Author Topic: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary  (Read 16773 times)

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Delin Colon

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Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« on: August 17, 2004, 11:15:07 PM »
I am a great great niece to Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary.  My father was his great nephew.  Simanovitch came to New York in 1923, which is when my father (then 6 yrs. old) met him.  He also had a brother and niece who lived in New Jersey, whom he saw at that time.  His trip to New York is substantiated by Ellis Island records.  Simanovitch was last seen in Paris, in 1941, when he and  one of his sons (Semyen, I believe) were captured by the Nazis.  After that, there is no trace of him, no record in any concentration camp. Many have criticized him for exaggerating his own importance in the life of the Romanovs and Rasputin, but having translated his memoirs, I've learned (and substantiated through Russian historians) that he was responsible for saving the lives of many Jews and averting many pogroms on Jewish villages. Whatever else his sins, saving the oppressed Jews was his mission, having witnessed the mutilated corpses of his friends, neighbors and relatives, in his hometown of Kiev.

Annie

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2004, 08:17:29 AM »
Thank you, that's interesting! He was a hero! Did you find anything new for us on Rasputin?

delincolon

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2004, 11:55:29 AM »
Rasputin was a champion of the underdog... the peasants, the Jews, the non-aristocrat.  He was so maligned in history because history is not written by the common man... it is written by the rulers and aristocrats. Russia, being notoriously anti-Semitic, viewed Rasputin as a Jew-lover, among other things, and have glossed over the good he did for hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged and poor people, and have concentrated on how he 'took advantage' of the nobility. He "used" the Russian court to get young people an education, get them housing, food, a livelihood, etc.  Rasputin, who is depicted as evil, never killed a single human being, yet the tzar slaughtered many many innocent people.

Robert_Hall

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2004, 12:21:20 PM »
Although I have no personal opinion on Rasputin, one way or the other, I have been curious about him for years.
It is refreshing to hear something positive said in regards to him.  
Part of my curiosity is: are there any descendants NOW ? I have read the book his daughter was involved with, but that did not contain much in the way of descendants.
Also, I have asked this question many times before, never any answer.
Just curious,
Robert

Annie

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2004, 12:31:38 PM »
I never thought Rasputin was evil and I am perplexed as he got that rep over time, like in the "Anastasia" cartoon, and a recent book I saw at the store on 'the most evil men in history' that had him on the cover with Hitler and Stalin and Idi Amin! I really think his myth has grown because of the 'mystical' things associated with him, the predictions, his healing powers, his alleged resistence to poison and bullets, etc. I don't think it had anything to do with him helping the poor or the Jews, not to most people. Even Yussoupov, one of his killers, was active in charity work and had given money as well as his time to the poor and had plans to distribute his fortune and estates to the poor had the revolution not taken it from him. I think the reason he was considered a bad influence in St. Petersburg is because of his effect on the Tsarina and the hiring and firing of officials, even miltary personnel, as well fueling the rumors against the Tsarina which the revolutionaries were spreading and perpetuating to their own advantage. But I do not believe Rasputin was a bad guy at all. In fact he is one of my favorite characters in this drama.

delincolon

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2004, 12:30:35 PM »
Marya Rasputin was his only surviving child.  His daughter, Varya was killed trying to leave Russia with some memoribilia from the imperial family.  His son died in Russia, as a young adult, I believe.  I do not know if Marya ever had any children.  I've not found any mention of children.

olga

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2004, 02:25:39 AM »
Didn't Grigori Yefimovich have two sons, one retarded and the other not?

rskkiya

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2004, 09:13:02 AM »
I agree with Olga (but then when do I not! :D)

   I have my doubts that Rasputin would have thought of himself as EVIL.  I should guess that he was "reinvented" as an dark occult force, by those on both the left and right --who may have seen the Imperial Family's devotion to him as superstitious and silly/or as a crude peasant dragging the Romanovs good name thru' the mud. Both views are very simplistic and rather inaccurate!
    I don't know about how much of a "pro-semite" he was - as I think he learned to reflect back the biases and steriotypes of those people he might advise --just as his 'antiwar" views changed quickly after 1914 so he might have found it wiser to hint at somethings, rather than shout them out.
He would have a promising career in public relations today!

rskkiya

Janet_W.

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2004, 11:45:40 AM »
Many thanks, delincolon, for your fascinating and highly enlightening information re: your great-great uncle, Aron Simanovitch, and his employer, Gregory Rasputin.  It was disheartening to read of Aron's disappearance, and that of his son, at the hands of the Nazis.

You mentioned that you had translated his memoirs. Forgive my ignorance, but have they been published?

Although I enjoyed some aspects of the Anastasia cartoon, I was profoundly irritated by the transformation of Rasputin into some sort of Disneyesque super-villain. (I realize it was tempting to do so, but still I think the storyboarders should be walloped!!) Dissolute, yes. Evil? No. I have no doubt Rasputin was an opportunist and something of a charlatan. But apart from his drinking and seductions, he seems to have had a good heart when it came to assisting the downtrodden. (And as a representative of the Russian Orthodox faith, good for him that he stood up for Jews!) Rasputin did have a talent for ingratiating himself with "higher-ups" and enjoying the largesse of others. And he was also quite the spin-meister. As rskkya mentioned, he would have undoubtedly excelled in pubic relations had he lived in current times! But to plaster Rasputin on a book cover (I've also seen it) re: evil people in history is a misinterpretation. I think we owe some of this to our friend Felix Yussopov, who seems to have been fond of hyperbole. Undoubtedly Rasputin was charismatic, mystical, and sometimes over-the-top, but I wouldn't be surprised if Felix (another over-the-top individual!) added some mighty fancy embroidery, especially re: the murder of Rasputin.

Also, I remember reading that Rasputin was the father of two girls and two boys. One of the boys was mentally disadvantaged. The other, if I recall correctly, died . . . perhaps in the war? Of the girls, I did not recall reading that Varya had been killed, but her demise at that time  would explain why we did not read anything further about her, as we did from Maria. And I'm not sure about Maria having any descendents; I'd need to check the book she wrote in conjuction with Patte Barham. (Ah, to have 25 hours in the day!) I do remember reading that Maria had become a well-liked neighborhood babysitter. After her rather legendary and semi-eccentric career as (among other things) a circus performer and "keeper of the flame" re: her father, it's nice to think of Maria being accepted and loved by her neighbors and their children!

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2004, 12:03:47 PM »
Janet
The "Rasputin" memoirs by Simanovich were published in French in the 1920s. We have a copy.
I mean no disrespect to Ms. Colon, but, frankly, there is so much complete fabrication and self-serving dis-information in them it is hard to know what is true and what is not.
Frankly, I gave up after 3 or 4 chapters... Here is just one example of how totally inaccurate the book is, from only Chapter 2 (my translation):
"The Tsar and Tsarina quarrelled often, as both of them were extremely nervous.  Sometimes the Tsarina would exist for whole weeks without exchanging a single word with her husband.  She suffered from hysterical crises.  The Tsar drank heavily, had an evil appearance, an indolent manner and took a mistress for himself.  It was exactly in these troubled times that the news of the miraculous healings of Rasputin arrived at the Court.  It was told that he healed the most serious illness with the help of mysterious herbs. This gave a new spirit to the Tsar and Tsarina.  The order was given to bring Rasputin with all speed to the Imperial Palace."

We know that virtually not a word of this one paragraph is true.
It goes on an on like this. Sadly, what facts might be in the book are overwhelmed by this total fiction. The book seems to have been written more to gain widespread readership and thus income, than to have been an accurate account of what he experienced.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by admin »

Janet_W.

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2004, 12:21:34 PM »
Hmm . . . sensationalism piled upon sensationalism. But perhaps Ms. Colon had access to something other than the French edition?

I can believe that Nicholas and Alexandra had their disagreements--what couple has not?--and of course many have mentioned Alexandra's tendency to be nervous, sometimes to the point of hysteria . . . but the rest of what you quoted sounds like someone sitting by the campfire, spinning a fantastic tale.

delincolon

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2004, 01:30:51 PM »
It's interesting to me that some of you seem to have personal knowledge of the tzar and tzarina's characters, and while Aron certainly had an inflated sense of self-importance, there is documentation as to the pogroms that were thwarted due to Rasputin's intervention, the 200 jewish dentists who were released from house arrest, due to Rasputin's intervention, the many jews who, due to Rasputin's intervention, were admitted to universities, even though the jewish quotas were filled.  If you only read 3 or 4 chapters of the book, you're really not in a position to discount the actual historical cases  that were enumerated and easily validated.  Maria Rasputin also validates Rasputin's interventions on the part of the Jews, in her books.  And she had no vested interest in supporting Aron's claims.  But people will always believe the version of history that is told by those who are in power.  The common man who has experienced it is rarely considered a source to be believed.

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2004, 02:04:15 PM »
As I said,
Certainly there IS some truth to what he wrote. The problem is that he, frankly and bluntly MADE UP alot of what he wrote. I gave up the translation after 3 or 4 chapters, I read the whole book. By making up blatant untruths he casts doubt on the veracity of the rest of the book; specifically for example: Nicholas drinking heavily. We HAVE the court records about what the Tsar drank. We HAVE first hand accounts from many people who knew Nicholas (not just "in power" but diplomats, visitors, guests, etc) that all concur that Nicholas drank very little alcohol and never to excess.
We have the Court records to prove Nicholas NEVER "took a mistress"...We have the Court records about when where and how Rasputin met the Tsar and Tsarina for the first time, and frankly, Simanovitch simply made these statements up out of whole cloth to create a more "sensational" and saleable book.
I truly mean no personal disrespect to you Ms Colon, but these are facts, not assumptions.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by admin »

rskkiya

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2004, 02:13:56 PM »
FA
Would the court keep records if the tsar had a mistress?

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Re: Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's secretary
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2004, 02:26:52 PM »
Court records detailed exactly who was allowed into see the Tsar at all times as well as exactly where the Tsar went, when, and with whom he met.  Do not forget that he was followed at all times outside the palace by the secret security police, who kept exact records of every person the Tsar ever met as well. Every person allowed into any Palace was stopped a minimum of three times and their identity noted down in log books and checked against lists of those expected and permitted in.

It is a virutal certainty that Nicholas never had a mistress during his marriage.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by admin »