16 December 1896
|Died||12 February 1984 87) (aged|
|Other names||Fräulein Unbekannt|
|Known for||Impostor of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia|
Dr. John Eacott "Jack" Manahan(m. 1968)
Anna Anderson (16 December 1896 – 12 February 1984) was the best known of several impostors who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia. Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia, Nicholas II and Alexandra, was killed along with her parents and siblings on 17 July 1918 by communist revolutionaries in Yekaterinburg, Russia, but the location of her body was unknown until 2007.
The members of the Russian imperial family, the House of Romanov, were executed by firing squad by the Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on July 17, 1918, during both the Russian Civil War and near the end of the First World War.
Nicholas II or Nikolai II, known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer in the Russian Orthodox Church, was the last Emperor of Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. His reign saw the fall of the Russian Empire from one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse. He was given the nickname Nicholas the Bloody or Vile Nicholas by his political adversaries due to the Khodynka Tragedy, anti-Semitic pogroms, Bloody Sunday, the violent suppression of the 1905 Russian Revolution, the execution of political opponents, and his perceived responsibility for the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905). Soviet historians portrayed Nicholas as a weak and incompetent leader whose decisions led to military defeats and the deaths of millions of his subjects.
Alexandra Feodorovna was Empress of Russia as the spouse of Nicholas II—the last ruler of the Russian Empire—from their marriage on 26 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. Originally Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine at birth, she was given the name and patronymic Alexandra Feodorovna upon being received into the Russian Orthodox Church and—having been killed along with her immediate family while in Bolshevik captivity in 1918—was canonized in 2000 as Saint Alexandra the Passion Bearer.
In 1920, Anderson was institutionalized in a mental hospital after a suicide attempt in Berlin. At first, she went by the name Fräulein Unbekannt (German for Miss Unknown) as she refused to reveal her identity.Later she used the name Tschaikovsky and then Anderson. In March 1922, claims that Anderson was a Russian grand duchess first received public attention. Most members of Grand Duchess Anastasia's family and those who had known her, including court tutor Pierre Gilliard, said Anderson was an impostor but others were convinced she was Anastasia. In 1927, a private investigation funded by the Tsarina's brother, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, identified Anderson as Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish factory worker with a history of mental illness. After a lawsuit lasting many years, the German courts ruled that Anderson had failed to prove she was Anastasia, but through media coverage, her claim gained notoriety.
Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,723,914 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which is, with 6,004,857 (2015) inhabitants and an area of 30,370 square km, Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.
Pierre Gilliard was a Swiss academic and author, best known as the French language tutor to the five children of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia from 1905 to 1918. In 1921, after the Russian Revolution of 1917, he published a memoir, Thirteen Years at the Russian Court, about his time with the family. In his memoirs, Gilliard described Tsarina Alexandra's torment over her son's haemophilia and her faith in the ability of starets Grigori Rasputin to heal the boy.
Ernest Louis Charles Albert William was the last Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, reigning from 1892 until 1918.
Between 1922 and 1968, Anderson lived in Germany and the United States with various supporters and in nursing homes and sanatoria, including at least one asylum. She emigrated to the United States in 1968. Shortly before the expiration of her visa she married Jack Manahan, a Virginia history professor who was later characterized as "probably Charlottesville's best-loved eccentric".Upon her death in 1984, Anderson's body was cremated, and her ashes were buried in the churchyard at Castle Seeon, Germany.
Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2017 is over 8.4 million.
Seeon Abbey was a Benedictine monastery in the municipality of Seeon-Seebruck in the rural district of Traunstein in Bavaria, Germany.
After the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union, the locations of the bodies of the Tsar, Tsarina, and all five of their children were revealed. Multiple laboratories in different countries confirmed their identity through DNA testing.DNA tests on a lock of Anderson's hair and surviving medical samples of her tissue showed that her DNA did not match that of the Romanov remains or that of living relatives of the Romanovs. Instead, Anderson's mitochondrial DNA matched that of Karl Maucher, a great-nephew of Franziska Schanzkowska. Most scientists, historians and journalists who have discussed the case accept that Anderson and Schanzkowska were the same person.
The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. The period is sometimes called the Fall of Nations or the Autumn of Nations, a play on the term Spring of Nations that is sometimes used to describe the Revolutions of 1848.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), commonly known as the Soviet Union, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk.
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in mitochondria, cellular organelles within eukaryotic cells that convert chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Mitochondrial DNA is only a small portion of the DNA in a eukaryotic cell; most of the DNA can be found in the cell nucleus and, in plants and algae, also in plastids such as chloroplasts.
On 27 February 1920,a young woman attempted to take her own life in Berlin by jumping off a bridge called the Bendlerbrücke into the Landwehrkanal. She was rescued by a police sergeant and was admitted to the Elisabeth Hospital on Lützowstrasse. As she was without papers and refused to identify herself, she was admitted as Fräulein Unbekannt ("Miss Unknown") to a mental hospital in Dalldorf (now Wittenau, in Reinickendorf), where she remained for the next two years. The unknown patient had scars on her head and body and spoke German with an accent described as "Russian" by medical staff.
The Bendlerblock is a building complex in the Tiergarten district of Berlin, Germany, located on Stauffenbergstraße. Erected in 1914 as headquarters of several Imperial German Navy offices, it served the Ministry of the Reichswehr after World War I. Significantly enlarged under Nazi rule, it was used by several departments of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) from 1938, especially the Oberkommando des Heeres and the Abwehr intelligence agency.
Lützowplatz is a public, inner-city area with relatively high traffic in Berlin's Tiergarten district of Mitte.
In early 1922, Clara Peuthert, a fellow psychiatric patient, claimed that the unknown woman was Grand Duchess Tatiana of Russia, one of the four daughters of Tsar Nicholas II.On her release, Peuthert told Russian émigré Captain Nicholas von Schwabe that she had seen Tatiana at Dalldorf. Schwabe visited the asylum and accepted the woman as Tatiana. Schwabe persuaded other émigrés to visit the unknown woman, including Zinaida Tolstoy, a friend of Tsarina Alexandra. Eventually Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden, a former lady-in-waiting to the Tsarina, visited the asylum with Tolstoy. On seeing the woman, Buxhoeveden declared "She's too short for Tatiana," and left convinced the woman was not a Russian grand duchess. A few days later, the unknown woman noted, "I did not say I was Tatiana."
A white émigré was a Russian subject who emigrated from Imperial Russia in the wake of the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War, and who was in opposition to the contemporary Russian political climate. Many white émigrés were participants in the White movement or supported it, although the term is often broadly applied to anyone who may have left the country due to the change in regimes.
A lady-in-waiting or court lady is a female personal assistant at a court, royal or feudal, attending on a royal woman or a high-ranking noblewoman. Historically, in Europe, a lady-in-waiting was often a noblewoman, but of lower rank than of the woman on whom she attended. Although she may either have been a retainer or may not have received compensation for the service she rendered, a lady-in-waiting was considered more of a courtesan or companion to her mistress than a servant.
A nurse at Dalldorf, Thea Malinovsky, claimed years after the patient's release from the asylum that the woman had told her she was another daughter of the Tsar, Anastasia, in the autumn of 1921.However, the patient herself could not recall the incident. Her biographers either ignore Malinovsky's claim, or weave it into their narrative.
By May 1922, the woman was believed by Peuthert, Schwabe, and Tolstoy to be Anastasia, although Buxhoeveden said there was no resemblance.Nevertheless, the woman was taken out of the asylum and given a room in the Berlin home of Baron Arthur von Kleist, a Russian émigré who had been a police chief in Russian Poland before the fall of the Tsar. The Berlin policeman who handled the case, Detective Inspector Franz Grünberg, thought that Kleist "may have had ulterior motives, as was hinted at in émigré circles: if the old conditions should ever be restored in Russia, he hoped for great advancement from having looked after the young woman."
She began calling herself Anna Tschaikovsky,choosing "Anna" as a short form of "Anastasia", although Peuthert "described her everywhere as Anastasia". Tschaikovsky stayed in the houses of acquaintances, including Kleist, Peuthert, a poor working-class family called Bachmann, and at Inspector Grünberg's estate at Funkenmühle, near Zossen. At Funkenmühle, Grünberg arranged for the Tsarina's sister, Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine, to meet Tschaikovsky, but Irene did not recognize her. Grünberg also arranged a visit from Crown Princess Cecilie of Prussia, but Tschaikovsky refused to speak to her, and Cecilie was left perplexed by the encounter. Later, in the 1950s, Cecilie signed a declaration that Tschaikovsky was Anastasia, but Cecilie's family disputed her statement and implied that she was suffering from dementia.
By 1925, Tschaikovsky had developed a tuberculous infection of her arm, and she was placed in a succession of hospitals for treatment. Sick and near death, she suffered significant loss of weight.She was visited by the Tsarina's groom of the chamber Alexei Volkov; Anastasia's tutor Pierre Gilliard; his wife, Shura, who had been Anastasia's nursemaid; and the Tsar's sister, Grand Duchess Olga. Although they expressed sympathy, if only for Tschaikovsky's illness, and made no immediate public declarations, eventually they all denied she was Anastasia. In March 1926, she convalesced in Lugano with Harriet von Rathlef at the expense of Grand Duchess Anastasia's great-uncle, Prince Valdemar of Denmark. Valdemar was willing to offer Tschaikovsky material assistance, through the Danish ambassador to Germany, Herluf Zahle, while her identity was investigated. To allow her to travel, the Berlin Aliens Office issued her with a temporary certificate of identity as "Anastasia Tschaikovsky", with Grand Duchess Anastasia's personal details. After a quarrel with Rathlef, Tschaikovsky was moved to the Stillachhaus Sanatorium at Oberstdorf in the Bavarian Alps in June 1926, and Rathlef returned to Berlin.
At Oberstdorf, Tschaikovsky was visited by Tatiana Melnik, née Botkin. Melnik was the niece of Serge Botkin, the head of the Russian refugee office in Berlin, and the daughter of the imperial family's personal physician, Dr. Eugene Botkin, who had been murdered by the communists alongside the Tsar's family in 1918. Tatiana Melnik had met Grand Duchess Anastasia as a child and had last spoken to her in February 1917. ... even the simplest stories she tells incoherently and incorrectly; they are really only words strung together in impossibly ungrammatical German ... Her defect is obviously in her memory and eyesight." Melnik declared that Tschaikovsky was Anastasia, and supposed that any inability on her part to remember events and her refusal to speak Russian was caused by her impaired physical and psychological state. Either inadvertently through a sincere desire to "aid the patient's weak memory" or as part of a deliberate charade, Melnik coached Tschaikovsky with details of life in the imperial family.To Melnik, Tschaikovsky looked like Anastasia, even though "the mouth has changed and coarsened noticeably, and because the face is so lean, her nose looks bigger than it was." In a letter, Melnik wrote: "Her attitude is childlike, and altogether she cannot be reckoned with as a responsible adult, but must be led and directed like a child. She has not only forgotten languages, but has in general lost the power of accurate narration
In 1927, under pressure from his family, Valdemar decided against providing Tschaikovsky with any further financial support, and the funds from Denmark were cut off.Duke George of Leuchtenberg, a distant relative of the Tsar, gave her a home at Castle Seeon. The Tsarina's brother, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, hired a private detective, Martin Knopf, to investigate the claims that Tschaikovsky was Anastasia.
During her stay at Castle Seeon, Knopf reported that Tschaikovsky was actually a Polish factory worker called Franziska Schanzkowska.Schanzkowska had worked in a munitions factory during World War I when, shortly after her fiancé had been killed at the front, a grenade fell out of her hand and exploded. She had been injured in the head, and a foreman was killed in front of her. She became apathetic and depressed, was declared insane on 19 September 1916, and spent time in two lunatic asylums. In early 1920, she was reported missing from her Berlin lodgings, and since then had not been seen or heard from by her family. In May 1927, Franziska's brother Felix Schanzkowski was introduced to Tschaikovsky at a local inn in Wasserburg near Castle Seeon. Leuchtenberg's son, Dmitri, was completely certain that Tschaikovsky was an impostor and that she was recognized by Felix as his sister, but Leuchtenberg's daughter, Natalie, remained convinced of Tschaikovsky's authenticity. Leuchtenberg himself was ambivalent. According to one account, initially Felix declared that Tschaikovsky was his sister Franziska, but the affidavit he signed spoke only of a "strong resemblance", highlighted physical differences, and said she did not recognize him. Years later, Felix's family said that he knew Tschaikovsky was his sister, but he had chosen to leave her to her new life, which was far more comfortable than any alternative.
Visitors to Seeon included Prince Felix Yusupov, husband of Princess Irina Alexandrovna of Russia, who wrote, "I claim categorically that she is not Anastasia Nicolaievna, but just an adventuress, a sick hysteric and a frightful playactress. I simply cannot understand how anyone can be in doubt of this. If you had seen her, I am convinced that you would recoil in horror at the thought that this frightful creature could be a daughter of our Tsar."Other visitors, however, such as Felix Dassel, an officer whom Anastasia had visited in hospital during 1916, and Gleb Botkin, who had known Anastasia as a child and was Tatiana Melnik's brother, were convinced that Tschaikovsky was genuine.
By 1928, Tschaikovsky's claim had received interest and attention in the United States, where Gleb Botkin had published articles in support of her cause.Botkin's publicity caught the attention of a distant cousin of Anastasia's, Xenia Leeds, a former Russian princess who had married a wealthy American industrialist. Botkin and Leeds arranged for Tschaikovsky to travel to the United States on board the liner Berengaria at Leeds's expense. On the journey from Seeon to the States, Tschaikovsky stopped at Paris, where she met Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich of Russia, the Tsar's cousin, who believed her to be Anastasia. For six months Tschaikovsky lived at the estate of the Leeds family in Oyster Bay, New York.
As the tenth anniversary of the Tsar's execution approached in July 1928, Botkin retained a lawyer, Edward Fallows, to oversee legal moves to obtain any of the Tsar's estate outside of the Soviet Union. As the death of the Tsar had never been proved, the estate could only be released to relatives ten years after the supposed date of his death.Fallows set up a company, called the Grandanor Corporation (an acronym of Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia), which sought to raise funds by selling shares in any prospective estate. Tschaikovsky claimed that the Tsar had deposited money abroad, which fed unsubstantiated rumors of a large Romanov fortune in England. The surviving relatives of the Romanovs accused Botkin and Fallows of fortune hunting, and Botkin accused them of trying to defraud "Anastasia" out of her inheritance. Except for a relatively small deposit in Germany, distributed to the Tsar's recognized relations, no money was ever found. After a quarrel, possibly over Tschaikovsky's claim to the estate (but not over her claim to be Anastasia), Tschaikovsky moved out of the Leeds' mansion, and the pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff arranged for her to live at the Garden City Hotel in Hempstead, New York, and later in a small cottage. To avoid the press, she was booked in as Mrs. Anderson, the name by which she was subsequently known. In October 1928, after the death of the Tsar's mother, the Dowager Empress Marie, the 12 nearest relations of the Tsar met at Marie's funeral and signed a declaration that denounced Anderson as an impostor. The Copenhagen Statement, as it would come to be known, explained: "Our sense of duty compels us to state that the story is only a fairy tale. The memory of our dear departed would be tarnished if we allowed this fantastic story to spread and gain any credence." Gleb Botkin answered with a public letter to Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia, which referred to the family as "greedy and unscrupulous" and claimed they were only denouncing Anderson for money.
From early 1929 Anderson lived with Annie Burr Jennings, a wealthy Park Avenue spinster happy to host someone she supposed to be a daughter of the Tsar.For eighteen months, Anderson was the toast of New York City society. Then a pattern of self-destructive behavior began that culminated in her throwing tantrums, killing her pet parakeet, and on one occasion running around naked on the roof. On 24 July 1930, Judge Peter Schmuck of the New York Supreme Court signed an order committing her to a mental hospital. Before she could be taken away, Anderson locked herself in her room, and the door was broken in with an axe. She was forcibly taken to the Four Winds Sanatorium in Westchester County, New York, where she remained for slightly over a year. In August 1932, Anderson returned to Germany accompanied by a private nurse in a locked cabin on the liner Deutschland . Jennings paid for the voyage, the stay at the Westchester sanatorium, and an additional six months' care in the psychiatric wing of a nursing home at Ilten near Hanover. On arrival at Ilten, Anderson was assessed as sane, but as the room was prepaid, and she had nowhere else to go, she stayed on in a suite in the sanatorium grounds.
Anderson's return to Germany generated press interest, and drew more members of the German aristocracy to her cause.She again lived itinerantly as a guest of her well-wishers. In 1932, the British tabloid News of the World published a sensational story accusing her of being a Romanian actress who was perpetrating a fraud. Her lawyer, Fallows, filed suit for libel, but the lengthy case continued until the outbreak of World War II, at which time the case was dismissed because Anderson was living in Germany, and German residents could not sue in enemy countries. From 1938, lawyers acting for Anderson in Germany contested the distribution of the Tsar's estate to his recognized relations, and they in turn contested her identity. The litigation continued intermittently without resolution for decades; Lord Mountbatten footed some of his German relations' legal bills against Anderson. The protracted proceedings became the longest-running lawsuit in German history.
Anderson had a final meeting with the Schanzkowski family in 1938. Gertrude Schanzkowska was insistent that Anderson was her sister, Franziska,but the Nazi government had arranged the meeting to determine Anderson's identity, and if accepted as Schanzkowska she would be imprisoned. The Schanzkowski family refused to sign affidavits against her, and no further action was taken. In 1939, World War II began with Germany's attack on the western half of Poland. In 1940, Edward Fallows died virtually destitute after wasting all his own money on trying to obtain the Tsar's non-existent fortune for the Grandanor Corporation. Towards the end of the war, Anderson lived at Schloss Winterstein with Louise of Saxe-Meiningen, in what became the Soviet occupation zone. In 1946, Prince Frederick of Saxe-Altenburg helped her across the border to Bad Liebenzell in the French occupation zone.
Prince Frederick settled Anderson in a former army barracks in the small village of Unterlengenhardt, on the edge of the Black Forest, where she became a sort of tourist attraction. ... I am quite satisfied that she is an impostor." She became a recluse, surrounded by cats, and her house began to decay. In May 1968, Anderson was taken to a hospital at Neuenbürg after being discovered semi-conscious in her cottage. In her absence, Prince Frederick cleaned up the property by order of the local board of health. Her Irish Wolfhound and 60 cats were put to death. Horrified by this, Anderson accepted her long-term supporter Gleb Botkin's offer to move to the United States.Lili Dehn, a friend of Tsarina Alexandra, visited her and acknowledged her as Anastasia, but when Charles Sydney Gibbes, English tutor to the imperial children, met Anderson he denounced her as a fraud. In an affidavit, he swore "She in no way resembles the true Grand Duchess Anastasia that I had known
Botkin was living in the university town of Charlottesville, Virginia, and a local friend of his, history professor and genealogist John Eacott "Jack" Manahan, paid for Anderson's journey to the United States.She entered the country on a six-month visitor's visa, and shortly before it was due to expire, Anderson married Manahan, who was 20 years her junior, in a civil ceremony on 23 December 1968. Botkin was best man. Jack Manahan enjoyed this marriage of convenience, and described himself as "Grand Duke-in-Waiting" or "son-in-law to the Tsar". The couple lived in separate bedrooms in a house on University Circle in Charlottesville, and also owned a farm near Scottsville. Botkin died in December 1969. In February of the following year, 1970, the lawsuits finally came to an end, with neither side able to establish Anderson's identity.
Manahan and Anderson, now legally called Anastasia Manahan,became well known in the Charlottesville area as eccentrics. Though Jack Manahan was wealthy, they lived in squalor with large numbers of dogs and cats, and piles of garbage. On 20 August 1979, Anderson was taken to Charlottesville's Martha Jefferson Hospital with an intestinal obstruction. A gangrenous tumor and a length of intestine were removed by Dr. Richard Shrum.
With both Manahan and Anderson in failing health, in November 1983, Anderson was institutionalized, and an attorney, William Preston, was appointed as her guardian by the local circuit court.A few days later, Manahan "kidnapped" Anderson from the hospital, and for three days they drove around Virginia eating out of convenience stores. After a 13-state police alarm, they were found and Anderson was returned to a care facility. In January she may have had a stroke, and on 12 February 1984, she died of pneumonia. She was cremated the same day, and her ashes were buried in the churchyard at Castle Seeon on 18 June 1984. Manahan died on 22 March 1990.
In 1991, the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, and three of their daughters were exhumed from a mass grave near Yekaterinburg. They were identified on the basis of both skeletal analysis and DNA testing.For example, mitochondrial DNA was used to match maternal relations, and mitochondrial DNA from the female bones matched that of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose maternal grandmother Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine was a sister of Alexandra. The bodies of Tsarevich Alexei and the remaining daughter were discovered in 2007. Repeated and independent DNA tests confirmed that the remains were the seven members of the Romanov family, and proved that none of the Tsar's four daughters survived the shooting of the Romanov family.
A sample of Anderson's tissue, part of her intestine removed during her operation in 1979, had been stored at Martha Jefferson Hospital, Charlottesville, Virginia. Anderson's mitochondrial DNA was extracted from the sample and compared with that of the Romanovs and their relatives. It did not match that of the Duke of Edinburgh or that of the bones, confirming that Anderson was not related to the Romanovs. However, the sample matched DNA provided by Karl Maucher, a grandson of Franziska Schanzkowska's sister, Gertrude (Schanzkowska) Ellerik, indicating that Karl Maucher and Anna Anderson were maternally related and that Anderson was Schanzkowska.Five years after the original testing was done, Dr. Terry Melton of the Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, stated that the DNA sequence tying Anderson to the Schanzkowski family was "still unique", though the database of DNA patterns at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory had grown much larger, leading to "increased confidence that Anderson was indeed Franziska Schanzkowska".
Similarly, several strands of Anderson's hair, found inside an envelope in a book that had belonged to Anderson's husband, Jack Manahan, were also tested. Mitochondrial DNA from the hair matched Anderson's hospital sample and that of Schanzkowska's relative Karl Maucher, but not the Romanov remains or living relatives of the Romanovs.
Although communists had killed the entire imperial Romanov family in July 1918, including 17-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia, for years afterwards communist disinformation fed rumors that members of the Tsar's family had survived.The conflicting rumors about the fate of the family allowed impostors to make spurious claims that they were a surviving Romanov.
Most of the impostors were dismissed; however, Anna Anderson's claim persisted.Books and pamphlets supporting her claims included Harriet von Rathlef's book Anastasia, ein Frauenschicksal als Spiegel der Weltkatastrophe (Anastasia, a Woman's Fate as Mirror of the World Catastrophe), which was published in Germany and Switzerland in 1928, though it was serialized by the tabloid newspaper Berliner Nachtausgabe in 1927. This was countered by works such as La Fausse Anastasie (The False Anastasia) by Pierre Gilliard and Constantin Savitch, published by Payot of Paris in 1929. Conflicting testimonies and physical evidence, such as comparisons of facial characteristics, which alternately supported and contradicted Anderson's claim, were used either to bolster or to counter the belief that she was Anastasia. In the absence of any direct documentary proof or solid physical evidence, the question of whether Anderson was Anastasia was for many a matter of personal belief. As Anderson herself said in her own idiomatic English, "You either believe it or you don't believe it. It doesn't matter. In no anyway whatsoever." The German courts were unable to decide her claim one way or another, and eventually, after 40 years of deliberation, ruled that her claim was "neither established nor refuted". Dr. Günter von Berenberg-Gossler, attorney for Anderson's opponents in the later years of the legal case, said that during the German trials "the press were always more interested in reporting her side of the story than the opposing bench's less glamorous perspective; editors often pulled journalists after reporting testimony delivered by her side and ignored the rebuttal, resulting in the public seldom getting a complete picture."
In 1957, a version of Anderson's story, pieced together by her supporters and interspersed with commentary by Roland Krug von Nidda, was published in Germany under the title Ich, Anastasia, Erzähle (I, Anastasia, an autobiography).The book included the "fantastic tale" that Anastasia escaped from Russia on a farm cart with a man called Alexander Tschaikovsky, whom she married and had a child by, before he was shot dead on a Bucharest street, and that the child, Alexei, disappeared into an orphanage. Even Anderson's supporters admitted that the details of the supposed escape "might seem bold inventions even for a dramatist", while her detractors considered "this barely credible story as a piece of far-fetched romance". Other works based on the premise that Anderson was Anastasia, written before the DNA tests, include biographies by Peter Kurth and James Blair Lovell. More recent biographies by John Klier, Robert Massie, and Greg King that describe her as an impostor were written after the DNA tests proved that she was not Anastasia.
Assessments vary as to whether Anderson was a deliberate impostor, delusional, traumatized into adopting a new identity, or someone used by her supporters for their own ends. Pierre Gilliard denounced Anderson as "a cunning psychopath".The equation of Anderson with members of the imperial family began with Clara Peuthert in the Dalldorf Asylum, rather than with Anderson herself. Anderson appeared to go along with it afterwards. Writer Michael Thornton thought, "Somewhere along the way she lost and rejected Schanzkowska. She lost that person totally and accepted completely she was this new person. I think it happened by accident and she was swept along on a wave of euphoria." Lord Mountbatten, a first cousin of the Romanov children, thought her supporters "simply get rich on the royalties of further books, magazine articles, plays etc." Prince Michael Romanov, a grandson of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia, stated the Romanov family always knew Anderson was a fraud, and that the family looked upon her and "the three-ringed circus which danced around her, creating books and movies, as a vulgar insult to the memory of the Imperial Family."
Since the 1920s, many fictional works have been inspired by Anderson's claim to be Anastasia. In 1928, the silent film Clothes Make the Woman was based very loosely on her story.In 1953, Marcelle Maurette wrote a play based on Rathlef's and Gilliard's books called Anastasia, which toured Europe and America with Viveca Lindfors in the title role. The play was so successful that in 1956 an English adaptation by Guy Bolton was made into a film, Anastasia . The plot revolves around a group of swindlers who attempt to raise money among Russian émigrés by pretending that Grand Duchess Anastasia is still alive. A suitable amnesiac, "Anna", is groomed by the swindlers to impersonate Anastasia. Anna's origins are unknown and as the play progresses hints are dropped that she could be the real Anastasia, who has lost her memory. The viewer is left to decide whether Anna really is Anastasia. Another film was released at the same time, Is Anna Anderson Anastasia? starring Lilli Palmer, which covers much the same ground, but the central character is "perhaps even more lost, mad and pathetic, but she, too, has moments when she is a woman of presence and dignity".
Playwright Royce Ryton wrote I Am Who I Am about Anna Anderson in 1978. Like the earlier plays, it depicts Anderson as "a person of intrinsic worth victimized by the greed and fears of others" and did not attempt to decide her real identity.
In 1965, the musical Anya , based on Guy Bolton's play and using the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff, opened on Broadway starring Constance Towers as Anya and Lillian Gish as the Dowager Empress—it was not successful.
Sir Kenneth MacMillan's ballet Anastasia, first performed in 1967, used I, Anastasia, an autobiography as inspiration and "is a dramatic fantasy about Anna Anderson, the woman who believes herself to be Anastasia ... Either in memory or imagination, she experiences episodes from Anastasia's past ... The structure is a kind of free-wheeling nightmare, held together by the central figure of the heroine, played by Lynn Seymour". A contemporary reviewer thought Seymour's "tense, tormented portrait of the desperate Anna Anderson is quite extraordinary and really impressive". Anna Anderson was also used as a narrative device in Youri Vámos' 1992 ballet for Theater Basel, Sleeping Beauty – Last Daughter of the Czar, based on Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty .
In December 1986, NBC ran a two-part fictionalized mini-series titled Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna which starred Amy Irving and won her a Golden Globe nomination. In the words of Hal Erickson, "Irving plays the leading character in a lady-or-the-tiger fashion, so that we never know if she truly swallows her own tale or if she's merely a clever charlatan."
The central character ("Anastasia" or "Anya") of the 1997 animated fantasy Anastasia is portrayed as the actual Grand Duchess Anastasia, even though the film was released after DNA tests proved that Anna Anderson was not Anastasia.The film is an entirely fictional musical entertainment, and in the words of one reviewer, "historical facts are treated with particular contempt".
Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia was the second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last monarch of Russia, and of Tsarina Alexandra. She was born at the Peterhof, Saint Petersburg.
Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna.
Eugenia Smith, also known as Eugenia Drabek Smetisko, was one of several Romanov impostors who claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, youngest daughter of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Imperial Russia, and his wife Tsarina Alexandra.
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia was the youngest child of Emperor Alexander III of Russia and younger sister of Emperor Nicholas II.
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia ; Russian: Великая Княжна Мария Николаевна, 26 June [O.S. 14 June] 1899 – 17 July 1918) was the third daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. Her murder following the Russian Revolution of 1917 resulted in her canonization as a passion bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine was the third child and third daughter of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom and Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine. Her maternal grandparents were Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her paternal grandparents were Prince Charles of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Elizabeth of Prussia. She was the wife of Prince Henry of Prussia, a younger brother of Wilhelm II, German Emperor and her first cousin. The SS Prinzessin Irene, a liner of the North German Lloyd was named after her.
Princess Xenia Georgievna of Russia was the daughter of Grand Duke George Mihailovich of Russia and Princess Maria Georgievna of Greece and Denmark.
Greg King is an American author, best known for his biographies of prominent historical figures.
Princess Helen of Serbia and Yugoslavia was the daughter of King Peter I of Yugoslavia and his wife Princess Zorka of Montenegro. She was the elder sister of George, Crown Prince of Serbia and King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. Helen was also a niece of Anastasia of Montenegro, wife of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of Russia, and of Milica of Montenegro, wife of Grand Duke Peter Nicolaievich of Russia, the women who introduced Grigori Rasputin to Tsarina Alexandra.
Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia was the second daughter of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich of Russia and Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. She married the head of the German Imperial House Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia.
Marga Boodts was a woman who claimed to be Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia. She was one of a considerable number of Romanov pretenders who emerged from various parts of the world following the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family at Yekaterinberg on July 18, 1918. She stands out, however, as one of very few who claimed to have been Grand Duchess Olga, the Tsar's oldest daughter. She was also known as Maria Bottcher.
The canonization of the Romanovs was the elevation to sainthood of the last Imperial Family of Russia – Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei – by the Russian Orthodox Church. The family was killed by the Bolsheviks on 17 July 1918 at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg; the site of their execution is now beneath the altar of the Church on Blood. They are variously designated as new martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and as passion bearers by the church inside Russia.
Yevgeny Sergeyevich Botkin, commonly known as Eugene Botkin, was the court physician for Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra and, while in exile with the family, sometimes treated the haemophilia-related complications of the Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia.
Gleb Yevgenyevich Botkin was the son of Dr. Yevgeny Botkin, the court physician who was murdered at Yekaterinburg by the Bolsheviks with Tsar Nicholas II and his family on 17 July 1918.
Tatiana Evgenievna Botkina-Melnik (1898–1986), was the daughter of court physician Eugene Botkin, who was killed along with Tsar Nicholas II and his family by the Bolsheviks on July 17, 1918.
Aleksei Andreyevich Volkov (1859–1929) was a valet at the court of Tsar Nicholas II. He escaped a death march at Perm in September 1918 and survived to write his memoirs about his time at court and his escape. These include his experience of events such as the Khodynka Tragedy.
Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna is a 1986 American-Austrian-Italian made-for-television biographical film directed by Marvin J. Chomsky, starring Amy Irving, Rex Harrison, Olivia de Havilland, Omar Sharif, Christian Bale and Jan Niklas. The film was loosely based on the story of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia and the book The Riddle of Anna Anderson by Peter Kurth. It was originally broadcast in two parts.
Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia was the eldest daughter of the last Tsar of the Russian Empire, Emperor Nicholas II, and of Empress Alexandra of Russia.
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