Saturday, 26 April 2008

Anastasia Romanov or Anna Anderson?

When I was little my father told me a story about a lost princess, little Anastasia. I remember being fascinated by her and I still am. I wonder if any of you are familiar with the story. Anastasia was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicolas II the last Tsar of Imperial Russia. Anastasia had three elder sisters: Olga, Tatiana, Maria and a younger brother Alexei. They lived in an enchanted world of elegant palaces and grand parties.
On the 17 th of July 1918 the family was awakened and told to get dressed. Believing they were going to be photographed they stood in a row but were surprised when armed men came in and started firing. It is believed that the Tsars died straight away but the bullets for some reason bounced off the girls (unknown to the soldiers they had sewn the Royal Crown diamonds on their dresses, so they could smuggle them around while they were being captivated). The soldiers were stunned by such a miracle and started stabbing the girls.

Rumours about Anastasia being alive were spreading through Russia. And I honestly believe that she did survive and I’m going to tell you why.

Two years after the massacre a woman jumped off a bridge in Berlin, she was saved and taken to a hospital. She had no ID and did not identify herself so she was sent to a mental institution. There was buzz going around of how much she looked like the Grand Duchess Tatiana. Later she admitted she was Anastasia Romanov and explained what had happened on the night of the shooting including the incident of the royal diamonds. She was able to make her escape with the help of a guard who rescued her from amongst the corpses after noticing that she was still alive and took her to Romania. Up to here she could have been an imposter but some strange facts make you think the opposite they’re just too many coincidences. However she was rejected by many family members maybe because they were scared that if she really was Anastasia then they wouldn’t inherit much, because it was believed that Tsar Nicolas had 20 million rubles in a Swiss account. Nevertheless Anastasia’s uncle Grand Duke Ernst of Hesse was determined to prove she was an imposter and substantiated an investigation that indicated that Anna Anderson was actually a polish factory worker, Franziska Schanzkowska but this theory was some how controversial because the woman who testified was paid. In those days what factory worker could actually speak so many languages fluently? However some questioned why she wouldn’t speak Russian, which was Anastasia’s native language, but the truth is she understood when spoken to her but replied in German, the reason she gave for this was that she would never speak the language spoken by those who killed her family. She spoke of private details that outsiders of the Russian Royal Family wouldn’t know and even met Princess Irene, Anastasia’s aunt (who hadn’t seen her niece in ten years) said the were nothing alike but later admitted that they were very similar. Moreover her son, Anastasia childhood playmate sent Anderson a list of questions that only the REAL Anastasia could answer. Consequently Anna answered all of them correctly. Peculiar isn’t it?
DNA testing does, in fact, reveal that bodies were missing from the pit into which the Romanov bodies were thrown and burned. In addition, scars that Anna Anderson had on her body were said to have matched those that the Princess Anastasia had as well.
Anderson and Anastasia were very alike and also had other physical similarities. Anderson had a foot deformity like Anastasia's. Anderson suffered from bone tuberculosis, a condition said to have been common among the Romanovs. Better still, Anderson recalled that Grand Duchess Olga used to call Anastasia "Shvipsik", which meant little one, a pet name only a few family members ever knew to begin with. Anthropologists who studied their photographs found their faces to be very similar. In addition a famous anthropologist, Dr. Otto Reche, testified in court that Anastasia and Anna Anderson had to be either the same person or identical twins.
A handwriting expert also swore that she was the real Anastasia because their handwriting was identical. But the truth is that she didn’t win the case in court because as far as the Judge was concerned she didn’t have enough proof and was identified as being the polish factory worker( who didn´t have no schooling and was considered to be limited in inteligence) . However nobody could explain her intimate acquaintance with History and customs of the Romanov family( including how to walk, sit, stand and offer her hand in exactly the home-trained manner) and how she knew every royal house in Europe, dealing easily with hotel staff in French and also knew how to play the piano with or without a sheet.
Anna Anderson died in February 1984 from pneumonia.
Unknown to Anna, in 1979, before her death, the bodies of the missing Romanov family had actually been finally found; but due to political instability in Russia, the bodies had been reburied until 1989. The remains were "officially" recovered in 1991. In all, the skeletons of nine people were found in the grave but eleven people had been shot by the Communist Party in 1918, so two bodies were missing from the grave. Forensic examiners soon determined that the missing bodies were those of the two youngest children, Alexis and Anastasia. So at this late date, there was established a possibility that Anastasia had actually escaped the execution. But did she? And was Anna Anderson her? I believe she really was the lost princess.


Ian said...

Recognizing princesses is not made much of in our society: however, it could be ... for Anastasia's sake...and all her sisters.

P.S.: really agree with the Einstein quote.

Anonymous said...

I am very good with identifying facial features, and I must say in my personnal opinion Anna was in fact Anastasia.

Shyann Emory

fahlou said...

The missing bodies were found and in 2008 were analyzed and determined to be the missing children, including Anastasia. This woman was an impostor.

Anonymous said...

This article is full of errors. Read King & Wilson's book "The Resurrection of the Romanovs, and you will get the facts.

Ekaterina Ivanovna Derevenkova said...

"Shvipzik" actually means "imp" and was coined by Nikolai. "Malenkaya" actually means "little one" and was bestowed upon Anastasia by her aunt, Grand Duchess Olga Aleksandrovna.

They also did DNA testing on genetic material taken from Frau Anderson, comparing mitochondrial DNA from Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Karl Mauher, a nephew of Franziska Schanzkowska. In female line families (as with the Grand Duchess and the Duke of Edinburgh), the mitochondrial DNA is the same. It's transferred from mother to child. The samples between Frau Anderson and the Duke was not a match, but between Frau Anderson and Mauher, were. There was a 99.99% chance of them being related.

While it was believed that Nikolai had money squirreled away in Switzerland and England, none of this money has ever materialized. Several close relatives died destitute and reliant on family members for room and board. Nice try, though.