In honor of the beginning of Lent, here are the ikons of the Grand Duchesses at the Church on the Blood in Honor of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land on the site of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg.
The last Imperial Family and their four loyal retainers who were killed in Ekaterinburg on July 17, 1918.
From top: The Imperial Family: 1913.
Dr. Eugene Botkin
Before or after 1918, I wonder?
Probably after from the way the surrounding area looks.
FABERGE Siberian Aquamarine & Diamond Brooch-a gift from Nicholas II to Alexandra which she was wearing right up until the time of her murder July 17, 1918.
The case does say Faberge. However, Yurovsky took all of the valuables the family had on their persons and locked them up “for safe keeping” when he took over at the Ipatiev House. Alexandra Feodorovna was certainly not wearing this item at the time of her murder. The only items that they were allowed to wear openly were gold bracelets that Alexandra and the girls received at the age of twelve, wedding rings, and Alexei kept his watch so he wouldn’t be bored. The women did have jewels sewn into their clothing when they were killed but obviously not with the boxes.
Based on this picture there is no way to tell whether or not this genuinely belonged to the Empress. It would be nice to know more about the item’s provenance. Where did this picture come from? How do we know this item did in fact belong to Alexandra Feodorovna? Is there documentation?
Items belonging to the Imperial family found in the Ipatiev House after their executions.
1. An icon of the Mother of God and Christ Child
2. A jacket belonging to Nicholas, hangers, epaulets, and some linens
3. A bible given to Alexandra by Nicholas in 1916, and keys to the Alexander Palace
4. Pillow cases embroidered with the Imperial monogram
According to the guards at the Ipatiev House, they did their utmost to keep the family calm during the days leading to their execution. However, I believe that even before leaving Tobolsk, the family had a sense of impending doom.
There are several particularly telling occurrences which indicate a deep sense of foreboding and hopelessness among the Imperial family during their last days in the Ipatiev House.
On June 30/ July 13, Nicholas wrote a final entry in his diary. This was a man who was meticulous in his habits. He had kept a daily diary since he was fourteen years old, that is, for thirty-six years. The fact that he suddenly stopped suggests that he believed that the life he was living was hopeless. Nicholas’ only remaining hope was that if he was cooperative, his family would be spared the same fate.
Grand Duchess Olga was particularly close to her father. She suffered for him during the days after his abdication and the continued humiliations which he was subjected to in captivity. As a very perceptive and sensitive young woman, events took a much more serious toll on Olga than on her sisters. She became sickly, emaciated, and extremely solemn. While her sisters continued to hold out hope for a rescue, Olga turned increasingly to religion and spent more time with her mother and sick brother. Baroness Buxhoeveden, who accompanied Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia and Alexei to Ekaterinburg was shocked by the changes in Olga. Where previously she had been vibrant and cheerful, now Olga looked as if she had aged twenty-years in a few months. According to the guards, Olga deteriorated even further during the 78 days in Ekaterinburg. While they liked the younger three Grand Duchesses, they described Olga as stuck-up and severe like her mother. By the end she was only skin and bones. I think it is clear that Olga was under a great deal of stress and was extremely anxious and depressed. Like her father, she sensed that something ominous was coming, but the uncertainty of what and when was very hard on her.
Even Alexei was afraid of what might happen to them in captivity. Before his mother left for Ekaterinburg, he sobbed to her “Mama, I am not afraid to die, but I am afraid of what they will do to us here.”
Perhaps most significant is the testimony of the priest and deacon who were allowed to enter the Ipatiev House twice to say mass. The first time, the family seemed cheerful and enthusiastically participated in the service. The Tsar and Grand Duchesses sang the responses. They were particularly disturbed by how frail and ill Alexei looked. The second time, things were different. The altar was set up as before, and Alexei looked much better, but the Tsar and his daughters looked completely exhausted, like their spirits had been broken. They did not sing the responses this time, and when the priest sang the requiem for the dead, they fell to their knees. One of the Grand Duchesses (probably Olga) stifled a sob. After mass, the Grand Duchesses, all with tears in their eyes whispered a thank you to the priest and deacon as they filed out of the room.
This was forty-eight hours before the assassination. As they walked back to the cathedral, the deacon said to the priest “Something terrible has happened to them in there.”
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.