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Authors: Greg King,Penny Wilson

The Resurrection of the Romanovs

BOOK: The Resurrection of the Romanovs
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Authors’ Note


Cast of Principal Characters


Part One: Anastasia

Chapter 1: “My God, What a Disappointment!”

Chapter 2: The Imp

Chapter 3: Into the Abyss

Chapter 4: “How Little I Suspected That I Was Never to See Them Again”

Part Two: Anna Anderson

Chapter 5: Resurrection

Chapter 6: Fraulein Unbekannt

Chapter 7: A Story of Escape

Chapter 8: A Ghost from the Past?

Chapter 9: Encounter in Berlin

Chapter 10: “If the Imperial House of Russia Wants to Let One of Its Own Die in the Gutter . . .”

Chapter 11: “A Sort of Weird Charm”

Chapter 12: The Making of a Myth

Chapter 13: “A Gruesome Impression”

Chapter 14: A Tale of Two Books

Chapter 15: Émigrés at War

Chapter 16: The Trials

Chapter 17: “How Shall I Tell You Who I Am?”

Part Three: Franziska

Chapter 18: The Fairy Tale Crumbles

Chapter 19: A Girl from the Provinces

Chapter 20: The Polish Factory Worker

Chapter 21: The Myth Unravels

Chapter 22: Into the Pages of History





Copyright © 2011 by Greg King and Penny Wilson. All rights reserved

Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey

Published simultaneously in Canada

Photo credits: pages 30, 36, 49, 50, 61, 68, 69, 81, 82, 115, 149, 154, 171, 178, 184, 200, 202 bottom, 203, 204 top and bottom, 205, 206 top and bottom, 224, 229, 230, 233, 240, 241, 244, 246 top and bottom, 279 top and bottom, 282, 298, 299, 306, and 307: Ian Lilburn Collection; pages 52, 260, 327, and 328: Katrina Warne; page 72: Staatsarchiv, Darmstadt; pages 80 and 280: Annelies Dogterom and Alex Uitvlugt; page 216: Michael Fulda Collection.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 646-8600, or on the web at
. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, (201) 748-6011, fax (201) 748-6008, or online at

Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the publisher and the author have used their best efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. You should consult with a professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:

King, Greg, date.

The resurrection of the Romanovs : Anastasia, Anna Anderson, and the World’s Greatest Royal Mystery/ Greg King and Penny Wilson.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-0-470-44498-6 (cloth); ISBN 978-0470-89086-8 (ebk); ISBN 978-0-470-89093-6 (ebk); ISBN 978-0-470-89106-3 (ebk)

1. Anderson, Anna. 2. Anastasiia Nikolaevna, Grand Duchess, daughter of Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia, 1901–1918—Legends. 3. Anastasiia Nikolaevna, Grand Duchess, daughter of Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia, 1901–1918. 4. Princesses—Russia—Biography. 5. Romanov, House of—Biography. 6. Impostors and imposture—Case studies. I. Wilson, Penny, 1966– II. Title.

DK254.A7K56 2011




To Professor Doctor Eckhart Franz of the Staatsarchiv, Darmstadt, and Ian Lilburn for their generous assistance; and to the immortal memory of Dr. Louis Pedrotti

Authors’ Note

The multitude of titles, styles, and linguistic complexities contained within this book need a brief explanation. Nicholas II ruled over the Russian Empire from 1894 to 1917. The formal title, adopted by Peter the Great in 1721, was
, although Nicholas preferred the older, more Slavic form of
. His wife, Alexandra, was
, although she was widely referred to as
in Russian;
, familiar to some readers, does not exist in the Russian language. Their son and heir, Alexei, was properly titled
, while Anastasia and her sisters were
grand duchesses
, meant to convey a higher rank than mere European princesses. Russians use two names: a Christian name, and a patronymic, derived from his or her father. The masculine form takes the father’s name and adds -
to the ending, indicating “son of.” Nicholas II was thus Nicholas Alexandrovich—son of Alexander. The feminine form adds -
or -
to the end of the father’s Christian name; Anastasia was thus Anastasia Nikolaievna, daughter of Nicholas. With no disrespect, we have tried to escape, as much as possible, the often cumbersome and repetitious use of titles and, after initially introducing them in the pages of the book, have simply referred to many of the Russian actors in the Anna Anderson drama using their Christian names and patronymics. Readers may find it beneficial to refer to the cast of characters as an aid to keep names and relationships in order.

In transliterating Russian names, we have followed the Library of Congress system, with some exceptions. Christian names—and those names familiar to English-speaking readers—have been rendered in English: thus we have Nicholas rather than Nikolai, and Tchaikovsky in place of the unfamiliar Chaikovskii. But a whole host of issues arise in a book such as this, which begins in Russia and takes readers through Germany and to modern Poland, not the least of which is consistency in spelling. We have tried to obey German rules of grammar and spelling when dealing with a sometimes mind-boggling galaxy of witnesses, interested parties, and Romanov relatives in the Anderson case, but haven’t attempted to cloak everything in an accurate veil; instead of referring to Empress Alexandra’s brother Ernst Ludwig as grand duke von Hesse und bei Rhein—his correct German title—we’ve gone with the simpler grand duke of Hesse. Certain inconsistent spellings and usages, especially among Anna Anderson’s relatives, are documented and explained in the notes rather than in the actual text.

In Russia, before the Revolution, the Julian calendar was in use; in the twentieth century, this lagged thirteen days behind the Gregorian calendar, used in the West. We have given dates according to the Gregorian calendar, but noted the use, in letters, of the Julian calendar by including the reference OS (for Old Style).


The poor, unfortunate friends and family of those of us who call ourselves authors have to endure absences, preoccupation, missed birthdays and holidays, and other turns of fate that can seem inexplicable, egregious, and dangerously selfish as we labor over laptops and try to reconcile gut instinct when telling a story with demonstrable fact. They put up with it all, and deserve to be noted.

For twenty-five years, Christopher Kinsman has been a true and constant friend; Penny Wilson thanks him for his longtime interest and support, and looks forward to many more Friday nights sinking beers at the Yardhouse or the Falconer. Penny Wilson works at Riverside City Gym in Riverside, California, the best little gym in the Inland Empire. Over the past few years, the staff there has undertaken extra hours and extra duties to accommodate the writing and research schedule of the resident author. For their unswerving support, Penny thanks Arthur Bruckler, Greg English, Carlos Mata, Tom Mishler, and Ed Gardner; the Perez family: Emilio Sr., Maricela, and Emilio Jr.; Wellington Porter, Madeline Pruett, Josh Sweeten, Cousin James, Tommy Gutierrez, and Allison Wondolleck. Special thanks to Jennifer Hawkins, who is never less than a complete inspiration. Penny also thanks members of City Gym who have given kind words and encouragement, including David Armstrong, Dr. Ron Bailey, Carlos and Laurel Cortes, David Edgin, Tom Foley, Michael “William” Grey, Francisco Guerra, Billie McWhorter, Mike Luvisi, Chad Trenham, Seton Williams, Raz Williams, Ali Yahyavi, and Donna Zeeb. The Internet has introduced the possibility of friendships with people one may never—or only seldom—meet. Simon Donoghue has provided much-needed stress relief, humor, perspective, and advice throughout the entire process of researching and writing this book, despite his own busy schedule directing theater productions, and Penny thanks him from the bottom of her heart. Mike Pyles has proven a wonderful friend and sounding board. Penny also thanks the members of Planetsocks for their enduring good sense, wicked wit, and peculiar sort of wisdom. And finally, Penny’s boss, personal trainer, personal friend, and body-builder extraordinaire, Oscar Shearer, has proven an excellent friend, mentor, and 5:00 a.m. philosopher; Penny looks forward to many more years of workouts, coffeehousing, and conversation.

Penny Wilson would also like to thank her family for their support: her parents, Edward and Mary O’Hanlon; her brother and sister-in-law, Peter and Lynne O’Hanlon; her sister Trisha O’Hanlon; nephews and their families, Jon and Jacquie Phillips, and Jamie, Lindsey, and Georgia Phillips; and not forgetting Bill Yonush. In addition, Penny would like to thank Paul and Barbara Wilson; Liz Wilson; and Peggy, Darren, Eric, and Ryan Cartwright. Tom Wilson still has Penny’s love and Greg’s gratitude for a few more years of technical and emotional support as we undertook yet another book project. Hopefully, he can retire on this one!

Greg King thanks Sharlene Aadland, Professor Joseph Fuhrmann, Chuck and Eileen Knaus, Angela Manning, Ceceilia Manning, Mark Manning, Susanne Meslans, Scott Michaels, Russ and Deb Minugh, Steve O’Donnell, Brad Swenson, and Debra Tate. A special thanks to Henderson’s Books in Bellingham, Washington, the state’s best source for obscure and antiquarian books, whose generosity has saved me from despair more than a few times.

And, as ever, Greg thanks his parents, Roger and Helena King, for their enduring support, generosity, and belief in this most peculiar career path.

Dorie Simmonds, of the Dorie Simmonds Literary Agency in London, has shepherded this book from idea to fruition with an unfailing sense of enthusiasm and a stream of sage advice. It wouldn’t have been possible if not for her belief in us. And Stephen Power, our editor at Wiley, was instrumental in shaping the finished book. With a sure and certain eye and a knack for penetrating even the deepest layers of complexity, he’s forced us to look at the story in different ways and through different eyes, making it possible to approach the Anderson saga with a renewed interest and sense of wonder that we trust our readers share.

In the acknowledgments for
The Fate of the Romanovs
, we noted that the project had begun long before we met, as each of us worked on our own separate Romanov research. The same can be said of this book, but there is something even more special about Anastasia: Anastasia’s story, in the guise of Anna Anderson’s claim, is what initially brought both of us to a study of imperial Russian history. Had there never been a claimant or a case, it’s likely that the last imperial family of Russia would have sunk gently into historical obscurity. And it’s often been the interest of various supporters—and for various claimants—that’s forced continued research and historiography on the subject, a fact that sits uneasily with some who venerate the Romanovs as Orthodox saints. But as this book shows, the claim of Anna Anderson, at least, has become an integral part of the story of the last tsar and his family, and because of this, we extend our thanks first and foremost to the “Anastasians,” a group of historians, authors, researchers, friends, interested parties, and the truly convinced who over the years have kept the story alive, who probed discrepancies in the case, and who continued—often in the face of ridicule and personal attack—to ask the troubling questions, the questions we have attempted to finally answer in these pages.

This book represents a massive undertaking, more than a decade of sifting through depositions and statements, letters and memoirs, and does not just rest on years of our own private interest and research, but also draws on work done for other projects over the years; never quite knowing if we would—individually or together—ever write about Anderson’s case, we nevertheless took advantage of every opportunity that came our way, accessing materials and questioning those involved in the story when the chance came. Many of those who aided us in Russia, Germany, England, and North America as we researched
The Fate of the Romanovs
had an unwitting hand in this book, facilitating access to important collections and extending cooperation for a project not yet even envisioned.

We want to thank our good friends the members of Cold Harbor for their knowledgeable and often inspired debates and conversations on the subject covered in this book. We know some may find this a difficult road to travel, but we have done our best to make what is an essential journey as painless as possible for those who still believe that Anna Anderson was Anastasia.

In particular, for research, for generosity in sharing materials, and for answering a multitude of questions, we thank Patte Barham; Arturo Beeche; Prince David Chavchavadze; Robert Crouch; Dr. Richard Davis, curator of the Russian Archive at Leeds University in Great Britain; Annelies Dogterom; the late George Gibbes; John Godl; Coryne Hall; Andrew Hartsook; Gretchin Haskin; DeeAnn Hoff; John Kendrick; Marlene Eilers Koenig; the late James Blair Lovell; Laura Mabee; Professor Syd Mandelbaum; Dr. Terry Melton of Milotyping Technologies; Ilana Miller; Dr. Andre Moenssens, professor emeritus, University of Richmond, University of Missouri at Kansas City; Annette Nason-Waters; Ulrike Nieder-Vahrenholz; Julian Nott; Maurice Philip Remy and his entire staff at MPR Productions in Munich; Greg Rittenhouse; Bernard Ruffin; Dr. Stefan Sandkuhler; Marilyn Swezey; Alex Uitvlugt; Katrina Warne; Frances Welch; Colin Wilson; Dietmar Wulff; and Marion Wynne.

Especially instrumental in the completion of this book are some dedicated souls who uncomplainingly read—and reread—through several versions of the manuscript, enduring its messy and rambling beginnings as we struggled to find a correct format in which to convey the story. It was an embarrassment, the first draft, but the honest opinions that confirmed this helped us craft the story into something we hope is more satisfactory. Our thanks go to Janet Ashton, Lisa Davidson, Simon Donoghue, Jeannine Evans, Susan Grindstaff, Brien Horan, Mike Pyles, David Vernall-Downes, and Tim Welsh, and especially to Sarah Miller, who holds the singular and dubious distinction of being the only person to read every single version—all six of them—that came at her, fast and furious, over the course of eighteen months and whose opinions and advice were never short of miraculous.

On the Alexander Palace Time Machine, (
) we thank long-time posters and friends, as well as those who thoroughly challenged our opinions and views as they shifted and progressed in this case. There are few as knowledgeable about the domestic life of the last imperial family as Bob Atchison and Rob Moshein, and we sincerely thank them for their enduring friendship under difficult and sometimes contentious circumstances. Rob, especially, went out of his way to assist in research, and cheerfully accepted repeated requests for information even as he dealt with pressing family concerns. Both have our lasting thanks.

Pepsi Nunes helped fund much of the research that’s ended up in these pages, and the late Marina Botkin Schweitzer and her husband, Richard, proved generous and understanding when circumstances often spiraled out of control. Lawyer and Anderson historian Brien Horan has been a constant source of advice, information, and assistance, a sure sounding board for theories who never let preconceptions affect his own responses. Michael Fulda, Lili Dehn’s grandson, generously read portions of the manuscript and shared his knowledge and family history with us. Author and historian Robert K. Massie provided us with valuable materials collected during his own research into the Anna Anderson case. David Vernall-Downes investigated the contradictory threads in this story on our behalf, providing a multitude of rare books and antiquarian newspaper articles that helped elaborate the saga and made him a writer’s dream. Dr. Michael Coble, formerly of the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory and now Forensic Biologist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Dr. Daniele Podini of George Washington University, undertook new DNA tests on Anna Anderson hair samples. And Anderson’s biographer our friend Peter Kurth has been supportive and generous with his time and his knowledge, even when we faced the daunting task of admitting that our book was taking an unexpected direction.

In the summer of 2000 we spent several weeks in London, undertaking research and probably making nuisances of ourselves in asking royal author Sue Woolmans to help us arrange this dinner party or that expedition. It was Sue who helped establish what—for a time, anyway—became Anna Anderson Central, renting a copying machine and having it delivered to our flat; ensuring that we were stocked with supplies; packing up boxes and boxes of books, collecting them, and shipping them back to America for us; and probably ignoring her long-suffering husband, Mike, in the process to help a couple of enthusiastic writers she’d never previously met. Because of Sue, we ended up with the means to tap into the single greatest Anna Anderson archive in private hands, that of Ian Lilburn. It was no accident that we took a flat a mere four houses down a leafy square from Ian’s London residence: armed with the copying machine, we flew back and forth every day, amassing an extraordinary collection of documents that Ian freely and generously shared. Perhaps even more important was Ian’s extraordinary memory: as the only person to have attended every session of the Hamburg appeal in the 1960s, and an almost unofficial member of Anderson’s legal team, his recall makes him the acknowledged expert on her case, and we owe him a deep debt.

And finally, a word about Darmstadt. Our thanks go to Heiner Jerofsky, Direktor von Presse und Offentlichkeitsarbeit for the Darmstadt Police Archives, who allowed us unrestricted access to the files assembled on Anna Anderson in the 1920s following the investigation into her claim by Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig. We also thank Prince Moritz of Hesse for so graciously allowing us free access to the materials in the Staatsarchiv, Darmstadt, on the Anderson case, including personal family papers and letters, access facilitated, encouraged, and furthered by the extraordinary and generous Professor Dr. Eckhart Franz. As director of the Staatsarchiv, Professor Franz not only helped us at every turn, beginning in our momentous summer of 2000, but also did so in ways we never could have expected, ensuring not just that we could consult every single piece of documentation amassed over more than fifty years, but also that we were able to have our own copies of this unique assemblage. It was an unexpected gift, one made on behalf of a family that trusted us when they had every reason to be suspicious, especially after decades in which many of Anderson’s supporters portrayed Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and his involvement in her case in the worst possible light. If nothing else, hopefully this book helps right some of the wrongs done by one of the twentieth century’s most pervasive myths.

BOOK: The Resurrection of the Romanovs
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