Ambushed by Simko, Part 1
Oral History Item Type Metadata
Well, that mistake saved our lives. Had we gone back -- there were 30,000 of us in Van when we started. 15,000 went back. In that group that went back was my uncle Dickran and his family, and the widow of my other uncle and his four kids. They all vanished, all 15,000 gone.
We got to the border of Persia, and our military command sent a letter to the governor of Khūy -- that's a large Persian city before you reach the border of Russian Armenia and Persia. Well, the governor, instead of answering the letter, which said, "We have no intentions of harming you; all we want is passage; we're not gonna bother you." Well, he turned the letter to the Kurdish bandit Simko. Well, Simko was famous for his treachery and his hatred of Armenians. When the Russians were winning, he went back with them to Tiflis, got arms and ammunition from (inaudible), an ally, goes back home. He was no ally to nobody.
Well, we had to go through a gorge, the valley of the Koldola River: two perpendicular sides river running on the -- heading east on the right side. Well, the Russians had built a military road paralleling the river in this gorge, and we're going to that to reach the city of Khūy. But somewhere in the middle of that valley, Simko and his gang ambushed us, bullets just raining down from both sides. And someone said, "Take shelter behind the boulders, the rocks."