Author Topic: What became of the relics of the Imperial Family taken to France in 1920?  (Read 1572 times)

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Offline NicolasG

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I have finished reading The fate of Admiral Kolchak, by Peter Fleming.

The books describes how, before leaving the country, French General Janin, who was in Siberia to assist the Whites fighting against bolshevism, received from General Dieterikhs "three suitcases and a chest containing a number - 311, to be exact - of Imperial relics from Ekaterinburg. Besides a dossier of documents and photographs, his precious burden contained "about thirty fragments of bone, a little human fat which had dripped off the logs [on which the bodies were burnt], some hair, an amputated finger which expert knowledge identified as one of the Empress's ring-fingers, charred remains of jewellery, small ikons, scraps of clothing and of shoes, such metal accesories as buttons, shoe-buckles, the buckle of the Tsarevitch's belt, bits of blood-stained carpet, revolver bullets, etc."

As nobody in the French government took responsibility for these relics, Janin took everything to his villa near Grenoble. The Grand Duke Nicholas, who had to receive them, "declined their custody on the grounds that he was now only a private citizen."

"In the end Janin received instructions from the Grand Duke to transmit the relics to a senior member of the Russian diplomatic service and was given a receipt for them, in triplicate. He was told that they would be sent to Wrangel's headquarters in the Crimea, but shortly after this Wrangel collapsed, and Janin never heard what finally became of the strange cargo which he had been at pain to salvage from Harbin."

The Fate of Admiral Kolchak, pp. 236-7

According to the Russian Orthodox Church, these are relics in the religious meaning of the word: "the body, a part of the body, or some personal memorial of a saint, martyr, or other sacred person, preserved as worthy of veneration."

Does somebody know what happened to them afterwards?   

Offline Horock

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Re: What became of the relics of the Imperial Family taken to France in 1920?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2016, 03:21:26 AM »
Doubtless whatever went wrong was the the fault of King George V.

Offline Forum Admin

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Re: What became of the relics of the Imperial Family taken to France in 1920?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2016, 09:22:49 AM »
George V had nothing at all to do with it. The human remains were taken by GD Kyril Vladimirovich, and according to GD Olga were buried in a "cemetary in Paris".  The other items ended up placed in a large box which was sealed into the wall of the Church of St. Job the Sufferer in Brussels where they remain as far as I know.

Offline Nictionary

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Re: What became of the relics of the Imperial Family taken to France in 1920?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2016, 03:55:29 AM »
I thought I read that Soloviev had searched for the Brussels relics and concluded that they vanished during World War II.
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Offline TimM

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No doubt the Nazis looted them.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: What became of the relics of the Imperial Family taken to France in 1920?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2016, 12:19:34 AM »
I think the Brussels remains are still in wall of the church. The church had a list of what conditions would be necessary to repatriate the family's remains to Russia and they have not been met yet. It was also my understanding that the Brussels remains include: remains sent to Grand Duchess Xenia A; remains brought out of Yekaterinburg by Sokolov's representative and that there is nothing else buried in a Paris cemetery.

Of course this information came to me long ago. If I can find my notes, I will publish them here. I doubt the Nazis had much interest in the Imperial Family's remains.