Author Topic: Yurovsky's confusion  (Read 4111 times)

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Offline Mander

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Yurovsky's confusion
« on: January 22, 2006, 09:42:15 PM »
I'm reading in FOTR. Yurovsky stated that they had intended to burn Alexei and Alexandra's bodies however by mistake had burned the lady in waiting.

Then a paragraph down he says:

"Into the grave they went: Nicholas, Alexandra, three of their daughters, and the four retainers . . ."

I'm not clear on if these statements were from different reports or made at around the same time. Since he hadn't slept in so long and was so frustrated, I can see where he definitely got confused. I'm sure the bodies were hard to recognize at this point, esp if the women had all been shot in the head as was mentioned earlier. If someone can clear this up for me, I'd appreciate it. I've already seen the other threads and I know he made contradictory statements. I'm just interested where these particular ones came from.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Yurovsky's confusion
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2006, 10:36:10 AM »
Over on the thread "Questions about Yurovsky's Statement" I've placed  Yurovsky's 1920s statements.  I've placed the link to the URL on this forum which has his 1934 testimony after he had read Sokolov's report.¬ 

I think the first post is at the bottom of this URL:

http://hydrogen.pallasweb.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=lastdays;action=display;num=1106530719;start=150#150

Yurovsky made two statements.

Yurovsky admits making the mistake with the body of Demidova for that of Emress Alexandra.

According to forensic scientists, ¬ the bodies would not have been bloated or mishappen so ¬ most people would have been able to tell who was who, and, certainly, ¬ these men could tell the difference between an older woman when comparing it to a seventeen year old.

According to Yurovsky, ¬ they didn't use the butts of the rifles on the faces until just before the nine were placed into the mass grave.

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« 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 Louis_Charles

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Re: Yurovsky's confusion
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2006, 02:06:58 PM »
It isn't necessarily Yurovsky who made the error, unless he himself placed the body on the fire, of course. Your mistake is in the attempt to impose order upon a disorderly situation.

Interesting to note that both of the women (Demidova and Anastasia)  involved in this supposed pyre were on the heavyset side. Both had been shot, bayoneted, and suffered severe bruising during the shootings (as several people pointed out, the fact that the bullets were repelled by the jewels the Grand Duchesses were wearing does not mean that they didn't suffer from the impact). There was a lot of blood, the bodies were naked, and frankly, we don't know what they looked like after their post-mortem treatment. Assume that Yurovsky didn't see who was on the fire until it had at least partially disfigured Anastasia --- or Marie --- and it becomes a possibility that he is telling the truth when he says at first that Demidova's body was burned.

I refer you to the Gotterdamnerung chapter in King and Wilson's FATE OF THE ROMANOVS. This was a horrifying, mismanaged and messy event from start to finish. Why not simply take the family out and shoot them, as was done with Grand Duke Michael? Why not execute them where the bodies would be left, as with Grand Duchess Ella? And since items such as Alexandra's wheelchair were left behind in the Ipatiev House, why assume that they wanted the White to believe that the family, or even the women only, had been relocated?

What gives Yurovsky versimilitude (to me, at least) is the fact that he didn't disguise certain botched aspects of the murders (guards refusing to shoot women, two attempts to dispose of the bodies, misidentification of Demidova with Alexandra). His "confusion" is understandable to some degree.
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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Yurovsky's confusion
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2006, 06:43:21 PM »
1920
Yurovsky's statement:
>> Since we had not reached the mine, it was necessary to either bury or burn the corpses.  One conrade, whose last name the comm. has forgotten, promised to take the latter upon himself but left without carrying out his promise.  
 
We wanted to burn A. [Aleksei] and A.F., but by mistake the lady-in-waiting [the maid Demidova] was burnt with A. instead.  We then immediately buried the remains under the fire and lit the fire again, which comletely covered up traces of the digging.  Meanwhile, we dug a common grave for the rest. <<

1938
Yurovsky's statement:

>> A fire was made and while the graves where being prepared we burned two corpses: Alexei and Demidova. The pit was dug near the fire. The bones were buried, the land was leveled. A big fire was made again and all the traces were covered with ashes. Before putting the other corpses into the pit we poured sulpheric acid over them. The pit was filled up and covered with the ties.<<

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« 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

Offline Mander

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Re: Yurovsky's confusion
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2006, 08:41:48 PM »
Thanks, AgrBear. I've actually read that thread and am still a bit confused on at what point did he change his story from it was Demidova to Anastasia?

I have certainly gleaned from that chapter that it was a first class mess! Utter chaos to say the least. It is certainly understandable that they would mistake bodies. I know the bodies weren't bloated and they possibly didn't use the rifle butts until after. I still have to wonder about the facial recognition. They were all shot in the head and I would think that would cause a great deal of damage. Especially if they were shot at close range.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Yurovsky's confusion
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2006, 05:34:32 PM »
Seems to me the men, young or old, could tell the difference between the aging bodies of Empress Alexandra and Demidova to that of the youthful bodies of any of the G D Duchess, be they slim or carrying some "baby fat" as some claim GD Anastasia was.

We do not kow exactly where Yurovsky was during these events.  He makes his statement read  as though he was right there for the buriel of the two and the nine.  He tells us the graves were near each other,  so,  if we're to go by what he tells us,  then,  all he had to do was walk back and forth to make sure the right people were buried where he wanted them buried.

Why or when Yurovsky realized that one of the two bodies was not Alexandra,  I don't know.  Just as I don't know why he thought the one buried with Alexei was Demidova.  The missing body isn't Demidova.  The missing body is one of the Grand Duchesses.

Yes,  he does tell us that the events of the evening didn't go according as he had hoped.  In fact,  he wasn't even suppose to be part of the burial group in the first place.

The best liers are the ones who can stay close to the truth because lies are harder to remember.

There is talk about Ermakove being drunk.  For all I know,  since it was pay day,  the entire group, including Yurovsky, may have had one to many.... The thought of having to kill eleven people, some very pretty and young,  might have caused hestitation in all the shooters and a couple of drinks may have been downed to build up their courage.  As it was, several guards announced they wouldn't shoot anyone that night...  

Too much drinking would explain why both Yurovsky and his friend fell off the horses and each were hurt returning to Ekaterinburg.

And, ¬†it bothers me that Yurovsky admits that he read Sokolov's report before he made his second testimony which gave him the opportunity to squeeze in a couple of ¬†additional points left out in the earlier testimony of 1920.  He also tells us that he looked at photographs of the buriel area which Ermakov and his buddies had taken.  

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« 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

Offline Mander

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Re: Yurovsky's confusion
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2006, 08:20:31 PM »
I agree that I would think they could tell the difference. My only guess is that if they were distorted, swelled or even covered in blood. I know that they said when they were pulled from the water they were not and looked asleep; however, I suppose that could have been a stretch. Although, from what I've read from that night, drunkin eyesite may very well have been a factor. It sounds like no one knew what they were doing!

Offline Louis_Charles

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Re: Yurovsky's confusion
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2006, 09:56:38 PM »
Since some of them had been shot in the head, I think it is indeed a stretch to say that they looked asleep.
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Offline Mander

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Re: Yurovsky's confusion
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2006, 10:00:43 PM »
I agree! After I read the account in FOTR and discovered most of them had been shot in the head, I wondered about how they could identify them just by looking at the bodies themselves.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Yurovsky's confusion
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2006, 09:57:56 AM »
There's no reason to suppose that Yurovsky or his assistant, Nikulin, were drunk, AGR Bear. They were committed Bolsheviks and as such no doubt adhered to rigid party discipline. Neither had a reputation for drinking, unlike Ermakov, who was known to be an alcoholic.

That some of the other men under Yurovsky's command were probably drunk, at least during the botched burials, can only be surmised. But it makes sense, knowing as much as we do about the behavior of ordinary men called upon to commit mass murder and/or cover up its traces. Also, as you mention it was pay-day and there was testimony that some of the exterior guards were drunk even before the killings started.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Yurovsky's confusion
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2006, 03:54:03 PM »
I should have added, that I think Yurovsky's seeming confusion over some of the events of July 17-19, 1918 was probably due to his lack of sleep during this period of time. Remember that he went at least (at least!) 48 hours without any sleep. By dawn of July 19, when the final burial of the IF was at long last accomplished, he must have been literally reeling on his feet from sleep deprivation. I think that's more than significant. And significant as well for some of the other members of the burial team.
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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Yurovsky's confusion
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2006, 03:17:19 PM »
Quote
I should have added, that I think Yurovsky's seeming confusion over some of the events of July 17-19, 1918 was probably due to his lack of sleep during this period of time. Remember that he went at least (at least!) 48 hours without any sleep. By dawn of July 19, when the final burial of the IF was at long last accomplished, he must have been literally reeling on his feet from sleep deprivation. I think that's more than significant. And significant as well for some of the other members of the burial team.


Sleep deprivation is probably part of Yurovsky's confusion if hadn't been to sleep since the night of the 15th.  Even then,  we'd have to assume he didn't get that much sleep on the night before he was to be the leader of the execution of the Last Crown Emperor/Tsar of Alll the Russias.

Could Yurovsky have stayed awake from the 15th to the 19th/20th???

AGRBear
« 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