Austrian zoologist, ichthyologist Viktor Pietschmann was born in 1881 in Vienna, in the family of Carl and Ida Pitchman.
By the order of German Government, from 1914 until the end of the First World War, Pietschmann organized Turkish mountain-shooter military units, at the same time mapping the ongoing military operations in the Middle East for the German General Staff. Traveling and carrying out collecting works in the territory of Western Armenia he managed to take photos of Armenians’ deportation.
Photos taken by Pietschmann depict deportation scenes of Erzurum Armenians and are of great value among the photos related to the Armenian Genocide.
It is remarkable, that in the photos taken by V. Pietschmann no men are seen in the deportation caravans, except women and children. The majority of Armenian men were already killed.
The deportation of Armenian population of Erzurum started in July 1915. Historical sources and evidences of survivors prove the cruel fate of Erzurum Armenians. 35-40 thousand Armenians were deported from Erzurum and surrounding villages to Derjan, Erzincan, Sebastia (Sivas), even to Der Zor desert. Very few of the deportees could survive.
Moreover, Armenians were slaughtered on the road of deportation; men were shot to death, or killed by axe in groups; women were raped and killed or died on the road because of various diseases, thirst and starvation; lonely, helpless children and weak elders were inevitably condemned to death.
"You have only a few days left, then you will be surrounded by the wet grave of the Kemach gorge. It will end all your fairy-tales, all the beliefs in a beautiful, warm, green, friendly and cheerful world.”, - these are the words of Pietschmann when speaking about the children’s exile.
Pietschmann has published two books about his experiences during World War I - "Under the Ice and Palm Trees" and "Through the Kurdish Mountains and Armenian Cities."
Pietschmann was awarded several medals for his participation in the war by the Ottoman Government and the Bulgarian Red Cross.
Until 1945 Pietschmann headed the Press and Radio department of the Vienna Natural History Museum. He made several trips to carry out collecting works and research. Victor Pitchman died in 1956.
Deportation scene of the Erzurum Armenians to Mesopotamia reported in Sushehir district