The Romanov Family
It was almost 96 years ago that the entire Romanov family were executed in Yekaterinburg. The tragic event actually occurred on July 17th, 1918. The murder itself was carried out by Yakov Yurovsky who was chief executioner along with a squad of Bolshevik secret police. It wasn’t only the Romanov’s that were murdered, along with them almost the entire royal court suffered the same fate. Over the years much has been written about the Romanov’s and the mystery surrounding their death. The truth be know the Romanov’s were a major problem for Lenin. Russians still considered Nicholas the true legitimate ruler of Russia. If he had lived they would have rose and rallied to the Tsar’s cause. The simple fact was that many in the White army were fighting to restore Nicholas the throne. They believed that the tsar was appointed by God, many of them loyal followers. If Nicholas had been rescued, then his followers would have had someone at their head to lead them – against Lenin. It also can be seen who Nicholas II was by those who served him and his family and why Russia revered them. This is a short look into each of their lives with links to explore more about those who served in the royal court.
Sydney Gibbes – Tutor to the Children
On May 19, 1868 Nicholas Romanov was born to Marie Feodorovna, a Danish princess and Tsar Alexander III. He was the first of 6 children, being the oldest his father desired for him to be uncompromising tough. But this would not be the case, his personality was just the opposite. He had a kind and quiet nature about him that was reflected through his eyes. Sydney Gibbes a tutor Romanov children said of Nicholas, “He had a ‘presence’ that was second to none, so full of quiet and assured self-possession and dignity……I think the reason for this was in his eyes…..Of a most delicate shade of blue, they looked you straight in the face with the kindest, tenderest, the most loving expression. Thus introduces Sydney Gibbes.
Sydney Gibbes wasn’t one of those who lost their lives, but because of what he spiritually experienced he became a monk and then a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church after his escaping Russia.
Yevgeny S. Botkin – Court Surgeon
Botkin was the son of Sergey Botkin, who had been a court physician under Tsars Alexander II and Alexander III.”From a very tender age, his beautiful and noble nature was complete,” his brother Peter recalled later. “He was never like other children. Always sensitive, of a delicate, inner sweetness of extraordinary soul, he had a horror of any kind of struggle or fight. We other boys would fight with a fury. He would not take part in our combats, but when our pugilism took on a dangerous character he would stop the combatants at risk of injuring himself. He was very studious and conscientious in his studies. For a profession he chose medicine: to help, to succor, to soothe, to heal without end.”
Sadly Yevgeny lost his life the same night the Romanov’s did.
The infamous Rasputin
A healer, a pilgrim, an Orthodox monk, and a friend of the last imperial family in Russia on one hand, and a drunk, a profligate and a cause of the death of the same imperial family on the other, Rasputin is certainly one of the most controversial and mysterious figures in the history of the Russian Empire. Few documented records and plenty of myths and stories about his life have mixed into a story that is significant enough to give birth to articles, books and even movies about Rasputin’s life and death.
In December 1916 Rasputin sent a letter to Nicholas about his own death:
“I feel that I shall leave life before January 1st. I wish to make known to the Russian people, to Papa (the Tsar), to the Russian Mother (the Tsarina) and to the Children what they must understand. If I am killed by common assassins, and especially by my brothers the Russian peasants, you, the Tsar of Russia, will have nothing to fear for your children, they will reign for hundreds of years. But if I am murdered by boyars, nobles, and if they shed my blood, their hands will remain soiled with my blood for twenty-five years and they will leave Russia. Brothers will kill brothers, and they will kill each other and hate each other, and for twenty-five years there will be no peace in the country. The Tsar of the land of Russia, if you hear the sound of the bell which will tell you that Grigory has been killed, you must know this: if it was your relations who have wrought my death, then none of your children will remain alive for more than two years. And if they do, they will beg for death as they will see the defeat of Russia, see the Antichrist coming, plague, poverty, destroyed churches, and desecrated sanctuaries where everyone is dead. The Russian Tsar, you will be killed by the Russian people and the people will be cursed and will serve as the devil’s weapon killing each other everywhere. Three times for 25 years they will destroy the Russian people and the orthodox faith and the Russian land will die. I shall be killed. I am no longer among the living. Pray, pray, be strong, and think of your blessed family. ”
Though Rasputin didn’t lose his life the same night as the Romanov’s he met his death at the hand 0f the boyars and nobles. His death occurred on December 30, 1916. The Romanov’s would follow him a year and a half later.
The faithful maid
of Tsarina Alexandra Romanov
Anna Demidova was the faithful maid of Tsarina Alexandra Romanov who followed the Royal Family into exile and house arrest. Born in the northern town of Cherepovets to a merchant family. She graduated from the Yaroslavl Institute for Maids with a diploma of private teacher. In 1900 Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, who was the Institute’s patron, offered Anna the position of her personal chambermaid. This was considered a high honor for a non-noble girl.
Anna wasn’t killed by the first volley of fire by the assassins , Anna, had fainted after being wounded, when she revived and found herself still alive, exclaimed “Thank God! God has saved me!” Hearing her, the assassins turned on her. Screaming and crying, she attempted to defend herself, but was eventually stabbed to death with bayonets.
Countess Anastasia Vasilyevna Hendrikova
Hendrikova was devoted to the Romanov family and followed them into exile after the Russian Revolution of 1917, going with them first to Tobolsk and later to Ekaterinburg, even though she was worried about her own family.
Hendrikov’s sister, nicknamed “Inotchka,” was ill with tuberculosis. “The two sisters were all the world to each other,” wrote her fellow lady in waiting, Baroness Sophie von Buxhoeveden, recalling how Hendrikova’s “dark eyes glowed” when she heard news about her sister. “And it was from Inotchka’s bedside that Nastinka had rushed back to Tsarskoe Selo on the news of the revolution to join the empress in her danger. Now she seldom had news.”
Buxhoeveden thought Hendrikova was aware of the danger that she was in. Hendrikova had “so fixed her thoughts on approaching death that it had no terror for her,” Buxhoeveden wrote in her memoirs. “She was very pretty and looked younger than her twenty-eight years, but she welcomed the thought of death, so weary had she become of life and so much detached from earthly interests. I felt her drifting away to higher planes.”
She met her end when she was arrested by the Bolsheviks and shot to death outside Perm in the fall of 1918.
The Cook to the Romonovs
Ivan Kharitonov, was the cook of Romanov family, he prepared his delicious dishes in the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg and simple dishes during their house arrest in the Urals. Kharitonov was introduced to Nikolai Romanov, when it was determined that the famous French chief- cook, Pierre Cuba fired one of his students. “. After the departure of Pierre Cuba to France, before beginning the First World War of 1914, Ivan completing his schooling in Paris returns and becomes the cook. At that time Ivan Kharitonov lived in a nice apartment not far from his place of work – the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. But the revolution of 1917 changed all of this. On March 2 provisional government forced Nikolai II to renounce his throne. After 5 days the tsar was arrested at his headquarters into Mogileve (Belarus) and was transferred to the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, where he was kept under arrest with its family for 5 months. It was at this dramatic moment in the history of the Romanov dynasty and staff began to part the tsarist way of life, Kharitonov was determined to remain the cook for the Romonov family. Meals in the tsarist family, to which they had become accustomed were simple during the war. According to Peter [Multatuli] (great-grandson of cook), instead of delicacies, the tsar always preferred buckwheat porridge and the tea with milk. Alexandra, his wife Tsarina Alexandra was a vegetarian, she enjoyed the East Slavic bread, (small rolls, supplied with hot and made with the water from the Moscow River, cistern with which it was always in the food reserve of tsarist family during the passages). In August 1917 provisional government, without warning sent the tsarist family to Tobolsk in Siberia for “purposes of safety”. Ivan with his 7 children followed Nikolai II to Siberia. In Tobolsk Ivan moved his family into an apartment which was next to the house of the governor, were the Tsarist family lived. The meals, which Kharitonov prepared were simple in the preparation, but on the menu continued hold the imperial coat of arms. In April 1918, when the white army moved into Siberia, the authorities sent the Romanov’s to Yekaterinburg (in the Urals). At this point Ivan became separated from his family. He along with other servants were held in confinement together with the tzar in Ipatiev’s (an engineer) former house. “Kharitonov gave lessons to the young tsarevnas in bread-making, he showed, how them how to knead dough and bake bread… Well”, from notes in the Tsar’s diary ( in June) . Several days later in the diary of Alexandra, appears the following record: “Kharitonov prepared pirogues from the macaronis with the meat”. Then in the month of the bloody coup, the nuns brought to the Ipatiev House, eggs and milk. In the bottle of milk Nikolai found a note, written in poor French which discussed the fast release of Tsarist family. According to one historian, “there were witnesses of how before the murder took place the guards proposed to Kharitonov and physician of tsar (Eugene Botkin) to leave house, but they refused”. On the night with 16 on July 17 when the white army (which waged war with the Red Army, the Communists) was on the approach to Yekaterinburg, the inhabitants of Ipatiev house for “purposes of safety” they asked the family to go down into the basement. Nikolai II, Alexandra, their four daughters and son, and also 4 people from the staff, among them was Ivan Kharitonov, who were shot on the orders of local authorities. Those who didn’t die from the shooting were stabbed by bayonets in order minimize the noise.
Tutor at the court
Catherine Adolphovna Schneider
Schneider, nicknamed “Trina,” was born to a Baltic German family and was the niece of the former imperial physician Dr. Hirsch. Her father was a Hof-Councillor. A courtier remembered her as “infinitely sweet tempered and good hearted.” Schneider was also primly Victorian. She once refused to permit the four grand duchesses to put on a play because it contained the word “stockings.” Schneider was devoted to the Empress and willingly followed her into exile following the Russian Revolution of 1917. She was separated from the family at Yekaterinburg and imprisoned for months at Perm. In September 1918 the elderly Schneider and the twenty-eight-year-old Hendrikova were driven to a forest outside Perm, told to march forward, and were killed with a rifle butt.
Footman to the household
of the Romanov’s
Aloise (Alexei) Yegorovich Trupp (Russian: Алоизий (Алексей) Егорович Трупп, 1858 – July 16, 1918), was a footman of in the household of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Trupp was born in Vitebsk Governorate, Russian Empire (now Latvia). He was killed with the Romanov family at Ekaterinburg following the Russian Revolution of 1917
The Chef’s Assistant
Leonid Ivanovich Sednev
Leonid Sednev was a chef’s assistant who, together with his uncle Ivan Dmitriyevich Sednev, served the former Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and his family during their exile in the Siberian villages of Tobolsk and Yekaterinburg from 1917 to 1918. Six hours before the shooting of the Imperial family and their four retainers in the cellar of the Ipatiev House on the night of July 16/17, 1918 Sednev was taken to a neighboring house, where he was held until July 20. Officials from the Ural Regional Soviet then shipped him off to live with relatives in Kaluga