The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California on June 10, 1923 · 29
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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California · 29

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San Francisco, California
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Sunday, June 10, 1923
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29
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World Topics . mmesit Writers r WWW 1 'A 7 . n f-i if N ttf altlf 5 . . v ews SUNDAY SAN FRANCISCO, JUNE 10, 1923 SUNDAY HOW THE CZAR AND ENTIRE FAMILY WERE SLAIN; FIRST OFFICIAL SOVIET STORY 0 Tr? n PTpl Till A fl TP 17 report JLeiis JMo o OW IT 18 fiMS sian Grand Dukes We hcn Death Warrant W. Signed C z e c h o - Slovaks Were at City Gates and sity. to arv oanos Approaching r SAN FRANCISCO "EXAMINER" presents herewith, as a sequel to the extraordinary series of letters of Czar Nicholas II and his wife just concluded, the first official Soviet account to be published in this country of the exile and execution of the deposed Russian Emperor and his entire family. The account was drawn up and placed in the government records at Saratov by the Soviet of the Ural region in Southwestern Siberia, scene of the executions, four years after the tragic event. , , This official narrative is of undoubted historic importance and serves as a vivid, authoritative epilogue to the intimate revelations embraced in the series of imperial epistles already published in "The Examiner." It reveals officially the time and place of the executions of five Grand Dukes, following quickly after the annihilation of Nicholas Romanoff and his immediate family. The Grand Dukes put to death were: MICHAEL ALEXANDROVITCH, brother of the former Czar, to whom the latter turned over the Russian throne at the time of the abdication. SERGIUS MICH AELOV ITCH, son of the Czar's uncle, Michael. IGOR CONSTANTINOVITCH. CONSTANTINE CONSTANTINOVITCH and IVAN CONSTANTINOVITCH, sons of the Czar's ancle, Constantine. . The official Soviet account, with its own title, follows: THE LAST DAYS OF THE LAST CZAU. GOVERNMENT PUBLICATION, SARATOV, 1922. THUS far the Soviet press has shed no light on the events so closely bound with the late of many representatives of the Romanoff dynasty, who in the years of 1917-1918 were held prisoners in several towns of the Ural Region, which was finally destined to become the graveyard of them all. xhe Regional Governmental Publishing Syndicate of the Ural, which on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the October Revolution, undertook the serial publication of the historic data of the Workmen's Revolution in tho Ural, has finally decided to disclose the facts. The last days of the last Romanoffs is a brief and coherent portrayal of the execution of Nicholas Romanoff and his family in Ekaterinburg, as well as that of the Grand Dukes Sergius, Igor. Constantine, Ivan and Michael Atexandrovitch, the brother-of Nicholas II. Deported to Siberia. Trader pressure of the evergrowing protests of the workmen. oUlera and rroV,S" IomU Government under Kerensky lded to deport the Caritio prisoners to Tobolsk. Siberia, They were taken there from one of the palaces at Czarskoe Selo, Cm Cxars village. On August 4, 131T. a VM truin. under military escort, commanded by two representatives of the Provincial Government, brmisM the Cr.ar's family with all their appurtenances to Tinmen, whence they proceeded by steam-r to Tobolsk. Soon after the October Revolution, there appeared in tho Bourgeoise press of the capital (the anti-Soviet press was suppressed later) & series of articles and news Items, in which the tfves of the Romanotr family were vividly portrayed. There were intimations of a gradual gathering around the family of counter-revolutionary elements, as well as a series of provocative reports, bearing on the flight or kidnapping of the former Czar. Che family of Romanoff was gartered at the Governor Gen-raTs palace and enjoyed comparative freedom. They were privileged to conduct a direct correspondence, receive products, etc. Count Polsoruky, a former officer of the Imperial Guard and a resident of the city at that time, had " direct access to the family. thorough Investigation confirmed the reports received by the Bk;iil ovict of Vtil recardiB the presence at Tobolsk of numerous counter - revolutionary elements, as well as the activitios of Bishop Gerniogen (bishop under the Czar and Kerensky), At a meeting held by the Regional Soviet of Ural in February, 1918. the question was . raised as to the advisability of a transfer of the Romanoff family to a more secure place. The Central Executive Com-tee at Moscow decided to transfer the former Czar to the Ural. Spring was fast approaching. The roads were growing worse from day to day, and haste became, a matter of utmost neces- lt was decided Immediately transport Nicholas, his wlte Alexandra the daughter Maria and Dr. Rotkin. the Czar's family physician. Along with them went the former Count Dolgoruky. At Tiumen the Romanoffs were placed on a special train which brought them to Ekaterinburg. Upon arrival at Ekaterinburg it was decided to confine Count Polgoruky in the loca' prison. A search of his person revealed a substantial sum of money, two geographical charts of f'iberia, upon which were marked all the Siberian waterways, the charts bearing besides numerou specific inscriptions. Dolgoruky's self-contradictory testimony left no doubt that he had been organizing the flight of the Romanoffs from Tobolsk. ri " & The Ipatiev House was chosen for the confinement of the Romanoffs. The owner was dispossessed. A light fence had been built around it to protect the occupants from the gaze of the curious. On arrival at the Ipatiev House, the family was received by the Commandant of the Special Guard. Effects Searched. Neither at Czarskoye Stlo nor at Tobolsk had the efftcts of the family been searched. They were told to open all their valises. Kicholas obeyed, but Alexandra declared that under no circumstances would she permit anyone to pry into her belongings. The Ronamoffs were threatened with isolation from the rest of the family and compulsor work. Alexandra submitted. The Ipatiev home is a two-story house, the lower story being a half basement. The Romanoff family occupied five rooms in the vpper story. The son and daughters of the Romanoffs, arriving from Tobolsk in May, were confined in the same house. The prisoners were constantly under the eyes of the Red Guards, quartered in a house opposite the Ipatiev home. JS'icholaa Romanoff, stolidly indifferent to tils surroundings, seajd quit coalant. At first iio EXTERMINATED 1 c -ft . "4 t CUTION re Fmt to Death Hopes of Escape All in Vain. Prisoners Were Told as Sentence Was Read; licholas Asked: "Then We Will Not Be Taken Anywhere?" M r - 1 ' I J ' t A A: V made attempts to talk to his guards, but when this was forbidden, he readily acquiesced. But not so Alexandra. She protested frequently, hurling insults at the guards and at visiting representatives of the Regional Soviet. Manner of Living. I I. ... . i The family got their dinners from the Soviet kitchen, the best in town. Each of the prisoners was allotted two dinners a dny. Every day the prisoners were allowed to walk in the little garden. Apparatus for exercise had been placed at their disposal. The time for promenading was left to the prisoners themselves. The command did not interfere in the inner, intimate life of the family, allowing them to apportion their days as they saw fit. ;- ;- From the very first days, following the transfer of Nicholas to Ekaterinburg, the city had been swamped by Monarchists' of nil shades. They ranged from half wltted baronesses, countesses and aristocratic women In general to representatives of foreign powers. Approach to Nicholas was confined to a narrow circle. Permits to visit Nicholas had to be obtained from the Central Executive in Moscow, so that countless attempts failed, but the Monarchist throngs continued crowding the local hotels. They addressed numberless letters to the Czar. One day the committee was confronted by no less a person than Major Migich, a member of the General Staff of the Serbian Army, He wanted to get personal Information frm Nicholas regarding the World War. Alt were repulsed by the Regional Soviet. It became more and more apparent to the Soviet, and even to the population of the city, that monarchists In Ekaterinburg were preparing for an organized attempt to set Nicholas free. On one occasion the Regional Soviet found Itself facp to face with the prospect of a spontaneous rising of the workers, keen on taking revenge on -he Czar and this entire clique. ' - Hit ' j , j . ' j I ' i . '1 .... ..,. i ' H .: f ' w :, ; . . : - j avowed object of setting the pri-oners free. The letter reads; "The hour of deliverance has truck. The KUv armies ar coming nearer and nearer. They are within a few vtersta from the city. The moment is becoming critical, and now we must fear for bloodshed. The time has come to act" Another letter reads: "Friends no longer le-n. They hope that the hour which we awaited so long has finally com." Hesitation might have resulted in the tV-ar escape abroad, where he could have played a big role In the ranks of the counterrevolutionary forces. Most of the intercepted letters were signed: "An officer" or "One who is ready to die for you Officer of the Russian Army." The Regional Soviet was in possession of other proofs revealing an organization whose activities aimed at securing the rescue of the Czar and his family. The conspiracy reached a culminating point with the swift approach of the enemy forces. Decision Reached. Above, the Russian royal family put to death by the Soviets. Below, the Czarina and Czarevitch. Police Measures. The wrath among the masses was so great that the workmen of the Verch Isietsky works openly designated the coming first of May a day for settling accounts. The Regional Soviet took extraordinary police measures that day. The growth of the counter-revolutionary movement among the Orenburg Cossacks soon gave rise to fears for the safety of Ekaterinburg. This was augmented by the steady arproach of General Kolchak's White forces to the city. In the meantime the Romanoff family kept increasing. The Soviet of Viatka decided to deport to Ekaterinburg the former Grand Pukes Sergtus, Iffor Constantlno-vitch, and Ivaa CoaeUaiinovitcii and Count Palien. Hither, too. was brought the widow of tho former Grand Duke Sergius, Alexandra Elizabeth Feodorovna, (whose husband was assassinated by the terrorists in 1905). The danger caused by the concentration of so many of these "high guests" in the immediate environs of tho front at a moment when the struggle with the counter-revolution was fast approaching a climax became real and the Regional Soviet decided to send the new arrivals to Alpayevsk. By that time Ekaterinburg became as much of a concentration camp for active counter-revolutionary forces as Tobolsk had teen formerly. Hither came noted counter-revolutionary leaders as well as mispicious persons of all kinds, whose chief object seemed to be to bring about the rescue of the Romanoffs and all their family. From among the persons chiefly interested in the Romanoffs the Ural Soviet placed under arrest Major Migich. Top Seigeant Voshewlch and a certain Smir-nov, reprtstntativa of, the Ser bian ITincess, Eliena Petrovna, wife of Grand Duke Ivan. All of the persons named appeared before the Recional Soviet, requesting that body to grant Eliena Petrovna leave to go to I'etrograd, claiming that the Central Government at Moscow had already given such permission. An inquiry established that Moscow had declined to grant such a visa. Letters to Czarina. With the approach of the front to Ekaterinburg, the local counter-revolutionary officers, devoted to the throne now as ever, engaged in correspondence with the Czar's family. Some letters had been addressed to Nicholas Romanoff, but most of the communications were written to the former Czarina, who at that time became particularly active and hostile. Here is one of the letters written by one of the prisom i s to the conspirators, who at that time In June were busy organizing a mutiny in EkaUrinburj with, the I At tho end of June, 191$, the question of the execution of the Romanoffs was raised for the first time at a meeting of the Regional Soviet of tho Ural. A decision was finally reached In the early part of July (1918). The organization of the execution, as well as the setting of a date, was left to the executive committee. When the presidium of the Soviet finally signed the death warrant of Nicholas and his family, the Czecho-Slovaks were already knocking at the gatrs of the city. Counter-revolutionary bands were approaching from two sides, from Chclibainsk and along the Western Ural Railroad. The execution had to be carried out in haste. The organization of the shooting was entrusted to I'ietr Zach-rewich Ermakoff. a workman of the Isietsky Works, and a reliable revolutionary who had fought in many littles on the Dutovsky front. On July IS. as the midnight hour drew near, the family waa told to go down from the upper floor to the lower; the whole family, as well as Dr. Botkin, the Czarewitch, and a maid-in-waiting went They were told that there was a riot in the city, and that they must be taken at once to some other place. . All Hope Ended. Here in the half-basement the commandant of the house, who was also a member of the Regional Soviet, read to the prisoners their death warrant, adding that their hopes to escape were in vain. The unexpected news fell upon the condemned with the effect ot a dsata blow. All BLArtd in &i- from the city to a place ' safety and is still alive and in hiding. General Dideries, whom Kol-chak instructed to head the investigation of the case, reported officially that all the Romanoffs were shot and their bodies burned. Ural was destined to become the grrave not only of the former Czar and his immediate family, but of his other relatives as well. In the latter part of July, Michael Alexandrovitch. a brother of the Czar, was shot at Pern. About the same time the Grand Pukes Sergiua Igor Constantino-vitch, ConstantinConstantinovitch and Ivan Constantinovitch, were shot at Alpayevsk. At a meeting of the Presidium of the All Russian Central Executive Committee, held on July IS, T. M. Zviardlov, chairman of the executive committee, announced the execution of the former Czar, whereupon the members adopted the following resolution: The Presidium of the Vtsik (Central Executive Committee), having deliberated upon all the r.ircumstanoea under which, the Ural Regional Soviet was compelled to adopt a decision involving the execution of Nicholas Romanoff, hereby approves, as regular, the step taken. rHE following graphic details of the execution of the Czar and his family, lacking in the official Soviet account, were obtained by the San Francisco "Examiner" from other official sources, including the investigation made by order of General Kolchak immediately after he captured Ekaterinburg, and containing facts furnished by eyewitnesses and participants: lence except Nicholas, who asked: "Then we will not be taken anywhere?" The revolvers spoke Instantly. The judgment of the revolution was carried out The condemned were shot there and then. Around 1 o'clock in the morning the bodies were taken to the woods to a district outside of the city environs In the region of Verch Isiepsky Works and the village of Palkina, where they were burned.- The White Troops occupied the city shortly after and immediately undertook a search for the bodies. The Judge Advocate Sokoloff, from Omsk, was entrusted with the conduct of the Investigation. He worked up an elaborate case, known as the "Murder of the Abdicated Emperor Nicholas II. and his family." Two hundred persons had bn Implicated. Most of them, of course, had nothing whatsoever to do with the whole affair. White newspapers and all kinds of charlatans published fantastic reports to the effect that the Romanoffs were still alive, or portrayed the execution, in fantastic colors. There were not lacking certain Imaginative people who asserted that the family was conducted At the time that Ermakoff was chosen chief executioner. Yurov-sky, a trusted Communist and a member of the Soviet was appointed Commandant of the Ipatiev house, and the inner guards consisting of Russian workers, were replaced by seven fierco Letts. Yurovsky proved a courteous jailer, except in moments of sporadic revelry. On their last Sunday on earth the family was comforted by Yurovsky's announcement that he had arranged with a priest to come from town to officiate at home services. Monday, July, 13, passed uneventfully. On Tuesday, July 16, the girls arose early and took their daily Ktroll in the little garden. They were soon joined by the other members of the family. Yurovsky failed to show op at nine, his usual hour. He was at a meeting of the Presidium, making final arrangements. When be arrived at about noon he gave orders for the transfer of Leonid Sednie.f. a boy playmate of the Czarevitch, from the Ipatiev house to the garden across the street. The Czarevitch cried. and preceded by Yurovsky started on their march. The Czar carried Alexis in his arms; the boy was sick and in great pain. Bothhad caps and coats on. The girls, too, had thetr hats on. Everybody carried something: valises, hatboxes. pillows, as if preparing for a trip. The line of inarch lay through the main staircase into the courtyard, and then through a side door into the lower basement, floor. The night was dark, but there were no clouds, and the northern sky. was studded with myriads of stars. As they filed out into the yard they could discern the outlines of a throbbing motor lorrie standing at the gates. Someone was heard to remark that it must be for the baggage. The Stage Is Set. The Last Night. About seven p. m. the Commandant called the top sergeant. Paul Medviedff. and ordered him to take all revolvers away from the outer guards. This was to prevent a possible unfavorable reaction from the execution. When Medviedff brought the revolvers the Commandant whispered, "It will be done tonight," and told hira to inform the guard later and to tell them not to get excited when they heard shooting. The family retired at nine. Within an hour the house seemed wrapped in deep slumber, hut behind the drawn shades in two rooms sat several men waiting In tense expectation for Ermakoff. the chief executioner. He arrived shortly before midnight. No sooner did Ermakof come, when Yurovsky, the Commandant, went upstair into the apartnunt occupied by th. eondemred and told them to dies (iuick:. He explained that tiu re w..-i dir-Vr in the city and that the tirvi y must be taken at once to a pWce of afety. Thty axwisoii hurriedly. One by one the party filed in through a low door, walked through the entire cellar, and finally entered a small, low-vaulted vestibule. Directly facing them was a small, arched, heavily grated window. Outside stood a machine gun in charge of a guard. The soldiers stared through the window in sullen silence. A door to the right Jed to a side street. Through the panes of this door another sentry on duty could be seen. The Commandant told the prisoners to wait. The vehicles were to be fetched, and would soon arrive. So reassured was the Czar that he asked for chairs. Three chairs were brought. The Czarevitch was placed on one cf them. Nicholas took a seat on the left whiie the Czarina gat down to the right of the boy. She tucked a large pillow in the back of the chair and rested her head on it. as if expecting a lor.g wait The girls stood direcly behind and around the mother. Pr. Ro;-kin was behind the C.-..i'Oi i'o!i, and Chart tonoif, Tivu; urd 1 Vimdov a, ail servants, waited in the rsht-hand corner, close to th-; wall. Pemidcva had brought with her two large cushion, and she stood there hold.ng one in each ar-n. The wa.t d -urged on. The g:--!s began to exclurfa rem irks in lew. suKiued t'V.,"4 Stu.Mc-iv the fror.t door bi:rt i';n. and the T ; a !".- e was Cio'r v rr. io I ,;'a s"ern fa. es o' h, a: -rd nun. Vii'oskv -rut ; o J

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