The Rehabilitation of Emperor Nicholas II

In December 2005, Princess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova [who lives in Madrid, Spain] sent an application to the Russian Prosecutor’s Office with a request for the rehabilitation of the murdered ex-emperor Nicholas II and members of his family as victims of political repression.

On 1st October 2008, the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation granted the judicial rehabilitation of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. Ninety years after a Bolshevik execution squad gunned down the last Tsar and his family, the country’s supreme court declared the Imperial family as “victims of political repression.” The regicide was condemned, and that the false accusations against the Tsar, that he was an enemy of the people…were at long last proven to be false.

By finding the Tsar a victim of political terror, the court has completed the remarkable transformation of the discredited man who died with his family in the cellar of the Ipatiev House in the early hours of 17th July, 1918 on the orders of the Ural Soviet.

Throughout the years of the Soviet Union, government propaganda vilified the last Tsar, giving him the derogatory nickname “Bloody Nicholas” and accusing him and his family of a litany of crimes.

It is important to note, that the Supreme Court’s decision overturned a ruling by the same court in November 2007 that the killings did not qualify as political repression, but premeditated murder. The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, stated in court that “the requirements for rehabilitation do not comply with the provisions of the law due to the fact that these persons were not arrested for political reasons, and no court decision on execution was made.”

Four weeks later, on 30th October 2008, it was reported that the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation ruled to rehabilitate 52 people from the entourage of Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

Some readers will argue that it was unneccessary because the Tsar had not committed any crime, which of course is true! For the sake of historical justice, however, it was the responsibility of a post-Soviet Court to overturn the Bolshevik’s decision to condemn and justify the murder of Russia’s last Tsar. In addition, his rehabilitation defeats the myths and lies of both the Bolshevik and Soviet regimes.

Up until the Supreme Court’s ruling, Nicholas II remained falsely accused of crimes in which he did not commit. According to the existing code of laws, the Russian Federation is the lawful successor of Soviet Russia and of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR]. From the purely juridical stand­point, all the criminal charges, incriminations and verdicts of repression pronounced since 7th November 1917 continue to carry legal authority until the government officially rehabilitates the victims. A paradoxical situation thus occurred, where the head of the Russian government has offered up repentance for the bloody violence carried out by representatives of the government on members of the Imperial House and their servants, relatives and friends; where the immediate members of the family of Emperor Nicholas II along with Grand-Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna have been recognized as saints by the Russian Orthodox Church; yet where, from the judicial point of view, they can legally be considered “criminals,” since they were executed as “enemies” of the government.

Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that Nicholas II, was unlawfully killed by Bolshevik authorities. The ruling negates the Bolshevik claims used to instigate the 1917 revolution, and the murder of the Tsar and his family the following year. His rehabilitation reinstates the good name of Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov, and to legally declare that he was innocent and had suffered unjustly.

Georgy Ryabykh, a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church said the “decision can only be welcomed. It strengthens the rule of law, restores historical continuity and 1,000 years of state tradition”.

Ivan Artsishevsky (1950-2021), Director of the Romanov Family Association also praised the ruling: “the fact that the Russian state took responsibility for that murder is a step towards repentance … and the rehabilitation of all innocent (Bolshevik) victims.”

It should come as no surprise that the rehabilitation was denounced by the Communists, who said it was “cynical” and would “sooner or later be corrected.” In response, German Lukyanov noted that the ruling was “a final decision that cannot be challenged.” 

“Rehabilitation is necessary for the modern state, so that the image of Russia throughout the world is associated not with basements covered in blood, but with the image of a civilized state that has renounced the Soviet past and condemned it,” he added.

© Paul Gilbert. 4 June 2022

Obituary: German Yuryevich Lukyanov (1961-2022)

On 19th May, the prominent Russian lawyer German Yuryevich Lukyanov, died in Moscow at the age of 60.

Lukyanov was born on 30th October 1961 in Saratov. In 1984 he graduated from the Saratov Law Institute (forensic and prosecutorial department). In 1984-1986 he passed military service in the Armed Forces of the USSR. From 1987 to 1989 he served as an investigator of the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Moscow Air Defense District (PVO). He retired from the reserve with the rank of Senior Lieutenant of Justice. In 1990 he began practicing law, and in 2001 became a member of the Moscow Bar Association.

In 1995, he was appointed legal representative for Princess Leonida Georgievna (1914-2010) and later her daughter Princess Maria Vladimirovna, the latter of whom he continued to serve to the present day.

Lukyanov’s legacy is worthy of honouring, because he worked for years to achieve the exoneration of Emperor Nicholas II, his family and their four faithful retainers, who were all brutally murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

German Yuryevich Lukyanov died on 19th May 2022, the day marking the 154th anniversary of the birth of Russia’s last Emperor and Tsar. Some time ago Lukyanov had developed a severe form of COVID-19, recovered and returned to work.

It is symbolic that the Lord called German Lukyanov to Himself on the birthday of the Holy-Martyr Tsar Nicholas II, whose memory he sacredly honoured.

Memory Eternal! Вечная Память!

© Paul Gilbert. 4 June 2022

On this day – 2nd June 1868 – the future Emperor Nicholas II was baptised

PHOTO: the baptism of Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich [future Tsesarevich and Emperor] on 2nd June (O.S. 20th May) 1868, by Mihály Zichy (1827-1906). The watercolour depicts four baptismal scenes, and two of them show Alexander II holding his grandson in his arms.

Two weeks after his birth, on 19th (O.S. 6th) May 1868, His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich was baptised in the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. The baptism was performed by the Imperial family’s confessor Protopresbyter Vasily Bazhanov (1800-1883).

The infant’s grandfather Emperor Alexander II, took a very active role in this historic ceremony. He clearly understood that not only was this his first grandson, but also that a future Emperor was being baptised. It is noteworthy that during the baptism, both Alexander II and his son, Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich [future Alexander III], acted as assistants to the lady of state. The fact that the father, breaking tradition, took an active part in the baptism[1], apparently, was due to its historic significance. Two emperors, current and future, held their successor in their arms, strengthening the foundation of the infant’s legitimacy.[2]

As for the mother [future Empress Maria Feodorovna], she did not have the right to be present at the baptism of her baby at all [in accordance with a tradition that originates in the Old Testament]. However, even if Maria Fedorovna wanted to break the custom, she could not do so, due to the fact that her doctors advised her not to walk following the birth of her son, and instructed her to rest on that eventful the day. [3]

It was Alexander II and Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, who carried the baby to the font for baptism. In addition, Nicholas Alexandrovich’s godparents, his Danish grandmother and uncle, Queen Louise and Crown Prince Friedrich took part.

Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich described the day’s events as follows: “The entrance was magnificent, and there were a lot of people in the palace and also in the garden. The little one was transported in a golden carriage with much pomp and ceremony, accompanied by an escort on horseback. During the ceremonial procession through the halls of the Grand Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, the newborn was carried to the palace church by the lady of state Princess [Alexandra Aleekseevna] Kurakina (1840-1919), supported on the one side by the State Chancellor Prince [Alexander Mikhailovich] Gorchakov (1798-1883), and on the other by Field Marshal Prince Alexander [Ivanovich] Baryatinsky (1815-1879) – both old and lame, but they endured excellently and helped as much as they could. The field marshal walks very decently, although with a cane. Tsarskoye Selo was unrecognizable that day; the streets were full of people and carriages, the whole city is celebrating. At 5 o’clock, a large banquet was held in the Great Hall, which was lit splendidly by the sun. It’s been a very tiring day, and poor Mama [Empress Maria Alexandrovna] is very tired. After the baptism, the entire family gathered at my place [the Alexander Palace] to congratulate Minnie [Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna], and all little ones were there too. An excellent breakfast was served, and then everyone went home.”

Nearly 13 years later, in March 1881, Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich became the Heir Tsesarevich, and in October 1894, he became Russia’s last Emperor and Tsar.

NOTES:

[1] According to Orthodox tradition at that time, the father was required to leave the church at the time of the baptism of his child, giving way to the godfather. Emperor Nicholas II was not in the church when his son Alexei was baptised in August 1904.

[2] Zimin, Igor Viktorovich. Children’s world of imperial residences. Life of monarchs and their environment. Baptism of children. 2010

[3] Ibid.

© Paul Gilbert. 2 June 2022

Why did Nicholas II’s favourite motorcar sport a swastika?

PHOTO: Emperor Nicholas II’s favourite Delaunay-Belleville motorcar, sporting a left-facing swastika (counter clockwise) on the hood. Tsarskoye Selo 1913

The swastika symbol is an ancient religious symbol in various Eurasian cultures, now also widely recognized for its appropriation by the Nazi Party and by neo-Nazis. It continues to be used as a symbol of divinity and spirituality in Indian religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It generally takes the form of a cross, the arms of which are of equal length and perpendicular to the adjacent arms, each bent midway at a right angle.

In the 1930s the German Nazi Party adopted a right-facing (clockwise) form and used it as an emblem of the Aryan race. As a result of World War II and the Holocaust, in the West it continues to be strongly associated with Nazism, anti-Semitism, white supremacism, or simply evil.

In 19th century Russia, however, the swastika had a completely different meaning. The left-facing swastika (counter clockwise) swastika, best described as a “sacred solar cross”, was adopted as a symbol of the Russian Empire. In the years before the Russian Revolution, it was used on the facades of houses, depicted on icons, clothes and dinner plates, as well as Emperor Nicholas II’s favourite motorcar.

PHOTO: the last diary [1917] of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, was embroidered with a left-facing swastika (counter clockwise)

In addition, the left-facing swastika (counter clockwise) was a favourite symbol of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. She wore a talisman in the form of a swastika, wearing it everywhere for happiness, including on her letters from Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg. In a letter dated 16 December 1917 to Anna Vyrubova, she wrote: “Always to be recognized by my sign 卐.”

According to Vladimir Kozlov & Vladimir Krustalev, in her 1917 diary, Alexandra noted the anniversary of a person’s death with a swastika. In Sanskrit, svastika means “well-being”. When her daughter, Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna gave her mother the little notebook in which the diary was kept, she embroidered a swastika on the cloth cover [depicted in the photo above] she made for it.[1]

In settling in her room in the Ipatiev House at Ekaterinburg, Alexandra inscribed a swastika on a window frame, followed by the date 17 [N.S. 30] April 1917, and another swastika on the wall over her bed.

In addition, investigator Nikolai Sokolov , who investigated the murder of the Imperial family, suggested that persons from the Emperor’s entourage were part of a secret organization. According to him, in their correspondence, among other things, they used the swastika.

NOTES:

[1] Ed. Vladimir Kozlov & Vladimir Krustalev. The Last Diary of Tsarista Alexandra. Yale University Press, 1997

© Paul Gilbert. 2 June 2022

Nicholas II attends opening of a sanatorium in Alupka, 1913

In 1913 – the year marking the 300th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty – Emperor Nicholas II and his family arrived in Crimea for a 4-month stay. From 14th August to 17th December, the Imperial family lived at the beautiful Livadia Palace, situated on the southern coast overlooking the Black Sea.

At the end of September 1913, a sanatorium named after Emperor Alexander III (1845-1894) was opened in Alupka for students and teachers of theological schools in Russia. It was an elongated three-story building, where on the east side the premises of the third floor were intended for the church. The interior of the church was illuminated by a large bronze chandelier, and featured a marble iconostasis and solea[1].

This sanatorium was located in the western part of Alupka on land that once belonged to the Vorontsovs, whose heirs at the beginning of the 20th century divided it into plots for long-term lease. Plot No. 72 was rented free of charge by the Synod for a climatic sanatorium for teachers of parochial schools. In 1913, here, according to the project of the architect N.P. Kozlov, at the expense of the School Council of Russia, a sanatorium building was erected, designed for 100 guests. The sanatorium had separate rooms, a well-equipped kitchen, a common refectory, and, most importantly, its own five-domed Church of St. Alexander Nevsky.

The church was consecrated in memory of the Emperor and his heavenly patron Saint Alexander Nevsky. The grand opening of the sanatorium in Alupka was attended by Emperor Nicholas II, his daughter Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, Minister of the Imperial Court Count Vladimir Frederiks, local dignitaries and members of the clergy.

Here is an excerpt from the diary of Nicholas II for 22nd September 1913: “At 9 ½ I went with Maria and Frederiks to Alupka for the consecration of the Church of the Climatic Sanatorium for students of church schools. A beautifully arranged big house for 80 and even up to 100 guests.”

Nicholas II accompanied by Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, and his retinue arrived in front of the main entrance, which was decorated with garlands of flowers and canvases with imperial monograms. They were solemnly greeted by representatives of the city authorities, their wives and the clergy, headed by V.K. Sabler, who in 1911-1915 served as chief prosecutor of the Synod.

To perpetuate the historical event of Nicholas II’s attendance at the consecration, court photographer K.F. Hahn and Alupka photographer A.E. Zimmerman, captured the historic event on camera.

Several photographs have survived to this day which show a general view of the sanatorium and the Church of St. Alexander Nevsky, the interior of the church and the arrival and procession headed by Emperor Nicholas II.

After the advent of Soviet power, by order of the Chief Commissioner for Crimea, the sanatorium for clergy, along with the church, among other noble estates of Alupka, were nationalized and became the property of the Russian People’s Republic. In June 1923, the Presidium of the Executive Committee of the Crimea issued a decision to close the Alexander Nevsky Church and transfer the movable property of the temple to the Special Storage of the Yalta District Executive Committee. The liquidated church was transferred to the property of the administration of the sanatorium of the People’s Commissariat of Railways (NKPS). In Soviet times, a climatic sanatorium named after V.I. F.E. Dzerzhinsky.

The Church of St. Alexander Nevsky suffered neglect and disrepair, and in 1927, the building sustained significant damage during an earthquake.

In the spring of 1996, through the efforts of the Crimean and Simferopol Metropolitan Lazarus, the building was returned to the Church, and now a sanitarium named after St. Luke of Crimea is located here. The Church of Alexander Nevsky was also restored, in which divine services are held, as well as a Sunday school.

Today, the five onion-shaped domes of St. Alexander Nevsky Church are visible from different vantage points in Alupka.

NOTES:

[1] a platform or a raised part of the floor in front of the inner sanctuary in an Eastern Orthodox church on which the singers stand and the faithful receive communion.

© Paul Gilbert. 18 May 2022

Arson suspected near the Romanov Memorial

PHOTO: a large Orthodox cross marks the spot – covered with rail ties – where the remains of Nicholas II, his wife, three of their children, and four servants were exhumed in 1991

On the evening of Tuesday 3rd May, a fire broke out in the Porosenkov Log near Ekaterinburg, almost reaching the Romanov Memorial. According to Ilya Korovin, Director of the Romanov Memorial Charitable Foundation, the fire came within 50 to 70 meters of the main grave site, where the remains of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, three of their children and four servants were exhumed in 1991.

Two emergency vehicles were dispatched to the scene at around 6:30 in the evening. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before coming within 10 meters of a gas pipeline, which runs in behind the memorial site. Firefighters struggled with the fire for about two hours, bringing the fire under control shortly after eight in the evening. Had the fire not been contained, a massive explosion would most certainly have occurred if the flames had reached the pipeline. According to the emergency crews, “it was definitely arson”.

The area of the fire spread to about 4 thousand square meters, mostly forest. The fire did not cause any damage to the territory in or around the Romanov Memorial. “From the gas pipeline to the road, everything burned out—an area of about 100 square meters,” added Ilya Korovin – “Where there was once a swamp, is now nothing more than a large black sport, and an unpleasant smell.”

© Paul Gilbert. 4 May 2022

Russian archival documents shed new light on Nicholas II

I am reaching out to those who follow my Nicholas II blog and Facebook pages. During the month of May 2022, I am running my annual appeal for donations in aid of my research. It is no coincidence that I chose May, as it is the month marking the 154th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Nicholas II on 19th (N.S.) 6th (O.S.) 1868.

For more than 70 years, the Romanov archives were sealed, with access denied even to Soviet historians – unless of course for propaganda purposes. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, a new cache of documents – including memoirs, diaries, and letters – have been discovered, many of which shed new light on the legacy of Emperor Nicholas II. These documents both challenge and disprove many of the popular held negative myths and lies which perpetuated during the 20th century and endure to this day.

During the years (2015-2020) that I published my semi-annual periodical Sovereign, I focused on having new works by Russian historians translated and published in English for the first time. Now that I am retired, I can devote more time to the translation of previously unpublished documents from Russian archival sources, and thus providing English readers with new works, which offer a very different assessment than that of the negative one which has endured for more than a century now.

Let us work together in helping to clear the name of Russia’s much slandered Emperor and Tsar!

Summer 2022 Appeal

If you enjoy my articles, news stories and translations, then please help support my research by making a donation in US dollars to my project The Truth About Nicholas II – please note that donations can be made by PayPal or credit card. Thank you for your consideration – PG

PHOTO: the proposed cover of the English translation, features this photo of Emperor Nicholas II and Vladimir Voeikov at the Stavka, the headquarters of the Russian Imperial Army, in Mogilev. 1915-1916

I have already embarked upon a major translation project: WITH THE TSAR AND WITHOUT THE TSAR by Major General Vladimir Nikolaevich Voeikov (1868-1947) – the first three chapters have already been translated into English by a Russian friend who lives in Ekaterinburg.

Originally published in Russian in 1936, this will be the first English translation of the sad but captivating story, about the man who, from 1913-1917, served as the last palace commandant to Emperor Nicholas II. Voeikov was the son-in-law of the Minister of the Imperial Court Vladimir Borisovich Frederiks (1838-1927). He was one of the few men at Court, who remained faithful to the Tsar.

His memoirs describe the events the February and October 1917 revolutions and their consequences for the Russian Empire and the Tsar; foreign policy intrigues and the chain of events that led to the First World War and Russia’s participation in it; Court vanity and envy; the private lives of the Tsar and his family at Peterhof, Tsarskoye Selo and Livadia; and Voeikov’s ordeals as he fled Bolshevik Russia.

Translations are very costly – this book is 330 pages – which is why I am reaching out to those who share an interest in the life and reign of Nicholas II.

Please consider making a donation to help fund the translation of Voeikov’s memoirs, a very important historical record on the life and reign of Russia’s much slandered Tsar.

Summer 2022 Appeal

If you enjoy my articles, news stories and translations, then please help support my research by making a donation in US dollars to my project The Truth About Nicholas II – please note that donations can be made by PayPal or credit card. Thank you for your consideration – PG

© Paul Gilbert. 1 May 2022

Virtual Reality journey in the Imperial Train

PHOTO: poster the VR project Journey in the Imperial Train in the Alexander Palace

Visitors to Tsarskoye Selo now have an opportunity to experience a journey in the Imperial Train.

In October 2021, the VR project Journey in the Imperial Train opened in one of the halls on the ground floor of the Alexander Palace. Wearing special goggles, visitors can know look inside the luxurious rail carriages that served the Russian emperors: Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II. With the help of modern technologies in virtual reality, the historical interiors of the carriages of one of the first trains of Imperial Russia have been recreated in great detail.

This joint project of the Tsarskoye Selo Museum-Reserve and the Museum of Russian Railways was implemented with the technical support of the Infomedia Bureau of Creative Initiatives company.

The exhibit offers two options for visitors:

Ticket No. 1: Virtual Journey in the Imperial Train introduces guests to the history of the Imperial Train. Duration: 15 minutes – 250 rubles.

Ticket No. 2: Virtual Quest in the Imperial Train offers a thematic quest in the setting of the Imperiaal carriages, interacting with various objects and internal elements. Duration: 60 minutes – 500 rubles.

The history of Russian railways is closely connected with Tsarskoye Selo and the Alexander Palace. During the reign of Emperor Nicholas I in 1837, the first public railway in the country connected St. Petersburg with Tsarskoye Selo and quickly became a favourite way for members of the Imperial family to travel from the capital to their suburban summer residence.

During the reign of Emperor Nicholas II, several branches of the railway line were built not far from the Alexander Palace, which made it possible to get from Tsarskoye Selo to the most remote regions of the Russian Empire without changing trains.

After the outbreak of the First World War, Nicholas II regularly travelled from the nearby Imperial Railway Pavilionincludes 20 photos – to headquarters in Mogilev, while visiting foreign dignitaries were personally greeted by the Emperor, who awaited their arrival on the pavilion’s platform.

On 1st August 1917, it was also by train that the Imperial family were sent into exile from the Alexandrovsky Station to exile in Tobolsk.

By 1902, the imperial fleet consisted of eight trains. Following the 1917 Revolution, the fate of the wagons were utilized in different ways: some were used by representatives of the new Provisional government, others were rebuilt and adapted for passenger traffic, and the two wagons from Nicholas II’s Imperial Trainincludes 8 photos – were installed in the Alexandria Park in Peterhof – were destroyed during the Great Patriotic War.

© Paul Gilbert. 26 April 2022

Nazi atrocities in the Alexander Park, 1941-42

PHOTO: Nazi soldiers lead a group of Jews through the streets of Pushkin (1941).
Artist: V. V. Kahn

In July 2018, a horrible discovery was made by workers in the Alexander Park in the city of Pushkin [Tsarskoye Selo], a place where Jews had been shot by the Nazis, between 17th September 1941 to 1st January 1942. According to archival documents, the execution and burial of Pushkin’s Jews were carried out near the Alexander Palace.

During the repair of drainage channels in the park, workers discovered the remains of two people. On one of the skulls, the temple had been pierced, believed to be from a blow with a rifle butt, while evidence of a bullet was found in the back of the head. Local historian Vitaly Novitsky claimed that these were the remains of Jews shot during the Nazi occupation of Pushkin in 1941.

Novitsky’s discovery marks yet another place associated with the “Leningrad Holocaust” – the extermination of the Jews of the Leningrad region during the war years. Jews were shot in Pushkin, Pavlovsk [in 1941, shot a total of 41 Jews in Pavlovsk Park], Gatchina, among other towns in the occupied territory.

The history of the Holocaust in Pushkin has not been sufficiently studied. Firstly, there were not many witnesses of the extermination of Jews. In addition, during Soviet times, the tragedy of the Holocaust was hushed up and the systematic study of the crimes of the German Nazis in Pushkin was not carried out until many years later.

It was only in 1986 that the collection of evidence about the acts of genocide carried out the Nazis in Pushkin began, and subsequently published in 1991.

Konstantin Plotkin, a historian and researcher of the Holocaust in the Leningrad region, claims that before the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), the Jewish population of the occupied part of the Leningrad region was 7,500 people. Approximately half of them were drafted into the Soviet army or evacuated. According to the reports of the Einsatz groups, the rest (3600 people) were shot by the Nazis.

It is believed that approximately 250-300 Jews were shot in Pushkin, however, some historians believe there may have been many more killed, up to 800 people. One historian claims that the bodies of about 500 Jews were buried near the White Tower – just steps from the Alexander Palace.

Plotkin also noted that during the battle for Pushkin, residents hid in the basements of Gostiny Dvor, the Lyceum and other places. And so the Germans immediately began to inspect these cellars in search of Jews. Following their arrests, many Jews were shot in the Babolovsky, Alexander and Catherine parks. On 20th September 1941, 38 people, including 15 children, were shot on the square in front of the Catherine Palace. In addition, Jews were shot in front of the Large Caprice [situated on the western boundary between the Catherine and Alexander Parks] and in the Lyceum Garden [near the Catherine Palace]. After the executions, personal items were collected from the murdered victims, and laid out on the second floor of the Lyceum, where local residents were free to help themselves.

PHOTO: The Formula of Sorrow (1972) monument by Russian artist Vadim Abramovich Sidur

On 13th October 1991, the Formula of Sorrow, a monument to Jewish victims of Nazism, killed in 1941 in Pushkin during the Great Patriotic War was unveiled in the city. In attendance were delegations from Israel, the USA, Germany, Finland and numerous compatriots.

The sculpture which was made by Soviet artist and sculptor Vadim Abramovich Sidur (1924-1986), while the architectural design of the memorial was made by Boris Bader.

The Formula of Sorrow resembles a mournful figure leaning over a lake of blood-red flowers. It is placed on a low equilateral triangular granite pedestal, which cuts like a wedge into the face of a larger triangular flower bed, the edging of the opposite faces of which is also made of granite. On the opposite corner of the flower bed from the sculpture, there are three inclined triangular plates, which, overlapping each other, form the Star of David . On the middle slab, in cast letters in Hebrew and Russian, the verse Tegilim 79:3 is displayed (Psalm 79:3): “.שפכו דמם כמים… ואין קובר // … they shed their blood like water, / and there was no one to bury them.” This text for the monument was chosen by the chairman of the Leningrad Jewish Association and Hebrew teacher Felix Fainberg. Below is a dedicatory inscription: “To the Jews of Pushkin, / fallen victims of / the fascist / genocide / 1941.”

The memorial is located in the park at the intersection of Dvortsovaya and Moskovskaya streets, not far from the Alexander Palace, near which mass execution of Jews took place.

***

PHOTO: the damaged Alexander Palace and SS cemetery, 1944

During the Nazi German occupation of Tsarskoye Selo (1941-44), during the Great Patriotic War, the Alexander Palace was used as headquarters for the German military command.

The basement of the Alexander Palace was used a prison, while the area in front of the palace was turned into a cemetery for SS soldiers. The bodies were later reinterred to Germany.

As the Nazi German forces were leaving the Soviet Union, many of the former imperial palaces were set ablaze – Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, the Grand Palace in Peterhof, and Pavlovsk Palace.

The Alexander Palace was spared, however, many of the interiors were destroyed, their contents left prior to evacuation were stolen or destroyed.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 April 2022

Russian Orthodox Church postpones recognition of Ekaterinburg remains . . . AGAIN!

Holy Royal Martyrs, pray to God for us! 🙏
Святы Царственные мученики, молите Бога о нас! 🙏

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has announced that the Bishops’ Council, which was scheduled to meet in Moscow next month has been postponed until the end of 2022.

A key item on the agenda of the Bishops’ Council meeting is a definitive decision of the Church on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg remains.

The Bishops’ Council was originally scheduled to meet in Moscow from 15th to 18th November 2021, however, this was delayed “due to the difficult COVID-19 situation.” The meeting was thus rescheduled for 26th to 29th May 2022.

The ROC are now citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the reason for the latest delay: “due to the fact that the international situation makes it difficult for many members of the Bishops’ Council to arrive in Moscow, the meeting has been postponed until the autumn or winter period of 2022”.

According to the ROC, the exact dates for the next Bishops’ Council will be discussed by the Holy Synod when they meet this summer.

© Paul Gilbert. 18 April 2022