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Messages - Penny_Wilson

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Yes, we've come across this one before, on numerous occasions (most recent one on the Ella and Sergei thread)...  ::) This is when we are all supposed to shut up and accept it without any questions, otherwise all sorts of accusations will start to fly. Sources which can't be verified -

You know what, Helen?  I name as few sources as possible on this board because of you -- and I will never again name a living source outside of the pages of one of my books (and even then I will protect their anonymity if they so desire).  I named John Klier once upon a time as an individual in whose work Greg and I found a grain of inspiration.  You then took it upon yourself to contact this man and misrepresent and defame us to the extent that he apparently believes us to be not quite sane -- and that's putting it nicely.  At such time as we will need to request source information from the Kliers again -- as we will because there are no footnotes in their book -- we will have to sort out with them the misinformation you laid before them.  And that will be an annoyance for all concerned -- and an embarrassment for you in particular since Greg and I are -- after all -- entirely sane. 

It's unfortunate that things came to this pass. And this is a stumbling block to discussion -- which I am sure you will use as another stick to beat my back -- but it is what it is because of your actions.

...take them or leave them: nice tactic, isn't it?  ;)

It's not a tactic.  It's simply information that we -- who have done the work -- hold.  We have given no opinion on its veracity -- we simply state that it exists and must therefore at some point be cleared one way or the other.  Each person here is free to keep or discard any information they choose. 


Matushka -- I just tried to send you a PM, but I am not sure that it went through.  I have been having immense trouble with the PM system lately.  If you didn't get it, would you please let me know?


The Fate of the Romanovs is available on-line at Questia -- Questia is a site you have to pay to belong to, but they do offer a trial period, so if you are a fast reader, it could work for you.  ;D


Anna Anderson -- her story true or not -- is part of the Romanov saga; and this 1916 Visit -- whether it happened or not -- is part of the Anna Anderson story, and therefore part of the Romanov story.

I am sorry, but... Anna Anderson's story was not true - this has been proven and no longer up for discussion - therefore she is not part of the Romanov saga (except in the way that any other IF claimant is)... The same goes for the 1916 visit: if not true - and most evidence points to the fact that it didn't happen - then it is not part of the Romanov saga either, but part of someone's overactive imagination. Something either happened or it didn't, and if it didn't happen then it is not part of history. 

I think what Mendelsohn suggests is a little more complicated than a black-and-white sorting of "this is true," so it's worth keeping, and "that isn't true," so let's throw it away. 

For the sake of this one post, let's say that Anna Anderson is absolutely an impostor (oh look!  I didn't explode into flames on typing that!  ;D ).  She is still forever connected to Anastasia because of her claim to be Anastasia that played out publicly over a period of sixty years.  "Anna Anderson" possibly being "Anastasia" is part of public consciousness at this point.  And so, even though Anna Anderson is not Anastasia (for the sake of this post), she is inextricably entwined with the possibility of Anastasia's survival --  and therefore becomes herself a part of Romanov history (as distasteful as I realize this is for some of you).

Now, if and when Anastasia's body is found and identified, Anna Anderson will take one step further away from the story -- but she'll still be there forevermore.  Sometimes, history is a matter of proximity and distance -- we like the proximity because it gives us a sense of what the people themselves were like: we can read eyewitness accounts of them and their habits and likes and dislikes, we get to see and maybe handle their belongings -- but ultimately, only distance in time gives the opportunity of telling the complete story from start to absolute finish.  With the last Imperial Family -- and especially with the two loose ends of the missing children -- we are not yet distant enough in time to know the final final end of the saga.


Once again, you do not have a "working hypothesis".  You have speculation, inference and assumption.  You have no authenticity and provenance of sources, you have no primary sources, no historical reliability and you have not established the credibility of each separate document and author which you quoted....

(One more time)

What Greg has done on our site is write a short essay detailing the evidence for and against the alleged 1916 trip having taken place -- and nothing more.  No conclusion on our part is made or implied.  If you still don't understand this, Bev, perhaps you could have someone explain it to you.  Until you do demonstrate some understanding of the intent of the essay, there is little point in continuing what promises to be no more than another one of those very heated discussions with an oh-so-personal edge.

Now -- I have a book to work on, so I'll "talk" to you later.



So to apply Mendelsohn's story to the Romanovs,  Anna Anderson -- her story true or not -- is part of the Romanov saga; and this 1916 Visit -- whether it happened or not -- is part of the Anna Anderson story, and therefore part of the Romanov story.  History becomes a series of Chinese boxes -- or Russian nesting dolls! -- and each historian picks their own way through the maze using the skills they were taught or learned through experience.  And when it comes to writing a book, some very important things can be "left on the cutting room floor" for reasons of space when they are tangential to the story at hand -- just as Daniel Mendelsohn had to leave out of his book some incredible stories of survival, which were very important to the individuals and families who lived them, but which were, in the end, not close enough to the story of the Jaegers -- he left those stories for those families and other historians to tell.  Which is why I think that there will always be room for "one more" Romanov book, and why it's important to gather as many details as we can -- from Mendelsohn's story, his aunt had great legs, and his uncle was a little deaf, his cousin Lorka liked strawberries and Ruchaly was a beautiful blonde -- and from the Romanovs, we talk about things like what their voices sounded like and which perfumes the girls favored.  It's all part of history, all part of their story -- but for the historian in each of us, I think, there is a different combination of The Big Picture and Detail.

Anyway -- Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million -- get it, read it, love it.  It's a wonderful, terrible, shattering book with obvious parallels to the Romanovs and the difficulty of telling their story to the satisfaction of everyone.  It has certainly made me think -- and it's made me expand the idea of what I think is "important," because so much of it -- whether true or not -- has been repeated and used so much that it is now part of "the story of what happened" -- which is also part of history.

~Penny, being thoughtful in Riverside...


Before this came up, I thought that Ernie's visit to Russia was a done deal, but then I realised I had fallen prey to Peter Kurth, yet again.  Personally, on re-evaluating this situation, I can't see any reason WHY Ernie would have been sent to Russia and the only reason it seems to have been raised as a possibility is because Anna Anderson said it happened.

I've been reading this book called Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by a Classics Prof called Daniel Mendelsohn -- and I can't recommend it highly enough.  Not only is it a compelling story beautifully written, it also contains so many life and history lessons that you have to stop and think quite often, in order to absorb all Mendelsohn is telling you.  Obviously, this is a book about the Holocaust; Mendelsohn grew up in Long Island, New York as the third son in a family descended on both sides from Eastern European Jews.  He was particularly close to one grandfather, who was his mother's father.  This grandfather came to the US in the early 1920s, along with the all but two of his siblings: his two eldest brothers remained behind in the Polish town of Bolechow, where the family had lived for generations.  The second brother was married to a passionate Zionist woman, and their family left Poland for Palestine in the early 30s (at least, this was what Daniel had heard from his grandfather -- it turned out that Uncle Itzak's move out of town may have been immediately propelled by a scandal over him selling non-Kosher veal in his Kosher butcher's shop -- not that his wife wasn't a Zionist, but this little scandal may well have pushed matters forward, fortunately for them!).  The remaining brother, the eldest, Sam, was married toa  woman called Ester Schneelicht, and they had four beautiful daughters: Daniel thought they were called Lorka, Frydka, Ruchatz and Bronia.  They all disappeared during the War, and although the family had a pretty good idea what had happened, his grandfather could tell Daniel no details.

Fast forward to the late 1990s, and Daniel is ready to set out on an odyssey into the past -- to find the remaining Jews of Bolechow (48 out of 6000 survived) and to try and find out what had happened to each member of Uncle Sam's family.  It's a brilliant, brilliant account of not only "what happened," but also "the story of what happened," because while documents can tell you a certain amount of dry, factual evidence -- the third daughter, Ruchatz, was taken on the day of the first Aktion on Bolechow, and was shot the following afternoon -- but documents can be misunderstood (due to the way the letter "l" was written with a line across the top, and how a "y" can sometimes look like a "z," Mendelsohn had though his cousin's name was "Ruchatz," but it turned out to be "Ruchaly"), and they can also be incomplete (only an eye witness to Ruchaly's arrest could tell Mendelsohn that she had been just out with her two best friends, wandering the streets of the town, window-shopping, gossiping and whatnot, when they were taken).  It's also the story of eyewitnesses, and how they can both clarify and muddy the waters -- some of Bolechow's surviving Jews thought Sam had only two daughters, and some thought there were three; few seemed to know that there were four -- and this, Mendelsohn concludes is because everyone is the hero of his own story, and the forty-eight survivors, when they were thinking of anyone other than themselves, were thinking of their OWN loved ones, and not Sam Jaeger's family.  The story of Sam Jaeger's family, as central to Daniel Mendelsohn's life as it became, was at best tangential and peripheral to the stories of the actual survivors.  And then there are the eyewitness who purposefully obfuscate -- Daniel almost missed the bravest and most beautiful love story -- and the story of Frydka's death -- because Frydka's best friend, who survived, didn't want to tell people that this good Jewish girl had had a love-affair with a Polish Christian boy -- at least that was the surface excuse; the actual story was much more murky.


A good example of how things can be taken the wrong way when there is more than one possible conclusion. Didn't the 'second marriage' turn out to be the one that produced all five children, and the 'first' was only a wife who had died young in childbirth leaving no living offspring? Things can be interpreted so many ways, this is why we- all of us- have to be so careful about assumptions being passed off as possible fact. Some people will see us say something and jump to a lot of non factual conclusions. This is especially dangerous on the internet where rumors are so easily spread and believed. It's very good this was cleared up by Penny and Helen before the rumor resurfaces.

Yup, exactly.  And that's why Greg and I contacted the Kliers for their meaning and sources -- and then went on our own research trip that produced the actual Schanzkowsky genealogy that we posted elsewhere on this forum a while ago.


You may have a "collection of statements" but you have no evidence or proof to support your claim.

Nope, sorry.  We make no "claim" at all, except insofar as furnishing premises for the discussion. 

The essay published on your site clearly states that your "working hypothesis" based on "hypothetical details" is based on the assumption that the trip took place.

What we actually say is this: " might be well to consider the basic hypothetical details of the alleged visit, drawn from sworn testimony and published materials as well as private information from the late Princess Vera Konstantinovna as below, and unpublished archival materials from GARF and from RGIA. This is, again, merely a working hypothesis, intended to synthesize some of what has been discovered on the assumption that such a visit may have occurred."  This means that for the sake of this part of the discussion, the "working hypothesis" or "premise" is that the visit took place; we are being devil's advocates for it having happened.  In the latter part of the essay, we examine evidence for it not having taken place.

Obviously, if you have an assumption, you have formed an opinion.

No assumption, no opinion.  Just a premise or "working hypothesis" for the discussion.

Your anecdotal and eyewitness testimony is contradictory...

Of course it is.  That was the entire point of the exercise -- to present the evidence for and the evidence against.  Mission accomplished, I guess.

Your assumption is that Ernst Ludwig left France in February of 1916, when the Battle of Verdun, Germany's greatest and riskiest push was begun to travel to Russia through the Artic Circle in order to make a peace overture to the Russian Tsar who had already stated catagorically (and also by his wife) that he would not accept him, and who would be in direct violation of the Sept 1914 Pact of London, expressly agreeing that neither Russia, Britain or France would make any kind of separate peace with Germany.

This is what the evidence in favor of the visit having taken place suggests.  It's not our "assumption."  I think you have an essential misunderstanding of what Greg wrote.  You may not know this, but one method of testing historical theories or "hypotheses" is to set them up -- and then try to knock them down.  So we set up a "working hypothesis" that the visit happened -- we examined the evidence in its favor -- and then we examined the evidence against it. 

Did we knock down the "hypothesis" that this visit happened?  I tend to think so -- but as Greg warned, the information presented is that which is available in public; the additional information we recovered for our book has not yet been subjected to any study.

Also, according to all other accounts, the falling out between the IF and Eliz F. was over the machinations and influence of Rasputin, there was never any mention that it was because of a letter from Ernst Ludwig.

Well, outside of "all other accounts," we have provided three -- one of them in English -- that raises this letter as a bone of contention.

There are many more objections to your speculations about this subject, but this should suffice at present.

I'm sure there are, Bev, I'm sure there are.  ;)


Edited for typos...

Um -- why do I have to offer proof of anything?  I'm just contributing a collection of testimony for a discussion thread on this site.  Some might see this as proof, some might not.  It is what it is.  Take it or leave it.  As I've said, I have no opinion on the subject as yet.

Actually, Rob, neither Greg nor I have any real opinion as yet whether or not Ernie went to Russia.  We'll obviously each have to come to a conclusion on the subject before publishing our bio of Ernie -- but we haven't got to that point yet.

Insofar as this issue "concerns" the AA case -- and I'm not sure that it does -- we offer our collection of the testimony to the discussion.



I posted this on another topic, but it was quickly shot down.  FS and Felix had the same mother and father.  Karl Maucher is the grandson of Gertrude.  I read somewhere that Gertrude and FS had different mothers.  Am I totally wrong here?  Is there any validity to that?

Thank you,

Wasn't that only a rumor started here on this forum that came from someone misinterpreting a quote from a book? I have never seen it anywhere else. Of course they had the same mother, or the DNA wouldn't have matched.

Yes it was. And the writers of that book, "The Quest for Anastasia," were not amused by it. But they have a policy of simply ignoring all the "nutters" that try to get in touch with them and offer wild theories.....     

For those that do not have the book, here's what the authors of The Quest for Anastasia wrote:

...Her [Franziska's] father married twice, and she was a child of the second marriage and close to her brother Felix.  The first family were very religious and straitlaced, while Franziska and Felix were more open-minded... (page 223)

Greg and I understood this to mean that Felix and Fransizka were children of the second marriage, while the other Schanzkowsky children, including Gertrude, were possibly half-siblings as children of the first marriage.  Being alive to the possibilities that would arise if it could be shown that Franziska and Gertrude had different mothers, we telephoned the Kliers and asked them what they actually meant by the above-quoted assertion -- and what their sources were.  Unfortunately, the Kliers's book does not include footnotes.  Greg had a couple of conversations with the Kliers -- one with each of them -- and our business with them was concluded. They did not, contrary to Jeremy's assertions, call us "nutters."

~Penny Wilson

And to set the record straight, this is the entire history of King and Wilson's interaction with John Klier and Helen Mingay.

Yes it was. And the writers of that book, "The Quest for Anastasia," were not amused by it. But they have a policy of simply ignoring all the "nutters" that try to get in touch with them and offer wild theories.....     

This remark is clearly directed against Greg King and I, as anyone who knows the history of this board will recognize.  As such, it is a low and vicious blow.  I am not asking that the FA or mods remove it -- I just want it recognized for what it is.

~Penny Wilson

Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna / Re: Ella and Sergei
« on: January 09, 2007, 06:13:19 PM »

"... Even today it is claimed that the diary of an unnamed lady-in-waiting, which is said to confirm some of Serge's worst execesses, exists in private ownership in the United States. If it is true, one has to ask why, more than a century after Serge's death, the diary remains unpublished... "

Ella: Princess, Saint & Martyr, p.132.

In this particular case, the lady left wishes that her diary and other papers not be published until the expiration of a certain period of time following her death; we are still within that period.


There seem to be several recent threads that have touched on this topic, but I've started a new one in the hopes that we can confine as much discussion here as possible. 

We are already discussing this on the kingandwilson board -- and we thought I should link here to the collection of statements and evidence that we put together -- and Greg wrote up -- since it's a comprehensive accounting of who said what to whom and when:

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