Author Topic: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)  (Read 50844 times)

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Offline Martyn

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Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« on: May 12, 2004, 08:06:27 AM »
Having read Greg and Penny's book "The Fate of the Romanovs" I wondered how long it would be before the subject of Baroness Buxhoeveden was raised.  Not knowing an awful lot about her, I was very surprised to encounter their theory that she had betrayed the family by revealing the existence, and possibly the whereabouts, of the personal jewellery that they had taken with them into exile, in exchange for her personal safety.  It does seem rather curious that she did not suffer the same fate as Mlle Schneider and Countess Hendrikova and that she left Russia with so many of the family's  personal effects.  Did any of these effects reach GD Xenia or GD Olga?
Is it true that GD Xenia loathed the baroness because she was aware of this betrayal and if this is the case, how is it that she ended up being a sort of unoffical lady-in-waiting to Victoria Milford Haven?  I would have thought that if there had been even the slightest doubt about her loyalty to the family that Victoria MF would have summarily dismissed her forever from her presence.  Could Xenia's dislike of Sophie Buxhoeveden been linked to the blame that she attributed to Alix for the downfall of the entire Romanov family; the fact that the baroness had been so intimate with Alix could have made her a scapegoat for the anger and frustration that could not be vented upon Alix herself.  Just a theory - what does anyone think?
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Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2004, 10:22:41 AM »
Do Penny and Greg really say this?  Did they find specific evidence to prove it or was it just conjecture.

It is a possibility but I find it hard to be sure.  There are a number of people that knew about the jewels and valuables in Tobolsk.  I have not found Isa's name mentioned - but perhaps Greg and Penny found something.

It seems unlikely to me that she knew anything specific, since she couldn't come and go into the house like others did.  Also, there were only a few transfers it appears out of the house.  Had she known and told the Bolsheviks or the Guards I am sure they would have STOPPED the transfers, arrested those who did them and searched the house.  Again maybe something has turned up that I haven't seen.

I am not saying that Isa said nothing to the Bolsheviks - she may have to save her life.  It's very odd that she was let go and that makes no sense to me,

Later I know Isa had problems with Gibbes about and a joint bank account in Siberia that they had which she withdrew money out of  without Gibbes's permission.  This put him in a terrible situation and he told her so.  Copies of these letters were at Luton Hoo when I was there.

I don't think the whole story on the jewels has been told yet - there is much that doesn't make sense to me.  The whole question of who knew about them within and outside the entourage is unclear.  I don't know if the Provisional Government knew very much about the jewels they took with them.  There were no inventories they had of the personal jewels and it wiould have taken a long time and the cooperation of people like Gheringer to reconstruct what Alix had with her.  It seems to me the Provisional Government had too many problems of their own to deal with and may not have seen any jewel inquiries through.  perhaps they didn't have an idea of how big her personal collection was.  Very few people knew anything about it, even close friends and family.

What the Bolsheviks knew - well, it should be in an archive somewhere and I haven't seen anything yet that says they knew anything specific.  They might have suspected something in Yekaterinburg, but if they had known about the double camasoles and such they would have immediately searched the bodies for these before taking them to the truck.  Also, they would have throughly searched the rooms immediately after the murder and they didn't do this either (it appears).

So I think the Bolsheviks didn't know about them and it is unlikely Isa said anything that roused any great interest in jewels.

Bob


Offline wigstrom

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2004, 04:55:57 PM »
I have never heard of this allegation so would be interested to know if it is based on some fact.
If this had been know would Prince Philip have invited Isa to stay in Buckingham Palace with his mother Princess Alice as her lady-in-waiting during the Coronation festivities of Queen Elizabeth and even attend the coronation ceremony itself? I wonder how many attendees knew at the time that the last Tsarina's lady-in-waiting saw the coronation of Elizabeth II?

Offline Ilana

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2004, 06:30:25 PM »
I have heard this allegation, and when I confronted someone who knew her, she said that it was all historic revisionism.  I'm going to send this person the items in Greg and Penny's book and see what is said about the assertions.
So long and thanks for all the fish

Offline Greg_King

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2004, 02:09:54 AM »
We were provided with several copies of private letters from Xenia, and also information from her will.  I'm not going to go through the evidence piece by piece as it's in the book-but certainly the Bolsheviks knew about the jewels before the murder in Ekaterinburg-that's too apparent from the wealth of information and testimonies we included.  As far as Buxhoeveden's knowledge, she apparently learned it from Utkina and Nikolaieva, who also shared their information with the Bolsheviks about the jewels.  Yurovsky, Kudrin, Rodzinsky, Bykov, and several others make this clear that the Ural Regional Soviet knew.

Given Buxhoeveden's pattern of behavior in Siberia after the murders-running from Sokolov rather than face questioning-I have little doubt about her role.  I should add, to, that before we decided to include this information, we made quite certain that what we saw, read, and were told was correct to the extent that we could verify it.  I'm sure anyone round who knew Buxhoeveden might well be horrified and label it "revisionism," but such claims stand counter to the hard evidence we saw.

Greg King

Offline Namarolf

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2004, 11:51:54 AM »
Was there any particular reason for the Ekaterinburg Bolsehviks not making a search on the family's belongings, including clothes, to look for the jewelry and seize it, instead of waiting until the execution? As far as I know, that was done with many other prisoners, even Romanovs. Considering the way the family was treated, with little respect for privacy -even if thanks to Greg and Penny we may know now that it wasn't as horrible as it was always believed-, I wonder what prevented them to do such a search, esp. if they already knew the jewels were there. Hiding valuables would have added charges against the Romanovs, if needed.

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2004, 07:01:11 PM »
Namarolf, I'd have to say I agree with you.  Yurovsky and the other guys are definitely surprized to find the jewels after the murder - that doesn't jive with the idea they knew about them.  Had they known they might be wearing $10M in gems they would not have shot them that way.  They would have searched them first.

Also they could have seached the girls when they eantered the house - a simple frisking could have revealed the lumps in the batting.  Had they wanted to they could have had a female Bolshevik strip search them.

Bob

Offline Greg_King

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2004, 12:51:09 AM »
In Bykov's statement, unpublished until it appeared in our book, he relates how Buxhoeveden, Romanova (I mis-stated that it was Utkina earlier) and Nikolaieva told them where and how these jewels were hidden.

Isai Rodzinsky (from a portion of his statement never previously published): "It was laughable-they had their own Diamond Fund in the Ipatiev House.  Do you understand how absurd this was?  They had incalulable wealth in their hands."  At a later point in his statement, he makes clear that the Ural Regional Soviet and Cheka knew of this before the murders-"we knew they had it from what their lady said."

Yurovsky (previously unpublished 1922 memoirs) wrote of "the valuables and jewels we knew they had concealed in their clothes when they arrived, which caused troubles to no end."  He later added that the question of how to get this hidden jewelry from them, while they were alive, "haunted us like a weight around the neck."

I can't speculate why they didn't actually physically search them, but they certainly knew beforehand that the jewels were concealed in clothing.  If nothing else, many passages in Yurovsky's 1922 memoir speak of this and the discussions that took place over it.

Greg King

Offline Namarolf

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2004, 10:13:23 AM »
Thank you very much Greg- but I keep wondering why they didn't make the search! It would have been so easy -and they were already used to dig their noses in the Romanov belongings (Radzinsky suggests they even read the diaries). I still can't find a good reason not to examine the family's clothes, esp. if they had very good reasons to pressume there were jewels there. I have read for instance that some weeks before their murders, the Grand Dukes imprisoned in Alapaevsk were forced to give all their valuables to the Bolsh. Why the Ekaterinburg Reds were so "respectful"? Any ideas?

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2004, 01:48:48 PM »
It also seems funny that they talked about blowing them up in their beds with grenades - that would have destroyed the valuables.  We know they had things in their pockets and stuff when they were killed.  Perhaps they knew nothing about the camisoles or anything specific about the quantity. You think they would have really searched the bodies in the room if they knew something was there - it still seems to me that they 'stumbled' upon the gems in the forest...

They didn't go after anybody who got jewels in Tobolsk until years later.  This still doesn't make sence to me - but Greg obviously has something I don't.  Is that the same Bykov book that says 'we threw their ashes to the wind"?

Bob

Offline Greg_King

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2004, 12:55:41 AM »
Quote
They didn't go after anybody who got jewels in Tobolsk until years later.  This still doesn't make sence to me - but Greg obviously has something I don't.  Is that the same Bykov book that says 'we threw their ashes to the wind"?

Bob


Bob-

The Bykov statement was written in I think 1927 or 28 and was unpublished; the claim that the "ashes were scattered to the wind" was made by Ermakov to journalist Richard Halliburton in the early 1930s, and published first in an American magazine and then in Halliburton's "Seven League Boots."

Greg King

Offline Martyn

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2004, 08:51:37 AM »
Perhaps Yurovsky was hoping that Alix might bring forth the hidden jewellery when he requested that they hand over their valuables to him for safekeeping.  If so, he must have been bitterly disappointed at the collection of rather less valuable articles that the family offered up.  I find it hard to grasp quite how much jewellery that they actually took with them when they left the Alexander Palace.  Count Benckendorff apparently made a detailed inventory af all the possessions that the Imperial Family left behind, which included some of Alix's  personal jewellery as opposed to imperial items.  Ostensibly these included tiaras, necklaces and bracelets, quite possibly parures that were large and difficult to conceal.  However, she may have wanted to camouflage the fact that she was taking some of her personal collection with her; logically speaking, if she had taken it all, this would have been quite apparent and possibly dangerous.  Has anyone ever seen this inventory?
Having said this, it must have been rather difficult to conceal the five tiaras that were discovered in Tobolsk, never mind all the other pieces that were located with them.
In view of the arguments about Isa and her knowledge of the location of the jewellery, I can't quite get over the fact that she also knew of the jewels that were found by GD Xenia hidden amongst Countess Hendrikov's clothes.  Does anyone have an idea of what these were?
As for the third and final cache of jewels, did the Bolsheviks compile an inventory of exactly what was retrieved form the clothing of the Grand Duchesses?
With hindsight, this is a considerable amount of jewellery that must have become a source of anxiety as their captivity lengthened; Alix obviously sought to rationalise the amount that could be safely concealed about their persons.  Personally I find it very sad  that Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia were obliged physically to carry the burden of objects that in former times had emphasised their status; Alix must have assessed the risk and decided that there was no danger of them being searched.  Otherwise would she really have exposed her daughters to that kind of humiliation and danger?
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline Greg_King

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2004, 08:13:13 PM »
Quote
The real role of Baroness Buxhoeveden in Siberia was contrary to the role as hinted by Greg and Penny; I will not further comment on this but assume that finally time will reveal her true intentions and the very important role she was playing.

Baroness Buxhoeveden remained loyal to the Romanovs and was "rewarded" and "protected" by those who knew.

I think she deserves until then the utmost careful approach when discussing her person in public.

Harald  


I have no problem in having our research and conclusions challenged-it is, after all, how we learn things.  But, having given our evidence, I think if you want to responsibly challenge it you need to be more forthcoming.  Without hard evidence to the contrary, I'm not inclined to dismiss what we learned based on an unknown assertion.  So please share so we can assess which version is correct.

Greg King

Offline Belochka

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2004, 11:59:45 PM »
Quote


The Bykov statement was written in I think 1927 or 28 and was unpublished; the claim that the "ashes were scattered to the wind" was made by Ermakov to journalist Richard Halliburton in the early 1930s, and published first in an American magazine and then in Halliburton's "Seven League Boots."

Greg King


Greg, I have a copy of Paul Bykov's book in Russian. The first edition was published in 1926 in Sverdlovsk and then again republished during 1930 in both Moscow and Leningrad. Stalin banished the book to the special archives.

The Russian version of this book re-surfaced again just before the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1990. It was published by the "Ural Worker" again in Sverdlovsk.

I saw an English translation of this book which I believe was published sometime in the early 1930's.
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elisa_1872

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2004, 06:19:29 AM »
There was also i believe a French translation of this book under the title "Les dernier jours des Romanov".
But i'd have to check.