New post

Project 1917 is a series of events that took place a hundred years ago as described by those involved. It is composed only of diaries, letters, memoirs, newspapers and other documents

Hardly knowing what next was in store for me, I reported at once to the High Commission. Here I was told that their inquiries concerning me were finished, and that I had better see the Minister of the Interior. At this ministry I was informed that I was in no immediate danger but that I would remain under police surveillance.

There was little sleep for me that night, but tired as I was by morning, I greeted happily the unkempt cook and his messy breakfast plate. All day I waited with the dumb patience only prisoners know, and at early evening I was rewarded by the appearance of Sheiman and Ostrovsky. "Put on your coat and follow me," said Sheiman. See more

Although we did not know it at the time, our fate really hung on the outcome of a Congress of Soviets which was then being held in Petrograd, and to which both Sheiman and Ostrovsky were delegates. Sheiman returned to Helsingfors and visiting my cell told me that both Trotzky and Lounacharsky were insistent on the release of Kerensky's prisoners. That evening, he said, would be held a secret session of the executives of the Helsingfors Soviet at which he would urge the recommendation of Trotzky and Lounacharsky. If the executives agreed the question would then be referred to the entire Soviet, made up principally of sailors of the old Baltic fleet. That evening I was invited to tea in the officers' quarters, and while sitting there the telephone rang. "It is for you," said the officer who answered the call. I picked up the receiver and heard Sheiman's voice saying briefly: "The executive has voted unanimously for the release of the prisoners."

Erika and I were pushed into a small cell with two wooden bunks covered with dust and alas, nothing else. The place smelled as only old prisons do smell, and the only air came in through a small window high in one of the walls. Wrapping ourselves in our coats, we lay down on the hard planks and tried to sleep. See more

Excellent weather. Got news that Anya Vyrubova, together with the others, should have been brought to the border, wherefrom she should have continued on her way to Sweden. During the trip she was detained and brought to Helsingfors, put aboard the “Polar Star” and in a few days was put in Sveaborg (fortress).

As night fell, we arrived in Helsinki. The most frightening part of it all was walking out onto the square in front of the train station. There must have been a thousand sixteen people, and we had to get past all of them to reach the automobile. See more

At 11 o’clock, just as I was going to bed, a commissar with two “adjutants” arrived from Kerensky. He demanded that I get up and read some papers. I quickly covered myself with a shawl and went out to meet them. There were three, Jews judging by their appearance. They said that I, as a counterrevolutionary, was to be exiled abroad in 24 hours. I composed myself, although, under the irony of their gaze, my hand was shaking when I signed the papers. See more

My dear martyr, I cannot write, my heart is too full, I love you, we love you, thank you and bless you, and admire you—we kiss the wound on your forehead and your eyes full of suffering. See more

At six o'clock we heard a drosky driven at great speed over the cobbles, and as it came in sight we saw my uncle standing up and wildly waving the papers in his hand, "Free!" he called out. "Anna Alex- androvna, you are free !" The rest is confusion in my mind. There were laughter and sobs. People kissed and embraced me. I was In the drosky driving through Petrograd streets. I was In my uncle's house. The tea table was spread. It was like a dream. See more

Within a short time the cars stopped at the Detention House in the Furshkatskaya Ulitza, and I was, carried into the office of the commissioner. He was an officer, rather short in stature, but dignified and efficient. Offering me his hand, he asked me if I would be seated while he made out the necessary papers. See more

Three times, drunk soldiers burst into my chamber threatening to rape me and I escaped by a miracle. The first time I fell to my knees, holding the icon of the Virgin Mary to my chest, and begged them to spare me, for the sake of their mothers, and my elderly parents. They left. The second time, in my fear I threw myself against the wall, hammering and shouting. Ek. V. heard me and also shouted, until soldiers from some of the other corridors came running...The third time one sentry officer came. I pleaded with him tearfully and he spat at me and left.

Twice a day a soldier brought in a nauseous dish, a kind of soup made of the bones and skin of fish, none too fresh. Sometimes, if the soldier happened to be in an especially vicious mood, he spat in the soup before giving it to me, and more than once I found small pieces of glass among the bones. Yet so ravenous was my hunger that I actually swallowed enough of the vile stuff to keep myself alive. Only by holding my nose with my fingers was I able to get a few spoonfuls down my throat. What was left I was careful to pour into the filthy toilet, for I had been told that unless I ate what was given me I would be left to starve. See more

My heart leaped and pounded in my breast and I clung desperately to my crutches lest I should fall into that unfathomed darkness. A few minutes of wild terror and then as my eyes grew ac- customed to the dark I saw ahead of me a narrow iron cot towards which I moved with infinite caution. In my progress towards the bed my feet sank into pools of stagnant water which covered the floor, and soon I perceived that the walls of the cell were also dripping with moisture. See more

I saw the sailor Derevenko, who, lounging in an armchair, ordered the Heir to give him this or that. Alexei Nikolaevich ran around with sad and surprised eyes, fulfilling the orders. This Derevenko enjoyed the love of Their Majesties: for so many years they spoiled him and his family, showering them with gifts. I felt almost sick; I begged that they would rather take me away.

Burned letters together with Lily. Dined with Nicholas, Alexei and Olga in the playing room. Went to Annushka’s and spent some time there together with everyone else. The commandant reads all our correspondence, while all our parcels undergo thorough checks, along with everything else.