Grand Duchesses Maria & Olga of Russia (zoom from GARF)
Rare photo of Olga and Maria on the balcony of the Livadia Palace, 1913.
When I first knew the Grand Duchess Marie, she was quite a child, but during the Revolution she became very devoted to me, and I to her, and we spent most of our time together she was a wonderful girl, possessed of tremendous reserve force, and I never realized her unselfish nature until those dreadful days. She too was exceeding fair, dowered with the classic beauty of the Romanoffs; her eyes were dark blue, shaded by long lashes, and she had masses of dark brown hair. Marie was plump, and the Empress often teased her about this ; she was not so lively as her sisters, but she was much more decided in her outlook. The Grand Duchess Marie knew at once what she wanted, and why she wanted it.
Hearing their terrified screams, Ermakov turned from the lifeless body of their eldest sister, rounding on them with his blood-stained bayonet. Kabanov watched as he grabbed Marie, “stabbing her in the chest over and over again.” Yurovsky looked on in horror as Ermakov attacked her, but “the bayonet would not pierce her bodice.” She was, Yurovsky wrote, “finished off” with a shot to the head.
The Fate of the Romanovs - Greg King and Penny Wilson
The Grand Duchess Tatiana was as charming as her sister Olga, but in a different way. She has been described as proud, but I never knew anyone less so. With her, as with her mother, shyness and reserve were accounted as pride, but, once you knew her and had gained her affection, this reserve disappeared, and the real Tatiana became apparent. She was a poetical creature, always yearning for the ideal, and dreaming of great friendships which might be hers. The Emperor loved her devotedly, they had much in common, and the sisters used to laugh, and say that, if a favour were required, “Tatiana must ask Papa to grant it.” She was very tall, and excessively thin, with a cameo-like profile, deep blue eyes, and dark chestnut hair… a lovely Rose maiden, fragile and pure as a flower.
Yurovsky, standing behind Tatiana, aimed his Colt and fired. The bullet tore into the rear of her head; it ripped through her skull instantly, blowing out the right side of her face in “a shower of blood and brains” that covered her screaming sister.
The Fate of the Romanovs - Greg King and Penny Wilson
"In St. Petersburg, Leon Trotsky sat dreaming of the grand Louis XVI-style trial he would hold for the former Tsar, putting to rest officially any future hopes of a restoration, and a legitimate new beginning for the fledgling communist state. Upon a visit from Yakov Sverdlov, Trotsky recorded in his diary:
” “Oh, yes, and where is the tsar?”
“It’s all over,” [Sverdlov] answered. “He has been shot!”
“And where is the family?”
“Along with him.”
“All of them?” I asked, apparently with a touch of surprise.
“All of them,” replied Sverdlov. “What about it?” “
Hours before, Sverdlov had made a similar announcement before a meeting of the newly forming communist government who had been there to draft new policy for the country. One attendee, Vladimir Milyutin, recorded the interaction as follows:
” “I have to say that we have had communication that at Ekaterinburg, by a decision of the Regional Soviet, Nicholas has been shot. Nicholas wanted to escape. The Czecho-Slovaks were approaching. The Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee has resolved to approve.”
Silence from everyone.
“Let us now go on to read the draft clause by clause,’ suggested [Lenin]. The reading clause by clause began."
This is a bit from the the last paper I wrote in college for a European History class. It’s essentially what brought me here, although like several people, especially if you grew up in the ’90s, first encountered one of those haunting photographs of the family in grade school- for me it was in a dictionary in kindergarten. It always rather stuck with me- those pretty girls and what must’ve been chaos. It wasn’t until college that I had the opportunity to investigate it fully, and the results were more horrifying than I could have ever anticipated.
July 17th, soon to be July 18th. Certainly an infamous day in history. (via aechlys)
16/17th July 1918 - Murder of the last Imperial family
Yakov Yurovski: On the 16th in the morning I dispatched the little cook, the boy Sednev, under the pretext that there would be a meeting with his uncle who had come to Sverdlovsk. It caused anxiety among the prisoners. Botkin, the usual intermediary, and then one of the daughters asked about Sednev - where, why and for how long he had been taken away - because Alexei missed him. Having received an explanation, they went away apparently calmed down. I prepared 12 revolvers and designated who would shoot whom. Comrade Filipp [Goloshchyokin] told me that a truck would arrive at midnight; the people coming would say a password; we would let them pass and hand over the corpses to them to carry away and bury. At about 11 o’clock at night on July 16 I assembled the men again, handed out the revolvers and announced that soon we had to begin liquidating the prisoners. I told Pavel Medvedev he had to check the guard outside and inside thoroughly. He and the guard commander had to keep constant watch over the area around the house and in the house where the external guard was stationed and to maintain communications with me. I also told him that at the last moment, when everything was ready for the execution, he had tell the guards and the others in the detachment not to worry about any shots they might hear from the house, and not to leave the premises. If there were any unusual amount of unrest, he was to notify me through the established line of communication.
Pavel Medvedev: In the evening of 16 July, between seven and eight p.m., when the time or my duty ‘had just begun; Commandant Yurovsky, ordered me to take all the Nagan revolvers from the guards and to bring them to him. I took twelve revolvers from the sentries as well as from some other of the guards and brought them to the commandant’s office. Yurovsky said to me, ‘We must shoot them all tonight; so notify the guards not to be alarmed if they hear shots.’ I understood, therefore, that Yurovsky had it in his mind to shoot the whole of the Tsar’s family, as well as the doctor and the servants who lived with them, but I did not ask him where or by whom the decision had been made…At about ten o’clock in the evening in accordance with Yurovsky’s order I informed the guards not to be alarmed if they should hear firing. About midnight Yurovsky woke up the Tsar’s family. I do not know if he told them the reason they had been awakened and where they were to be taken, but I positively affirm that it was Yurovsky who entered the room occupied by the Tsar’s family. In about an hour the whole of the family, the doctor, the maid and the waiters got up, washed and dressed themselves.
Yurovski: The truck did not arrive until half past one. The extra wait caused some anxiety - waiting in general, and the short night especially. Only when the truck had arrived (or after telephone calls that it was on the way) did I go to wake the prisoners. Botkin slept in the room nearest to the entrance. He came out and asked me what the matter was. I told him to wake everybody, because there was unrest in the town and it was dangerous for them to remain on the top floor. I said I would move them to another place. Gathering everybody consumed a lot of time, about 40 minutes. When the family had dressed, I led them to the room in the basement that had been designated earlier. It must be said here that when Comrade Nikulin and I thought up our plan, we did not consider beforehand that, one, the windows would let out noise; two, the victims would be standing next to a brick wall; and finally, three (It was impossible to foresee this), the firing would occur in an uncoordinated way. That should not have happened. Each man had one person to shoot and so everything should have been all right. The causes of the disorganized firing became clear later. Although I told [the victims] through Botkin that they did not have to take anything with them they collected various small things - pillows, bags and so on and, it seems to me, a small dog.
Victor Netrebin: Comrade Yurovsky went to the prisoners’ rooms and woke them; they dressed and came downstairs on the pretext of not being safe upstairs because of shooting in the streets. We waited downstairs in a room. Right before this, our commander and one or two of the Letts refused to shoot the girls and were relieved of duty. When I took my revolver my position suddenly became clear and, like my comrades, I was extremely nervous at having to carry out the execution. Here we waited, guns in hand, for Yurovsky to come get us. I peered out as they passed. The Tsar came first, carrying his boy. Nicholas was calm, silent. His wife, very thin, followed, her gray hair disheveled from being woken so suddenly. Catching sight of us, she gave us a look as if expecting we would bow as she passed. Olga, arrogant as her mother and all skin and bones, led her sisters, who smiled naturally at us in their usual, cheerful manner. Next came the servants, and Vyrubova [sic] passed us with pillows in her hands. The family of Citizen Romanov went into the room and arranged itself across the wall then we entered. Nicholas stood in front of Alexei. As I looked over my comrades’ shoulders, I saw Alexei, sickly looking and waxy, watching with wide, curious eyes as he followed our movements. I suddenly thought how very short his sad life had been, and I silently prayed we would all be good shots.
Medvedev: Just before Yurovsky went to awaken the family, two members of the Extraordinary Commission arrived at Ipatiev’s house. Shortly after one o’clock a.m., the Tsar, the Tsaritsa, their four daughters, the maid, the doctor, the cook and the waiters left their rooms. The Tsar carried the heir in his arms. The Emperor and the heir were dressed in gimnasterkas [soldiers’ shirts] and wore caps. The Empress, her daughters and the others followed him. Yurovsky, his assistant and the two above-mentioned members of the Extraordinary Commission accompanied them. I was also present. During my presence none of the Tsar’s family asked any questions. They did not weep or cry. Having descended the stairs to the first floor, we went out into the court, and from there to the second door (counting from the gate) we entered the ground floor of the house. When the room (which adjoins the store room with a sealed door) was reached, Yurovsky ordered chairs to be brought, and his assistant brought three chairs. One chair was given to the Emperor, one to the Empress, and the third to the heir.
Yurovski: Having gone down to the room (At the entrance to the room, on the right there was a very wide window), I ordered them to stand along the wall. Obviously, at that moment they did not imagine what awaited them. Alexandra Feodrovna said “There are not even chairs here.” Nicholas was carrying Alexei. He stood in the room with him in his arms. Then I ordered a couple of chairs. On one of them, to the right of the entrance, almost in the corner, Alexandra Feodrovna sat down. The daughters and Demidova stood next to her, to the left of the entrance. Beside them Alexei was seated in the armchair. Behind him Dr. Botkin, the cook and the others stood. Nicholas stood opposite Alexei. At the same time I ordered the men to go down and to be ready in their places when the command was given. Nicholas had put Alexei on the chair and stood in such a way, that he shielded him. Alexei sat in the left corner from the entrance, and so far as I can remember, I said to Nicholas approximately this: His royal and close relatives inside the country and abroad were trying to save him, but the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies resolved to shoot them. He asked “What?” and turned toward Alexei. At that moment I shot him and killed him outright. He did not get time to face us to get an answer. At that moment disorganized, not orderly firing began. The room was small, but everybody could come in and carry out the shooting according to the set order. But many shot through the doorway. Bullets began to ricochet because the wall was brick. Moreover, the firing intensified when the victims shouts arose. I managed to stop the firing but with great difficulty. A bullet, fired by somebody in the back, hummed near my head and grazed either the palm or finger (I do not remember) of somebody. When the firing stopped, it turned out that the daughters, Alexandra Feodrovna and, it seems, Demidova and Alexei too, were alive. I think they had fallen from fear or maybe intentionally, and so they were alive. Then we proceeded to finish the shooting. (Previously I had suggested shooting at the heart to avoid a lot of blood). Alexei remained sitting petrified. I killed him. They shot the daughters but did not kill them. Then Yermakov resorted to a bayonet, but that did not work either. Finally they killed them by shooting them in the head.
Netrebin: The shooting was complete chaos. Vyrubova [sic] tried to protect herself with the pillows. After the first shots, I saw Alexei frozen in his chair, and his ashen face was covered with his father’s blood as he sat there, unmoving in terror. One of the younger daughters died when she was shot in the back. Comrade Ermakov finished off a daughter by stabbing her in the chest over and over, and I remember Comrade Yurovsky shooting Tatiana in front of me; her head seemed to explode in a shower of blood and brains. The scene was sickening: the room was chaos, with blood and body fluids and brains all over the floor, and several comrades got sick at the sight. Thus ended the Dynasty of Romanov.
Next time you read or hear someone say the Romanovs deserved what they got or, more commonly, that the children died because of their parents (and not their actual murderers like Yurovsky) please remember the words above by the actual murderers themselves.
We do not execute serial killers in such a manner. We do not put down dogs or horses in such a manner.
"One of the younger daughters died when she was shot in the back. Comrade Ermakov finished off a daughter by stabbing her in the chest over and over, and I remember Comrade Yurovsky shooting Tatiana in front of me; her head seemed to explode in a shower of blood and brains. "
No one, NO ONE, particularly at least FIVE innocents guilty of no crime, should ever die like that. Stop. Period. And it was not Nicholas II but the Bolsheviks/Communists who pulled the triggers and used the bayonets and then destroyed the bodies with acid and fire and dumped them in a swamp in a mass grave where they would not be found for almost a hundred years.
THAT is some sociopathic shit really there and it has nothing to do with revolutionaries seeking justice, advancing white armies or whatnot, given that GD Ella (a NUN!) was pulled out of her convent, KR’s sons and Vladimir Paley (all boys/young men) and GD Michael (who had been living quietly and in peace and had actually GIVEN UP the throne) were all killed within hours of Nicholas II and his family at places other than Ekaterinburg and ALL just as brutually with the same “hide the crime/body” mentality. Was that Nichoias’s fault too?
On this anniversary let us remember who were the victims and place the blame where it belongs - on Yakov Yurovsky, his minions (almost all of whom died in their sleep and in peace) and the Bolshevik high command who gave the orders (c’mon they didn’t name the Ipativev House - the “House of Special Purpose” for nothing).
All the Grand Duchesses were innocent children in their souls. Nothing impure was ever allowed to come into their lives, the Empress was very strict over the books that they read, which were mostly by English authors. They had no idea of the ugly side of life, although, poor girls, they were destined to see the worst side of it and to come in contact with the most debased passions of humanity.
- Lili Dehn
I believe these four people deserve more recognition for their loyalty and bravery than they would normally have. Who are they, you may ask? They were the four faithful servants of the famous Romanov family. In spite of the perilous dangers already facing them, they preferred to stay with the family until the very end. Eighty years after the murders, they were finally buried along with their humble employers in the St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral. Laying to rest in such place is considered as the highest honor bestowed to servants of a high-ranking royal family.
Clockwise from top left: Dr. Eugene Botkin, Footman Alexei Trupp, Cook Ivan Kharitonov, and Maid Anna Demidova. All four servants perished on the night of 16-17 July 1918, along with their employers, Nicholas, Alexandra, and children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei.
OTMA aboard the Standart.