The photos of Armin T. Wegner are among the few that capture the bleak struggle to survive facing Armenian deportees. As a second-lieutenant in the German army stationed in the Ottoman empire in April 1915, Wegner took the initiative to investigate reports of Armenian massacres. Disobeying orders intended to stifle news of the massacres, he collected information on the genocide and took hundreds of photographs of Armenian deportation camps, primarily in the Syrian desert.
Wegner was eventually arrested, but not before he had succeeded in channeling a portion of his research material to Germany and the United States through clandestine mail routes. When he was transferred to Constantinople in November 1916, he secretly took with him photographic plates of images he and other German officers recorded.