Pierre Gilliard

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Pierre Gilliard
GilliardOlgaTatiana.jpg
Pierre Gilliard with his pupils, Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia and Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia at Livadia in 1911. Courtesy: Beinecke Library.
Born(1879-05-16)16 May 1879
Died30 May 1962(1962-05-30) (aged 83)

Pierre Gilliard (16 May 1879 – 30 May 1962) 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. [1]

The Swiss are the citizens of Switzerland or people of Swiss ancestry.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Nicholas II of Russia last Emperor of Russia, Grand Duke of Finland, and titular King of Poland

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.

Contents

Biography

Pierre Gilliard was born on 16 May 1879 in Fiez, Switzerland. [2] In his memoirs, Gilliard wrote that he initially came to Russia in 1904 as a French tutor to the family of Duke George of Leuchtenberg, a cousin of the Romanov family. He was recommended as a French tutor to the Tsar's children and began teaching the elder children, Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia in 1905.

Fiez Place in Vaud, Switzerland

Fiez is a municipality in the district of Jura-Nord Vaudois in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland.

Switzerland federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western, central, and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.

Princess Anastasia of Montenegro Princess of Montenegro

Princess Anastasia Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro was the daughter of King Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro (1841–1921) and his wife, Milena Vukotić (1847–1923). Through her second marriage, she became Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholaievna Romanova of Russia. She and her sister "Militza", having married Russian royal brothers, were known colloquially as the "Montenegrin princesses" during the last days of Imperial Russia, and may have contributed to its downfall by the introduction of Grigori Rasputin to the Empress Alexandra.

He grew fond of the family and followed them into internal exile at Tobolsk, Siberia, following the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Bolsheviks prevented Gilliard from joining his pupils when they were moved to the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg in May 1918. [3] He described his final view of the children in his memoirs:

Tobolsk Town in Tyumen Oblast, Russia

Tobolsk is a town in Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Tobol and Irtysh Rivers. Founded in 1590, Tobolsk is the second oldest Russian settlement east of the Ural Mountains in Asian Russia, and is a historic capital of the Siberia region. Population: 99,694 (2010 Census); 92,880 (2002 Census); 94,143 (1989 Census).

Siberia Geographical region in Russia

Siberia is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Eurasia and North Asia. Siberia has historically been a part of modern Russia since the 17th century.

The sailor Nagorny, who attended to Alexei Nikolaevitch, passed my window carrying the sick boy in his arms, behind him came the Grand Duchesses loaded with valises and small personal belongings. I tried to get out, but was roughly pushed back into the carriage by the sentry. I came back to the window. Tatiana Nikolaevna came last carrying her little dog and struggling to drag a heavy brown valise. It was raining and I saw her feet sink into the mud at every step. Nagorny tried to come to her assistance; he was roughly pushed back by one of the commissars ... [4]

Gilliard remained in Siberia after the murders of the family, assisting White Russian investigator Nicholas Sokolov. He married Alexandra "Shura" Tegleva, who had been a nurse to Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, in 1919. In Siberia, he was instrumental in unmasking an impostor who claimed to be the Tsarevich Alexei. [5]

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia Youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia

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.

In 1920, he returned to Switzerland via the Russian Far East. He became a French professor at the University of Lausanne and was awarded the French Legion of Honor. [6] In 1921, he published a book entitled Le Tragique Destin de Nicholas II et de sa famille, which described the last days of the Tsar and his family, and the subsequent investigation into their deaths. [7]

Russian Far East Geographic region

The Russian Far East comprises the Russian part of the Far East, the eastermost territory of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean.

University of Lausanne university located in Lausanne, Switzerland

The University of Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland was founded in 1537 as a school of theology, before being made a university in 1890. As of fall 2017, about 15,000 students and 3,300 employees study and work at the university. Approximately 1,500 international students attend the university, which has a wide curriculum including exchange programs with world-renowned universities.

In 1958, Gilliard was severely injured in a car accident in Lausanne. He never fully recovered and died four years later on 30 May 1962. [8]

Anna Anderson

Gilliard and Tsarevich Alexei on board the imperial yacht Standart Pierre Gilliard and Alexei.jpg
Gilliard and Tsarevich Alexei on board the imperial yacht Standart

In 1925, the Tsar's sister, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia, asked Gilliard and his wife to investigate the case of Anna Anderson, who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia. [9] On 27 July 1925, the Gilliards saw Anderson at St. Mary's Hospital in Berlin, where Anderson was being treated for a tubercular infection of her arm. Anderson was severely ill, and semi-conscious. Madame Gilliard asked to examine Anderson's feet, and noted that Anderson's feet were shaped similarly to Anastasia's: both had bunions. [10] Gilliard insisted that Anderson be moved to a better hospital, to ensure her survival while her identity was investigated. [11]

After an operation on Anderson's arm, she recuperated at the Mommsen Nursing Home in Berlin. There, in October 1925, the Gilliards saw Anderson again. Anderson did not recognise Gilliard, which she later claimed was because he had shaved off his goatee beard. [12] When he asked her to "tell me everything about your past", she refused. [13] According to Gilliard, Anderson mistook Shura for Grand Duchess Olga on the second day of their visit. [14] At a subsequent meeting, Anderson mimicked the actions of Anastasia when she asked Shura to moisten her forehead with eau de Cologne, which left Shura shaken. [15]

Anderson's supporters claimed that the Gilliards recognized Anderson as Anastasia, while the Gilliards denied it, and said her supporters mistook their compassion for recognition. [16] Anderson's friend and lifelong supporter, Harriet von Rathlef, wrote that she spotted Gilliard in the hallway, looking agitated, and muttering in French, "My God, how awful! What has become of Grand Duchess Anastasia? She's a wreck, a complete wreck! I want to do everything I can to help the Grand Duchess!" [17] Shura cried when she left Anderson, wondering why she loved the woman as much as she loved the grand duchess. [18]

On departure from the hospital, Gilliard told the Danish Ambassador in Berlin, Herluf Zahle, "We are going away without being able to say that she is not Grand Duchess Anastasia." [18] Gilliard later wrote to von Rathlef making further enquiries about Anderson's health, but he referred to her as "the invalid" rather than "Anastasia". [19] By the beginning of 1926, however, Gilliard was clearly of the opinion that Anderson was an impostor. [20]

While supporters of Anderson insisted that the Gilliards recognized her as Anastasia and then recanted, possibly the couple were hesitant at first because her emaciated condition made her look so different from the plump teenage Anastasia they had last seen. [21] While this was enough to suspend their initial doubts, they eventually decided, once she was better and they could question her more closely, that she was an impostor. Anderson's supporters accused Gilliard of turning his back on her because he was paid off by the Tsarina's brother, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse. [22]

Like Ernest Louis, Gilliard became a vociferous opponent of Anderson and her circle. [23] Gilliard wrote articles and a book entitled The False Anastasia, which claimed she was a "vulgar adventuress" and a "first-rate actress". [24] He said that he had known at once that she was not Anastasia, there was no facial resemblance, her entire knowledge of Russian imperial life was gleaned from magazines, books and her friends, [25] and she could not speak Russian, English or French. [26] He testified against her in Hamburg in 1958. [27] The lawsuits, designed to determine whether she was truly the grand duchess, eventually ended inconclusively in 1970, after Gilliard's death. [28]

Decades later, DNA tests were carried out in 1995, which proved that Anderson was not Anastasia, but was a Polish woman by the name of Franziska Schanzkowska. [29]

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References

  1. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra, 1967
  2. Mumenthaler, Rudolf. "Gilliard, Pierre". Dictionnaire historique de la Suisse [Historical Dictionary of Switzerland] (in French).
  3. Klier and Mingay, p. 33; Massie, The Romanovs, p. 172
  4. Gilliard, Pierre (1970), Thirteen Years at the Russian Court, pp. 74–76
  5. Klier and Mingay, p. 77
  6. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra, pp. 525–526
  7. Klier and Mingay, p. 76
  8. Kurth, p. 300
  9. Klier and Mingay, p. 99; Kurth, p. 105; Massie, The Romanovs, p. 172; Phenix, p. 148
  10. Kurth, p. 106; Massie, The Romanovs, p. 172; Phenix, p. 149
  11. Kurth, p. 106; Massie, The Romanovs, p. 172
  12. Phenix, pp. 150–151
  13. Kurth, p. 108; Massie, The Romanovs, p. 173
  14. Klier and Mingay, p. 150
  15. Kurth, p. 110; Phenix, p. 153
  16. Klier and Mingay, p. 101
  17. Kurth, p. 111
  18. 1 2 Kurth, p. 112; Massie, The Romanovs, p. 173
  19. Kurth, pp. 112–113
  20. Kurth, p. 117
  21. Klier and Mingay, pp. 101–102
  22. Klier and Mingay, p. 103
  23. Klier and Mingay, p. 126; Massie, The Romanovs, p. 174
  24. Kurth, p. 115; Massie, The Romanovs, p. 175
  25. Kurth, p. 116; Massie, The Romanovs, p. 175
  26. Kurth, p. 116
  27. Kurth, pp. 298–300
  28. Klier and Mingay, p. 139; Kurth, p. 377
  29. Stoneking, Mark; Melton, Terry; Nott, Julian; Barritt, Suzanne; Roby, Rhonda; Holland, Mitchell; Weedn, Victor; Gill, Peter; Kimpton, Colin; Aliston-Greiner, Rosemary; Sullivan, Kevin (9 January 1995), "Establishing the identity of Anna Anderson Manahan", Nature Genetics , 9 (1): 9–10, doi:10.1038/ng0195-9, PMID   7704032 , retrieved 3 July 2009

Sources