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
- The Drama - To Bottom
     On July, 17, 1918, shortly after midnight, Yakov Yurovsky, the head Bolshevik captor of the royal family awoke his prisoners and asked them to go down in the house basement to take shelter. He said that the white army were encircling the city and that battle was imminent.
     Former Czar Nicholas II, his wife Aleksandra, their four daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, Tsarevich Alexei, and their faithful: Doctor Botkin, lady-in-waiting Anna Demidova, cooker Kharitonof and footman Trupp quickly woke up.

     Way followed by Romanovs the night of the drama ->

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 getting themselves ready, the prisoners went down in the house basement under Yurovsky's leadership to a cellar room where he asked them to wait so that he could prepare their departure towards a safer place.
     Outside, the Romanovs could hear an engine noise. Yurovsky disappeared.
     For the prisoners, the waiting was prolonged. Aleksandra asked for some chairs. Someone brought them two. Suddenly, Yurovsky entered the room with 10 militia, armed with rifles and pistols, who formed a killing rank.

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     All testimonies about the murder mention a note written by Yurovsky and that was quickly read by him to Romanov just before the execution. On the other hand, the content of the note is more discussed...
     Yurovsky claims to have said something like "Nicholas Alexandrovitch, your friends have tried to save you but they did not succeed and we are obliged to put you to death".
     These words make reference to the differents plots (real or imagined by the Soviets to justify the execution) which would have been made to free Romanovs during their captivity.
     This version was kept by the judge Sokolov in his work and by Pierre Gilliard in his book.
     Other witnesses or sources have a different point of view. According to them, the note sounded like "Because your relatives in Europe carry on their attacks against the Soviet Russia, the Executive committee of Ural had decided to shoot you".
 

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

 Pictures 'Exécution du Tsar à Ekatérinenbourg le 17 juillet 1918'
by the french painter Sarmat.

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

         Yakov Yurovsky
           (1878 - 1938)


Yakov Mikhaïlovitch Yurovsky was born in Kaïnsk, close to Tomsk, in 1878. His father was a criminal of common right deported in Siberia. When he was a child, Yakov started learning watchmaker job and set sup his own business in 1891. In 1905, he went to Berlin where he had the same job then returned to Tomsk where he opened a new shop and became more well-of. He married  Mania Iankélevna, and had two sons and one girl. Yourovsky had been a member of the party since 1905 and his revolutionary activity forced him to leave the city in 1912 and go to Ekaterinbourg where he became a photographe. He was mobilized at the beginning of the war and avoided fights after becoming a male nurse. He was sent to the military hospital of the city. After October revolution, he soon became a leading member of the bolshevick party. In 1918, he was a member of the ministerial committee of the Ural soviet, a commissioner attached to the justice and member of the direction of the Ekaterinburg Tchéka. On July 4, 1918, he was appointed chief of Ipatiev house guards, and organized the Romanovs' execution and bodies burial.
Afterwards, he led purge activities in Ural. After 1921, he had various responsibilities in the party, but, from 1924, his functions became gradually weaker and his last responsability was head of the polytechnic state museum. He died in Kremlin hospital in 1938 after a long illness.

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

 

     According to other sources, Yurovsky would have conclud by "Your life is ended".
     Aleksandra and one of her daughter made a cross sign. Nicholas did not understand Yurovsky's words and said "What?".
     But Yurovsky had already drawn his Nagan gun and shot Nicholas who fell in. It was the signal of a general discharge. Each man had his own target. Yurovsky has reserved for himself the Czar and Alexei. When the riffle fire stopped, some of the victims were still living. The soldiers completed their tasks with rifle butts and bayonets.
     Then, the bodies were loaded on a truck which left Ekaterinburg at about half past two for a former iron mine known as 'four brothers' mine' (because of 4 big pine trees) and located in the middle of a forest near Koptiaki road.
     Here, in a glade, the bodies were undressed and the bolshevicks started burning the clothes. Then, the soldiers discovered lots of hidden jewels, hidden in the daughters's corsets, which, protecting them from the bullets, had extended their agony.
     Bolshevicks threw the bodies down into the flooded collapsed pit mine but they was not enough water and the bodies could still be seen. Then, they threw tree branches in the pit mine in order to hide the bodies.
     The next morning, at about eleven o'clock, "military representative" Philip Golochtchekine and the local Soviet president Bieloborodov came to inspect the work.
     They found carnage traces visible and the pit mine not deep enough. Yurovsky and his men had to hide Romanovs' bodies somewhere else.
     During the night, at about half past four, Yurovsky and his men brought the bodies out from the pit mine and tried to burn some of them (Those of the Czar, Alexei, Aleksandra and Botkin). But bodies were damp and could not burn.
Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia
 Picture of the bodies after the execution

 

Ipatiev House - Romanov Memorial - The tragic end of the last Czar of Russia
Ermakov tchekist in 1928 on the place
where they had buried bodies

Then, they reloaded the bodies on trucks (including the 4 which were chared) in order to bury them in another deeper pit mine located not far from there.
     But after some miles, the Fiat truck got stuck in the mud. As they were near a level crossing, they took here wood planks so that the truck might get over the mud and decided to bury the bodies in this place, under the road.
     They started to dig a hole, quickly put the bodies in it, recovered it with wood planks and left the place, expecting to finish the work later.
      But events did not leave them the time to end their task because some days after, on 25 th July, Ekaterinburg felt to the advancing white army...

 

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

Photos of the drama taken from a movie

 


 

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