On 17th July 1918, the Romanov family who had been held at Yekaterinburg’s Ipatiev House by Bolshevik troops, were ordered to awaken from their slumber and to put on their clothing. The pretext was that they were being moved somewhere safer, thanks to the chaos in the nearby town. However the whole family, a number of servants and even the family’s little dogs were taken to a nearby basement. The pretext of them being moved was kept up, the family being told to wait whilst the truck that would transport them to their new home was on it’s way.
But very shortly after, Bolshevik troops entered the basement. As they faced the family, Yakov Yurovsky told the family that they were to be executed. In shock, Tsar Nicholas II kept on repeating the question, “What?” – but the orders were read again and the soldiers opened fire. The last to die were the girls Maria, Tatiana and Anastasia thanks to the jewels sewn into their dresses. But none were spared, the soldiers even going so far as to bayonet the bodies once they had been shot to make sure that the Imperial family were dead. Not even the little dogs that accompanied the family were spared.
The family were eventually buried in a shallow grave near Porosenkov Log, after previous attempts to bury them failed. They were split up in an effort to cause confusion, just in case anyone should look for the bodies of the former Imperial Family and the bodies covered in sulphuric acid. Alexei and one of the sisters were buried seperately from the rest of the family after having been partially burned and their bodies pounded to fragments.
An incredibly awful way to go, and a sad end for a family who were targeted by a people who wanted freedom from the issues of the past. Could it have been avoided? Perhaps. After all, Tsar Nicholas had stepped down from his position as Tsar due to the demands of the people. It was a bloody end for one of Russia’s longest ruling dynasties.
The Romanovs – Simon Sebag Montefiore
The Romanovs: The Final Chapter – Robert K Massie
Ekaterinburg: The Last Days Of The Romanovs – Helen Rappaport.