This photograph of Armenians surrounded by Turkish troops, gathered in Van in the hope of getting bread from a public bakery, was published in the first edition of the memoirs of former U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau, published in New York in 1918. 

The photo in the explanation is indicated: “These people were taken out of their homes without warning and brought into the desert. During the deportation, thousands of women, children and men died not only from hunger and deprivation, but also from the inhuman cruelty of the accompanying soldiers.” 

Van is one of the oldest capitals of Western Armenia. This Armenian city, which is about three thousand years old, lost its Armenian population during the Genocide of Armenian people. In 1915, when, like every Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire, pogroms began in the Armenian villages adjacent to the city of Van, the Armenian population of the city turned to self-defense in early April, resisting the attacks of the Turkish army and Kurdish disorderly detachments for about a month. 

During the fighting on the territory of the city, Van turned into ruins, and those who could not migrate were killed.