Author Topic: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra  (Read 43023 times)

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Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2012, 08:53:13 PM »
Might I point out that in April of 2004, on a different thread ("Associates of Nicholas and Alexandra"), Julia Dehn's granddaughter posted an account of Lili's later life.

http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=138.msg2973#msg2973

I believe that that was her only post on the Forum.
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Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2012, 09:28:34 PM »
And this autobiographical account by Lili Dehn's son, Alexander (AKA: Titi) has been posted here on the Forum before, but here it is again, so that you need not hunt for it.
http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/v/o/n/Holger-Von-dehn/FILE/0001page.html

Unfortunately, it breaks off after his eleventh birthday while they were in England.

In reply to some of the other questions posed above, we can add a bit more.

At the time that the Empress and Lili were friends, Lili did not speak English well, so they communicated in French and Russian.

When, in her book, Lili reports the Empress' words in French, she is conveying the Empress' actual words to her. That is why she retained the French.

Of course, once the Dehns moved to England, she learned the language. In the 1960s she and Mr. Brewster corresponded in English.

I don't believe that Lili and A. A. Vyrubova ever met again after the Revolution, but they did correspond. Lili Dehn's descendants still have that correspondence. They are trying to decide what to do with it. Depositing it in the Beinecke Library at Yale would be a logical choice, but that is up to them.

Lili's daughter, Mary, who was living in the USA, passed away in Feb. 2007.

One of J. A. Dehn's great-granddaughters is named "Lili" in her honor.

One branch of the family still has the icon of our Saviour with which the Empress blessed Lili at their last parting in the Alexander Palace. They have agreed to photograph it and allow us to use it as an illustration in our book. It bears an inscription on the back in the Empress' handwriting.

Mr. Brewster gave us one of the printed obituary cards announcing her death and funeral.



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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #47 on: January 20, 2012, 01:37:21 AM »
Interesting. On a slight tangent, a great friend of mine who died in 2003 knew Lili Dehn's son through work. Alexander Dehn, who was known to his British contacts as Alec, acted as agent for the shipbuilders Vosper Thorneycroft in Venezuela, and, I think, elsewhere in Latin America. My chum was in Venezuela doing business for Vospers in the early 1960s when he managed to get bitten by a rabid dog, and spent a fortnight staying with the Dehns while having a very unpleasant series of anti-rabies injections in the stomach (fortunately, rabies prevention has moved on since then!)

Ann

Offline rudy3

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #48 on: January 20, 2012, 04:09:04 AM »
As to: "At the time that the Empress and Lili were friends, Lili did not speak English well, so they communicated in French and Russian."

On November 8th 1913 the Empress wrote from Livadia a four page letter to Lili in English....

Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2012, 10:28:25 AM »
Whatever...

I based my comment on the fact that several times in her book Lili Dehn states that the Empress spoke to her in French; Lili, when quoting the Empress directly, retains the French; and, A. A. Vyrubova, who was ill at the time of the abdication, quotes Lili's book in her own book, adding a parenthetical remark concerning Lili's lack of a knowledge of English.

Memories of the Russian Court, pp. 208-209:

...I could not be with her in that hour of woe, nor did I even see her until the following morning. It was my parents who broke the news to me, almost too ill and too cloudy of mind to comprehend it. Mme. Dehn, who was with the Empress on the evening when Grand Duke Paul arrived with the fatal tidings, has described the scene when the brokenhearted Empress left the Grand Duke and returned to her own room.
"Her face was distorted with agony, her eyes were full of tears. She tottered rather than walked, and I rushed forward and supported her until she reached the writing table between the windows. She leaned heavily against it, and taking my hands in hers she said brokenly: 'Abdique'
I could hardly believe my ears. I waited for her next words. They were scarcely audible. At last [still speaking in French, for Mme. Dehn spoke no English] 'Poor darling - alone there and suffering - My God! What he must have suffered!' "
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Offline Maria the Beautiful

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #50 on: December 06, 2016, 08:27:21 PM »
In her book "The Real Tsaritsa" Lili Dehn refers to her  home town as "Revovka".  I tried to find this on Google Earth and only came up with "Revivka".  Can someone tell me if these are referring to the same place.  Thanks.

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #51 on: December 07, 2016, 08:48:52 AM »
In her book "The Real Tsaritsa" Lili Dehn refers to her  home town as "Revovka".  I tried to find this on Google Earth and only came up with "Revivka".  Can someone tell me if these are referring to the same place.  Thanks.

"Revivka" is the Ukrainian name, "Revovka" is Russian. Lili Dehn writes that her home town was in what was called "Little Russia" then, today Ukraine. But there are at least two villages with the same name Revivka-Revovka.

1. Revivka, Cherkasy oblast, Ukraine. Location:   49 3′ 21″ N, 32 1′ 33″ E

2. Revivka, Poltava oblast, Ukraine. Location:     49 10′ 37″ N, 33 44′ 21″ E

As you can see, they are not that far away, but according to some details Lili Dehn gives in her book, I think that the Revivka that you are looking for is the second one, in the Poltava oblast.

Offline JGP

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #52 on: December 07, 2016, 10:03:42 AM »
In agreement with NicolasG; it is the latter...

Revivka, Kremenchuts'kyi District, Poltavs'ka Oblast, Ukraine

Offline Maria the Beautiful

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #53 on: December 07, 2016, 11:53:45 AM »
Thanks NicholasG and JGP.

Offline Превед

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #54 on: December 07, 2016, 06:18:27 PM »
In her book "The Real Tsaritsa" Lili Dehn refers to her  home town as "Revovka".  I tried to find this on Google Earth and only came up with "Revivka".  Can someone tell me if these are referring to the same place.  Thanks.

"Revivka" is the Ukrainian name, "Revovka" is Russian. Lili Dehn writes that her home town was in what was called "Little Russia" then, today Ukraine. But there are at least two villages with the same name Revivka-Revovka.

1. Revivka, Cherkasy oblast, Ukraine. Location:   49 3′ 21″ N, 32 1′ 33″ E

2. Revivka, Poltava oblast, Ukraine. Location:     49 10′ 37″ N, 33 44′ 21″ E

As you can see, they are not that far away, but according to some details Lili Dehn gives in her book, I think that the Revivka that you are looking for is the second one, in the Poltava oblast.

Based on the hits you get linking Ревовка with the ancestors of Dehn who owned it (Field Marshall Кутузов / Kutuzov, Кудашев / Kudashev, Пилар фон Пильхау / Pilar von Pilchau and Хорват / Horvath), I am inclined to think it is the village in modern Cherkasy oblast. Not only is it bigger than the small hamlet in Poltava oblast (and very picturesque - see pictures on Google Maps: here, although with no trace of a manor house), but online sources (like this Russian Wikipedia article listing Lili von Dehn's birthplace) link it to and place it in the Alexandriyskiy uyezd, based in the neighbouring town Александрия / Олександрія, which today lies in another oblast. In Imperial times the Alexandriyskiy uyezd, including the Kamyanskaya volost based in Kamyanska right next to Revovka, was in the Khersonskaya Guberniya. Tellingly the noble Horvaths, Dehn's maternal family, who owned Revovka, were registered in the provincial nobilities of the Kharkov, Kherson and Kursk gouvernements, not Poltava.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 06:40:09 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #55 on: December 08, 2016, 01:23:24 PM »
In her book "The Real Tsaritsa" Lili Dehn refers to her  home town as "Revovka".  I tried to find this on Google Earth and only came up with "Revivka".  Can someone tell me if these are referring to the same place.  Thanks.

"Revivka" is the Ukrainian name, "Revovka" is Russian. Lili Dehn writes that her home town was in what was called "Little Russia" then, today Ukraine. But there are at least two villages with the same name Revivka-Revovka.

1. Revivka, Cherkasy oblast, Ukraine. Location:   49 3′ 21″ N, 32 1′ 33″ E

2. Revivka, Poltava oblast, Ukraine. Location:     49 10′ 37″ N, 33 44′ 21″ E

As you can see, they are not that far away, but according to some details Lili Dehn gives in her book, I think that the Revivka that you are looking for is the second one, in the Poltava oblast.

Based on the hits you get linking Ревовка with the ancestors of Dehn who owned it (Field Marshall Кутузов / Kutuzov, Кудашев / Kudashev, Пилар фон Пильхау / Pilar von Pilchau and Хорват / Horvath), I am inclined to think it is the village in modern Cherkasy oblast. Not only is it bigger than the small hamlet in Poltava oblast (and very picturesque - see pictures on Google Maps: here, although with no trace of a manor house), but online sources (like this Russian Wikipedia article listing Lili von Dehn's birthplace) link it to and place it in the Alexandriyskiy uyezd, based in the neighbouring town Александрия / Олександрія, which today lies in another oblast. In Imperial times the Alexandriyskiy uyezd, including the Kamyanskaya volost based in Kamyanska right next to Revovka, was in the Khersonskaya Guberniya. Tellingly the noble Horvaths, Dehn's maternal family, who owned Revovka, were registered in the provincial nobilities of the Kharkov, Kherson and Kursk gouvernements, not Poltava.

I am relying on the Ukrainian Wikipedia and Wikipedia is not the most reliable source in any language.

The article on the Ukrainian Wikipedia on the Revivka located in the modern Cherkasy oblast includes an extract from a book published in 1864 that lists the sucessive owners of the village, up to that year:

Penkovsky - Davidov - Captain Zvolinsky - Tripolsky

There is no mention of Kutuzov or Horvath.

Lili Dehn also mentions a piece of local folklore in her book. There was a local story about how when Tatar marauders attacked the village in their plunder raids, women and children of a village called Beletskovka used to wade into the water and hide under the green lily leaves. There is a village with that name (Bilets'kivka, in Ukrainian) in the Kremenchuts'ky District (rayon), Poltava oblast, that is, the same district and oblast one of the two "Revivka" candidates is located.

The distance from Beletskovka - Bilets'kivka to the Revivka located in Poltava oblast is less than 50 km, the distance to the Revivka located in Cherkasy oblast is around 120 km. So I think it is much more likely that she had heard that story if she lived in the latter (the Poltava one).

Offline JGP

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #56 on: December 08, 2016, 09:05:02 PM »
Interesting  Превед and NicholasG!  Two genealogy websites; my heritage and geni) annotate Lili Dehn's birthplace as Revivka, Kremenchuts'kyi District, Poltavs'ka Oblast, Ukraine although they certainly could be incorrect. 

The two Revivkas/Revovkas are on opposite sides of the Dnieper River:
1. Revivka, Cherkasy oblast, Ukraine. Location:   49 3′ 21″ N, 32 1′ 33″ E  WEST Side

2. Revivka, Poltava oblast, Ukraine. Location:     49 10′ 37″ N, 33 44′ 21″ E EAST Side

I looked at both "Revivkas/Revovkas" on Google Maps and the Revivka/Revovka in Poltava/Poltavs'ka Oblast appears to be in closer proximity to the Dnieper River which Lily Dehn mentions in her book "The Real Tsaritsa" which is online on this site and an interesting read; http://www.alexanderpalace.org/realtsaritsa/contents.html

In addition, her son Alexander Leonid von Dehn wrote in a history of his family "The Horvaths Estates, my Mother's family on the Maternal side, have already been mentioned before, but, I will now describe the two Estates which I knew - my Great-Grandmother's estate, Revovka, near the small town Novo-Georgievsk, and my Grandmother's Estate, Beletskovka, where I spent many a happy summer in my childhood."  This is also a really interesting and informative read;   http://www.genealogy.com/ftm/v/o/n/Holger-Von-dehn/FILE/0001page.html

Novo-Georgievsk was a city in Ukraine that since 1961 was flooded by the Kremenchuk water reservoir; Wikipedia lists its Grid Coordinates as 49 6′ 0″ N, 33 7′ 0″ E.  Plotting the grid coordinates for both Revivkas/Revovkas and the grid coordinates for the former city of Novo-Georgievsk (NG) on Google Maps, the Revivka/Revovka in Poltava also appears closer to the former city of NG.

However, as you mentioned the Horvaths, Dehn's maternal family, who owned Revovka, were registered in the provincial nobilities of the Kharkov, Kherson and Kursk gouvernements, not Poltava, would infer you are correct. 

I love a good mystery. 

Kind regards, JGP


Offline Превед

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #57 on: December 08, 2016, 10:46:43 PM »
I love a good mystery.

Yes, fun isn't it! I was just going to write that naturally we had a hard time finding it and agreeing, because, as you say, beating me to it, the (third) Revovka we are looking for is as lost as the Tsarist Empire, flooded by the Kremenchuk reservoir! It's listed on this Wikipedia page about the Novogeorgiyevskaya volost, to which it belonged:. Apparantly it was also known as Хорвата / Horvatha and had 831 inhabitans, 126 farms, an Orthodox church, a brickworks and fairs in imperial times.

Here is a biography of a Horvath cousin of Lili Dehn's which has pictures of the estate (see next page), apparantly called Litvinki, to the south of Revovka. The books also notes that the family had large estates in Latvia, which is somewhat curious when Litvinki can mean "Lithuanians" in Russian or Ukrainian.

And yes, Beletskovka / Bilets'kivka, just a little further east, was also part of the Horvath inheritance from Field Marshall Kutuzov, who had received both estates from a grateful tsar.

BTW did Lili Dehn's mother remarry to someone called Belitskiy and was he linked to the second estate by name? Why did her father have a Muslim middle name - Alexander? Adamovich Ismail Selim Bey Smolskiy?
« Last Edit: December 08, 2016, 11:07:52 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline JGP

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #58 on: December 08, 2016, 11:46:33 PM »
Her second marriage was to Colonel Michael Zaharovitch Veletskli who was Commanding Colonel of an Infantry Regiment, stationed in the small town of Novogeorgievsk, near Revovka.  Revovka again; LOL.

Lili Dehn stated in her book "My father was Ismail Selim Bek Smolsky, whose ancestors hailed from Lithuanian Tartary".


Offline Превед

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Re: Julia (Lili) Dehn (1885-1963), friend of Empress Alexandra
« Reply #59 on: December 09, 2016, 08:11:05 AM »
Her second marriage was to Colonel Michael Zaharovitch Veletskli
Ah, thanks for clearing that up. I misread the Cyrillic B as a b...

Quote
Lili Dehn stated in her book "My father was Ismail Selim Bek Smolsky, whose ancestors hailed from Lithuanian Tartary".
Ah, OK, interesting. I also note that Alexander von Dehn writes in his memoirs that his grandfather's estate at Yalta was called Selimbek.
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)