This is what revolutionaries do.
You all know how I feel about socialism and socialists, right?
Just in case, I’m not a fan.
There are many reasons for my hatred of socialism and socialists; here’s one story from history that may shed light on my views.
In 1864, a pretty child was born to Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and his British wife, Alice of the United Kingdom, who was Queen Victoria’s daughter.
Elisabeth of Hess and by the Rhine was born Elisabeth Alexandra Luise-Alix on November 1, 1864.
Elisabeth and her siblings may have come from one of the oldest royal houses in Germany, but they lived simply and modestly and with little grandeur.
The kids swept their own rooms, their mother sewed their clothes, and when war broke out from time to time, the kids went along with mom to visit the wounded.
They were happy children, secure children, and they were although German born and German in lineage, very, very British.
They spoke English to their mother and German to their father, but to one another, English and most of their household customs were British.
On the 14th day of December in her 14th year, her mother died from diphtheria. Ella, as she was known had already lost her sister a month before.
As soon as the outbreak happened, she was sent away and only returned after her mother’s passing; it was a family reunion she would recall as “terribly sad, and much like a horrible dream.”
A marital prize, she was pursued and courted by many of Europe’s most eligible, but ultimately Russian Grand Duke Sergei won her hand and heart.
I know, I know, you’re wondering when my dislike of socialism will come in.
We’ll get there, I promise.
It didn’t go well at first, Sergei made little impression on her when he came to visit with his mother and brother. Empress Maria of Russia and Paul along with Sergei seemed reserved and Sergei was too serious and intensely religious.
But, the young man found himself attracted to Ella. He made no headway until the death of both his parents when Ella began to see him in his grief as she saw herself when her mother died.
Love grew, and the couple married. Most people were happy about it, but Queen Victoria, her grandmother was not.
As fate would have it; the nephew of Sergei and future Czar of Russia, Nicholas met his bride at this wedding. Alix, Ella’s little sister would become the last Czarina of Russia and die at the hands of the Bolsheviks along with her emperor husband and her children.
Ella and Sergei, a childless couple had a wonderful life in a home filled with nieces and nephews where parties were the norm and everyone was welcome.
In February of 1905, Sergei was assassinated by the Socialist-Revolutionary, Ivan Kalyayev.
The kind hearted Ella had warned her husband that “God will punish us severely” when he rounded UP 20,000 Jews in Moscow and expelled them overnight.
Her niece described her aunt as pale and stricken rigid…and an infinite sadness in the room…but saying nothing and refusing to cry when Sergei was murdered.
Falling apart after everyone left, Ella’s sobs could be heard throughout the palace.
Ever the royal, ever the leader, she recovered quickly.
On the night before her husband’s funeral she demanded that she be taken to the prison where his murderer was held.
“Why did you kill my husband?” she asked, to which he replied, “I killed Sergei Alexandrovich because he was a weapon of tyranny. I was taking revenge for the people.”
She begged him to abandon his pride and repent and promised to beg the Czar to spare his life and told him she had already forgiven him.
The assassin replied, “I do not repent. I must die for my deed and I will. My death will be more useful to my cause than his death.”
Kalyayev was sentenced to death and told the judges, “I am pleased with your sentence. I hope you will carry it out just as openly and publicly as I carried out the sentence of the SOCIALIST Revolutionary Party. Learn to look the advancing revolution right in the face.”
That’s one reason.
When her husband died, Ella wore mourning clothes, became a vegetarian, sold her collection of jewels including her wedding ring and opened the Convent of Saints Martha and Mary and became the abbess.
In 1918, Lenin ordered the Cheka to arrest the nun now known as Sister Elisabeth. She was exiled to Perm, then to Yekaterinburg and was joined by other members of the Russian Imperial family.
At noon on July 17, 1918, a unit of the Bolshevik army robbed the prisoners of any money and jewels they had and took them to a factory compound. The Red Army guards were told to leave and the Cheka men took over.
That night the prisoners were awakened and driven in carts on a road leading to the village of Siniachikha about 11 miles away. There was an abandoned iron mine with a pit 66 feet deep.
The soldiers beat all the prisoners before throwing them into the pit, Elisabeth being the first.
Hand grenades were then hurled down the shaft, but only one victim, Fyodor Remez, died as a result of the grenades.
According to the personal account of Vasily Ryabov, one of the socialist killers, Elisabeth and the others survived the initial fall into the mine, prompting Ryabov to toss in a grenade after them. Following the explosion, he claimed to have heard Elisabeth and the others singing an Orthodox hymn from the bottom of the shaft.
Unnerved, Ryabov threw down a second grenade, but the singing continued.
Finally a large quantity of brushwood was shoved into the opening and set alight. He posted a guard and left.
Early the following morning, the leader of the Cheka, Abramov and the head of the Yekaterinburg Soviet issued a statement saying the school had been overrun by an “unidentified gang” who had committed the murders.
That’s another reason.
After the Soviet Union fell apart, a statue of the princess turned nun was erected in the garden of her convent.
It reads “To the Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna, With Repentance.”
In June 2000, Elisabeth was repatriated by the Russian government.
Too little, too late.