Ninety-four years ago today, around two-o’clock in the morning, Russia’s last tsar, his wife, five children, and four faithful retainers were led into a small, sinister room in the basement of the Ipatiev House. They were told it was to protect them from possible shelling by the Whites, who were converging on the town of Ekaterinburg.
Yakov Yurovsky, the commandant and coincidentally, a former photographer, asked the prisoners to line up to have their photograph taken. It was necessary to prove to the Russian people that the Imperial family was still alive and well in captivity. But there would be no photograph. As soon as the Imperial party had lined up to Yurovsky’s specifications, a group of armed men entered the room.
Yurovsky announced that due to the approach of the White Army, the Tsar and his family would have to be executed. There was no time for protestations. There were no sobs and no pleas for mercy. Standing in front of his wife and son, in a final futile protective gesture, Nicholas exclaimed in confusion: “What? What?!”
Yurovsky repeated the announcement and shot Nicholas point-blank in the chest. One by one, the rest of the family and their servants fell to gun-shots, savage bayonet wounds, and blows to the head with rifle butts. After several minutes of terror and chaos, the smoke cleared and the room was still. The men checked the bodies for signs of life. Satisfied, they began to load them onto stretchers. The men were startled when Grand Duchess Anastasia, after having been transferred to a stretcher, suddenly sat up and let out a piercing scream. She received several cruel blows to the face before she too was silent.
After 305 years, the Romanov dynasty had become extinct.
Rest in peace Nicholas, Alexandra, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei
Dr. Eugene Botkin, Anna Demidova, Alexei Trupp, and Ivan Kharitonov
You are not forgotten.