Testimony of Blatta David Oqbazqui

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November 21, 2012 by neverforgetcampaign

Nationality: Ethiopian

Gender: male

Date of imprisonment: 19 February 1937

Camps of imprisonment:

Caserma dei Carabinieri, Ethiopia, 19.-22. Febbruary 1937

Source: Command of his Imperial Majesty (Ed.), 1950, Documents on Italian War Crimes submitted to the United Nations War Crimes Commission by the Imperial Ethiopian Government, Vol. 2: Affidavits and published documents, Addis Abeba: Ministry of Justice, p. 14-15: Extract from Affidavit No. 10

Note: The affidavits were collected after the war from many parts of Ethiopia and each was sworn before a judge or magistrate or public official. In cases where the witness was illiterate his deposition was written down in Amharic and then read over to him before the Judge or official appointed for the purpose. English translations were prepared for submission to the United Nations War Crimes Commission, and these have since been revised and checked with the originals for publication.

I, the undersigned, name: Blatta David Oqbazqui, age: 40 years, profession: Ex-Governor of Adua, President of the Ethiopico-Eritrean Unity Association, Addis Ababa, do hereby take oath and say as follows […]

(9) Then in 1937 on the 19th of February I was in Addis Ababa. I was just going home at 12 o’clock when a carabiniere got hold of me and asked me where I was going. I told him that I was going home. He took me to the carabinieri station. As I passed through the streets I noticed that there was some disorder. People were running up and down and troops were moving, especially the fascists. I was examined at the station and was asked if I had been at the Palace in the morning. Then they told me to get out into the compound. There I found about a thousand people. This was close to Ras Makonnen Bridge, where the Police Station No. 2 is nowadays. Then the same day people were brought in lorries; they were taken without distinction and most of them were bleeding from hits. The fascists used to throw them down from the lorries. Some of them rolled down to the river, because they were thrown from the lorries, and these the Italians shot in front of us. All houses and tukuls, which were in front of us, were burning. Next day, while I was still in that compound, the burning of houses continued and more people were brought to our compound. In the evening, however, the commander said he could not receive any more people: there was no room for more. On Saturday they also took away the corpses of the persons they had killed on Friday in the river. There were about ten. Some Greeks and Armenians who had found Ethiopian babies coming from the burning houses came to our compound with these children to ask if their mothers were there. I especially remember one case when an Armenian carried a little baby in her arms, asking for the mother. She was allowed to come to us with the baby and went around in the crying crowd (most of them were injured) and tried to find the mother. One woman took care of the child. Whether it was the mother or not, I do not know. At first we were about a thousand, and now we were so many we could nut move. For three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we were not given any food, nor any water.

On Sunday evening we heard the Italians saying that an order had come from Italy to stop the massacre, and about 6.30 they released a part of us. Those who were without identity cards were still kept there and we were told later that a good number of them died from thirst and hunger. We who were released got a piece of bread and a little water when we left the place. When I went home houses were still burning and in two cases I noticed that people had been burnt in the houses. I made a special investigation on Monday to be sure that they were burnt and not shot.

When we were in the compound, I understood from the talk of the Carabinieri and the ascaris that Graziani himself had given the order for the massacre. I had learnt Italian for five years at school. (…) Very few Ethiopians stayed in Addis Ababa. Very many had also been sent to Italy, and the rest to Danane.

Courtesy of www.campifascisti.it

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