Author Topic: The chairs in the murder room  (Read 20679 times)

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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2006, 07:56:15 AM »

If the purpose was to get them down the stairs into the basement room without much fuss I don't think the photo story would make much sense. It was after midnight, the family had gone to bed, they were awakened and told to get dressed. How would you react if you were told this was being done so they could photograph you.


I do not find the photograph story inherently untenable, if you consider it from another angle.

Nicholas might well have known that Yurovsky had been a professional photographer before the revolution.  (Family members seem to have had some personal conversations with Yurovsky and members of the guard, and all the family were avid amateur photographers.)  Also, the imperial family was quite used to the notion of having significant events recorded photograhically, and they had been photographed in Tobolsk on several occasions.

Given the intended means of execution, it would have been useful to have the family and retainers clustered together at the time the firing squad entered the room, rather than scattered about the room as would have been likely if they were just waiting for transport to arrive.

So, might they have been told they were being moved to another location for safety as the reason for keeping them calm while being taken to the basement -- and then told they were going to be photographed before departure for the purpose of getting them to cluster together for the massacre?

Given Yurovsky's earlier profession and their own comfort with being photographed, I cannot think of a better pretext for setting up the scene for the murders.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2006, 09:18:03 AM »
The photo story makes sense to me. Of course the family was brought downstairs with the ruse that there was unrest in the city and they had to be moved to another location. But once there it makes perfect sense to me that Yurovsky, an amateur photographer, would tell the family and servants their picture needed to be taken. This story originated with Radzinsky, by the way. It's on page 386 of The Last Tsar:

"A man called me after the publication of my first article [about the murder of the Romanovs]. He started right in:
'I will tell you what the second generation of Soviet agents was told in agent school....this is 1927-1929.... at agent classes we were told the following...: they had to arrange the family as conveniently as possible for the execution. The room was narrow, and they were worried the family would crowd together. Then Yurovsky had an idea. He told them they had to go down to the cellar because there was danger of firing on the house. While they were at it, they had to be photographed because people in Moscow were worried and various rumors were going around - to the effect that they had fled....So they went downstairs and stood - for a photograph along the wall. And when they had lined up....'"
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Offline Bev

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2006, 10:46:57 AM »
Either ruse would have worked, but the most likely in my opinion is that neither Alexei or his mother could stand for very long (or at all) so she might well have asked for chairs, otherwise the Tsar would have been holding the son for quite some time - perhaps Yurovsky thought that might have made it more difficult to shoot him, either way it's the kind of minute detail that the killers might have overlooked. 

The chairs are in the corners of someone's bedroom with clothes thrown upon them, the owner completely unaware of their history.  (Just kidding.)

Offline James1941

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2006, 01:54:30 PM »
   Your joke that the chairs might be in someone's bedroom may be right on the money and exactly what happened to these two chairs (Yurovsky says two, one for Alexandra and one for Alexis, with Nicholas standing in front of his son).
It was entirely possible that after the execution the chairs were taken from the room and mixed in with the other furniture of the house. No one knew the significance of them. They might well have survived in the house for a long time, being used in the various offices that the Bolsheviks put the house to afterwards. We know Gibbes took a chandelier and some other household items, and probably other White officials and friends took souveniers. It is possible someone took the chairs without knowing how historical they were and put them in their house. Anything is posible. What value they would have today if they could be traced.
    And I still don't buy the story of photos. Yurovsky surely would have mentioned it in his many depositions if it had any truth, and so would the others whose "eyewitness" accounts leave some question. As for Radzinsky's account that the story came from a former secret policeman, well. It was 2:00 in the morning. There was only a small dim bulb in the room. There were plenty of better places in the house for a group photo than that basement room. I think it would have caused more trouble than help if the purpose was to keep the family  calm and suspecting nothing.The family had been told that there was trouble in the town and that they were going to be moved to a safer location. They dressed leisurely, came down the stairs and went into the room without any concern. Yurovsky says they had no clue what was going to happen. There was no need for so silly a pretence as a group photo at that time of the morning. I however admit I have no firm evidence one way or the other. Yurovsky says Alexandra passed by him into the room with a look that said she expected a bow to her. Olga led the girls and was disdainful but the other three "smiled naturally at us in their usual cheeful manner."  It was Alexandra who asked, "Why is there no chair here? Is it forbidden to sit down?"

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2006, 02:18:37 PM »
Although I initially thought the idea logical, James has now raised my doubts I guess.  re:photographs. It really does not matter in the end, though, does it.
However, NOW I am intrigued about the blasted chairs! Yes, I would also guess Thonet, but is this because they are what have been depicted in the films ? Having had them both at home [hate them!] and at the shop, I am rather familiar with them.  I doubt they would have survived the mayhem & mess.  IF they did, though, having traces of the blood on them would make them holy relics would it not?
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Offline lexi4

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2006, 02:26:10 PM »
Who would have thought this much discussion could come about over chairs? I am intrigued as well. I don't buy the photo story either. Of course, I have no proof, but it does defy logic. I don't think anyone in the IF ever thought they would be executed. I think they thought they would be rescued.
It seems difficult to believe that the chairs would not have been blasted to pieces or that anyone would want to use them as they surely had blood all over them.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in a pretty and well preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow ---- What a ride!!!"

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2006, 02:31:06 PM »
Remember the Bosheviks had to fashion makeshift stretchers to carry the bodies out. They used blankets and pieces of an old sleigh, as I recall. They might also have used the legs of the chairs left in the murder room. Anything is possible, but I think this scenario is more likely than that which envisions the Ural Bolsheviks beating the few remaining survivors with chair-legs. I think if the latter had happened, it would have been recounted by the executioners in their memoirs.
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Offline Bev

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2006, 03:20:04 PM »
I can't remember - was the house turned over to the owner after the bolsheviki and whites finished their chapter in the drama?  Did the owner abandon or sell it and move away, I remember something like that, but I'm not sure.  Locally, I would imagine that the house had a tremendous amount of superstition attached to it, after the tragedy.

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2006, 04:05:41 PM »
Where did the original story of the photography originate, anyway?

And, mind you . . . I was not suggesting Yurovsky actually took photographs.  I was just musing about whether the family might have been asked to assemble for a photograph as a means of getting them into a group without arousing their suspicions.

Unless the original source regarding a photograph has some reason to be accorded credbility, though, I admit it's rather specious musing.

Offline James1941

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2006, 05:24:25 PM »
For Bev, who asked about the Ipatiev House. I posted a reply. Stupidly I was on the post for "Did Nicholas Have to Abdicate." and it is there. I don't know how to transfer it. I have asked for the Moderator's help and maybe he will. My apologies for being such a bumble bum.

Offline Sarushka

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2006, 06:11:48 PM »
Here it is, James:

In answer to Bev's question about the disposition of the house, I am going to take information from King and Wilson's book TFOTR. I know  a good many posters on this forum shun this book, but I have no reason to doubt their information concerning the fate of the house itself.
When the Whites captured Ekaterinburg the house was immediately occupied, and the investigation began.
Part of the house was used as a residence for General Rudolf Gaida, the Czech Legion general. He slept in the corner bedroom that Nicholas, Alexandra and Alexis had slept in. The Whites made a very through search of the house during the winter of 1918 and summer of 1919. They were very through in making an inventory of the items in the house. Some fifty crates full of these items were packed and shipped east. Supposedly they were eventually turned over to GD Xenia A in England.
In 1920 the Bolsheviks created a Museum of the People's Vengence in the house. The musuem caretaker and his family lived in the house and 'he eats on the same wooden table as the Imperial Family once did."
The museum was on the upper floor, while the ground floor was occupied by the Sverdlovsk Boshevik Club.
The murder room was kept locked, and used to store file cabinets and such.
During World War II the house was a depository for Romanov treasures shipped from Leningrad to avoid German capture.
At the end of the war, the museum was dismantled. The house became the offices for the Ural State University. Since Sverdlovsk was off limits to foreign travelers without special permits, few outsiders visited the house. Those few who did and who requested it were often allowed to visit the house and the murder room. In a report in 1975 to the Politburo KGB chairman Adropov noted that the house ..."still stands in the center of the town. It now accomodates a study center of the Regional Central Adminstration...."
In 1977 the house was demolished over a period of three days. The carved chimney piece from the dining room wass salvaged, along with a few other relics. It is now in the local museum.
It seems that Nicholas Ipatiev and his wife immigrated with the White captured of the town and finally settled in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where he died in 1938. I don't know if he ever visited the house after the Bolsheviks had evacuated it in July, 1918.


Oops. I meant to post this on the post for The Chairs in the Murder Room. I don't know how to transfer it. Moderator, HELP!!!!!

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Offline James1941

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2006, 06:18:10 PM »
Thank you. I am your obedient servant.

Offline lexi4

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2006, 07:04:07 PM »
Does anyone know if there was a list/inventory of items that were in the house prior and after the execution? It would be interesting to see such a list if it exists.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in a pretty and well preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow ---- What a ride!!!"

Offline clockworkgirl21

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2006, 10:32:39 PM »
Quote
Does anyone know if there was a list/inventory of items that were in the house prior and after the execution? It would be interesting to see such a list if it exists

Such a list does exist! I saw it at this very web site, actually. *goes to find it*

EDIT: Here you go.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2006, 10:34:31 PM by clockworkgirl21 »

Offline Bev

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Re: The chairs in the murder room
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2006, 01:31:55 PM »
Thank you for the information, James.