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Maria Romanov - a loving soul

Maria Romanov was executed 1918 by the Russian Communists - colorised

Maria Romanov was born in June 1899 and the third of the Russian royal family’s five children. Olga and Tatiana — were the oldest daughters while Maria and her younger sister Anastasia were referred to as “the Little Pair.” They referred to themselves as OTMA, using the first letter in each name. They were born into endless wealth but lived simple and mundane.

These two normal young women grew up under extraordinary circumstances, ultimately being caught in the middle of frightening political events that would take their teenage lives. Maria is considered to be the most beautiful of the four sisters. Together with her father, Tsar Nikolai II of Russia, her mother Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, previously called Alix of Hesse, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England, and all their children were executed in the early hours of 17 July, 1918. The order came directly from Lenin and Yakov Sverdlov in Moscow.

When the communists had finally ended their progrom against anyone opposing communism, around twenty million Russians had lost their lives.

All the girls shared bedrooms with plain cots and started their days with a cold bath. Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra were widely said to be caring parents who gave their children plenty of affection. That can easily be seen on contemporary pictures.

When reading her warm letters, this to her father stands out with affection, love and compassion for other people. Something the communists were unable to offer.

3 March 2016 she wrote to her father Nikolai II;

My sweet and dear Papa!

Yesterday after we saw you off, Tatiana, Anastasia and I went to the cemetery in a motor. We drove there for an unusually long time because the roads are so bad. We arrived there and went to the officers’ graves, there was nothing there yet, and too much snow, then I wanted to visit the graves of our patients from the lower ranks. There was a big pile of snow on the side of the road, so I was able to climb up with great difficulty on my knees and jump down from it. Down there the snow turned out to be above the knees, and although I was wearing long boots, I was already wet so I decided to continue ahead.

Nearby I found one grave with the surname Mishenko, this was the name of our patient; I laid down some flowers there and walked ahead, and suddenly I saw the same surname again, I looked up at the board, [to see] which regiment he was from, and it turned out that he was one of our patients [too], but not the same one. So I laid down the flowers for him and was just starting to walk away when I fell on my back, and was lying there for almost a minute not knowing how to get up, there was so much snow that I could not reach the ground with my hand for leverage. I finally got up and walked ahead.

Earlier Tatiana and Anastasia said that they were going to go to another cemetery, to Sonia Orbeliani [grave] and that they will return for me. But instead they sent the man in charge of the graveyard to help me. He crawled over to me with great difficulty and we went to look for another grave together.

We searched and searched and could not understand at all what happened to it. It turned out that it was closer to the fence and that we should have climbed over a ditch. He stood in the ditch and said to me “I will carry you over”, I said “no”, he said “let’s try”. Of course he put me down not on the other side but right in the middle of the ditch. And so we are both standing in the ditch, up to our bellies in snow, and dying from laughter. It was hard for him to climb out, as the ditch was deep, and for me too. So he climbed out somehow and stretched his hands out to me. Of course I slid back down into the ditch on my stomach about three times, but finally climbed out. And we performed all this with flowers in our hands.

Then we couldn’t fit through between the crosses for a while, as we were both wearing our coats. But in the end I did find the grave.

Finally we were able to leave the cemetery. Tatiana and Anastasia were already waiting for me on the road. I felt half-dead from heat and dampness. We climbed into the motors and drove away. I took off one boot to shake out the snow. At this same time we ran into a wagon. We were driving rather fast. We just swerved to the side a little, when Lapin’s steering wheel spun out of control and our front tires slid into a snow bank, and scarily we turned to our side, I jumped out wearing one boot and put the other one back on out on the road. What could we do, no one was there anymore and it was already 1 o’clock 10 minutes.

Then we 3 decided to walk home on foot, but luckily at this moment some squadron was walking back from shooting practice and they dug out the motor, while we walked almost all the way to the shooting gallery. The motor caught up to us and we got home safely. But the road was so bad the entire time that we were certain that the motor would break. Across from the Cuirassier Cathedral. And we were tossed up so high that Tatiana almost hit her head on the roof.

In the afternoon during our troika ride we almost ran over another sleigh. So after all this, we went to our infirmary, and we were certain that we will fall into a ditch or something else will happen to us again. We went to the tower yesterday. The sailors were all very sweet and worked hard. You were very much missed there.

In the evening Anya finished reading “Our People Abroad” to us. Olga went to bed early of course. And you are probably enjoying the English book. Grandmama sent the book “Olive”, and Mama sent her another one.

Well, farewell my darling. May Christ be with you. +

Your Kazanetz. I kiss you affectionately and squeeze you a lot and for a long time.

Titanis titanis. Dukchik Dukchik.

The Romanov children - colorised

The family had only one son, Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia. A minor injury could cause severe bleedings. His mother would often become panic, and shut herself and the young prince away from the outside world.

As many of her contemporaries noted, “had she not been the daughter of the Tsar, this strong, warmhearted girl would have made some man an excellent wife.”

Lord Mountbatten, who was cousin to the grand duchesses and met them when he was a young boy, would later reminisce, “I was crackers about Maria, and was determined to marry her. She was absolutely lovely.” Although the pair would never meet again, Mountbatten kept a picture of Maria Romanov near his bedside until his death.

Following the February Russian Revolution,1917, Tsar Nikolai was forced to abdicate by insurgents in Petrograd. Maria and the rest of the imperial family were exiled to Tobolsk, Siberia, where life was dull but bearable. But when the Marxists revolutionaries known as the Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917, the family moved to Ekaterinburg, where the fervently-Bolshevik population would prevent any attempts at rescue or escape.

The Romanov family - colorised

The Romanovs were kept inside a house with whitewashed windows and only allowed to go outside for one hour each day. Even Maria’s good nature was pushed to its limits; as she recorded, “It is difficult to write anything pleasant, there is little of that here.”

Yakov Yurovsky, leader of the secret police who had been sent to guard the family, remembered how “Maria’s sincere modest character was very attractive to the men and she spent most of her time flirting with her jailers.” One of the guards, Ivan Skorokhodov, even smuggled in a cake for Maria’s 19th birthday, although when the pair were later discovered in a compromising position, the guards were replaced with a decidedly less-friendly set.

On the night of July 16, 1918, the family was ordered to dress and go down to the cellar of the Ipatiev House where they were lined up as if posing for a family photograph. There they were shot by firing squad and bayoneted to death by Bolshevik troops.

The basement rumbled with shots and screams, but when the smoke cleared, the terrified grand duchesses were all still alive. Unbeknownst to their captors, they had sewn the royal jewels into their corsets, turning them into a protective armor.

One of the executioners repeatedly attempted to stab Maria Romanov in the chest, but “the bayonet wouldn’t pierce her bodice” so he shot the sobbing girl directly in the head.

As the bodies were being carried outside, one of the girls — either Maria or Anastasia. account vary — “cried out and covered her face with her hands.” She was stabbed again in such a frenzy that several soldiers vomited while others fled the scene.

The remains of the family were discovered in a mass grave in the Ural Mountains in 1991. Subsequent DNA testing confirmed the identities of the Nicholas, Alexandra and three of their daughters.

The remains of Alexei and one of his sisters remained a mystery until 2007 when a second grave was discovered near the larger mass grave. The grave contained the remains of two partially burned skeletons, which subsequent DNA testing showed to belong to Alexei, and one of his sisters, likely Anastasia or Maria.

Human nature can be cruel, horrifying, lethal, and yet also caring, loving and full of compassion. When the killers of Maria Romanov return to new lives, they will certainly experience the same horror as Maria. Why?

Because only then would their souls know the oppposite. Only then would they be able to release their hate and anger. Only then would they forgive and be forgiven. Something I am sure Maria Romanov has already achieved.

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Maria, she was so beautiful.

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