Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Romanovs Part 6: After Life

There is a truck driving around the woods outside of Yekaterinburg, carrying the sheet-wrapped bodies of eleven brutally murdered victims. The truck is heading toward the Koptyaki woods, where Yurovsky had earlier identified disused mineshafts that might work as a gravesite. But the truck breaks down.

Another gang of men wait in the woods for them. Turns out there's only one shovel amongst them.
Yurovsky dismissed the majority of the men. The victims were stripped--this is when the jewels sewn into underwear, corsets, hats and other items were discovered--disfigured, dumped into the mineshaft, and doused with sulphuric acid. Their clothing was burned.

But Yurovsky realized the mineshaft wasn't deep enough. The men tried to grenade the mineshaft into collapsing, but it still wasn't good enough.

The murder of the Romanov family and their loyal retainers is so messy that yeah, you could almost believe that one of the children, wounded and injured but still breathing, could have crawled away undiscovered. Almost. I can even see how it's tempting to want one of the men involved that night to have a heart somewhere and smuggle a child away to safety.

But that's not what happened. 

Yurovsky left three men to guard the mine and returned to Yekaterinburg with a bag full of looted diamonds. When he returned the next day at 4 am with more men, they brought up the bodies from the shallow mineshaft, intending to bring them to another, deeper disused mine.

Koptyaki Road, taken in 1919 by Sokolov. He didn't realize the second
burial site was under those railroad ties.

But the truck got stuck in the mud. Really stuck in the mud. They were near a place called Pig's Meadow. Dawn was approaching, everyone was tired, so Yurovsky decided to just bury the bodies under the road they were stuck in. They dug a grave and the bodies were tossed in except for Alexei's body and one of his sisters. 

Once the grave was covered over, railroad ties were put on top of it to help move the truck and the truck drove over the railroad ties a few times to disguise the fresh grave. 

Then the men tried to cremate Alexei's body and that of one of his sisters. Their bodies--severely disfigured, burned, and covered in acid--were buried separately from the rest of the family. In the meantime, back at the Ipatiev House, the Romanovs' belongings were being rifled through.

Within a few days, the Bolshevik government released the news that Nicholas II had been shot. They said "his wife and son have been moved to a secured place."


The Sokolov Investigation


A week after the Romanov family was murdered, Yekaterinburg was taken by the White Army. The White Army established an investigation, but it was terrible, so in 1919, they put a magistrate named Nikolai Sokolov in charge of the investigation. In the course of his investigation, Sokolov interviewed the surviving members of the Romanov entourage, including the childrens' tutors. He interviewed guards, soldiers, and locals. He went through the Ipatiev House, where the Reds had left a mess. 

The basement room where the Romanov family was killed. The wall was torn
apart by investigators in 1919, looking for bullets.

Remember, the government only admitted that Nicholas was shot and killed. There were suspicions that the rest of the family had been killed as well. In the initial investigation just after the Whites took Yekaterinburg, investigators found the first mineshaft, where in their haste to bring up the bodies and rebury them, Yurovsky and his men left a lot of evidence lying around--bone fragments, Dr. Botkin's dentures and glasses, corset stays, belt buckles, shoes, pearls, diamonds, a few bullet casings, some odds and ends like old nails which the Tsarevich kept in his pockets, and a severed female finger.

Sokolov also noted evidence of fire and containers which had contained sulphuric acid and concluded that the bodies had been cremated at the site. 

When the Red Army retook Yekaterinburg, Sokolov boxed up his evidence and reports and shipped them out of the country to France. Sokolov himself left Russia in 1920. In 1924, the year he died, Sokolov compiled his investigation into a book, The Murder of the Imperial Family. His conclusions stood as the only semi-definitive answer to the mystery of the Romanov murders and burials for at least seventy years. 

But with no bodies or ashes or a definite grave found, rumors and imposters persisted--and the Soviets didn't confirm everyone's deaths until about eight years after. 

When George V of England received confirmation in autumn 1918 from his diplomats in Russia that the whole family had been killed, one of the first people he wrote to was his cousin Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven. The marchioness had been born Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine--and she was Alexandra and Elizabeth's older sister. 


At the 1894 wedding of Prince Ernest Louis of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Victoria Melita
of Edinburgh. In the second row, from left to right: future tsar Nicholas, his fiancee Alix, Victoria Milford Haven, Ernest Louis. Front row, from left to right: Irene, Princess Heinrich of Prussia, another Hesse sister; Grand Duchess Elizabeth, later an Orthodox nun; Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh; and Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, Nicholas's uncle and Elizabeth's husband.


You can't imagine what her reaction must've been--in fact, when World War One broke out back in 1914, Victoria and her daughter had been on a visit to Russia. Victoria had tried to talk her sister Alexandra out of her devotion to Rasputin. Victoria and her daughter Louise were in Yekaterinburg when the war began--she'd seen the Ipatiev House--and they had had to race back to St. Petersburg so they could return to England quickly. So quickly that Victoria left a lot of her jewelry with Alexandra.

At some point during the war and the Russian Revolution,Victoria wrote to George V about her Russian relatives that while she "understood that the boy is a political asset, surely the girls cannot be of value" and offered to take in her nieces in England, where Victoria and her husband lived. 

Extra tidbit: Victoria Milford Haven is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh's grandmother. She helped raise him. Decades later, Prince Philip said he'd "love to visit Russia, except the bastards murdered half of my family."

In the 1990s, when the main grave was located and the skeletons found, Prince Philip contributed DNA to be matched against Alexandra's and her daughters--because Prince Philip has the same mitochondrial DNA as Alexandra and her daughters, through his mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. 



Okay, gang, now you get to choose. Do you want to read more about the Romanovs?
A) Yes!
B) No, my brain's exploding.
C) Yeah, tell me about the other Romanovs, too.
D) Imposters?
E) How did they find the graves?
F) Everything except B

Do let me know in the comments, on Twitter, or Facebook!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Introducing Fuckbois of Literature: A New Podcast

Hello gang! Today I am bringing you a repeat guest and Friend to The Blog, Emily Edwards, who you all may remember from previous guest posts here as the author of Collecting the Constellations and Pursue The Unknown End. Emily is now launching a new creative endeavor--a podcast called Fuckbois of Literature--so I had to ask her about it.

Have a listen to the introduction here:




1. Fuckbois of Literature is an irreverant, hilarious deep dive into the problematic characters in literature. Where the heck did this idea come from?



    A few months back, a comedian named Sara Benincasa asked her followers, "If you could murder anyone from literature, who would you kill?" It's morbid and macabre, but without hesitation, I responded back with JANE EYRE, because, you know, she's awful. She married someone after he locked his first wife in the attic! I thought nothing of the response, but the tweet– both Sara's and mine– went viral, and I woke up to hundreds of replies. People were very upset I said Jane and not Rochester (whom I also despise), and I went on to have a chat with two women studying literature at Oxford about how much we hate literary fuckbois. And... voila. For what it's worth, both Jane and Rochester are fuckbois. So is Blanche Ingram. They're all terrible.


2. What does "fuckboi" mean to you?


At first, it meant traditional Romantic, Byronic heroes like Rochester– they're manipulative and cruel and play power games; they're almost always wealthy and have some sort of unbalance, but their heroines are obsessed with them, and they're written to make the readers root for these really disastrous relationships. But my definition is changing, especially when trying to understand how these characters appear in modern times, because they aren't ever going away. Instagram influencers come up a lot in conversations. Fuckbois are like pornography– hard to define, but you know it when you see it. 

3. You've had a March Madness-style Fuckboi bracket going on. How did you decide on who to feature this time around?

Most of them come from my own background in character-loathing, but also some research. It turns out, a lot of people hate the same characters from literature, and even writers from literature who are heralded even though, if they lived now, they'd probably be boo'd at readings or picketed at college campuses, and man, rightly so. Which spurs me to wonder even further– if we're being taught that these characters are heroes or these writers are geniuses, but everyone hates them, why does the narrative of their success and superiority continue? You have to be kinda effed up to love Edward Rochester, and yet his type is still being written as a romantic hero in best-sellers today. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K of our society. And I want it to stop.


4. Tell me about your contributors. 

The good news is, there are a lot of people out there with hard opinions about literature. Thank goodness! So far, I've interviewed everyone from friends from Twitter to friends from college. Alisha Grauso– whom I originally met on Twitter– almost went in for her Ph.D. in Romantic literature, so she's been essential to kicking off the podcast with an episode on Lord Byron. It also helps that I have a number of friends with background in comedy, so folks like Jessica Ellis and Dave Child have helped lighten things up an awful lot. I have to stress that we do not take these books particularly seriously, but we do take the act of adding perspective to heart. I'll always have links to people's profiles and projects on the FBoL site, by the way. So **toot toot** my own horn, head on over there and sign up for the email blast so you can stay in the loop. 

Note: Emily, Dave Child, and I all went to Emerson College together. At the very least, Emerson College has produced snarky graduates.

5. Confession time: for all that I love to read, I never really liked literature classes because a) I hate being told what to read and b) I hated having to dissect the thing I didn't want to read in the first place. Is this revenge for a lit class at Emerson that you hated? 

Absolutely. Everyone in our major at Emerson had to take two specific 101 classes– Intro to Brit Lit, and Intro to American Lit. My American lit professor hated me, because she didn't think I actually took literature seriously. I don't think my Brit Lit teacher even noticed me, which was fine. I did abysmally in those classes, too– who the hell has the time to read MIDDLEMARCH when you've got a million other classes? No one should be forced to read authors who got paid by the word. 

This is why I took lit classes over the summer at CUNY instead of at Emerson. Who the fuck wants to read Huckleberry Finn and some depressing thing called Housekeeping, I ask you, when I had three other classes to write papers for. 

Thankfully, I had one great literature class at Emerson– and I mean it when I say one. I had signed up to take World Literature, and when I showed up, it'd been changed without warning to Literature of Continental Europe. I was not at all pleased. But the professor, Kyna Hamill, was incredibly sympathetic to the fact that none of us had actually signed up for that particular class, and she made a great reading list. I can thank her for introducing me to Rabelais, which is something I never thought I'd say. I also had a really strange minor at Emerson– it was called Post-Colonial Studies, and it was a way to understand how countries and people who had been colonized re-formed their identities after their colonizers had left, and what colonization actually does to decimate people's culture as a tool of power. The reading lists for those classes really helped shape my understanding of how to read books and understand deeply how they are problematic. Those classes were the replacement for the World Literature class that got yanked out from under me– and, frankly, World Lit classes that are seldom taught in American schools. 

It's probably not a coincidence that my favorite books I read for Lit classes were The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston and Crescent by Diana Abu Jaber: i.e, books that were not written by dead old white men. I think that was Multicultural Lit class? I don't remember. Anyway...

You've worked in radio before. Is recording a podcast similar or different? What's the process for recording a podcast?


I have worked in radio! I wrote and produced a weekly, two-hour, syndicated talk show about food and wine, that was hosted by my old boss, who just happened to be a James Beard Award winner. It was an interesting experience, because he walked into the office one day and just said, "I have a show now, you're the producer, figure it out." So after that sink-or-swim kind of experience, doing it for yourself, by yourself, is actually way easier– I guess also because this is pre-recorded, and that one was live. It's very similar, in that you mostly just create an editorial calendar, book guests, and then edit, edit, edit, edit. Thankfully, my husband is in the music industry, so when I said, "I have to record some stuff," he knew what to do– setting up mics, routing audio through Skype and recording programs, etc., it all just came pretty naturally. He also made it way more complicated than it has to be, as audio nerds tend to do. It's really not much more complicated than just having a conversation into a microphone, but it does take a bit of direction to make the audio something people want to listen to, both in quality and content. This also got out my control-freak tendencies, because when I was a producer, I wasn't allowed on mic. So if there was an interview happening, I couldn't ask follow-up questions! So, now I get to. It's been really lovely.

How is creating this podcast a creative endeavor for you?

There are things that I really enjoy doing– writing and performing– that I don't really love doing in the traditional sense. Like everyone, I hate pitching articles and going through that rigamarole, so I enjoy being a little control freak and having my own outlets, like blogs and now this. I also will probably never get on stage, but I enjoy entertaining people. So podcasting feels like a very natural outlet for this– I get to have really fun conversations with friends, laugh my ass off, and make stuff, that hopefully folks will listen to. With the added benefit of it being pretty low-stakes; the worst thing that can happen is someone says something mean on the internet, which is pretty much default for comments on the internet anyway, so big whoop.

There are an infinite number of fuckbois in literature. (I mean, my gosh, I read romance, so...we'll use 'fuckbois' literally here). What about them makes you tick?

Thankfully in my dating life and life at large, I did not have to suffer through that many fools. You know me well enough now– in real life and on social media life– to I guess I don't let that many people push me around, and if you're offering me nothing but guff, I'll cut you out of my life. So, I also really don't have the patience for swooning over jerks. Don't call me if you're dating a fuckboi and want to be told you can change them, really. But I also try to at least have some compassion for people who are not, deep down, bad and dangerous. Our second episode is a discussion of a character who most people think is an irredeemable fuckboi, but he's really not, and my guest, Emett Cameron, really brings up some heartwrenching points about him. Fuckbois can bring out empathy, too. 


Check out @FuckboisofLit on Twitter for updates and polls and other fun stuff to do with the podcast. Also, check out the Fuckbois of Literature website

And of course, do give Emily a follow on Twitter @MsEmilyEdwards--she's thought-provoking and entertaining and she posts cute pictures of her cats and dogs. 





Wednesday, March 6, 2019

IWSG: March


It is the first Wednesday in March, so it is time for the IWSG post! Check out the group here. The awesome co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!


As I don't really have any writing news to share, secure or insecure, let's go to the monthly question!

Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

I don't know if I've ever written a story with a proper villain. I feel like a lot of my characters are more fighting against societal things or circumstances than merely one person. So I guess I tend to write from a protagonist's point of view. I don't really like to read books in an antagonist's point of view either. I think they can be deeply interesting and I don't mind watching movies or TV with anti-heroes or villains (hellooo, Breaking Bad!) but reading is a much more personal experience and there are simply things I don't want to put in my mind. 

That being said, my plot bunny has a villainous organization that causes some ripples down the generations. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker

Today's a really cool day, everyone! My writing friend Tonja Drecker is releasing a book!




Music Boxes
By Tonja Drecker
Middle Grade Fantasy / Performing Arts
158 pages
Dancing Lemur Press
Release date: March 5th, 2019
Ages 9 to 12

·         ISBN-10: 1939844568
·         ISBN-13: 978-1939844569


Book Blurb:

“I only desire your talent...”


Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.
When she meets Madame DestinĂ©e, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right...
One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame DestinĂ©e’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.

Goodreads link :  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41452109

Sale Links:




Get a FREE envelope with Swag!

Pre-order/order your book (ecopy or print) before midnight (EST) on Friday night, March 8th, send a copy of your proof of purchase to  tonjadrecker@gmail.com along with an US mailing address, and you will receive an envelope with exclusive swag (bookmark, sticker, etc). 


All about the author...


Tonja Drecker is a writer, blogger, children’s book reviewer and freelance translator. After spending years in Germany exploring forgotten castles, she currently resides in the Ozarks with her family of six. When she’s not tending her chickens and cows, she’s discovering new adventures, nibbling chocolate and sipping a cup of tea.

Links:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJhQ1T8dLx1v9xkiLzlJSnA




Giveaway

The giveaway will run from midnight (EST) on the night of February 21st, 2019 until midnight (EST) on the night of March 15th,  2019. Entries will be made through the Rafflecopter. One winner will receive a music box (the one found in the book video: https://youtu.be/ww_RY4IVg3w) with the author’s golden signature on the bottom as well as swag (US addresses only). The second winner will receive an Amazon GC of $10 (US). The second winner must be in possession of a qualifying US Amazon account.

The contest is open to U.S. residents only, ages eighteen and over. No purchase is required for entry. All winners must claim their prize 48 hours after notification. Winners will be announced on www.tonjadrecker.blogspot.com on Saturday, March 16th 2019 by 10:00am (EST). All addresses and personal information will be used only for prize allocation. Sponsor, Tonja Drecker, assumes no responsibility or liability of any kind. Please email all questions to tonjadrecker@gmail.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Romanovs Part 5: Yekaterinburg

Warning: bad stuff happens in this installment.

Nicholas II, Alexandra, Maria, and their servants are on their way to Tyumen to get on the railway. The fastest way to get to Moscow from Tyumen was to ride the train west, but that would take them through Yekaterinburg, a large city in the Urals, full of communists. The Ural Soviets were based in Yekaterinburg and they were baying for the Romanovs.


Yakovlev opted to take the railroad east to Omsk, there to transfer to a westbound train and bypass Yekaterinburg. But since Yakovlev's intentions remain sketchy to this day, nobody actually knows if he intended to bring the family to Moscow or to escape to Japan or to do what actually happened:

The Omsk Soviet handed the Romanovs over to the Ural Soviet. Four days later, on April 30th, the Romanovs arrived in Yekaterinburg. After a thorough inspection--Maria wrote to her siblings back in Tobolsk that the soldiers rifled through everything even "the candy" and "the medicines." (Romanov code for the family jewels, which they had brought with them to Tobolsk. It was their only portable form of currency. Back in Tobolsk, Olga, Tatiana, and Anastasia were busily sewing the rest of the jewels into corsets, underwear, hats, pillows, etc.)

The Romanovs were housed in Yekaterinburg's finest house--the Ipatiev House, the home of an engineer. (Mr. Ipatiev having been kicked out two days before). A very tall fence was built around the house. The Ural Soviet, Bolsheviks, and Moscow referred to the house as "The House of Special Purpose." Because that's not ominous.
Ipatiev House, Yekaterinburg
The family was given four rooms upstairs. They had a small bit of yard to walk around in for a limited amount of time everyday. They weren't allowed out of the house otherwise. The windows were nailed shut and whitewashed. Doors were taken down inside. A sentry was posted outside the bathroom. The guards wrote and drew crude and crass things on the bathroom wall, including things about Rasputin and the Empress. The family were only allowed to speak to each other in Russian. Their cameras were taken away. Guns were placed on the house's roof.

Meanwhile, back in Tobolsk, a new commandant arrived. The children's tutors wondered if it was a good idea to let the children join their parents in Yekaterinburg; some of the remaining servants were told that if they chose to follow the Romanovs when they left Tobolsk, they would be imprisoned or shot.

Anastasia, Olga, Tatiana, and Alexei having tea in Tobolsk
The family was separated for five weeks. In that time, they exchanged letters about other family members--the Dowager Empress and Nicholas's sisters were in the Crimea with many other relatives. Nicholas's brother Michael--the one who refused to be tsar--was imprisoned in Perm. Still other cousins were imprisoned in St. Petersburg and Alapayevsk in Siberia.

But the children wanted to reunite with the rest of the family, so in late May, they left Tobolsk by boat. They reached Tyumen for the train and arrived in Yekaterinburg on a rainy May 23rd.



The last photo of Tsarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Olga, on board
the steamer Rus, May 1918
The servants who accompanied them--including their tutors Gilliard and Gibbes--were not allowed to join the children as they were taken into the Ipatiev House. One of the tutors recalled watching the Grand Duchesses dragging their luggage while sinking down into the mud. Nagorny, Alexei's sailor-nanny (who joined the family in the house), carried Alexei because the boy still couldn't walk after his latest ordeal and tried to help the girls but was roughly pushed back by soldiers.

Their luggage and their persons were inspected thoroughly upon entry at the house--after that, Alexandra forbade her daughters from ever removing their corsets--but the family was apparently happy to be reunited. Still, their treatment kept worsening: their food grew more basic; when nuns and cleaning women came to the house, they were not allowed to converse; eventually, by late June, newspapers stopped being delivered.

In early July, the family received a new commandant, Yakov Yurovsky.



In his diary, Nicholas wrote: "This specimen we like the least of all."

One of Alexei's doctors had followed the family to Yekaterinburg, but lived in a different house. He'd been allowed in and out to treat Alexei. Yurovsky curtailed those visits.

Nagorny disappeared. Yurovsky told the family Nagorny had been "transferred out of the jurisdiction," likely because the sailor spoke up against the treatment the guards inflicted on the family. Nagorny cleaned the crude writings and cartoons off the bathroom walls because he didn't want the kids exposed to that kind of stuff. He complained that Alexei's gold cross had been snatched by one of the guards, too. Nagorny was shot on July 6, 1918.

Unknown to the family, on June 13, 1918, Grand Duke Michael--Nicholas's brother--was shot and killed in the woods outside Perm along with his secretary Nicholas Johnson. Their bodies have never been found.

Yurovsky was in contact with Sverdlov, the Bolshevik in Moscow in charge of Romanov problems. With a definite okay from Sverdlov--and maybe from Lenin himself--and with the White Russian Army (White Russians being the anti-communist though not necessarily pro-royal forces) nearing Yekaterinburg, Yurovsky decided to execute the Romanovs and the four servants who lived in the Ipatiev House with them.
Dr. Yevgeny Botkin

During their time in Yekaterinburg, letters had been planted, written in French, supposedly from an ally to the family, wanting to know details of the house because they were going to come and rescue them. Alexandra evidently believed in the letters' veracity; Nicholas a little less so. It looks like Olga wrote the responses in French. Historians think these letters were planted by their guards to trap the family in a fake rescue plot.

In the meantime, the German ambassador was asking after them. The British consul requested to be allowed to visit the family; he was denied. The Spanish king was also making inquiries. The Swedish king was asking questions.

Around midnight on July 17, 1918, Yurovsky found Dr. Botkin up late writing a letter and ordered him to wake everyone up. The White Army was approaching. It wasn't safe. They were going to be moved. Everyone get up, get dressed. Come downstairs to the basement. Yurovsky was going to bring a truck around.

They obeyed. The eleven prisoners of the House of Special Purpose got downstairs to the dim basement room. It was the middle of the night. Alexandra asked for chairs to be brought. Two were. Alexandra sat in one. Nicholas, who'd carried Alexei down, sat his son in the other. Yurovsky wanted them to stay in a formation because he was going to snap a photograph before they left.

Yurovsky had organized his men. Those who balked at killing women were dismissed. He assigned each man a particular victim and told them to shoot the victim in the heart. He wanted this execution to be efficient and not too bloody.

Ivan Kharitonov, the cook
Yurovsky left the room. He returned with eleven or twelve other men, some of them drunk, and read: "Nikolai Alexandrovich, in view of the fact that your relatives are continuing their attack on Soviet Russia, the Ural Executive Committee has decided to execute you."

Nicholas had been facing his family, but turned around and exclaimed, "What? What?"

Yurovsky read the statement again, raised his gun, and shot Nicholas in the chest. Everyone else started shooting then, too, most of them at the former tsar. Nicholas died first.

Alexandra was shot through the head and also died quickly. Later testimony from the killers revealed that Alexandra and Olga tried to make signs of the crosses before the shooting began. Maria ran for the locked double doors in the back of the room, which led to a storeroom, and she was wounded in the thigh.

The shooters kept shooting in every direction, over each other's shoulders. Bullets ricocheted everywhere. Smoke filled the room. One of the men went outside and came back in, telling them that the screams and gunshots could be heard on the street outside and this was supposed to be a secret execution. They let the smoke clear, but the victims moaned and all of the children were still alive.
Alexei Trupp, footman

The men proceeded with bayonets, but the bayonets didn't penetrate through the girls' clothes. They were wearing jewel-filled corsets. Bullets bounced off of them. Alexei, a few weeks away from his 14th birthday, was still in his chair, unable to walk, in shock, or on the floor clutching his father's coat--accounts vary--but he was shot in the head and killed by Yurovsky.

Maria, 19, and Anastasia, 17, were crouched against the wall, arms over their heads. They were stabbed, then shot. Olga, 22, was shot through the head. Tatiana, 21, was also shot through the back of the head by Yurovsky.

Anna Demidova, Alexandra's maid, put up a fight. She'd survived the first volley of shots and held a pillow filled with diamonds which she used to fight off bayonets. But she weakened and she was stabbed to death.

Anna Demidova
The bodies were wrapped in sheets and taken out to the idling truck. One of the girls moved or screamed while they did that--nobody is for sure which daughter it was--and she was hit with rifle butts until she stilled.

A message was sent to Moscow that "the family has suffered the same fate as its head."

Their lives may have ended, but the Romanov story was not at an end.