Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia
Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia

 

 

- After 1918 - To Bottom

 

 

    The first days after the Romanovs' execution, Ipatiev house was guarded as usual. A few days later, on July 18, the news of the execution was announced in a contradictory way. In fact, bolshevicks first announced the killing of the Czar saying that other members of the family had been transfered in a safe place. Gradually, other rumours about the execution of the whole family started.
     But, in Ekaterinburg, people had more urgent concerns. Indeed, white troops arrived closer of the city which fell on July 25 after bolshevicks escape.

     An investigation on the missing Romanovs was opened and entrusted first to judge Alexander Namiotkine , then to judge Ivan Serguéiev.
 

     Ipatiev house, returned to his owner after bolshevicks departure, was again occupied by white army for investigation needs but Nikolai Ipatiev was allowed to use three rooms of the ground floor. Namiotkine's, then Serguéievs's investigators, examined all the house rooms and especialy cellar room where traces of bullets were very numerous.
 

    They also inspected the pit mine after accounts of people who had seen bolshevicks soldiers here the night of the drama. In pits mines, investigators found a lot of little objects, pieces of clothes and small human remains.
    


Nicholas and Alexandra room as it has been
found by white army (photo from Sokolov files)
 

    Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia
Pits mine during investigations
 

     In October, General Gajda, commander of the west white army decided to establish his headquarters in the house. In spite of judge Serguéiev's protests, Ipatiev house was invested including former Romanov's sealed rooms under.

     Only the cellar room could been saved and still kept sealed. But, on several occasions, General Gadja entered it to have his guests visit it. From this moment, we can seriously doubt about the authenticity of the words found on cellar room wall ! They could have been written during that period. On January 23, 1919, judge Serguéiev was replaced by Sokolov by order of General Ditherikhs.

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Nikolai Sokolov
Nikolaï Sokolov
(1882 - 1924)

Nikolai Alexéïevitch Sokolov was born in Mokshane, near Penza in 1882. After teaching right in Karkov, he became judge and judicial investigator. After the revolution, he ran away not to serve the bolshevicks and reached Omsk in Siberia. With other monarchist people, he took part in several attempts to free the Romanov family without success. On February 7, 1919, he was officially appointed by Koltchak admiral to investigate about the Romanovs' murder. In 1920, at the white army defeat, Sokolov, like a lot of people, left Russia and emigrated to France in the small city of Salbris (41300 - Loir et Cher). Sick, without resources, he had just time to finish to write the results of his investigation before dying out on November 23, 1924, letting a 23 year old widow and two little children. The same year, his book "Enquête judiciaire sur l'assassinat de la famille impériale Russe" (In French) was published by Payot. In this book, he concluded that the whole Romanov family has been murdered in Ipatiev house and their bodies had been entirely destroyed. These conclusions had historic value until the bodies were discovered in 1989.

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Nikolai Sokolov

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Nikolai Sokolov


Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Nikolai Sokolov

Others photos and signature of
Nikolaï Sokolov

     Sokolov, after having examining proofs found by his predecessor, started a very strict and complete investigation. He questionned again a lot of witnesses, including former Ipatiev house red guards captured by white army.
     He also inspected the cellar room as well as pits mine in forest. During this investigation in forest, he even discovered the place where the truck of Yurovsky's men had stalled (You can see the photo on page 225 of his book) but he did not think that Yurovsky could have hidden bodies under the wood planks !

 

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Sokolov
Sokolov on the place where Romanov
remains will be found in 1979 !

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Sokolov Grave
Sokolov's grave in Salbris cemetery
(France - Loir et Cher) - Detail of text

 

     As a conclusion, Sokolov's investigation was perfect. His only error was to consider that Yurovsky and his men had succeeded in completely burning the 11 bodies in only two days and two nights.
    In fact, tests made afterwards to simulate similar bodies destruction showed that it was not possible to get rid of so many bodies in such short time.

     At the end of the year 1919, Ekaterinburg was again under bolshevicks threat and Nikolai Ipatiev tried to sell his house to the russo-czech trade room. Learning this, Koltchack admiral, forbad the sale and rent Nicolas Ipatiev 6000 roubles his house for 6 months to carry on investigations. But one month later, white army had left the city and bolshevicks were back.
     Sokolov, like a lot of people, was forced to leave Ekaterinburg and Russia.

     He emigrated to France in the small city of Salbris (Loir et Cher). Here, he finished to write the conclusions of his investigations.
     Without any financial resources, like other Russian emigrants, he had to accept the inhabitants help. Sick, Sokolov died in 1924 of an heart attack, letting a young widow and two children. He was buried on the village cemetery where his grave can still be seen (photo above).

     His book ; "Enquête judiciaire sur l'assassinat de la famille impériale Russe" (In French) was published by Payot shortly after his death. This book is still considered as a reference on this subject.

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Sokolov Grave
Sokolov's former house in Salbris
(Picture kindly provided by
Christian Dureau)
    

   Almost as soon as the execution was announced, rumors began spreading that some members of the imperial family had survived.

     The two most famous stories involved the Czar's youngest daughter, Anastasia, and Tsarevich Alexei. The most famous impostor was a woman named Anna Anderson (Photo above), who convinced some of the Czar's relatives that she was Anastasia. She claimed that she had not been killed in the cellar room and had been rescued by one red guard.

      In 1928, a German private detective, Martin Knopf, after investigations had actually identified her as a Polish factory worker, Franziska Schanzkowski. Recently, scientists used DNA testing to rule out Anderson's claims and to confirm Knopf's investigations results

 

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Anna Anderson
Anna Anderson. the
"most famous" Anastasia

 

     But the discovery of only 9 skeletons in Ekaterinburg woods, whereas 11 people had been murdered, is still feeding theories that two children could have survived, despite Yurovsky's testimony that these bodies have been burned and buried separately.
     At the moment, they are still all over the world a lot of people saying they had met Anastasia or Alexei who survived. For example, Vadim Petrov, Igor Lyssenko and Georgi Egorov claim in their book, "The escape of Alexei, son of Czar Nikolai II" that Alexis had not been killed and lived in the Russian city of Chadrinsk under the name of Vassili Filatov...
    A Canadian journalist, John Kendrick, has put the history of another Alexei nammed Heino Tammet, who lived in Canada. You can learn more about all this people on the pretenders chapter of the site.

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia
   I recommend you to read the comic strip 'Le rossignol de Koursk' (In french) which is the volume II of the series 'Nuit Blanche', realized by authors Yann and Neuray.
   In this comic strip, the action takes place in Ekaterinbourg, just after the murder of Romanovs.
   You can cross in this comic strip Koltchac admiral, Sokolov judge and also follow the hero in its visit of Ipatiev House very well rebuilt.

Buy it on Amazon.fr
Buy it on Fnac.com

     In Russia, Ipatiev house remained for a long time unoccupied. In 1927, for the 10th anniversary of the revolution, was opened in Ipatiev House a museum dedicated to the revolution and about the murder of Romanov family. People could visit rooms of the first floor but access to cellar room was not allowed because it was used to store documents of the local soviet. Some postcards of the house were even published. This museum was closed in 1932.

     After 1945, Ipatiev house was used on different ways: archives of the local party, museum of the atheists local association,


Tourists visiting cellar room

 


Destruction of Ipatiev house in July 1977

 

     Ipatiev house was still forbiden to people but still visited by officials and their friends. And the house carried on attracting people's curiosity:
     For example, some furniture of the house had been offered to a famous musician visiting Ekaterinburg. A professor from Leningrad received a railing from the staircase as a souvenir.
     The wall where the Romanovs were murdered was even sold to an English collector. And each 17 of July, flowers are put in front of the house by people.
     In 1974, the house was classified as historical monument but the year after, dependences and floor rooms were destroyed.
Heavenly Hymns In The Ipatiev House (Article)

The story was told to Archbishop Melchizedek, who had then been the hierarch of katerinburg for many years.
At the time of the fall of the Soviet government in 1990, an old woman came to his office. Although she was not a believer, she felt that she was going to die soon and said that she had something she wanted to tell him.
After the death of the Czar and his family, the Ipatiev house had been turned into the "Museum of the Workers' Revenge,"to commemorate the death of the family. This woman, Anna, had been the night guard in the museum for several decades, and although the rest of the house was open during the day for visitors, the basement site of the family's murder was always kept barred and locked. No one, including the guards, ever went down there. Anna told the Archbishop that many times during her years of working there she could hear beautiful singing and see light streaming from the basement door when night fell. She said that the singing was as of many voices, and definitely church music. She would often creep up to the door to listen but was too frightened to go into the basement to look. She did not tell anyone, since she knew that if she reported such things she would be dismissed and possibly arrested. Archbishop Melchizedek asked Anna if she would sign an affidavit attesting to the truth of her story, but she refused, saying that she was too afraid of the KGB to sign anything that might get her in trouble.

(Source: Orthodox Word, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, Ca., Vol. 34.No.5 (202), Sept.-Oct., 1998., pp. 235-236).
 

 In 1977, it was decided to destroy Ipatiev house. This decision was taken in Moscow by Michaïl Souslov, member of the politburo. This order was transmited to the first secretary of the party of the region of Sverdlovsk, someone named Boris Eltsine who was forced to execute it.

     Then, in the night of 27 to 28 of July 1977, Ipatiev house was distroyed.



    

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Sokolov Grave
1990's : A Small little cross is erected on cellar-room place

 

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Sokolov Grave
1991 : The "eight ends" cross
     Officially, this destruction aimed at improving car traffic in this part of the city but the real goal of this destruction was to put an end to this house which symbolized people's interest in the Romanov tragic death.
     S
ince this day, the site of Ipatiev house remained vacant.
Although Romanov death was a very sensitive subject, a lot of people went there secretly and put flowers.

 

 

  "This letter is written to you by the Cossack Vladimir. I would like to tell you about a manifestation (sign) that took place at the
moment when the cross was set up on the site of the Ipatiev house, where the Czar and his family were killed.
     On October 5, 1990, at about 11 a.m. - 12 noon, crushed stone was brought in a truck. The weather turned gloomy. The whole sky was filled with dark clouds, without any clear areas, and snow fell sporadically.
 

 

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Sokolov Grave
1998 : A small wodden chapen is erected

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Sokolov Grave
1999 : A new wooden chapel has replaced the old one.

 

     The cross was taken from the vehicle and placed on the ground and then set in place.

     One of the people present, Alexei by name, went off to one side to take a look at how the cross had been set up, and whether it was leaning. Suddenly Alexei said, 'Look up!' We all raised our heads, and sort of tremor or fear passed through our bodies.
     Above us - that is, directly above the cross - the heavens parted and a ray of light fell upon the cross from a round clear spot in the sky."

     "The sun was not visible, and the opening in the clouds was rotating to the right: and on the
earth, around the cross within a radius of 150 - 300 feet, there was a circle brightened by this ray of light from the heavens, and no snow was falling.

  All this continued for about thirty to forty minutes, while the cross was being set in place and fixed with concrete, and then the opening in the clouds closed up.
     The light disappeared. Up to thirty people were present at the time. (At that moment, all of them were unbelievers.)

     When we asked a priest about this manifestation later, he replied that this was obviously a sign. The majority of us came to believe in God afterwards."

(Source: Russian Herald, 1995, nos. 11-14. And reprinted in: Orthodox Word, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, Ca., Vol. 34, No.5 (202), Sept.- Oct., 1998., p.236).

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia - Sokolov Grave
July, 16, 2003 : Opening of the Cathedral on the blood,
built on the Ipatiev house place
 

Nota : This article is especialy focused on the belonging of the rare relics from Ipatiev house which still exist and can contain some repetitions regarding other romanov-memorial.com website articles

> Sokolov files relics

  
The wallpaper piece with the Hein Poem
during the TranSiberian exposure in Brussel
 
    After the Romanov execution, when Yekaterinburg was shortly occupied by the white army and during the time of the investigations made by Koltchak Admiral team about the Romanov killing, some house’s elements were picked up to inquiry purpose.
         Then, on all known photos of the cellar room taken during this period, and contrary to a tough legend, the damages on the wall are not the result of the squadron firing but due to the investigator work which collected some wall and floor pieces to extract bullets.
     Some of this piece, part of the Sokolov files were saved from this time and still exist somewhere.

     For example, the well known wallpaper piece with the Hein sentence found in cellar room was exposed lately at Brussels during the TranSiberian exposure between October 2005 and February 2006 and I had the opportunity to see it at this occasion.

> Gibbs relics

     At this time, Romanov’s relative, who escaped the Romanov tragic end collected also some Imperial Family relics found on the woods or in the Ipatiev house like the former Romanov children English teacher, Charles Sydney Gibbes, who recover a large number of icons, some slightly charred, from the fireplaces and dustbins, a pair of the tsar's felt boots.  

     He also took exercise books of Marie and Anastasia, a pencil case and bell of the tsarevich and the chandelier which hung in the bedroom shared by Grand Duchesses in Ipatiev house and bring it after to Great Britain where he established in 1931 in Marston Street, Oxford.

     Here, he had settled in his house a little chapel gathering some of these Imperial Family relics. After his death in 1963, the house became the property of his son, who sold the building and its contents to a family who owned a great house called Luton Hoo, with a specialised collection of Russian memorabilia, including that of the Imperial Family.



The chandelier from the Ipatiev House daughter room hung in the Oxford house of Sydney Gibbes (picture from the book “the house of special purpose by Trawin)

 

     When Luton Hoo was recently sold off for conversion to a posh hotel , the Wernher Collection was rehoused at Ranger's House, Greenwich, that is, except for the Gibbes Romanov Collection which was retained by the Wernher Foundation…

> Other relics

     After the end of the civil war, Ipatiev house remained for a long time unoccupied. In 1927, for the 10th anniversary of the revolution, was opened in the house a museum dedicated to the revolution and about the murder of Romanov family. People could visit rooms of the first floor but access to cellar room was not allowed because it was used to store documents of the local soviet. Some postcards of the house were even published. This museum was closed in 1932.

     After 1945, Ipatiev house was used on different ways : archives of the local party, museum of the atheist’s local association. During all this years, the house; still forbidden to people, carried on attracting curiosity due to his historical meaning and due to the dramatic event which had took place here even at a time where the official sovietic propaganda made this attraction forbidden even dangerous. In spite of this, it was not rare that famous or official people welcomed in the city wanted to visit it.

      A lot of them ask, as a souvenir, to have their photo taken in the cellar room. Even, some other required to carry some elements of the house. For example, some furniture of the house had been offered to a famous musician visiting Yekaterinburg. A professor from Leningrad received a railing from the staircase as a souvenir. Some paintings were also given to Lenin's friend Armand Hammer. Even the wall where the Romanov were murdered was sold and could be still somewhere in England now ! (Source: Gueli Riabov remembering and interview)

     In the other hand, the place was gradually becoming a pilgrimage place and each 17 of July; flowers were put in front of the house by anonymous people in Czar Family remembering... In 1974, the house was also classified as historical monument but the year after, dependences and floor rooms were destroyed. In 1977, at end, it was decided to destroy Ipatiev house. This decision was taken in Moscow by Michael Souslov, member of the politburo. This order was transmitted to the first secretary of the party of the region of Sverdlovsk, someone named Boris Eltsine who was forced to execute it...
 


Ipatiev house dining room just before the
house destruction (the fireplace have been removed)

 

     Just before the order execution, some scientific employees from the city museum came into Ipatiev house during night. They disassembled the fireplace, cut a part of stairs ladders, removed a door accessories and transferred all this things to the museum

     At end, on September, 16th, 1977, around of the house, a wooden fence was installed and some bulldozers and other machines started to destroy the house. But it was uneasy – the house was robust and the destruction took about two days. The first one, they have taken down the small porch, and for the third day the most part of the house was on city dumps…
 
      Officially, this destruction aimed at improving car traffic in this part of the city but the real goal of this destruction was to put an end to this house which symbolized people's interest to the Romanov tragic death. Since this day, the site of Ipatiev house remained vacant. Although Romanov death was a very sensitive subject, a lot of people still went there secretly and put flowers.

     It is only in the middle of 90th years it has been decided to restore and expose the fireplace in a constant exhibition.
 


The Ipatiev house dining room fireplace restaured

 

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