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The Slaughter of the Romanovs....

Posted: July 17th, 2007, 9:03 am
by Vecchiolarry
Hello Everyone,

A morning news feature here in Calgary is "On This Day" where they go back in history and discuss birthdays, deaths, battles, treaties and events that happened - on this day!!!

July 17, 1918 -
In the early morning hours, the Russian Imperial Family was awakened, rounded up and herded down to the basement in their imprisoned house in Etkaterinberg, Russia.
A chair was brought for the Emperor and Empress.
The Czarevitch, who was lame and suffered from haemophilia, was carried by his doctor and placed on the Emperor's lap.
The four Grand Duchesses stood behind with the doctor and two women servants.

The door to the room opened and quickly several soldiers entered and began shooting, killing some and wounding others.
Many bullets ricocheted off the Grand Duchesses, since they struck jewels sewn into their clothes, thus frightening the assassins.
Several ran out, horrified but some stayed and bayonetted those remaining living ones.

All their bodies were loaded onto a truck and taken to a bog, where they were stipped and then had acid thrown onto them. They were then buried - hurriedly, apparently, since many years later they were discovered easily by a farmer.


Posted: July 17th, 2007, 11:59 am
by mrsl
A horrible and sad story Larry, but thanks to the imaginations of classic movie writers, I like to pretend there is a glimmer of truth in the Ingrid/Yul version of Anastasia. Now remember, I said PRETEND. Sometimes, that's all you can do.


Posted: July 17th, 2007, 12:18 pm
by movieman1957

I don't know if you can answer this but why did it take so long for the Romanovs to be executed? Frankly it seemed that once the revolution was underway they could have executed them long before Siberia.

I saw a movie about them, probably a BBC production, which showed they were carted off to Siberia (I think) and stayed quite some time. Ithink there were thoughts they would go back to Moscow and pick up where they left off. (At least initially.) Then, all of a sudden it seemed, in comes the Army/Police take them out and murder them together.

I just thought it would be more fun hearing it from you if you knew. Thanks.

Posted: July 17th, 2007, 2:31 pm
by MikeBSG
I think the BBC type show you were talking about was "The Fall of Eagles" from the mid-Seventies. Patrick Stewart played Lenin.

As for the backstory on the massacre of the Romanovs, remember they were related to both the British and the German royal families. The Provisional Government, which took power in March 1917 was allied with the British, and the Bolsheviks, who took power in Nov. 1917 were secretly dependent on German financial aid, so executing the Romanovs would have caused problems for either government.

By the summer of 1918, the situation in Russia had degenerated into full civil war. Had the anti-Bolsheviks captured the Romanovs, they would have been a rallying point for the opposition. Thus, from the Bolsheviks' point of view, it was safer to kill the Romanovs while they were still in their hands.

Posted: July 17th, 2007, 2:46 pm
by movieman1957
Thanks Mike.

I didn't know the Bolsheviks were so closely linked with the Germans because of the family link.

I think it is beyond creepy how much the three cousins look alike.

I'm going through a series on WWI and haven't quite come to 1917/1918 so hopefully it will cover some of this area.

Posted: July 17th, 2007, 3:09 pm
by knitwit45
Larry, didn't you once say that Nell left Russia in 1914? and that her ex-husband actually escaped the slaughter? Or am I, as usual, fuzzy around the edges. Which of her husbands was the one she nursed thru a long period of time?

Posted: July 17th, 2007, 4:10 pm
by Vecchiolarry
Hi again everyone,

Chris & Mike -
The long road to murder:
Nicholas II abdicated on March 15, 1917 and was imprisoned with his family at their home, the Alexander Palace, south of St. Petersburg by the Menschovics lead by Kerensky. Mensch means little in Russian.
They were sent to Tobulsk in the Ural Mtns for safety when a majority of the revolutionary gov't wanted to kill them.
Kerensky was allied to the British, especially the British Ambassador, Buchanan and had no real axe to grind with the Czar. He merely wanted him removed from power.
In October, 1917, the Bolshevics overthrew Kerensky under the leadership of Lenin, who return to Russia under the German umbrella. Bolshoi means big or large in Russian.
Lenin did have an axe to grind with the Romanovs, since Nicholas' father, Alexander III, had had Lenin's brother executed years earlier and Lenin vowed to annihilate the entire family.

He did so systematically:
1) Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, the Czar's younger brother
2) Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, the Empress' older sister
3) Princes Iann, Constantine & Igor Constantinovich, the Czar's cousins and Nell's brothers-in-law
4) Prince Vladimir Paley, another cousin
5) Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, the Czar's uncle
6) Grand Duke Nicholas Michaelovich, the Czar's cousin
7) Grand Duke George Michaelovich, #6's brother
8 ) Grand Duke Serge Michaelovich, #6 & 7's brother.

Etc., etc., etc......
By February 1919, only 17 members of 58 members of the Romanovs remained and were fleeing to the Crimea.

By the grace of King George V of Britain, who was the Dowager Empress' nephew (and Nicholas II's cousin) several of these escaped via a British battleship.

Yes, George and Nicholas did look alike and that is through their mothers:
Two Danish princesses Alexandra and Dagmar -
one married the British heir to the Throne and the other the Russian heir.
Alexandra married Edward VII, parents of George V
Dagmar married Alexander III, parents of Nicholas II

For what it's worth, Nell said both George and Nicholas were stupid!!

Nancy -
Isn't it a chuckle to get all these husbands straight. Even I get them muddled.

Yes, Nell left Russia in April 1914 after the Orthodox Church annulled her first marriage. She escaped WWI (the Russian part) by 3 months.
Her 1st husband, Prince Cantacuzene was mudered by the Bolsevics in 1918, shortly after the Imperial Family. Nell erected a small statue and cross to him in the Nevsky Monastary in St. Petersburg in 1960 with the permission of Kruschev. He was shot to death in the Siberian woods somewhere and his body never found. Speculation is that the wolves got him; "If they did, then they dined on a god!", Nell said....

Nell's second husband, Prince Gavril Constantinovich, returned to Russia when WWI started, after their honeymoon on the Riviera, and fought in the war but escaped the Boshevic through Finland in 1918.
When he reached Paris, he found he was a divorced ex-husband and Nell had married my grandfather and had just had a baby boy, my father.
Gabby had a good laugh and remained friends with everyone. He married twice more, but had no children and he is the only one of her husbands I met.

My grandfather was the one she nursed in Vera Cruz, Mexico after the Nazi's torchured him during WWII.
They crippled him, smashing out both his knees and took a hammer to his head and smashed out his teeth. He died in January 1941, but Nell returned his body to Rouen Cathedral in November 1946, where he is buried in a beautiful alabaster tomb. I was there and this was the purpose of my first trip to Europe. The pure white statue of him that Nell commissioned lying on his crypt is gorgeous - "Because he was beautiful" Nell said.
Over the doorway into the crypt where he and his parents lie reads, "The Last of the Vikings" in French.


Posted: July 17th, 2007, 4:27 pm
by movieman1957

Wow! Thanks so much. I knew you were the man to ask. I remembered your grandmother was Russian. I also remember your diary from your trip to Russia last year.

That's a lot of information and I really appreciate your help.

Posted: July 17th, 2007, 4:42 pm
by Vecchiolarry
Hey Chris,

Glad to help!

But, FYI - my grandmother was not Russian; she was married to two Russian princes and partially educated in Russia.
And, although she and I both lov(ed) Russia, unfortunately we are not in line to inherit the Russian Throne should it become available.


Posted: July 17th, 2007, 6:48 pm
by pktrekgirl
This might be of interest: ... ov-33.html

When I lived in Russia (I lived in Moscow for a year) and visited St. Petersburg, they were in the process of re-interring the remains of the Czar and his family in St. Peter & Paul Cathedral. Security was very tight so we couldn't see the gravesites-in-progress, but it was encouraging to know that they were back where they belonged and not in some field out in Siberia. I mean, if Vlad was gonna remain in Red Square, the very least they could do was re-inter the Romanovs to more appropriate surroundings.

However, a few years ago I heard about the issues brought up in the above article. Not sure how they were settled, if they ever were. But I do hope that they have the right bones so that the family can rest in peace.

I'll tell you what though - the story of that family is one of the more bizarre ones you'll ever read. If you have read THE LAST TSAR and THE RASPUTIN FILE, you'll know what I mean.

With the possible exception of Eva and Juan Peron, the Romanov story is one of the more incredible of the 20th century.

By and large, Russian history is very bloody and depressing in alot of ways. But while the Romanovs (Nicholas & Alexandra and children) are no exception to that, that family certainly did have it share of intrigue.

Posted: July 17th, 2007, 9:17 pm
by Vecchiolarry

I have heard and read over the years both pro and con about the Romanov remains and about Anna Anderson, yes & no to being Anastasia.

But, you are right, the Romanovs and their relatives are an ongoing and intriguing family and the mystery(ies) linger on.

All I know is, I'm not going to solve it but I will be interested in anything new, as will you no doubt....

I'm glad to know you lived in Moscow and hope you enjoyed it!


Posted: July 17th, 2007, 9:24 pm
by Vecchiolarry

I just read an article tonight in this month's 'Majesty' magazine that 90 years ago today, George V changed the name of the British Royal Family to Windsor from Saxe-Coburg de Gotha.
It was the middle of WWI and England was very anti-German and since the Royal Family was all descended from German families over the centuries, they all had to change their names.

Upon hearing that they would now be called Windsor, Kaiser Wilhelm joked that he would be happy to see the play called "The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg de Gotha"...........


Posted: July 18th, 2007, 8:24 am
by knitwit45
Good Morning Larry!
Thanks for all the info on Nell. She may have been tough in her later years, but when you think about what she had to survive, and her courage in thumbing her nose at authority figures to "get-er-done", it seems a little more understandable. I certainly would love to have met her. What a character!


Posted: July 19th, 2007, 11:51 am
by pktrekgirl
Vecchiolarry wrote:Hi,

I have heard and read over the years both pro and con about the Romanov remains and about Anna Anderson, yes & no to being Anastasia.

But, you are right, the Romanovs and their relatives are an ongoing and intriguing family and the mystery(ies) linger on.

All I know is, I'm not going to solve it but I will be interested in anything new, as will you no doubt....

I'm glad to know you lived in Moscow and hope you enjoyed it!

Yeah, I try to keep up. My family background is Russian, and I have always been fascinated with anything related to that country - history, culture, language, religion, art, etc.

That is why I was so thrilled when my company sent me over there for a year. It was the chance of a lifetime. And while the year was difficult because of a number of factors (mainly technology-related in one way or another), it was also one of the most eye-opening and interesting years of my life.

I have not been back since I left, however. I'd like to do that, simply to see the progress made since I left.

Olga, Tatiana, Maria

Posted: July 30th, 2007, 3:34 am
by Rainee
Good morning Larry,

I hope the heat has been less of a problem and you're much more comfortable. Take care and stay cool.

I have a question about the Czars oldest daughters, Olga and Tatiana, and possibly Maria that I hope you can answer. Where there plans for them to be married and if so to whom? I don't recall ever reading about them having any discussions of marriage. Perhaps WWI interfered with whatever plans they may have had.

And I thank you for the story of Nell. I read and read on the TCM boards and never seemed to get to your earliest posts to find out the connection between Nell and the Romanovs. What an interesting life she had. Thanks for answers to some of my questions.