Extract from a Report by a British Chaplain.
WITH the oncoming of the Austro-German armies into South Russia last spring, my experiences of Bolshevism entered on a new phase. Previously I had for many months lived in the terrorised city of Odessa, where the cowed and despoiled population had been bullied into abject submission to a brutal and despotic Bolshevik tyranny. The city had been drenched with blood ; murders and outrages in the streets as well as houses were of daily, even hourly occurrence ; trade was paralysed, shops looted, the bourgeoisie arrested, tortured, and done to death by hundreds under circumstances of fiendish cruelty. The Allied consuls had left, and the majority of the foreigners, when a general massacre of the educated population was arranged to commence with the extermination of 108 families. This last brutality was averted by the arrival of the armies of the Central Powers.
Undoubtedly the rapidly accumulating horrors were deliberately incited by the secret German Bolshevik agents in order that that the advancing Austrian armies might not be met as foes but welcomed as deliverers coming to save the people from a tyranny more brutal than anything Russia had previously known. The scheme was entirely successful, the Austrian troops were received as saviours.
The intrigue was cleverly managed. Nothing had been left to chance. All possibility of effective armed opposition had been rendered impossible by the enormous massacres of Russian officers previously systematically incited by the German propagandists. The march into the Southern Ukraine was another stage in a Vienna intrigue, which has been moving forward for the last forty years, the design for expansion to the East and access to the Black Sea.
Within three days of the arrival of the Austrian army in Odessa, the soldiers were sent into the city with orders to fraternise with the inhabitants, to conduct themselves with marked courtesy and self-restraint, and to meet all friendly advances with conciliatory affability.
The Russian Bolshevik troops fled at the approach of the Austrians. The Black Sea fleet left the morning Odessa was surrendered. Some of the ships were so heavily laden with plunder they could scarcely make way. A large proportion of the worst Bolshevik criminals of the district, together with the more notorious bands of assassins and highwaymen, escaped with the fleet. Two of the crews, having murdered their officers some time before, were unable to navigate their vessels until help was sent from other ships. The Bolshevik flagship took on board the entire company from the the two largest houses of ill-fame in the city together with their private orchestra. For three days before the Austrians marched into Odessa the Bolsheviks had divers at work from the Imperial yacht "Almas" and the cruiser "Sinope" dragging the harbour for the weighted bodies of the murdered officers, of whom about 400 had been done to death, the majority, after torture with boiling steam followed by exposure to currents of freezing air. Others were burnt alive, bound to planks which were slowly pushed into the furnaces a few inches at a time. In this way perished General Chourmakof and many others of my acquaintance. The bodies now recovered from the water were destroyed in the ships' furnaces that no evidence might remain to be brought before the Austro-Germans. Later, a member of the Austrian Staff told me they had been supplied with a list of names of over 400 murdered officers from the Odessa district.