2. The Butcher of Trebizond
The most vile and abhorrent of Operation Nemesis’ targets was probably Cemal Azmi, known as “The Butcher of Trebizond”. A founder of the Teskilat-i-Mahsusa (Special Organization), a unit created to suppress dissent and separatism in the Ottoman Empire, Azmi was serving as governor of Trebizond province when the Armenian Genocide began in 1915. An enthusiastic participant, he massacred Armenians by the tens of thousands.
Azmi was particularly vicious towards Armenian children and women, and had thousands of them drowned in the Black Sea. Witnesses testified that he had turned a local hospital into a “pleasure dome”, where he indulged in sexual orgies with young Armenian girls, before murdering them. Reminiscing about it, Azmi told an acquaintance: “Among the most pretty Armenian girls, 10 – 13 years old, I selected a number of them and handed them to my son as a gift; the others I had drowned in the sea“. That made him a prime target for payback.