In March, 1918, Friday after-noon on the Passover week, Binyamin Mar-Shimun has arrived to a meeting called by the Kurd leader Simko.
The tension between the two parties – the Kurds and the Assyrians, was the subject of discussion in this historical meeting in a villa, at the suburbs of Kohne-Shahir (the old city of Salmas, in Salmas district, northern Persia, Persian Azerbaijan).

The meeting between the two did not go as planned, not for Mar-Shimun. The armed Kurds hidden on the surrounding rooftops opened fire as the meeting ended, and the Christian delegation was on its way, a few steps away from the carriage. Mar Shimun, with over 100 of his men, was shot dead. One of the only two Assyrians who fled the place was Daud Mar-Shimun, Binyamin\’s brother, who patrolled around at the time of the shooting.

The murder of Mar-Shimun was the spark which ignited a killing spree, war and bloodshed. Between the two enemies was, unfortunately, the small Jewish community of the Nash Didan. The Assyrians swore that they will erase any living in the village where their leader died, and the Jews of Kohne-Shahir who survived, spread into refugee camps all over the district. Many months later, after the ottomans arrived and the Assyrians retreated, the Jews started to return to their homes and villages, including Salmas (Kohne-Shahir), Bashkale and Gavar (Today\’s Yuksekova).

The killing of the Jewish community of Salmas was avoided, among other reasons, by a meeting between Shimon, a local Jew, and Daud Mar-Shimun, the murdered patriarch\’s brother. Shimon (like any Nash Didan) and the Assyrians spoke a very close dialect of new eastern Aramaic; we call Lishan-Didan (our language).

Today, more than 90 years after those events occur, an email connection was created between me (the grandson of the nephew of that Shimon) and the Mar-Shimun family in the United States. After a few months of email exchange, and the good will of Arabella Mar-Shimun, I have received through the main two books sent from the US, who tell the story of Binyamin Mar-Shimun and the Mar Shimun family history.

I know that the research of the Nash Didan\’s history is not the main concern of many here, in Israel, and it is hard to find people interested, or researching the community\’s history. For me, this connection with the Mar-Shimuns gets me a little bit closer to my family\’s roots and the community\’s history. I hope I will manage to bring here some of the above email exchange later.

Michael Demirel

4 Comments

  1. מיכאל דמירל

    מיכה דמירל, 26.04.2009
    The article was posted by a reader, in Assyrian Media world news:
    http://my.assyrianmedia.com/modules/news2/article.php?storyid=311

  2. מיכאל דמירל

    מיכה דמירל, 23.04.2009
    22/4/2009 I Wrote
    Persi,

    Thank you for your response. I will have to disagree, but my intensions were not to argue, so lets agree not to agree.

    However we both do write that Simko was the one to blame, And he got what he deserved. I have a detailed eye witness testimony of the event that lead to Simko’s capture and execution, I will post an Article about it someday. Interesting fact is that the way he was caught was similar to the way he murdered Benyamin Mar-Shimun so there is some puetic justice…

    Elha galchun
    and pardon my bad English (my spellcheker does’nt work)

    Michael
    ————————————-
    22/4/2009 Persi Wrote

    Michael

    “I will have to disagree,…”

    ***Please clarify what is your disagreement.

    “…but my intensions were not to argue…”

    ***Neither was mine. My intention was to point out to the errors in the article.

    Persi

    ————————————-
    My answer 23/4/09
    Persi,

    The Assyrians in Kohne-Shahr were given orders too kill all living (literally all)in that village. They were joined by some of the local Armenian population and I have evidence of Russian officers there.

    I know of my community members shot down. I know of my family members who died, and I know who killed them. I know the exact number of bullets in my great grandmother’s, I know the Assyrians who gathered my family in an Armenian house to shoot, I have the written order given by Daud Mar-Shimun to stop the killing. I know the Azeris who fled the village. and My Great Great Uncle, who dressed up as an Assyrian to save my Great Grandfather from a refugee camp and took him to Gul’uzan where the Assyrians protected him.

    And so on.

    I don’t think there were any errors in my article.

  3. מיכאל דמירל

    מיכה דמירל, 22.04.2009
    In 21th of April a User by the name “Persi” wrote on the AssyriaTimes message board the following passage. I disagree with him but anyway, here it is –

    Quote ————————————-

    Michael

    “The murder of Mar-Shimun was the spark which ignited a killing spree, war and bloodshed. Between the two enemies was, unfortunately, the small Jewish community of the Nash Didan. The Assyrians swore that they will erase any living in the village where their leader died, and the Jews of Kohne-Shahir who survived, spread into refugee camps all over the district. Many months later, after the ottomans arrived and the Assyrians retreated, the Jews started to return to their homes and villages, including Salmas (Kohne-Shahir), Bashkale and Gavar (Today\’s Yuksekova).”

    ***This part of the article incorrectly portrays the Assyrians engaged in an indiscriminate killing of all inhabitants of those villages. This is far from truth. The Assyrian warriors under the leadership of Agha Petros and David Mar Shimun intended to punish Simko and those who supported him in the murder of our Patriarch. They attacked Kurdish villages belonging to Simko’s tribe. The Persians, Turks, Armenians (there were many of them in Salamas and had a Cathedral in Khosrava), or Nash Didan were not the target of this reprisal. There is no evidence showing the Assyrian warriors intended to harm or harmed any of the above-referred people, except the Kurds who supported Simko.

    Simko eventually received what he deserved, but it was in the hands of the Persians, not the Assyrians.

    Persi

    End Quote ————————

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