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Grigori Effimovich RasputinAugust 1914, when I was 12, war broke out between Russia and Germany. Our allies were France and England, while Austria was on the side of Germany. We were staying at the Lower Palace at Peterhof at the time. Mother and father were very shaken by the war. It was was called the First World War and it was very terrible. It went on for many years and hundreds of thousands of people died.
My sister Olga Working as a Nurse
Olga, Tatiana and mother became nurses and worked in hospitals, even assisting in surgeries. Maria and I were too young to become real nurses, but both of us, and Aleksey, observed and helped out in operations. We saw many wounded soldiers die. Maria and I had our own hospital in the Fyodorovsky Village near the Alexander Palace. We went there all the time and tried to cheer up the wounded men. It felt like we were attending funeral services all the time.
Maria and I with Wounded Officers
Things got very bad. Olga had a nevous breakdown and papa went to the front to try and make things better. In December 1916 our cousin Dmitri, who was raised by our parents, and Felix Yussupov murdered the holy man, Gregory. You probably know him as Rasputin. Gregory was always very nice to me, although he was very difficult to understand. He used to pray for Aleksey and his intercession seemed to make my brother well. Mother was convinced of these prayers were the only thing that saved Aleksey and believed completely in Father Gregory.
That was the beginning of really bad things. Christmas 1917 and New Year's were very depressing. In February there were riots in St. Petersburg (then called Petrograd) that got bigger and bigger. Papa was forced to give up the throne for himself and for Aleksey. We were surprised when Uncle Misha turned it down after father bequeathed it to him. That was the end of our family - the Romanovs - on the throne of Russia. This was the first of two Russian Revolutions. Initially, father felt positive about the new Provisional Government that took power. The new strongman, Kerenski, took father's cars and our rooms at the Winter Palace as his own. He came to the Alexander Palace to see us later, but he didn't say he was sorry for taking papa's things.
My Mother in the Park When We Were Arrested and Held in the Palace
The newspapers wrote all sorts of crazy things about us, including stories claiming we sisters were all the mistresses of Rasputin. That had us all laughing! I suppose it really wasn't that funny, because people believed what they read. Olga says it had a big effect on what people thought of us. People were angry with mother and father and said all sorts of terrible things about them. The Government closed us all up in the Alexander Palace for five months. Fortunately, the guards would let us go into the park sometimes. We sisters were bored and more than a little frightened. I was shot at once by one of the guards. On August 1, 1917 we were sent by train to the Siberian city of Tobolsk.
Where we lived in Tobolsk
The train ride and cruise up the Tura and Tobol rivers on the steamer Rus were very interesting and quite an adventure. We lived in the Governor's Mansion in Tobolsk and life continued much as it had in Tsarskoe Selo, except that things became even more boring. It was very cold in Tobolsk and we had almost no heat in the winter. Food was short and we had little to do; we were confined to the Mansion except for a few trips to a nearby church for services. While we were in Tobolsk, the Provisional Government was overthrown by radical Communists called Bolsheviks.
Olga, Papa, Me and Tatiana on the Roof in Tobolsk
In April of 1918 a man with a troop of soldiers came and ordered papa to go away with them. Mama decided to go with him and we sisters agreed Maria would go along to help her. We all would have gone, but Aleksey had hurt himself badly and couldn't travel. In May Aleksey was well enough to travel and we were ordered by the Bolsheviks to join mother, father and Maria in the mining city of Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains. Jimmy, Ortino and Aleksey's dog Joy went with us. We stayed in the house of an local engineer named Ipatiev, who was evicted by the Bolsheviks, leaving all his things behind.
The Ipatiev House
People were very mean to us in Yekaterinburg. There was no food and our clothes were in tatters. The guards in the Ipatiev House drank and stole our things. They followed us everywhere, even to the bathroom. They painted over the windows, so we couldn't see out and built a big fence all around the house. Things were terrible, but at least we were all together, my family that is. We spent our time as best as we could; we prayed, read the Bible and sang hymns a lot. Mama and papa were very open with us about how dangerous things were and we knew our fate was in God's hands. There was really nothing we could do but wait. On the night of July 16/17, 1918 our entire family, along with three servants and dear Doctor Botkin, were killed by the Communists.
Anna Anderson - Franziska Schanzkowska
After I was gone a number of curious things happened. Many people went around claiming to be either me, one of my sisters or even Aleksey. A Polish girl named Franziska Schanzkowska - who couldn't even speak Russian - turned up in Berlin claiming to be me! How anyone could have believed her is beyond my comprehension. She didn't look like me at all. Our family rejected her, but a few people who hardly knew me claimed they recognized her to be me. This went on and on for many years. They even made a movie about this woman who had invented a crazy story about how 'I' had escaped from Yekaterinburg - even getting pregnant enroute! Eventually, after she died in the USA (living under the name of Anna Anderson), she was found out. Some scientists were able to prove that she wasn't me.... something I always knew! There were a number of other people who claimed to me as well. There was a nice lady named Eugenia Smith who lived in the USA saying she was me. She died this year. Now there is a crazy cartoon called 'Anastasia', although it has nothing to do with me. It says I escaped to Paris, with an evil Father Gregory in pursuit. There have been many books and movies supposedly about me - but they seldom have anything to do with who I really am. Why? I suppose it's money, I guess "Anastasia" is big business.
Thank you for visiting my website. I hope you have learned more about me, my family and Russia. Now you can say you know something about the REAL ANASTASIA - ME!