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Topics - Janet_W.

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Olga Nicholaievna / Olga A & Olga N
« on: December 14, 2007, 07:53:29 PM »
Since some new AP participants may not be clear about who Olga Alexandrovna and Olga Nikolaevna were in terms of their familial relationship to each other as well as their commonalities and their differences, this new topic may be in order.

Olga Alexandrovna was the second daughter and youngest child of Tsar Alexander III and his consort, Marie Feodorovna. She was born in 1882. Her eldest brother, Nicholas, became Tsar and married Alix of Hesse Darmstadt when Olga Alexandrovna was on the cusp of adolescence. It was a time of tremendous change for Olga Alexandrova: all within a short period of time  she lost her beloved father, saw her oldest brother become tsar and marry Alix and, via the earlier marriage of her elder sister Xenia, also gain a brother-in-law. The following year Olga Alexandrovna became an aunt, initially via the birth of her niece Irina, firstborn of Xenia, and about three months later via the birth of Nicholas and Alix’s first child, Olga Nikolaevna, on November 3/15, 1895.

Perhaps someone else would like to continue this comparison and contrast of one tsar's youngest child, Olga Alexandrovna, and another tsar's oldest child, Olga Nikolaevna.

Olga Nicholaievna / What's In A Name?
« on: March 19, 2007, 01:59:48 PM »
I’m starting this thread because I believe in the power of language, and since Olga was an aspiring poet it would follow that she believed in it as well.

With that in mind, I've named this thread after a line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, arguing that names themselves are not that important. But I disagree! 

I do agree that a rose named anything else still would smell as sweet. All the same I confess to being put off by the titles of certain threads . . . and even more so by their perpetuation. For example, couldn’t a thread about Alexei’s final moments be named as such so we are not smacked with the gruesome imagery of what was done to him? Likewise, in recent days every time I've approached the the Olga section I've been confronted with the macabre thought of a young woman’s dismemberment.

We know not just from history but from current headlines that all sorts of atrocities are committed against people, before and/or after their deaths. At the risk of sounding a Pollyanna, however, I'd like to respectfully request that we either move on or consider giving such threads less graphic names. Otherwise I shall be uttering that "noble" Les Miserables word whenever the forum comes up on my computer screen--except it shall be the English version, which as we all know smells anything but sweet!    :-*

Meet the People / Pushkin Memories
« on: August 18, 2006, 02:31:28 PM »
Since I think the subject heading "Wow" might confuse some AP browsers--it confused me!--I'm starting a "Pushkin Memories" thread . . . and perhaps someone who currently lives in Pushkin, or has visited or is about to visit Pushkin, can start a "Pushkin Today" thread, or something with a similar title.

Many years ago my neighbor Elsa lived with her family in a small cottage just outside of Pushkin proper. For weeks radio annoucements had been warning residents that the Germans were on their way and to dig trenches around their homes and prepare for a possible battle. Soon after these announcements Elsa's father, a Hermitage caretaker and World War I Russian Army veteran, was shot and killed by a German sniper. With a neighbor's help they hurriedly buried him between a lilac bush and an apple tree, then Elsa, her mother, two younger brothers and baby sister retreated, along with numerous other Pushkin residents, to a nearby water filtration plant, where they took refuge just as  the bombing began. That was how Elsa spent her sixteenth birthday--hunkered down in the bunker-like atmosphere of the filtration plant with her family and fellow Pushkin residents while bombs exploded all around them, as she held on to her baby sister who, within a short time, would die due to lack of proper food and medication. At night Elsa's mother, like many others, went out foraging through the unharvested fields for food for her children. It was during one of these forays that a German sniper shot her in the foot. There were no doctors available to remove the tightly embedded bullet. So early in the new year, Elsa and her two younger brothers, ages 14 and 10, made a decision: They would evacuate to Estonia and take turns pulling their mother on a sled.

Elsa's memories are very clear on all that I have mentioned, but she doesn't remember exact locations. I have often wondered if that filtration plant still in existence, and exactly where it is/was located. Perhaps someone who sees this post will know.

News Links / Tongan Royal Couple Killed in Car Crash
« on: July 07, 2006, 10:42:22 AM »
From the Associated Press, the following tragic news:

SAN FRANCISCO - A Tongan prince known for promoting political reform in his South Pacific island nation died in a car crash along with his wife when a teenage driver slammed into them, authorities said.

Prince Tu'ipelehake, 56, Princess Kaimana, 46, died Wednesday night, according to Senter Uhilamoelangi, a distant relative and longtime friend of the prince.

The 18-year-old driver who hit their sport utility vehicle was traveling as fast as 100 mph in Menlo Park, about 30 miles south of San Francisco, highway patrol Officer Ricky Franklin said. The woman survived the crash and was arrested.

Tu'ipelehake, a nephew of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV who led a national committee studying democratic reforms, had come to the Bay Area earlier this week to discuss politics with members of the region's Tongan community, according to Senter Uhilamoelangi, a distant relative of the prince who lives in East Palo Alto and helped arrange the visit.

"His voice we'll never hear again, but his legacy is going to live on," Uhilamoelangi said.

San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault confirmed that two members of Tonga's royal family died in the crash, but he would not release their names until the Tongan government made an official announcement.

In a statement, New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters praised the prince's reform efforts and called the deaths a tragedy. He said Tu'ipelehake was called the "Prince of the People."

Franklin said Edith Delgado was trying to pass the couple's SUV when her car slammed into it, causing it to swerve across several lanes before tumbling to a stop on its roof.

Delgado, of Redwood City, was jailed on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and engaging in a speed contest, Franklin said.

The deaths stunned the Tongan community. The prince had been scheduled to speak Thursday at a Tongan church in San Bruno, and the event became a memorial service. The prince's sister, Princess Mele Siuilikutapu Kalaniuvalu Fotofili, sat on the stage crying throughout the service.

"He tried to keep the connection with the Tongan people in America," said the Rev. Kalatini Ahio.

About 37,000 U.S. residents identified themselves as at least part Tongan in the 2000 Census; 15,000 of them live in California.

Tonga — a 170-island archipelago about halfway between Australia and Tahiti — has a population of about 108,000 and an economy dependent on pumpkin and vanilla exports, fishing, foreign aid and remittances from Tongans abroad.

Now the last monarchy in the Pacific, Tonga has been a Polynesian kingdom and a protectorate of Britain, from which it acquired independence in 1970.

The Tudors / Helen Mirren As Elizabeth Tudor
« on: April 21, 2006, 01:40:11 PM »
Since I do not have television reception I shall rely on my fellow posters to give me their impressions of Helen Mirren's portrayal of Elizabeth I in the upcoming HBO program!

Forum Announcements / Belated Happy BD, GD Anna!
« on: April 14, 2006, 01:12:34 PM »
Just found out that Anne, a.k.a. GD Anna, celebrated a birthday yesterday, so I hope you will join me in wishing her a happy belated birthday and a very happy birthmonth!  

The Tudors / Elizabeth I's Legacy
« on: January 19, 2006, 12:22:34 PM »
Just thought the following article from today's New York Times might be of interest; the punch line is of particular interest!

Also, congratuations to the voters of nations who see beyond gender and elect women to positions of power and influence.


Women's Place, Revisited

Published: January 19, 2006

The election on Sunday of Michelle Bachelet as Chile's president completes a three-continent long jump for women in politics. Ms. Bachelet is the first woman elected president in Latin America who is not the widow of a political strongman. On Monday, when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was inaugurated as president of Liberia, she became Africa's first woman to be elected president. And with Angela Merkel's election as chancellor of Germany, a woman now leads Western Europe's most populous nation.

Ms. Bachelet, a socialist, an agnostic and a single mother, won the presidency of Chile, Latin America's most socially conservative country, with the help of a compelling personal story. She is the daughter of an air force general who died in prison during Gen. Augusto Pinochet's rule after months of torture, and she herself was imprisoned and tortured. When she was named defense minister in the current government, she was put in charge of a military still very much shaped by Mr. Pinochet. She brought an unpretentious style to the post, and won a reputation for toughness without rancor.

These new chief executives are not the first women to lead major democracies. Margaret Thatcher of Britain and Indira Gandhi of India were vastly powerful politicians and global ideological icons as well. Golda Meir was the inspirational leader of Israel, a nation surrounded by hostile Arab neighbors that refused to concede its right to exist.

But the women's successes in Liberia, Chile and Germany are being celebrated in part because this kind of achievement is still rare. In most countries, women have yet to achieve the critical mass at the lower levels of government that will be necessary if their ascension is to be seen as part of the normal course of politics.

The recent elections are important because they stand in stark contrast with the other route women have taken to power: picking up the standard of a murdered father or husband. Most of those dynastic women have brought few qualifications to the job and have been dreadful leaders. Mrs. Gandhi was an exception. She won office as the daughter of the independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru, but transcended her status as a dynastic successor as a powerful - sometimes too powerful - leader.

The women who are now leading nations are the most independent and accomplished group of female leaders ever collected - with the possible exception of when Elizabeth I dined alone.

News Links / Demise of Peterhof Farm Palace
« on: December 22, 2005, 05:18:51 PM »
Thank you for the bulletin, Forum Administrators, regarding the sad news of the burning of the reconstructed Farm Palace at Peterhof. Arson is suspect, I am sure.

It will be a wonderful day in the world when those who wish to build and create are able to consistantly triumph over those who wish to break down and destroy.

News Links / Jean Parker, Maria of 1930s Film
« on: December 11, 2005, 06:41:10 PM »
Just wanted to mention that it has been reported that actress Jean Parker, who made her film debut playing Grand Duchess Maria in the 1932 film, Rasputin and the Empress, has died at the age of 90. Parker acted in a number of films, including the groundbreaking 1950s western, The Gunfighter, and was Beth in the 1933 version of Little Women starring Katharine Hepburn.

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Alexander II
« on: October 19, 2005, 06:56:39 PM »
Anyone read the new book about Alexander II by our friend the dramatist?!  ;)

Forum Announcements / Elsa, My Neighbor
« on: September 28, 2005, 05:12:24 PM »
Yesterday my neighbor Elsa celebrated her 80th birthday.

The reason I mention it here is that 64 years ago, instead of celebrating her "Sweet 16" with family and friends, Elsa was huddling in a concrete bunker with her mother and two younger brothers, holding on tightly to her six month old sister, while bombs flew overhead. It was the beginning of the 900 day Siege of Leningrad.

Elsa and her family had been living in a cottage on the outskirts of Pushkin, which all of us here know as Tsarkoe Selo. Elsa's father,  a veteran of World War I, supported his family by serving as one of the many caretakers of the Hermitage, formerly known as the Winter Palace. Now, as radios reported the German advance, everyone was advised to evacuate to Leningrad. Many of Pushkin's villagers stayed, however, and began digging trenches.  Elsa's father was out inspecting damage to one of the first homes to catch on fire from a bomb when he was killed; it was Elsa who found him, dead, with a bullet wound to his head.

Family friends quickly dug a grave for Elsa's father, "between an apple tree and a lilac hedge," as she told me. Then Elsa and her mother and siblings took refuge, along with other Pushkin residents, in the nearby partially subterranean water filtration station.

There is, of course, a great deal more to this story, but in brief: Soon thereafter, the baby sister died for lack of food. And then one night while Elsa's mother was out, as usual, scavenging for  unharvested crops now covered with snow, she was shot in the foot by a German sniper.

At that point Elsa and her two younger brothers made a decision: They would leave together, at night, pulling their mother on a sled, and make the 300 mile journey to Estonia.  This they did. When I asked Elsa how they survived, she said, "Kind people along the way allowed us to stay in their homes overnight and shared with us whatever they had."

Finally they arrived at an German internment camp near the Estonian border. They were not ill-treated, Elsa tells me, "since these men were not the SS with the skull and crossbones on their helmets who killed everyone."

Elsa and her mother and brothers eventually were allowed to cross over into Estonia, finding homes in which to work and reside. Yes, they were separated . . . but, they were alive. This was not the case of many of their relatives and fellow Pushkin neighbors, most of whom died of starvation or were shot.

All these years later, I hope you will join me in wishing Elsa a Happy Birthmonth (too late for birthday; sorry!) and agree that while we do live in fearful times, most of us have been very fortunate and have not suffered the losses that so many of "The Greatest Generation" endured when the world was at war.

News Links / London, July 7, 2005
« on: July 07, 2005, 03:31:09 PM »
For everyone residing within the United Kingdom, our condolences go out to you on this day. And speaking as one who has had the pleasure of taking the tube and riding a London bus, please know that my heart is with those who were injured and with the families and friends of those who were killed.


Romanov and Imperial Russia Links / Beinecke Library
« on: June 19, 2005, 06:38:13 PM »
I've just been looking at some of the wonderful photos available online at the following link:

But they appear not to be captioned. And while I recognize many of them, there are others I would really like to know more about . . . i.e., who is pictured, the location, etc.

For example, one photo shows a lovely kidney-shaped pool or pond with a live swan floating on its surface. The pool/pond is enclosed by a fence and adjacent a Yalta home; the only person in the photo is a guard of some kind. I'd love to know more about this photo and its signficance to Nicholas and his family!

Thanks in advance for any information that can be provided.

News Links / Prince Albert's Child
« on: May 10, 2005, 10:02:28 PM »
Well, it appears Prince Albert of Monaco is a father . . . If I recall correctly from what I quickly read in my current Newsweek magazine, Paris Match is featuring the mom and child on the cover. She is a flight attendant and the child is, I believe, a toddler by now. (Dang! Why couldn't I remember to bring that copy of Newsweek with me?!)

If anyone wants to verify this or correct me, feel free!  :)

News Links / John Box
« on: March 24, 2005, 09:34:41 PM »
I read today of the death of John Box, who won numerous awards for his set designs, including Oscars for Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, Oliver! and Nicholas and Alexandra.

I realize that many on this website do not particularly like the 1971 film and have been critical of many of its aspects, including that of set design. However, since the filmmakers were not allowed to shoot at the actual locations, I think Box accomplished some extraordinary work. Certainly his contribution to Nicholas and Alexandra was, for me, a sizeable part of the "whole picture" that has, in turn, inspired my own lifelong fascination and appreciation of the last Romanovs.

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