Anastasia Information

Updated March 14, 1998

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This is my page for Anastasia Romanov, an intriguing historical figure that was the inspiration behind Tori's song Yes, Anastasia that appears on the 1994 Under The Pink album. I have gathered several interesting links, posts and articles about Anastasia for people interested in finding out more about her and the controversy that surrounds her death.

I have been amazed at the controversy out there concerning Anastasia and the entire Romanov family. Much of the controversy stems around the death of Anastasia. She reportedly executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918 along with the rest of her family. For many years, her body was missing (along with her brother's) and people thought she might have managed to escape. A woman named of Anna Anderson appeared in 1922 claiming to be Anastasia. Many people believed her, many others did not. Thsi woman died in 1984. The controversy stems over the woman who claimed to be Anastasia, DNA tests that were conducted later on, and about other things. Both sides are very passionate, and you will find both represented below. What does Tori think about all this? I am not sure, though their may be some clues in her song Yes Anastasia.

Here are some links on the web that I found interesting. (Many thanks to Kim H. for some of them!)

Super Toriphile Violet posted a ton of information to the various mailing lists earlier in 1997 about Anastasia.

After Violet's post below, you can read additional commentary from Tim, a 1994 article from U.S. News & World Report, and more thoughts from Kim H.

From Violet:

I'm working on an update of the Anastasia info I posted a month or so ago, since I recently discovered some inaccuracies. In a nutshell,the bones of Alexei and Anastasia were *not* buried in a grave after they were burned; they were burned completely and the ashes scattered near the gravesite of the others, according to the chief executioner. The error on my part was due to confusing transcriptions I'd relied upon (not really surprising to me now, since I'm discovering firsthand that it's difficult as hell trying to summarize the correct information in a non-confusing way -- no wonder there are entire books on the subject).

I just put together a ton of info on Anastasia for a Torifan who asked if I knew anything about her. I figured I might as well share it here, especially since I flaked on telling you guys the result of the DNA testing that was revealed in the Nova episode last year. (looking sheepish) If some of the info seems personally directed to someone, it was -- to the person who originally asked for help. I just haven't taken the time to go through and modify it all for public consumption. :)

Anastasia Romanov, daughter of Nicholas II (last czar of Russia), was executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918 along with the rest of her family. For many years, her body was missing (along with her brother's) and people thought she might have managed to escape after all. A woman by the name of Anna Anderson surfaced in 1922 claiming to be Anastasia. Many people believed her, many didn't. She died in 1984, still a mystery. However DNA tests performed a couple of years ago determined that she was absolutely NOT Anastasia; it is believed that she was a Polish factory worker named Franzisca Schanzkowska who had been missing for decades. Anna Anderson's DNA closely matched that of one of Franzisca's relatives, and in DNA testing, "close" is amazingly accurate since only relatives of each other tend to have DNA that even remotely matches. Since then, the bones of Anastasia and her younger brother, Alexei, were discovered in a grave in a very remote section of forest (where soldiers tried to burn the corpses before burying them them -- it was one of the soldier's testimonies that helped researchers locate the missing bodies). After DNA testing proved positively that the two skeletons were members of the Romanov family, it's now certain that none of them survived the massacre. There IS some confusion between scientists about whether the female body was Anastasia or her sister Marie, but most think it's Anastasia. If I'm remembering right, Anastasia was 17 when she was killed.

Films: There was a great film made last year by HBO films titled "Rasputin." Because Rasputin was around the Romanovs a great deal and worked with them in his capacity as a "healer," much of their story shows up in the movie, including the takeover by the Bolsheviks and the family's massacre. But the most interesting thing is that the film shows how Anastasia's and Alexei's bodies were taken into the woods while the other five family members' bodies were buried elsewhere. (You can probably find this film at a video store. It was made last year and stars Alan Rickman). Another film is the classic "Anastasia" with Ingrid Bergman which was made in 1956. This film is based on Anna Anderson's claim that she was Anastasia and is told from that viewpoint. Ingrid won an Oscar for her performance. You can also look for another film of nearly the same title -- "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna" -- that was made in 1986. It stars Amy Irving as Anna and is basically the same story as that in the Ingrid Bergman film, but it's not as good.

Books: There are several books that will tell you more about the daily life of Anastasia and her family, but my favorite is titled "Anastasia," although I've forgotten who the author is. I can look it up, if you want. Anyway, that's the first one that you should look at. But there ARE other good ones out there (I'm thinking there's one other with the title of "Anastasia," which might be why I can't remember who wrote the one I like; but I know it when I see it -- it's a pretty thick book).

TV: There was a great documentary made for PBS a couple of years ago, but I don't know that you'd be able to find it anywhere. It was on Nova -- maybe you could find it in a library? Some video stores have a section with tapes of PBS documentary series -- maybe you'll get lucky.

By the way, for those of you who are familiar with Tori's story about how she came to write "Anastasia," you will remember that it was the spirit of Anna Anderson who wanted Tori to "tell her story." At the time, Tori said she didn't know for certain whether Anna WAS Anastasia or not, but that she thought she probably was. Just goes to show that even Tori can be wrong from time to time. ;)

The following bits are various news items and such about Anastasia.

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[This is a synopsis from the Teacher's Guide for the "Anastasia" episode of Nova.]

During the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Czar Nicholas Romanov II was overthrown and exiled to the town of Ekaterinburg. In the middle of the night of July 16, 1918, Bolshevik guards, using the pretense that the Romanovs were in danger, led the Czar and his family into a basement and killed them. Although reports indicated that no one survived, some people believe that one of the Czar's daughters, Princess Anastasia, may have escaped. In 1922 a woman claiming to be Anastasia surfaced in Berlin. Six years later, she visited the United States and registered in a hotel using the name Anna Anderson. Relatives, doctors, and former acquaintances of the Romanovs interviewed and studied her, but until the advent of DNA analysis,no one could prove or disprove her claim with certainty. NOVA investigates this mystery, presenting personal testimonies, evidence from DNA tests, and extensive efforts to determine her true identity.

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[This article is from early 1994, shortly before the DNA testing was done.]

Did any Romanovs survive the 1919 massacre?
Genetic testing may decide.
By Dean Robinson

Science has already solved one great historical mystery--the fate of Russia's last czar, Nicholas II,whose bones were unearthed with those of his family outside Ekaterinberg, Russia, and authenticated by genetic testing.

Now the same method will help sort through the muddle of people claiming links to Nicholas's youngest children, Alexei and Anastasia Romanov,believed by many to have escaped their family's 1918 massacre by the Bolsheviks.

The stakes are huge: definitive identification of some of history's most romantic figures; a bit part in Russian politics; benefits from a possible media bonanza; and, most intriguingly, a potential claim on a hoard of gold rumored to have been stashed by Nicholas.

Most aspiring Romanovs are either charlatans or deluded. But the Ekaterinberg find has touched off a high-tech Cinderella search, attracting many offers of "royal" DNA for comparison to the genetic material in the bones. Efforts are already under way in several cases, including that of the most famous alleged Anastasia, the late Anna Anderson of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Like Russian history itself, the hunt for Anastasia and Alexei is populated with weird characters. The Anderson case alone has attracted legal briefs from everyone from the Russian Nobility Association to one "Anastasia Romanov" of St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, who thinks she's Anderson's long-lost daughter. And now an ancient German baron may hold the key to solving the puzzle.

Meanwhile, a U.S. public-relations firm called Wink Inc. has emerged as a self-styled clearinghouse for purported Romanovs--including a woman in Scottsdale, Arizona, who says her late husband was the czar's only son. (This particular Alexei taught Ronald Reagan how to ride a horse, Wink claims.) Just how many would-be royals are out there? "We feel there are eight," says Richard Sutz, vice president of Wink. "Five Alexeis and three Anastasias."

Of these, the case of Anna Anderson may be the first and most prominent to be resolved. Celebrated in articles, books, and a 1956 Ingrid Bergman movie, Anderson was cremated in 1984 after dying at age 82. Last summer, however, a couple that was friendly with her learned that a Charlottesville hospital still has part of Anderson's intestine from a procedure performed years earlier. Because the czar's alleged daughter had no heirs--she acknowledged no children, and her husband died in 1990--the couple sued the hospital to free up Anderson's tissue for genetic testing.

Anderson's friends have a personal motive: The wife, Marina Schweitzer, is a granddaughter of Eugene Botkin, the czar's doctor. Anderson said Botkin was murdered along with her family, but his bones weren't identified with genetic certainty. If Anderson was indeed Anastasia, then Schweitzer would know her grandfather's fate.

But as soon as the suit was filed, things got messy. Late last year, the judge gave an official say to the secretive Russian Nobility Association, a group of Emigres that has insisted Anderson was an impostor, and to the long-lost "daughter" in Florida. A bitter Richard Schweitzer thinks the obstructionist RNA wants to protect its self-proclaimed authority on Russian history--and, perhaps, dreams of the gold that Schweitzer says the czar kept in London as dowry for his daughters. The rumored hoard can't be confirmed; the RNA won't comment.

The Florida woman, known as Ellen Kailing until she changed her name to Anastasia Romanov last year, is even curiouser. She says she didn't learn her true identity until 1990 but is certain great wealth awaits her--and that the Russian throne awaits her 16-year-old son. "I would say that history will turn 180 degrees around," she says, amid bizarre tales of plots and attempts on her life.

To fend off such challengers, Schweitzer thinks he can rely on 86-year-old Baron Ulrich von Gienanth, executor of a series of wills Anderson made while living in Germany in the 1940s and 1950s --probably the only credible Anderson wills in existence. If his legal standing is confirmed, the baron apparently wants Anderson's tissue to be tested as soon as possible.

Testing at the English lab that verified the czar's bones would cost the Schweitzers 10,000 pounds ($14,750). But that kind of expense doesn't deter other royal wanna-bes, including Canadian resident Sandra Romanov, who claims her late husband was Alexei. "I would like ten labs to be involved," she says. "That way there'll be no hanky-panky."

The Wink PR agency has offered to spring for testing of other alleged Romanovs--in return for book and film rights, of course.Wink's Sutz says the firm considered targeting the gold hoard, too, but decided to skip "an enormously long and difficult legal battle."

Thinking of claiming the Russian throne yourself? Beware: Even Wink has standards. "We would have to have some kind of screening," says Sutz. "It's just like a crime: There are always 50 people who will pop up and admit to it."

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[This article mentions a little about the confusion about which bones were buried where, but all agree that all members of the Romanov family are now accounted for. It was written after the DNA testing had been done on Anna Anderson.]

After The Execution

According to Massie's article in the August issue of The New Yorker, the site of the Romanov bones had been discovered in 1979 but were not allowed to be exhumed until July 11, 1991.

Dr.Sergei Abramov headed the Russian team to identify the bones. They did not have enough money for DNA testing so they, "matched skull formations to photographs, calculated similarities and probabilities of likeness"("The Last Romanov Mystery" 78). His results showed that the bones are the remains of the Romanov family and that two bodies were missing: Alexi, the tzarevich, and Marie (pictured opposite). Dr.William Maples headed the American team that went to Ekaterinberg to assist in the identification process. Dr.Maples used hip bones and dental remains to conclude that the two missing bodies are Alexi and Anastasia (pictured below) since none of the skeletons, "were young enough to have belonged to Anastasia" ("The Last Romanov Mystery" 82).

In Yakov Yurovsky's account of the murders, he states that he burned two bodies near the burial site, one being Alexi and the other he was not able to recall. Dr. Abramov still believes his findings are correct and that Marie was burned along with her brother. Maples claims that his results are more accurate ("The Last Romanov Mystery" 83).

A third country entered the scientific investigations, England, headed by Dr. Peter Gill. It is this team that has wrestled with all the DNA testing. To begin, they had to contact distant relatives to the tzar and the empress. The DNA from the blood samples given matched with the DNA from the bones. Along with Abramov and Maples, Gill declared the bones to be those of the Romanov family. Gill's DNA testing does not solve the question regarding the Grand Duchesses.

What it does solve is the mystery of Anastasia. While the scientists debate between Anastasia and Marie, we now know that no one survived the execution. In September of 1994, remains left by Anna Anderson (the woman who had the strongest claim as The Grand Duchess) proved that she is not Anastasia Romanov, but a Polish factory worker (The Romanovs 246).

On February 25th, 1996, a funeral ceremony was arranged for the last Tzar of Russia and his family in St.Petersburg, and was canceled for the fourth time. The Moscow church states that: "The DNA testing has to be done over again" to verify the identification of the bones ("Bones of Contention" 33). Regardless of scientific data from Russia, England, and the United States all ending with the same conclusion, that the bones are indeed the Romanovs, the Moscow Church is not satisfied. Whether or not the family will be canonized in the ceremony has not been decided but, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has already done that for the imperial family in 1981. "In the meantime, the remains of Nicholas and Alexandra and their children continue to lie on metal tables in a morgue in Siberia" ("Bones of Contention" 33).

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[A short news item.]

The Romanovs.

In 1993 bones found two years before in a shallow grave in Ekaterinenburg in Russia, were identified as the remains of the last Tsar, Tsarina and three of their five children, the royal physician and three servants. To prove relationship with the Romanov family, the DNA extracted and amplified by polymerase chain reaction, was compared to a blood sample provided by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elisabeth the second of England, and a grand nephew of the tsarina.

Soon after, Anna Anderson Manahan, a US immigrant, deceased in 1984, who had claimed all her life to be the youngest daughter of the last Tsar, Anastasia, supposedly escaped from the bolshevik firing squad, was proved NOT to be who she claimed. Moreover, her DNA very closely matched that of an other immigrant from Pomerania (Germany-Poland), a great nephew of the women Franzisca Schanzkowska. Already in the 1920s a private investigator of the Grand Duke of Hesse had identified Anna Anderson with Schanzkowska.

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[Another news item that came out after the DNA testing of Anna Anderson ws completed.]


LONDON (Reuter) -- The late Anna Anderson, who for decades claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, could not have been the youngest daughter of Russia's last tsar, according to tests using blood of the husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

Instead, Ms Anderson, 83, who died in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1984, was identified as being of Polish peasant stock.

Doctors compared Ms Anderson's DNA with that of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is related in the intricate web of European royalty to the dead tsarina through his mother.

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Additonal commentary on Anastasia from Tim:

I am writing to inform you that there exists an opposing view point to the one you expressed. First i would like to reinterate that two bodies have not been found in ekaterinburg separate from the skeletons already found. Also there exists a true belief by many that anna anderson was not franziska shantkowska but that she was indeed anastasia. The belief, which is held by mself, was recently confirmed by handwriting samples, from anna and anastasia, i had analyzed. From which it was concluded that the same person wrote the various samples. Also recent evidence from peter vanesis, a british forensic expert who is currently working on the case of henri paul the chauffer of princess diana and dodi alfad, who concluded an an analization of their ears, back in the mid 1990's concluded that they were the same person. Given this and the testiomial evidence from lilith dehn,friend of the empress who was held with the family during their house arrest in tsarskoe selo.gleb and tatiana botkin, son and daughter of dr yevgenii botkin who died with the imperial family(and yes his skeleton was positively id'd). Along with xenia leeds,cousin of anastasia and grand duke andreii,anstasia's "uncle".all of whom positively identified anna anderson as the grand duchess. The testimony of alexandra tegleva anastasia's nursemaid is extremly important, when verifiying anna's scars and birthmarks she replied:"this is anastasia's body".the list of physical features in common are more than impressive, including the foot deformity hallux vulgus, in which the large toe turns inwards towards the other toes on the same foot creating a bunion.anna had this and it was worse on the right foot the same as anastasia's. she had a scar on the base of her left middle finger where anastasia had gotten her finger caught in a carriage door. She had a small scar on her forehead from a fall, the same. And she had a small circular scar on her shoulder blade where mole had been removed. Ironically captain sablin on the royal yacht the standart, commented when anastasia was young that the she had been branded with the mole on her back and that i would be easy to find her if she was ever lost due to the mark. She later had it cauterized when she got older.

A article that appeared in U.S. News & World Report on September 19, 1994 and send to me by Shade P V.:

Mystery--p. 20
An Anastasia Verdict. by Alan Cooperman in Moscow.
U.S. News & World Report
September 19, 1994

Using a computer to match old photos with skulls found in a forest, Russian scientists claim to have buried a romantic myth: Anastasia Romanov, youngest daughter of the last czar, did NOT survive the murder of her family in 1918. But there is still a slender possibility that her hemophiliac brother, Alexei, and one of her sisters may have escaped.

Researchers looking for the remains of Nicholas II unearthed nine skeletons from a shallow pit three years ago. Last year, scientists in England matched DNA from the bone marrow to a sample given by Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband, who is kin to the Romanovs. Then a Russian team led by Dr. Vladislav Plaksin, Moscow's chief forensic specialists, began identifying the skeletons by sex, age and height. Plaksin told U.S. News that computer modeling of five skulls matched precisely with photos of Nicholas, Empress Alexandra and their daughters Olga, Tatyana and Anastasia. The other four skeletons were identified as the family doctor and three loyal servants. Still missing are the remains of another sister, Maria, and the crown prince, Alexei.

The research still may not dissuade believers of Anna Anderson, who died in Virginia in 1984 insisting she was Anastasia. and a Russian government commission will leave its investigation open, preventing reburial of the bones until more foreign experts have weighed in. but Plaksin is ready to enter a scientific debate with anyone who still thinks Anastasia survived. "We have handed out the royal calling cards, " he said, "and we've done it precisely."

More thoughts on Anastasia from Kim H:

I just couldn't let go of the Anastasia page without commenting...

There are many inaccuracies. I believe some others have addressed them but i will try and be brief:

1) This "Polish Peasant" story was the one dragged out every time Anna Anderson came close to proving her story... it was shown many times, however, that the two women were not even anywhere near the same height, did not have the same eye color, etc.etc. Also the Polish woman had an entirely different background than Anna Anderson, did not speak other languages the way Anna did, and had nowhere near the refined mannerisms... this is a totally bogus story, a red herring, a McGuffin. I'm shocked people are still falling for it. By the way...was NO ONE suspicious that NOT ONLY did they say that Anna was not Anastasia Romanov but ALSO that she just happened to be some obscure Polish peasant woman ?? Did no one think they were tipping their hand a bit with that one ?? (Think about it; would all the royals of the world be likely to admit they let one of their own suffer in this way ?? At the very least, the machinations which protect royalty would never let this scandal happen.. don't forget the 'news' came right around the Queen's much celebrated return to the USSR-- the first such visit from any British royal since their COUSINS the Romanovs had been murdered there.)

2) Think about it please everyone... this was a woman who never stopped quietly claiming her identity, HER WHOLE LIFE LONG. She NEVER asked for any money, she only wanted to see her beloved grandmother one more time (which, unlike the EXECRABLE movies, she NEVER was allowed to do). The royal families were on the verge of very quietly welcoming her into their fold UNTIL she mentioned to one of them that "Papa" had said something about millions being stashed in an English bank...she could vaguely remember the code word needed to free it. After that, Anna said, everything changed, although she assured them she did not want any money.

3) Anna had BAYONET SCARS and the same physical quirks and deformities that Anastasia had, including a deformity of the feet. What's more, many who had known the whole family came away from a meeting with her in tears, saying, "she has the czar's eyes" and "I know it is her" etc. Why didn't they say something ? They did not control the family purse strings and would have been cast out by those who did. (see # 2).

4) Anna had a split in her skull which eventually healed (it was in the front of her jaw) but upon her first surfacing and being brought to the mental asylum, the ignorant doctors there only knew her jaw hurt so they PULLED ALL HER TEETH, resulting in a vastly altered mouth and jaw line, and the appearance of being older than she was. This split was in fact caused by the strike of a rifle butt as the desperate (and very drunk and hasty) assassins tried to finish off the survivors after they had run out of bullets (the many, hidden jewels sewn into the women's corsets formed a sort of makeshift, inadvertent bulletproof vest !).

5) As stated above, the assassins were drunk unorganized and rushing to kill everyone and book it out of Ekaterinburg before the opposing armies got there. The truck stalled at least twice en route to finding an out of the way place to bury the bodies, and there were many rumors in Russia immediately afterward (which one interviewer later confirmed with the people's descendants) that two bodies were smuggled off the truck and into a boarding house during one such stop. The assassins were blotto, panicky, and probably a bit guilt ridden at shooting the czar's family if not the czar. There are accounts just released from some of those men and while they get very vague when it comes to the burial (wouldn't you if two of the victims were missing ??) they agree on many aspects, none of which conflict with any of the above.

6) Read the book ANASTASIA: THE RIDDLE OF ANNA ANDERSON (sorry i still haven't unpacked my books but there is only one by this title; i forget the author) it is very thorough, and don't skip over anything, and then YOU tell ME if ANYONE could possibly fake knowing such small details, or the type of emotion they sometimes evoked as she remembered them. Traumatic amnesia is very common, and often something will TRIGGER a memory rather than the person responding to being grilled for details... listen to the lyrics of YES, ANASTASIA, i believe this is what Tori is talking about !! And it really saddens and angers me (nothing personal folks just IMHO !) that people are STILL quibbling that it couldn't have been Anastasia... Anna Anderson did NOT want to talk to the press, and just wanted to live a peaceful life... she had NO reason to say she was Anastasia except, IMHO, that she WAS. And most times she would only respond wearily, "how do you prove who you are ?" Indeed.

7) Lastly i just want to say that she had the right idea, and the last laugh, in having herself cremated (something the assassins had neither the time nor wherewithal to do btw, oh and the other missing skeleton just happens to be the only other sibling to have been rumored to survive... there are many accounts of Alexei surfacing as a soldier and being blackmailed and spending some time in a prison camp too... this from another book which studied newly released, archived depositions from THAT TIME.) ... at last, maybe Anna/Anastasia can be at PEACE.

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