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The Turkish official unfolded the document. The boarded up Armenian houses were empty and the inhabitants of the village, only Turks and the occasional Kurd waited for him to speak.

"Loyal citizens of the Empire. As you can see, the Armenians have been removed for security purposes. We are in a time of war and no chances of collaboration with the enemy can be tolerated. These homes will be entered by our police force and searched for weapons. You will then inhabit these homes."

Some people in the group looked at one another, but no one uttered a word.

"You will not be indebted to nor will you assume the taxes that the Christians were responsible for." He looked up and saw eagerness in their faces. "But let me be clear," he said. He held up the document and turned it toward the crowd. It had elegant script and an official gold seal.

"By order of General Mahmud Kamil. Anyone harboring an Armenian will be hanged."

The crowd murmured slightly and then grew silent. Within two hours, the police squads had entered every one of the Armenian homes, ransacking them. By nightfall, the homes had all been claimed and the village silently changed the hand of ownership.

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