Author Topic: "I am not afraid of death, but I am afraid of what they will do to us here."  (Read 17884 times)

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Offline clockworkgirl21

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This quote is attributed to Aleksey while he was in Ekaterinburg, and lately I've been a little suspicious of it. It was in "Nicholas and Alexandra" by Massie, but where did he get it?

We know Nicholas, Alexandra, and Olga were nervous about what the revolutionaries were going to do, even if they might not have really believed they were in danger of being killed. Maria and Anastasia didn't seem to be concerned, so why would Aleksey be? What's more, Aleksey was very ill for the last couple months of his life. Why would anyone let him know anything worrying, since he was in a struggle for his health?

Offline Sunny

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Maybe none let him knowing in the sense we understand. Wjat i mean is that he could feel his mother and older sister's worry&fear. He could feel it under his skin while they were spending time with him (expecially Alix and Olga). i'm sure they did not say nothing, but it's not easy to conceal something from a child - and remember that ill children are generally particularly sensitive. I'm sure we could understand and feel much more we can imagine.
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Offline Sarushka

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This quote is attributed to Aleksey while he was in Ekaterinburg, and lately I've been a little suspicious of it. It was in "Nicholas and Alexandra" by Massie, but where did he get it?

There's good reason to be suspicious of quotes and anecdotes that date from the Ekaterinburg period: since almost no one who was in the Ipatiev house with the imperial family survived, there are virtually no credible witnesses. I'll look further into it and see what I can find.

IMO, it sounds contrived.


ETA: Do you have a page number for the quote? I'm having trouble finding it in Massie.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 04:01:40 PM by Sarushka »
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Offline Sunny

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I don't know in Massie, but i remeber i saw it in King... perhaps... *browse through The last Empress"
Found! The last Empress, Italian translation, page 370. The notes says he took it from Massie, page 455 but i don't know wich edition of massie he had. I'll check mine.

*browing in Massie*
not on page 455, but on that page there's yakovlev. Uhm.
Ahaha! On page 452 in my Italian edition. The only source in those lines is a letter to Vyrubova, Massie says reported in Vyrubova's book page 338. No further info, but i assume he's talking about Memories of the russian Court? Alas my edition of it is a special one and in that page i found nothing.
I should look better in Vyrubova's book when i come from work.
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Offline blessOTMA

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I would certainly like where it is printed, but it does remind me of his request in 1912 to have a stone memorial in the woods. Something quite unexpected would often come out of him. I don't imagine the story is he said this to AF? I would find that a stretch...the other thing is, how does a quote get out of Ekaterinburg?  They weren't  allowed to speak to outsiders....So who this was supposedly said to is an important point

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Offline Sarushka

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It's actually attributed to the Tobolsk period, during Aleksei's hemorrhage after playing on his wooden sledge with Kolya Derevenko. It's on page 468 of my edition, which is about a third of the way into chapter 33. Massie does not give a source for this quote. The surrounding quotes are attributed to Gilliard and Vyrubova, but Aleksei's words do not appear in either memoir.

Even in Tobolsk, I find this quote dubious. This was allegedly said before the arrival of Yakovlev, at a time when the imperial family had little cause for worry. AF does not mention it in the description of Aleksei's illness in her letter to Vyrubova. Few people had access to Aleksei while he was ill, and of those who survived the two most likely candidates -- Gilliard and Gibbes -- are silent on the matter. (I will double check their statements in Wilton to be sure. ETA: nothing in Wilton.)

Another faint possibility is Claudia Bittner. I've seen small snippets of her recollections here and there -- usually as annotations. I find her recollections rather melodramatic, so she may be the most likely source. However, I don't know whether her testimony would have been accessible to Massie in the 1960s. At any rate, she made a 6-page statement to Sokolov, which I have in Nikolai Ross's Gibel' Tsarskoi Sem'i. At first glance I don't see any likely matches for Aleksei's quote but I'll have to take a closer look at the Russian when I have more time.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2011, 10:05:27 AM by Sarushka »
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Offline Sarushka

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The quote also appears on page 95 of Trewin. Trewin's House of Special Purpose was published in 1975, nearly a decade after Massie, and I suspect that's where he sourced this quote. Trewin's wording is very passive: "He [Aleksei] was heard to cry, 'I would like to die, Mama; I'm not afraid of death, but I'm so afraid of what they may do to us here.'" IMO, if Gibbes had witnessed this scene, Trewin would have made that clear instead of using the awkward "He was heard to cry..." Heard by whom?
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Offline blessOTMA

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It has a far better chance having happened if it was when he was ill in Tobolsk.... vastly more witnesses etc..." heard to cry " can mean though closed doors and repeatedly on the same theme. He did speak of his death at those times.  Morphine could have been given to calm him as well as relive his pain.....
..... This was allegedly said before the arrival of Yakovlev, at a time when the imperial family had little cause for worry.
oh I would say worry was always there...and to be honest, such  pain can make one almost clairvoyant
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AF does not mention it in the description of Aleksei's illness in her letter to Vyrubova.
well she wouldn't report such a statement it  seems to me...imo the most in a letter would be : "  baby is very agitated right now " 
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Few people had access to Aleksei while he was ill, and of those who survived the two most likely candidates -- Gilliard and Gibbes -- are silent on the matter.
True, but these men draw the curtain on thier experiences with the family as well as revealed them . I can 't see either reporting this as a I witnessed this event, even if they had.... too naked.   

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Offline Sarushka

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Your post is chasing its own tail -- you say there are "vastly more witnesses," yet you also believe it was too "naked" an event for any of the most probable candidates to report.

If this incident is true then somebody must have both witnessed and reported it. Who? Botkin, Nagorny, Hendrikova, and Schneider were shot, as were Trupp, Demidova, Sednev, and Kharitonov. There is no known testimony from Leonid Sednev. Buxhoeveden was not allowed into the house. NII and AF don't record it in their diaries. OTMA's diaries for 1918 are lost. Dehn, Volkov, Vyrubova, Gilliard, and Gibbes are silent.

Are there any credible witnesses left? Did Dr. Derevenko ever make a statement?
 
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Offline blessOTMA

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Your post is chasing its own tail -- you say there are "vastly more witnesses,"
Certainly more potential witness to everything than in Ekaterinburg
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yet you also believe it was too "naked" an event for any of the most probable candidates to report.
Too naked to baldy state in print or even to say....but to relate it as "  he was heard to cry ". Now we would have no problem quoting terrified a young boy. I would think his cries could be heard by many.
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NII and AF don't record it in their diaries.
I hardly think they would, even if AN said 10 times! My point is official silence doesn't disqualify such a horrifying statement....put it in the same drawer as the  "why don't they just shoot us now"  statement AN supposedly said just before leaving for Siberia. A writer, and then the  readers , must judge for themsleves . I find Massie and Trewin  reliable enough to leave the question open


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Offline Kalafrana

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I have a great deal of admiration for Massie as a writer, but he is not always clear about his sources. Further, he wrote Nicholas and Alexandra in 1968, when there was a lot less material available than today. I suspect it came from one of those 1920s memoirs.

Ann

Offline Sarushka

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Too naked to baldy state in print or even to say....but to relate it as "  he was heard to cry ". Now we would have no problem quoting terrified a young boy.

"He was heard to cry" is Trewin's wording -- it's not part of whatever material he was quoting from. Massie states it much more directly: "When it became intolerable, Alexis gasped between his screams, 'Mama, I would like to die...'" IMO, Trewin found the quote in Massie with no source attributed, and that's why his wording is so passive.

At any rate, if one author has Aleksei gasping the words between screams, and the other crying them out, I don't think we can make any assumptions about how far into the hallway and rooms beyond his voice might have traveled.


I have a great deal of admiration for Massie as a writer, but he is not always clear about his sources. Further, he wrote Nicholas and Alexandra in 1968, when there was a lot less material available than today. I suspect it came from one of those 1920s memoirs.


If the quote is legit, I also think the 1920's memoirs are the most likely source. However, I have most of those memoirs in searchable digital form, and so far I haven't been able to locate the quote. Trewin acknowledges Massie as a prime source, as well as Gilliard, Wilton, and a French edition of Sokolov.  I don't have Sokolov, but I do have Diterikhs and Ross, which reproduce a number of the statements Sokolov collected. Unfortunately both books are in Russian, which makes for slow searching.

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Offline Talya

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Just a note, Sednev was said to have written a memoir of the time in the Ipatiev House before he died in 1929. FOTR 507-8, their source is Platonov, the book is Ternovyi venets Rossi, 514 and also the following;
Sonin, 312
Yakubovskii 281

I see no reason why these can't include something from Tobolsk.

I have access to an edition (English) of Solokov, could I get a page number? (was Colonel Kobylinsky ever examined, besides the Solokov one?)
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Just a note, Sednev was said to have written a memoir of the time in the Ipatiev House before he died in 1929. FOTR 507-8, their source is Platonov, the book is Ternovyi venets Rossi, 514 and also the following;
Sonin, 312
Yakubovskii 281

I see no reason why these can't include something from Tobolsk.

I have access to an edition (English) of Solokov, could I get a page number? (was Colonel Kobylinsky ever examined, besides the Solokov one?)

  Regarding "Sednev was said to have written a memoir":  To date, no one has EVER been able to produce even ONE documented, authenticated sentence from Leonid I. Sednev's so-called "memoir." Thus the time span and content are unknown.  ALLEGEDLY it was: (1.) "brief" and (2.) was deposited in the archives of his Oblast, but to this day, it seems to have been "lost to history."  Even his death date/cause is in dispute. There are at least 22 pages on the subject "Leonid Sednev" on this board and the pros and cons of his existence are discussed there.   AP.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2011, 06:43:50 AM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Offline Talya

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I never said he did write a memoir, I said he was said to have written a memoir. I wouldn't be surprised if there was one, and I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't one. It is possible that the sources mentioned above gave a little snippit, but I dont know, because I dont have the book.
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