The Mystery of Anastasia Romanovs Death
February 5, 2022
We’ve all seen the Disney movie Anastasia, but few people know how this hit movie came to be. In 1918, the Romanov Imperial Family, which ruled over Russia at the time, was murdered by the Bolsheviks. Since then, around 10 people have come forth and claimed to be Anastasia Romanov, princess of Russia, and therefore had the right to inherit her fortune.
In the mid-1920s, the most infamous of these imposters was a woman named Anna Anderson.
After Anderson’s death, it was confirmed that her identity was Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish munitions worker who had been institutionalized after a suicide attempt in 1920.
Anderson seemed to know intricate details of the Romanov family experiences that only immediate family would know. Anastasia Romanov’s uncle had asked her details of what happened the night that her family was murdered, and she made an entire story up, of how she had been thrown on a truck with dead bodies and was brought to safety by one of the guards. Anastasia Romanov’s childhood friend, Gleb Botkin was sure that Anna Anderson was Anastasia after she remembered and described a game that they played as a child.
She claimed that she had suffered a great deal of memory loss of her childhood when she could not remember something and was often reminded of family memories such as the family trip to Riga, Latvia in 1910.
The bodies of the Romanov family completely disappeared during the massacre, and many people believed that Anna Anderson could be Anastasia Romanov, especially since both of them had a deformed foot. Many scars and birthmarks also seemed to line up.
Anderson made newspaper headlines, was on television, and garnered public attention throughout the country.
In 1991, seven years after Anderson’s death, a grave in Russia was found with nine bodies. Only three of those bodies had been the Romanov children, meaning that two were missing (Alexei Romanov and another one of the girl’s). A Bolshevik leader revealed that two of the other bodies were burned and buried somewhere else, but many people thought this was a cover-up for proof that they were still alive.
Though DNA evidence proved that Anna Anderson was not Anastasia Romanov, the mystery persists on how physical markings seemed to match up, as well as some strange and specific memories that Anna Anderson retold. Was it coincidental that two bodies were missing from where the rest of the family was? Are they yet to be found? These are questions that only time will tell, but this nonetheless does not take away from the fact that Anna Anderson was never able to fully prove her identity before her death.