Author Topic: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)  (Read 56545 times)

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Offline Greg_King

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2004, 08:40:12 AM »
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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.


Hi Belochka-

Actually Bykov's statement is different than his books.  His statement was written privately and deposited in the archives, and not published, as far as I know, until we included extracts in "Fate of the Romanovs."  His books are another affair.  In 1921 he wrote an essay called "Posledniye dni poslednia imperator Nikolai" that appeared in the book "Rabochaya revolyutsiya na Urale," published in 1921 in Sverdlovsk.  Only 10,000 copies were printed and Moscow ordered all known copies seized and destroyed, presumably because his account included detailed information that the Ural Regional Soviet had blithly ignored Moscow's instructions about the prisoners and shot them on their own; a few copies made their way to Berlin and Prague, though, and thus the contents became known.  In 1926 he re-wrote the article, expanding it as the book "Posledniye dni Romanovykh," which was again published in Sverdlovsk.  This time it appeared, with a suitably altered text, with Moscow's approval.  It appeared in English, French, German, and American translations in the 1930s, but is substantially different from his original article and indeed from his personal statement in the archives.

Greg King

Offline Nick_Nicholson

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2004, 10:58:08 AM »
Dear Martyn,

When I was in Russia doing research for "Jewels of the Romanovs" I was greeted with blank stares at the archives when I asked for Benckendorff's inventory.  No one knew that it existed, which did not surprise me.  Virtually everything in the archives relating to the family's personal jewelry had been removed, or was forbidden to me.

At the Diamond Fund, I was shown the photographs of the jewels which were taken in Tobolsk, they included drawers full of jewelry (including the necklace that Faberge made for Alexandra for the Boyar Fete, minus the enormous emerald which was part of the Crown Jewels, and which had been returned),  The Tiaras had all been bent flat so that they could be stored that way.

I was also shown the inventory of the recovered stones from the assassination, their weights and values.  I was told that they had been sent to the offices of the KGB as "evidence" and that they had disappeared.  The Director of the Diamond Fund thought that they had been sold to Cartier in the 1930's. but research I did in the Cartier archives does not support that.  Cartier did not buy loose stones or finished jewelry from the Russian Government during the 30's.  Bob once mentioned that someone in Russia told him that they believe that the KGB still has them.

All of the recovered jewelry appears to have been broken apart and sold, but no one could (or would) tell me when, or to whom.

The only jewel-related book I saw remaining in the archives was a small purple notebook, bound in card, which contined a list, in pencil, in Alexandra's hand, of the jewelry she brought with her from Hesse.  She brought very little, the two things which seemed to mean the most to her were a gold bangle (presumably the one she couldn't take off by Siberia), and the pearl necklace that had belonged to her mother, having been a wedding gift from Queen Victoria.

As to why the bolsheviks didn't  take the jewels away from the Imperial Family, it seems to me there are many possibilities; Russia was in the midst of Civil War, and there was no guarantee that the Whites would not win.  If the Communists were overturned, and the Romanovs restored, the guards would have been in a terrible situation indeed.  There was also always the possibility that the Romanovs might be released, and sent into exile.  Finally, the act of taking away the jewels would have contradicted the illusion that they were simply being "kept safe" by the government.  

Best,

nick
Nick Nicholson
New York City

Offline Belochka

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2004, 11:29:15 PM »
Greg thanks for your information. :)

This is just a thought:

Could it be ever presumed that G.D. Ksenia never wanted to see Buxhoeveden, simply because she survived?

Her perceived failure to prevent her charges from meeting their ultimate fate was held against her. She failed the duty of care entrusted to her by the I.F. and by extension to the surviving family members in exile. Her survival meant that she placed herself above that of the children. If these thoughts have any credibility, then it could be understood that there was nothing left to say.






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Offline Greg_King

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2004, 02:32:55 AM »
Quote
Greg thanks for your information. :)

This is just a thought:

Could it be ever presumed that G.D. Ksenia never wanted to see Buxhoeveden, simply because she survived?

Her perceived failure to prevent her charges from meeting their ultimate fate was held against her. She failed the duty of care entrusted to her by the I.F. and by extension to the surviving family members in exile. Her survival meant that she placed herself above that of the children. If these thoughts have any credibility, then it could be understood that there was nothing left to say.


I can only say that the private letters from Xenia that were provided to us made it clear that she believed Buxhoeveden had been involved in something that made her "suspicious"-hence her warning to Victoria Milford Haven about, as I recall, the Baroness's "trustworthiness" and loyalty.  It's possible, of course, she had the reaction you suggest above, but it seems more to have been grounded in genuine distrust.

Greg King

Offline Belochka

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2004, 10:27:37 PM »
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I can only say that the private letters from Xenia that were provided to us made it clear that she believed Buxhoeveden had been involved in something that made her "suspicious"-hence her warning to Victoria Milford Haven about, as I recall, the Baroness's "trustworthiness" and loyalty.  
Greg King


Greg,

It is unfortunate that those suspicions were never tested in any way. IMHO the combination of any alleged impropriety combined with the obvious fact that she was the only member of the Imperial suite to survive in Ekaterinburg, certainly tarnished her in the eyes of many who knew her. Any form of distrust consequent of her survival would have indeed closed many doors to her in exile.


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Offline Greg_King

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2004, 02:30:00 AM »
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Greg,

It is unfortunate that those suspicions were never tested in any way. IMHO the combination of any alleged impropriety combined with the obvious fact that she was the only member of the Imperial suite to survive in Ekaterinburg, certainly tarnished her in the eyes of many who knew her. Any form of distrust consequent of her survival would have indeed closed many doors to her in exile.


True enough, but Buxhoeveden didn't help her case by literally running from the White investigators and refusing to talk to them about what she knew-Sokolov tried repeatedly to interview her and she boarded a train rather than do so.  In Europe Sokolov said, "her conscience is not clear" or words to that effect regarding her time in Siberia.

Greg King

Offline Martyn

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2004, 01:44:09 PM »
Nick, thank you very much for that information.  I have wondered often about how the jewels were transported, particularly the tiaras which normally are kept in fitted domed cases to protect the settings.  Nevertheless, I am still astonished at the quantity of jewellery that they took with them, not to mention the considerable weight; was it 17 pounds of jewellery that Yurovsky recovered from the camisoles and clothing?  That really is a considerable weight..............
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Offline Martyn

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2004, 01:49:07 PM »
I'm a little disappointed that Harald has not risen to the challenge and enlightened us about Buxhoeveden's secret mission in Siberia.
After all, how can it harm for us to know the truth now after all these years?  It could, after all, remove our (substantiated) doubts and restore our faith in her.
'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 Belochka

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2004, 12:01:49 AM »
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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  


With respect Harald, if you are going to present some sort of challenge, then please let us understand what the Baroness's intentions were in Siberia. Thanks. :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline Martyn

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2004, 07:22:22 AM »
I would still love to have a little more information as to what B.Buxhoeveden was up to in Siberia.  It is most unfair to tease us with a snippet of information and leave us hanging in suspense threafter.
Does anyone else have any theories about what she might have been up to.  I have my own, and they mainly revolve around the same theme - that of saving her skin.....
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2004, 10:39:21 AM »
Quote

True enough, but Buxhoeveden didn't help her case by literally running from the White investigators and refusing to talk to them about what she knew-Sokolov tried repeatedly to interview her and she boarded a train rather than do so.  In Europe Sokolov said, "her conscience is not clear" or words to that effect regarding her time in Siberia.

Greg King


I would assume that character assasination of Buxhoeveden should be avoided because it is no longer possible for her to defend herself and explain what actually occured in Ekaterinburg.

It makes absolutely no sense to me why anyone would want to tear down the friendship of Buxhoeveden toward the Royal Family.  I didn't see all those who criticise her in Ekaterinburg or even sending help to  her or any of the Royal Family.

She may be guilty of being a survivor or she may have revealed other information but we don't know under what circumstances she was placed.   I'm sure there are things which occured she never told anyone.

Since I know nothing about this women,  I can not really defend her with any words from letters or data,  but  this kind of character assasination is not a good direction to take so long after the events took place.  It sound more like family gossipy  riff-raff kinda stuff.

AGRBear
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
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Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #26 on: August 18, 2004, 12:47:08 PM »
I don't think it's character assassination. I think that what Greg and Penny have accomplished is to bring forth information which causes us to question old, comfortable patterns of thought.

I was probably just as astonished as anyone to read about the Baroness and her possible collusion. It was a complete stretch, since I had valued her books more than those written by any of the others who knew Alexandra. I appreciated the writing style of the Baroness and felt her to be very rational and intelligent . . . and I still think those qualities were part of her character. But what was brought up in FOTR does throw a wrench into things.

It's not easy to recognize less-than-desirable qualities in people we've grown to admire, or--conversely--admit that someone we've disliked may not be so awful after all. I find it highly possible that, as the tragedy continued to play out, various servants and members of the suite would be having second thoughts, even to the point of thinking of a way to preserve their own lives. Commendable? Probably not. Understandable? Yes.

Perhaps, after the tragedy, the Baroness wrote in her balanced but clearly devoted style as a way of dealing with whatever transgressions--small or large--she had committed. Very few of us are completely proud of everything we've done in our lives. It may be that the Baroness panicked and said and/or did some things which worked in her favor. I think if we can approach it that way it should not be looked upon as "character assassination" but simply an attempt to understand what was going on at the time, and explain why events turned out as they did.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2004, 07:16:18 PM »
As I've said,  I know nothing about her.

I think what I should have said:  Tread carefully and make sure you have proof other than some "in-family" dispute before accusing her of  culliusion with the Reds / Cheka.

So, now,  I'll have to go find my book Fate of the Romanovs and reread this portion about Buxhoeveden.

AGRBear

Edition #1:
Quote

I can only say that the private letters from Xenia that were provided to us made it clear that she believed Buxhoeveden had been involved in something that made her "suspicious"-hence her warning to Victoria Milford Haven about, as I recall, the Baroness's "trustworthiness" and loyalty.  It's possible, of course, she had the reaction you suggest above, but it seems more to have been grounded in genuine distrust.

Greg King


"...something that had made her 'suspicious'- hence her warning to Victoria...."

I do hope this is based on more than just  one person's suspicions.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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Offline Martyn

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2004, 09:20:00 AM »
With respect, do you honestly that that Greg and Penny would have raised this issue lightly?
I have to agree with Janet.  No one wishes to destroy this woman's reputation needlessly but we are entitled to discuss issues here that we think are relevant.  Some of these issues may be of small consequence in the general scheme of things and others may be important.
I have reread all the previous posts in this thread and am firmly of the opinion that this is a perfect example of why this site is so popular and worthwhile.  
The debate is intelligent and most people are careful in the way that they express their ideas; if anything the only comment that I now have an issue with is one that I made myself, when I glibly referred to Buxhoeveden saving her skin. I retract this and apologise.
This kind of discussion helps us understand history; I think that most people who visit this site have a hard time dealing with what happened to the IF - I know that I do.
We have (thankfully) relatively few discussions that deal with this and it seems to me quite natural that there should be disagreements.
With each new publication we learn new facts about the Romanovs, some of which we may have trouble accepting; this issue seems to be one of them.  I just wish that Harald, who implied that he has some knowledge of the truth about Isa, had perhaps been a little more forthcoming and perhaps helped us towards resolving this matter.
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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956)
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2004, 10:45:11 AM »
Discussions are great!  

I don't know if you are aware,  but I'm from a small group who think one or all escaped from the Ipatiev House on the night of 16 /17 July 1918.  So,  I'm always the one "out of the box", so to speak.

And, no, I don't think King or Wilson would  damage someone's reputation without evidence.

I reread what has been said and then went back to The Fate of the Romanovs  p. 505-6:  (1) "...She ignored requests from Sergeyev to be interviewed...."  and (2) ....In exile, she ignored repeated requests from Nicholas Sokolov...."  and ((3) "...Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna fired off a number of angry lettters to Vicitoria, warning that the baroness was not to be trusted. Buxhoeveden, she declared, was guilty of treachery in Siberia....."

(1) and (2): Is there a statement anywhere by her which explains why she ignored either Sergeyev and Sokolov?  I could come up with many reasons why,  if I had been her,  I would not have talked to either.  But,  if we have her own words that would be best...

(3) What did Xenia know/or think she knew?  Who told her? And was that person in Ekaterinburg at the time?  Did Xenia and Buxhoeveden ever speak after Buxhoeveden's escape?

Excuse me for asking so many questions,  but as I've said,  I don't know anything about her.  So,  let's discuss who siad what to whom and why,  and, discover the truth togather.

AGRBear  ;D

Edition #1:  
King wrote: "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. "

I'm not sure what is meant:  "...she apparently learned it from Utkina and Nikolaieva" ????

With having been under arrest for so long,  it seems to me that Yurovsky and the others would have figured out on their own there were hidden jewels.  However, if they had known they were in their "corsets"  then why were they surprised bullets bounced off and bayonets didn't pierce?

I think I agree with the following so far:

Quote
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

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152