun.

PROFESSOR CASSIRER — Do you know whether there was anything in particular that caused the defendant to pass out on the dance floor?

WITNESS — No, all he told me was that he did not feel well and he wanted to go home.

PROFESSOR CASSIRER — When he fell to the floor, did he cry out or just mumble? Could you make out any of the words be mumbled?

WITNESS — He did not cry out; he started mumbling.

PROFESSOR CASSIRER — Was the defendant trembling?

WITNESS — Yes, he was also foaming at the mouth.

PROFESSOR CASSIRER — Was the foam colored?


PROFESSOR CASSIRER — How long did he tremble like that?

WITNESS — At least ten minutes.

PROFESSOR CASSIRER — Did he regain consciousness right away?


DR. FORSTER — You say that there was not any particular reason for the attack. Is it not possible that, without your knowledge, the defendant may have recalled the massacres for one reason or another just prior to having had the attack?

WITNESS — I do not know. All I know is that he did have a number of these fainting spells.

PROFESSOR CASSIRER — The witness states that he does not know the cause but there must have been a definite reason for the attack. Is it not possible that, right before its onset, the defendant may have seen corpses lying all around him and thus recalled the massacres? Are you familiar with something of this sort having happened?

WITNESS — No, but he once told me that, prior to having fainting spells, he would smell a certain pungent odor and then he would fall.

DR. STÖRMER — May I remind you that you told me at the Armenian Consulate that the fall began with a loud sharp cry?

WITNESS — I cannot be certain if it was a cry or mumbling. In any event he would stumble and fall. I cannot say any more than that.

Witness Levon Eftian (Berlin, 21 years old, Armenian-Apostolic) takes the oath. Not related to the defendant by blood or marriage.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When did you come to Berlin from Paris?

WITNESS — In February 1920.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Since then have you been living with your relatives?

WITNESS — Yes, I am staying with my brother-in-law, Mr. Terzibashian, who resides at 75 Oranienstrasse.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Does your brother-in-law have a tobacco shop there?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Does your sister, his wife, also live there?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — And is your sister from Erzinga?

WITNESS — No, from Garin.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Is it true that you have had frequent contact with the defendant in Berlin?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you take dancing lessons along with the defendant from Master Friedrich?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you visit the defendant white he was living at Augsburgerstrasse?

WITNESS — Two or three times.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did the defendant visit you and your relative at your home on Oranienstrasse?

WITNESS — Yes, he used to come at least once a week.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he talk to your relatives?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you notice whether or not he was sick or suffered attacks?

WITNESS — He used to always tell us that he had a nervous disorder. He was always sad.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — What did he complain of? In what way was the sickness apparent? Could you tell by looking at him that be was disturbed, melancholic, and sad?

WITNESS — He was always sad.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was he happy while taking dancing lessons?

WITNESS — It was mainly to boost his morale that we took him to the dancing lessons anyway. Furthermore, it was an opportunity for him to improve his German.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Why was he sad? Was it his disposition?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did he ever speak about the sad memories of his past — the loss of his sisters, brothers and parents? Did he speak about the massacres?

WITNESS — My sister would often broach the subject, but the defendant did not want to talk about it.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When did your sister return to Berlin?

WITNESS — About a year ago.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you lose many relatives in the massacres?

WITNESS — My parents were also killed in the massacres. I came to Constantinople in 1912 and went to school for three years, until 1915. When the war broke out, I could not return to my hometown but I heard that the deportation had already started. It was only later that I learned that my parents and relatives had become victims of the massacres and only my two brothers and my sister had survived.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Where were your parents massacred?

WITNESS — In Garin.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When did the massacres take place?

WITNESS — Between 1915 and 1916, I do not know the exact date.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you hear about these massacres from your brothers and sister?

WITNESS — My sister was in Garin when the massacres took place. She was an eyewitness.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Do you know anything concerning the nervous disorder of the defendant?

WITNESS — I have heard about his attacks but was never present when they occurred. I have also heard that he was melancholic.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Other than the incident on the dance floor, were you present at any time when the defendant lost consciousness?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did the defendant ever tell you that he had these fainting spells from time to time?

WITNESS — Yes. He told me that he was weak. He told me in detail how he passed out in the street several times.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you know that the defendant did not want to stay any longer with Mrs. Stellbaum?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did that sudden move surprise you? After all, he was living with your countryman Apelian?

WITNESS — The defendant told me he wanted to move because his room did not have an electric heater.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Do you remember when he told you this?

WITNESS — Just prior to his moving.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then did he move right away?

WITNESS — He moved about a month later.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — He moved at the beginning of March to Hardenbergstrasse.
When did he talk to you about moving?

WITNESS — The first part of February.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — He told you in early February that he wanted to move?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Do you know anything about the incident in question?


PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you know that Talaat Pasha was in Berlin?

WITNESS — It never occurred to me.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Even if you did not know personally, had you not perhaps heard rumors to that effect?

WITNESS — Such rumors were going around in Constantinople.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Since you came to Berlin from Paris at the end of January 1920, have you been in Berlin the whole time?

WITNESS — In 1918, right after the armistice, it was rumored that Talaat Pasha was in Berlin. But no one knew for sure.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the interpreter) — Would you tell the defendant that this witness has testified that he was not an eyewitness to any of his fainting spells; that every week they would see each other and that the defendant avoided the subject of the massacres in general.

(It is translated)

VON GORDON (to the witness) — Was Talaat Pasha considered the only responsible party for the Armenian tragedy in your circles? I cannot understand how it is that none of the Armenians tried to verify whether or not Talaat was in Berlin. Did anyone care? After all, this should have aroused the greatest concern. Rumors were circulating recently that Talaat Pasha was in Berlin. Had you only heard about this in Constantinople?

WITNESS — I did not know that Talaat Pasha was in Berlin.

DEFENDANT — I did not know that either.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the defendant) — But you saw Talaat in the street in Berlin. Why did you not mention this important fact to your countrymen?

DEFENDANT — I was afraid they would laugh at me.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Why would they laugh at you? After all, was Talaat not considered the author of the massacres in general? Terzibashian, it seems, wanted to discuss them with you and talk about Talaat. Why did you not mention it to him?

DEFENDANT — The subject of Talaat never came up.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Why did you keep it a secret?

DEFENDANT — I had no special interest in it.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — But we are interested in knowing why you did not mention it.

DEFENDANT — If I were to mention it, they would ask a lot of questions.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Then the reason you kept it a secret was so that they would not get inquisitive and bother you with questions?

DEFENDANT — I was in such poor physical condition that I did not want to discuss the subject.

Witness Mr. Schultze (privy counselor to the court and Assistant Chief of Police, Charlottenburg District Court, Berlin, 53 years old, Protestant) takes the oath.

WITNESS — I wonder if it is essential to bring out here all that the defendant said during his first interrogation. I would propose that we not get into that.

VON GORDON — We agree.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY — I would appreciate it if we could hear Schultze.

(The Court decides to listen to the testimony of Schultze. After taking the oath.)

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You were the first one to interrogate the defendant. We would appreciate it if you could tell us what you learned from the defendant.

WITNESS — I remember the answers of the defendant quite distinctly. Without any difficulty, he confessed that he had killed Talaat Pasha deliberately and with premeditation. When I asked him for his reasons, he said that Talaat was responsible for the massacres of his relatives, or at least some of them. He told me that he had come to Berlin specifically to kill Talaat and avenge the murder of his relatives.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — When had the defendant made up his mind to kill Talaat?

WITNESS — The defendant told me that he had made up his mind in Turkey. He had purchased a revolver and had been looking for Talaat's residence. Having located it, he rented a room across from the victims house. From this vantage point, he kept Talaat's residence under surveillance and when, on the day in question, the defendant saw Talaat leave the house, he grabbed his revolver and followed his victim. So that there would be no mistake, he walked past Talaat, then turned around and looked the victim squarely in the eye. After convincing himself that this was Talaat, the defendant shot the victim from the back. This is what the defendant told me.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Did you take all possible precautions during the interrogation to prevent any misunderstanding?


PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the interpreter) — What do you have to say about this? Is the testimony the truth?

KALOUSTIAN — Yes. However, the defendant was in no condition to think straight at the time.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Was the interrogation conducted on March 16th?

KALOUSTIAN — The defendants head was still bandaged

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to witness Schultze) — Does the testimony you have just given correspond to the record of the March 16th interrogation?

VON GORDON — The defendant had a fever at the time.

SCHULTZE — The defendant did say that the crowd had attacked him and he had a head wound. However, at the time I interrogated him. He seemed to be quite calm and collected.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to the defendant) — On March 16th did you confess that, in 1915, ever since you managed to escape the massacres, you had already decided to kill Talaat Pasha?

DEFENDANT — I do not remember ever having said anything like that.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Do you deny having confessed that you had planned to kill Talaat for a long time?

DEFENDANT — No, how could I possibly have said that?

PRESIDING JUSTICE — You must have said it because that is what the interpreter translated during the interrogation.

DEFENDANT — Maybe I said something like that, but I do not remember because my head was injured and bandaged on account of the inquiry.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — So you wish to say that it is probably because your head was injured at the time. From a legal point of view, it makes a significant difference whether you decided to kilt Talaat on March 1st, fourteen days before the incident, or whether you decided to kill Talaat years ago, bought a revolver back then, and came to Berlin in order to carry out your well thought out plan. There is a basic difference. Were you not aware of what you were saying at the time of the interrogation?

DEFENDANT — I do not remember what I said on that day. I have just been told that.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to witness Schultze) — Did you pursue this line of questioning with the defendant and did he give these responses to your questions?

WITNESS — No, the defendant just confessed and told me the whole story of how he had rented the apartment opposite Talaat's house in order to keep an eye on him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — The defendant says that even today but does not admit having had that plan in mind and having prepared to execute it for several years now.

WITNESS — As it is recorded in the transcript, the defendant confessed that he had come to Berlin as much to study German as to seek revenge.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Is there any reason why we should read the transcript?

VON GORDON — There is no need. I would like to ask the defendant if, satisfied with what he had done, he said, I did it. I certainly did it because I had sworn to do it. With this inner gratification he answered every question in the affirmative. Did you say, I had planned this for years and I am happy I did it?

DEFENDANT — I do not know.

NIEMEYER — The interrogation was carded out with the help of an interpreter. Such an interrogation could have been conducted in a confused manner. Either the interrogator was allowed to speak freely and then the interpreter translated by summarizing what was said, or the interrogator asked short precise questions which were translated for the defendant and then relayed to the interrogator. We are experiencing a similar situation today. However, thanks to the skill of the interpreter, everything is working out smoothly, as if we were getting the answer directly from the defendant. The interpreter, Mr. Zakariantz, seems to be taking the words out of the defendants mouth. He is doing an extremely competent job. Usually, when the services of an interpreter are required, it is a slow, choppy, step-by-step process. I would like to know in what manner the interrogation took place?

WITNESS — As far as I remember, I allowed the defendant to speak calmly and relate how the incident took place. Only then did I ask specific questions. This was the general format. I cannot remember the details. In any event, I allowed him to speak calmly and I assigned the interpreter the task of directing the questions and then translating his answers for me. I asked questions about his motives as well.

VON GORDON — Could you tell us whether the interpreter was very excited? Do you recall his mood?

WITNESS — On the contrary, it seemed to me that the interpreter was enjoying his work.

VON GORDON — Did he not speak excitedly about the defendant? Please describe it for us.

WITNESS — The interpreter was completely calm. He had brought sweets and pastries and offered them to the defendant. I asked him, "Why have you brought sweets to this murderer?" He replied, "What do you mean murderer? He is a great man and he has our admiration."

VON GORDON — This statement is very important.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — We still have the following witnesses to examine: Mr. and Mrs. Terzibashian and the two physicians, four altogether, if the defense attorneys do not call any others.

VON GORDON — I am sorry we are not in a position to make a decision on that today. In light of the defendants interests we consider that impossible. We can deliberate on that matter tomorrow morning.

DR. STÖRMER — I have received an open letter from the vice-president of the Medical Council requesting my presence at a meeting tomorrow morning. I shall have to leave by 10:00 A.M. tomorrow. I am also suffering from a pinched nerve and I intend to go to the doctor and get an injection to kill the pain. If not, I cannot sit here any longer. My coming tomorrow is doubtful.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — I would suggest that we postpone this matter until we find out what we can learn from the other four witnesses.

VON GORDON — We shall reserve the right to ask for additional evidence, though we shall do so in the hope that such demands not be prevented by the court employing forceful measures.

NIEMEYER — Is it not possible for Dr. Störmer to give his view alone and comprehensively, while the other physicians wait and give their testimony later on so that we can get the whole medical picture concerning the defendant from all five expert witnesses at one time?

VON GORDON — We have to be prepared and fresh to be able to cross-examine the expert witnesses, and I am sure it will take considerable time.

PRESIDING JUSTICE (to Dr. Störmer) — Can we do it this way?

DR. STÖRMER — Since I am here I shall do my duty. However, I can't say what condition I shall be in tomorrow.

(A half-hour recess is called)

The first day of trial   Continuation of the trial after the noon recess   The second day of trial


See also:

Trial of Talaat Pasha in Russian, with original foreword by Armin T. Wegner
Trial of Talaat Pasha in Armenian, published by Mekhitarian Printing House, Vienna 1921


Source: "The case of Soghomon Tehlirian" by A.R.F. Varantian Gomideh. Translated from German by Vartkes Yeghiyan
Scanned by: Raffi Kojian ( )
OCR: Raffi Kojian ( )
Proofreading: Karen Vrtanesyan

Special thanks to Mr. Arman Galstyan for historical consultations

This text is provided by Mr. Raffi Kojian for Electronic Library only. If you have any questions regarding this text you can find his contacts at his web site


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