Author Topic: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson  (Read 231743 times)

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Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2004, 11:57:26 PM »
Rodzinsky  claimed to remember burning Nicholas, Dr. Botkin and Alexei, then claimed that "four, five or perhaps six people" in total were cremated.  Again, this is inconsistent with the evidence of the grave -- if you accept that the grave contains the Romanov party -- especially as Rodzinsky claims that the burned half-dozen were buried separately from the remainder.

Gregory Sukhorukov made a statement in 1928 that appeared to hit the jackpot -- he claimed to have been present at the burning of Alexei and Anastasia -- the two bodies that the American team of forensic scientists claim were missing from the grave.  But if you accept that the Russian scientists are correct, and that Maria is missing from the grave, then Sukhorukov gets it wrong -- along with a number of other issues in his statement.  We asked in FOTR, however, how Sukhorukov could have correctly identified a bloodied and damaged female corpse as Anastasia, when he had never seen  her in life, while Yurovsky, who had seen her every day for the last twelve days of her life, misidentified her.

Ultimately, the totality of the evidence points to only Yurovsky and probably Sukhorukov having been at the burial site.  Sukhurukov was one of Ernakov's men whom Yurovsky found at the site that morning, ordered away, but then brought back that evening.

So, as you can see, nothing about this cremation is positively known -- even if it was carried out at all.  It is possible that the cremation was invented as a convenient method of covering up two missing bodies.  This theory is bolstered by the non-discovery of any carbonized remains anywhere for a considerable area surrounding the gravesite -- the thorough, almost "finger-tip" search was confirmed to us by Peter Sarandinaki, who participated.

Also -- and interesting aside:  Had Yurovsky or the Ural Regional Soviet wanted to completely obliterate the bodies of the Romanov party, they had the smelters of the Verkh-Isetsk or Zlokazov Factories at their disposal.  Obviously, however, there was some political value in having actual remains to prove the deaths...

The timing of Sukhorukov's statement was especially interesting to us because of a piece of information that we did not put in the book.  We didn't put it in because we didn't have enough evidence to support it fully.  We believe that in or around 1928, the grave was opened by the Soviets for the purpose of confirming just who was in the grave.  Anna Anderson was making waves in the west, and Stalin's government -- which was not Lenin's government -- may not have been confident in the assassins' statements that all bodies were dead and accounted for.  If you believe that the cremation story was made up as a cover, then Sukhorukov's statement becomes a conveniently-timed piece of anti-Anna Anderson propaganda.  

I could go on (of course!), but late on a Sunday night, with Rodger still to answer, this about sums up the problems with the various accounts of a "cremation."
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Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2004, 12:34:41 AM »
Quote
Given the inability of search parties to locate the remains, then a third pathway, so to speak, has to be considered in the absence of any credible evidence.


Our beliefs in this case seem to differ in two places, Rodger:  I believe that there was a murder; you believe there may not have been (I don't want to overstate you here, but correct me if I'm wrong and you do, positively, believe that there was no murder).  You believe they all may have left the Ipatiev House alive; I think that at least two and maybe as many as four could have left that basement room alive, though two obviously died later, probably as a result of their injuries.  

I base this solely on the forensic evidence as it exists on the skeletons removed from the grave: Anyone shot through the head left that room dead.  Marie's and Demidova's skulls did not have head-shots so far as we can tell, though both were badly beaten about the face, shot in other places, and probably stabbed a good number of times.  They may not have been conscious on leaving the murder room, but they could well have still been alive.  

Anastasia and Alexei are entirely unaccounted and therefore we cannot say either way if they left that basement room alive or dead.  But they could well still have been alive too.

We do know from eyewitness testimony (that we have no real reason to disbelieve)  that one "girl" sat up and screamed, and another "girl" turned out also to have been alive.  They could have been any combination of Marie, Anastasia (because we don't know how serious her injuries may have been, absent a body) and Anna Demidova.  I think that two of them -- Marie and Demidova --  died sometime later that night, and are represented in that grave.  

Because we have no skeletal representation of either Anastasia or Alexei, I cannot say for sure that either of them was killed in that room.

Is it possible -- as has been advanced elsewhere on this board -- that Anastasia or Alexei's bodies bounced off the truck on the way to the Four Brothers? Yeah, sure, I guess so; but in my opinion, that's an almost indescribably remote possibility, and not only because the soldiers Soames, Rudolf Lacher and Andras Verhas were also riding in the bed of the truck.

Is it possible that either Alexei or Anastasia survived that night and were rescued from the truck?  Yes, I think so.  And this is a much less remote possibility for me, personally.  There were two windows of opportunity for someone to have effected a rescue:  When the truck was standing in the courtyard, loaded with some bodies, with other bodies scattered through the house and courtyard, where the guards had put them down when Yurovsky summoned them upstairs to discuss looting.  Remember, also, the sympathetic guards of Avdeyev's time who were milling around, shouting things like "Butchers!" and "Murderers!"

The second window of opportunity exists in the woods, while Yurovsky, Lyukhanov and Ermakov were scouting locations and the truck was left in the hands of the three guards, one of whom, Verhas, had earlier refused to shoot the Imperial children.

So yes, it IS possible, in my considered opinion, that someone was rescued that night.  Whether they actually were, or whether they ultimately survived their wounds, is something I don't know and don't want to speculate on.  I want to cover only what we know, or can reasonably deduce from the evidence that we believe to be true.

I'd like to know, Rodger, if you have any theories concerning what may have happened that night, and why the Romanovs may have disappeared.  And where to?

I have to admit that at one point in the research for FOTR, I considered that Anastasia and Alexei may simply have been removed from the house, a la Leonid Sednev, because Lenin HAD recently promulgated a law forbidding the enactment of capital punishment on a minor.  But that's the only time I've ever seriously considered that members of the Romanov party had not gone into the crucible of that basement room.  And I didn't consider it for long, as there is no evidence that I know of that supports such a theory.  But it was an interesting little aside for me...

Penny
(It's late, I'm pretty tired, so that's it for me!)
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Offline _Rodger_

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2004, 01:19:32 AM »
Penny,

There are lots of ideas.  

But they aren't worth anything until the DNA matter is properly resolved, which will settle a lot of questions.  

The best way to settle the matter a least as it concerns the Imperial girls, would be independent retesting of a number of maternal line descendants of Queen Victoria; the more, the stronger the resolution.  It is preferrable that they be closer related to her than further.  A GG grandchild has a better chance of providing a clean model of QVs mtDNA than a GGGG grandchild, for a number of reasons.

One subject is insufficient by today's standards to establish identity in a case of this gravity.  Gill and Ivanov only allegedly tested Prince Philip to establish identity of the girls, and the chain of custody, so on and so forth, has not been properly documented and established.  


WARNING!!!!  This post may be hazardous to one's sense of things.  Read with caution.

Offline Jane

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2004, 11:44:29 AM »
Well, I finally moved off the waiting list at my local library so I am avidly reading Fate of the Romanovs at this time (so I'll re-read it when my Amazon package arrives).  So far, it's extremely engrossing, and I am hoping to weigh in here soon with more detailed thoughts and impressions after I finish it.  I am most fascinated by all the extra information and facts on the guards in the Ipatiev House.  

Best,

Jane

Offline Louise

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2004, 01:30:00 PM »
Penny or Greg:

Great book so far. Oh ok, great is a relative word. It's fantasitically terrific!!

A couple of questions though. What made you decide on the front cover picture? I'm just curious about your decision. Also, who is the child in front of Maria and the other people in the back row? One more thing. I have seen this picture several times  and I was wondering where Alexandra is/was?

Louise
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Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2004, 02:00:41 PM »
Louise...

We didn't choose the photo; the art director at Wiley did.  We were allowed to select the internal photos (though not their presentation -- we would have preferred a picture section, but our editor thought that having them spread through the book was "classier." Oy) and make a cover suggestion.  We had a gorgeous violet-shaded icon of the family that we wanted to use, but the marketing department wanted a more recognizable photo that could be eye-catching from across a crowded bookstore.

The extra people in the photo are GD Xenia's four youngest sons: Nikita, Rostislav, Dmitri and Vassily.  I don't have the book in front of me, so I can't tell you who is who, but the one in front is little Vassily.

Jane -- I'm glad you're off the list!  I hate waiting for books -- when I want to read one, I want to read it NOW!

Penny
"Don't do anything by half. If you love someone, love them with all your soul. When you go to work, work your ass off. When you hate someone, hate them until it hurts."  -- A Piece of Good Advice

Sometimes the truth hurts. And sometimes it feels real good. -- Henry Rollins

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2004, 02:32:04 PM »
Louise, I'm sure that Alexandra was absent due to the cold and the fact that she often was unwell. Anything in the outdoors--especially during such vigorous weather--would probably have been beyond her, except for going back and forth between the imperial suite, the hospital and occasionally places such as Anna's home.

Offline nerdycool

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2004, 04:20:17 PM »
Alexandra could have also been the one taking the picture...

Offline Antonio_P.Caballer

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2004, 10:23:13 PM »
Coming back to the lost remains Penny, all this subject seems a never ending story. The fact is that there are two missing bodies and as you have already told many testimonies are fully contradictory and sometimes are motivated to stop any possible especulation of surviving romanovs. And if those people involved lied once(testimonies differs openly), why not do it a second time...Since all the surrounding area has been searched looking for the remaings and nothing is found we must assume that they were lying(yurovsky and co.)and then everything is possible, isnŽt it? I do not mean that A. Anderson was Anastasia or Alexey survived(this i consider impossible). But could not be that they were carried somewhere by some soldier trying to save them and they died due to the injuries sometime afterwards?  Were it the case i suppose weŽll never find their bodies.
This could seem perhaps somehow absurd but in this subject you never know for sure: If the grave would have been in fact opened in 1928 to confirm the murder, could they have taken the remains of whom they belived to be Alexey or Anastasia? They could have used them as a proof against Romanovs pretenders if necessary...
What do you think???
Antonio.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2004, 12:30:28 AM »
Quote
Penny,

There are lots of ideas.  

But they aren't worth anything until the DNA matter is properly resolved, which will settle a lot of questions.  

The best way to settle the matter a least as it concerns the Imperial girls, would be independent retesting of a number of maternal line descendants of Queen Victoria; the more, the stronger the resolution.  It is preferrable that they be closer related to her than further.  A GG grandchild has a better chance of providing a clean model of QVs mtDNA than a GGGG grandchild, for a number of reasons.

One subject is insufficient by today's standards to establish identity in a case of this gravity.  Gill and Ivanov only allegedly tested Prince Philip to establish identity of the girls, and the chain of custody, so on and so forth, has not been properly documented and established.  end quote

Rodger: You are incorrect as to the Victorian mtDNA in several respects. Gill and Ivanov tested Prince Philip's mtDNA to confirm the identification of Alexandra and her three daughters. While the chain of custody of the Koptyaki remains is highly questionable, the chain of custody of PP's test is, I am told, properly documented and established. (I am accepting the word of scientists on these points, as I am not a scientist.)

Second, there have been numerous tests of mtDNA of maternal line Victorian descendants and I know of only one case where the results did not match that of all the others. Whatever you may think of Gill and Ivanov, I understand the work of scientists at Brown University in the US is highly regarded. These scientists were, I believe, the first to test and document the Victorian mtDNA. Their subject was Princess Katherine (Mrs. DeSilva) of Yugoslavia. As it happens, the Gill and Ivanov results for PP exactly matched hers, and their results exactly matched the purported remains of Alexandra and her daughters.

Third, the only non-matching mtDNA was that from a finger purported to be from Grand Duchess Elizabeth. The fact there was no match leads me to believe that the finger was not from GDE.

From what I understand, the evidence is pretty overwhelming that the mtDNA sequence from QV is accurate and has been replicated so many times that it may be used to exclude those who allege descent but whose profiles do not match.



Offline _Rodger_

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2004, 12:39:44 AM »
Unpublished DNA tests have no validity.

For any scientific conclusion to be properly drawn, the basis for that conclusion has to be sound.

1223 base pairs each from 9 70 year old+ skeletons is impossible.  

Therefore the basis for all of those stories, and the publications, and the heteroplasmy, and the exhuming Georgij, et cetera, is invalid.

Fresh DNA.  You may not understand what that means, and I don't expect you to.  I'm not being condescending on that account, but apparently, it's a difficult concept for some people to fully comprehend.  But scientists experienced in this matter do.  

Besides, Nicholas Kulikovsky's DNA didn't match the published value either.
WARNING!!!!  This post may be hazardous to one's sense of things.  Read with caution.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2004, 12:59:37 AM »
Penny:

I agree with your line of thought regarding what happened to the bodies.

I've found corroboration for the "rescue off the truck" scenario in a strange and unlikely source. Eugenia Smith - who I think we can all agree was not Anastasia - published her "memoirs" and they are mostly garbage. However, buried in the garbage is a story of a White officer who took two bodies off the truck while it was rumbling through the forest on the night of the murders. If you'd like, I can look up the exact passage.

I found this rather incredible because to my knowledge, two missing bodies was not known in the 1960's when Smith's book was published. I don't know what the odds are of this, but it's the only Western source that has the "body count" correct.

What I surmise is that the two missing ones perished of their wounds - and their bodies may be near the home of a friendly guard - or wherever the "White Officer" was staying.

Offline Greg_King

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2004, 01:32:33 AM »
Interesting, Lisa-I'll have to dig out my Eugenia Smith to take a look.  To me, the main point has nothing to do with potential survival or pretenders-that's a whole other issue-and in this case it's irresponsible history to try to tie one to the other.  It's the issue of the missing bodies, and I'm reasonably sure that by the time they got to the Ganina Mine the Bolsheviks were in fact missing two bodies-hence the absurd and variant claims of attempted cremations ranging from 1 body to all 11-when in fact it would have been utterly impossible to even remotely destroy any substantial portion of one body, let alone two-witness Hitler and Eva Braun.

As we said in the book, missing bodies don't equal survival, but it does mean that the deaths of those two, on THAT night, remain merely a theory of history.  I do tend to find it a plausible theory that they could have been pulled off the Fiat, at the time when it was left alone in the Koptyaki Forest for a half-hour, with only four people-Serge Lukoyanov (the driver who, as Radzinsky claimed, later spent his life half on the run, harboring some secret), and three members of the Verkh-Isetsk Detachment-one of whom had just an hour or so before refused to shoot women and children.  And then there's the cryptic comment from V-I member Rudolf Lacher, who was also on that truck in the forest-"I served the Bolsheviks well-I kept my silence."  Maybe they were half dead and died that night and were secretly buried; maybe they lived for a time, then died; maybe they survived-it's all theoretical.  It's only one theory, but as probable to me as the idea that the two missing bodies were either completely destroyed or that somehow they've just been missed by a decade of searches!

Greg King

Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2004, 01:38:21 AM »
Quote
Penny:

What I surmise is that the two missing ones perished of their wounds - and their bodies may be near the home of a friendly guard - or wherever the "White Officer" was staying.


This is certainly a possibility that would wrap up a lot of loose ends -- if you don't happen to believe in any of the various claimants.

As we presented in FOTR, the whole murder/disposal of the bodies operation was nightmarishly chaotic for Yurovsky.  Given that they had to do most of the work under cover of night, in a forest, in situations which sometimes required bodies being unloaded from the truck and "tossed in the grass," or left in the back of the truck with a skeleton guard, one of whom had a "secret" and another who had just refused to kill children -- I can see where someone whose revolutionary ardor was just so overwhelmed at the carnage could pull a moving person out of a pile of the dead.  And if that person (or two) died of their injuries at a later time, then either they lie buried much further afield in the forest -- and may never be found -- or are buried under assumed names in some local cemetary.

The single item of evidence that most makes me believe that the two kids DID go missing is that Kudrin -- and I think at least one other -- speaks of counting the bodies on several occasions.  It seemed like a piece of overkill.  They were protesting too much.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Penny_Wilson »
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Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: The Fate of The Romanovs,Greg King,Penny Wilson
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2004, 01:58:01 AM »
Quote
Coming back to the lost remains Penny, all this subject seems a never ending story. The fact is that there are two missing bodies and as you have already told many testimonies are fully contradictory and sometimes are motivated to stop any possible especulation of surviving romanovs. And if those people involved lied once(testimonies differs openly), why not do it a second time...Since all the surrounding area has been searched looking for the remaings and nothing is found we must assume that they were lying(yurovsky and co.)and then everything is possible, isnŽt it? I do not mean that A. Anderson was Anastasia or Alexey survived(this i consider impossible). But could not be that they were carried somewhere by some soldier trying to save them and they died due to the injuries sometime afterwards?  Were it the case i suppose weŽll never find their bodies.


For Alexei and Anastasia, everything is possible -- because it's all just a theory of history that they died that night.  They could have been pulled alive from the truck in the Ipatiev House courtyard, smuggled across the street -- as Heinrich Kleibenzetl testified -- or they could have been taken by Lyukhanov, Verhas, Soames and Lacher in the forest and hidden away.  Perhaps they died within days and lie buried either elsewhere in the forest or in local cemetaries under assumed names.  Or perhaps they lived on for a few years or many years.  Everything is possible for them until someone is able to prove otherwise...


Quote
This could seem perhaps somehow absurd but in this subject you never know for sure: If the grave would have been in fact opened in 1928 to confirm the murder, could they have taken the remains of whom they belived to be Alexey or Anastasia? They could have used them as a proof against Romanovs pretenders if necessary...
What do you think???
Antonio.


I did shortly wonder if this was possible -- and yet in all the years of the Anna Anderson trial, the Soviets produced no evidence of Anastasia's body.

There is certainly ample evidence that the grave was opened at least once in the eighty years that the bodies lay buried there -- the most glaring evidence being that a whole lot of the bones are simply missing.  Perhaps taken as relics or momento mori, I don't know.  It seems as though the gravesite was an open secret in Ekaterinburg, so I suppose the grave could have been accessed many times.

There are a couple of reasons we think that the grave was opened on Stalin's orders in or around 1928:  The Anna Anderson event in the West; and the fact that things started to go badly for household survivors and survivors of the Ural Regional Soviet.  

Remember that Leonid Sednev died at a ridiculously early age in 1929 -- we don't know from what.  It could have been a genuine disease, sure.  But it could also have been that he was arrested and died under interrogation over what happened that night in the Ipatiev House or what he heard in the Popov House.  Because I think that when that grave was opened, the Soviets then knew for sure that two of the bodies were missing and fear must have struck them that Anna Anderson could well have been Anastasia.

There was not a whole lot of time to go digging up evidence in support of this theory for our book -- it was a minor, tangential line of enquiry for us --  but it DOES seem a totally Stalinish thing to do:  Check the grave; two bodies missing; round up all the likely suspects and interrogate the hell out of them.  :(
"Don't do anything by half. If you love someone, love them with all your soul. When you go to work, work your ass off. When you hate someone, hate them until it hurts."  -- A Piece of Good Advice

Sometimes the truth hurts. And sometimes it feels real good. -- Henry Rollins