Zakaria Bilemdjian

“They first took us to the first train station outside Aintab. On the Baghdad railway. A train station in the middle of nowhere. We set-up our tents and camped. Already that first night Turkish bandits attacked our tents. We had no idea what a train was. The next morning we got up and went to look at the tracks. The train came and its whistle scared the hell out of everybody and everybody ran, terror-stricken.”


“We were in Bab and one day orders came that we were to go Deir-el-Zor. Other refugees were coming to take our place. And, sure enough, refugees from Zeitun showed up, from Marash, to take our place. So we loaded up one day, like we had loaded all our stuff on mules in Aintab, but this time we rented camels. We were going to Deir-El-Zor. On the way, we saw maimed, injured men. They were taken to Deir-El-Zor to be massacred but had survived somehow and were returning. My father said we are going back. I don’t care what happens, he said, but I am not walking straight to the slaughterhouse.”