Anastasia, a myth destroyed by genetics

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Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
24 March 2024 Sunday 10:34
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Anastasia, a myth destroyed by genetics

* The author is part of the community of readers of La Vanguardia

It seems that Anastasia, daughter of Nicholas II, last tsar of the Romanov dynasty, and Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna, was kept alive after her execution along with her family in 1918, through the stories of those who claimed her identity.

It has been 105 years since his death and, curiously, his life became more interesting, as befits someone whose name means "resurrection." Many women claimed to be the missing princess. Myths and legends were created, books were written, and even series, movies, musicals and plays were made.

When she was born, her aunt, sister of Tsar Nicholas II, is said to have exclaimed: "My God! What a disappointment! A fourth girl." The Russian people were also waiting for the birth of an heir to the throne. Anastasia was the youngest of the sisters, after Olga, Tatiana and María.

Alexei was the long-awaited son of the imperial family, the last descendant who was born almost four years before they were all murdered. He had hemophilia, which, in the early 20th century, meant the boy was unlikely to live to adulthood.

Continuing with the fourth daughter of the Romanovs, everyone knows that the information about the murder of Nicholas II and the rest of the family was not clear enough and, as I said before, there were many impostors who tried to impersonate Anastasia. to meet his grandmother, Maria Romanov, who had taken refuge in Crimea, and inherit her fortune.

The most popular of them all was Anna Anderson. Her story begins when in 1920 she tries to commit suicide by jumping from the Oberbaum Bridge in Berlin into the Spree River, although she is rescued by a police sergeant and taken, first, to a hospital and, later, to a psychiatric hospital, where she is They enter with the name of an unknown lady. She has injuries to her abdomen and head and her accent sounds Russian.

Rumors begin to spread that it could be Tatiana Romanov, the second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, although it is believed that it cannot be because she is too short to be Tatiana. Then begins one of the most shocking legends of the 20th century: that of Anastasia's survival.

The four daughters were known to have sewn diamonds and jewels into their dresses, potentially causing them to act as bulletproof vests when the massacre took place. This led to the assumption that the young woman could have escaped her fate by falling in love with one of the soldiers she met during her captivity and that he would have helped her. They would have been married, until his death, murdered on the streets of Bucharest, in Romania. She would not have been able to bear the pain, trying to commit suicide in Berlin. They claimed that she spoke in German, perhaps because she had forgotten Russian due to the trauma suffered.

The truth is that that young woman knew details, dates, and places of the sumptuous palaces. It was later said that this was because she had a friend who knew everything about the Romanov family inside out. She was persecuted by many, accusing her of being an impostor, while European royal families began to take the story seriously.

In 1927, a detective claimed to have discovered that the mysterious young woman was a Polish-German peasant named Franziska Schanzkowska.

For a long time, more than thirty years, she was involved in court, until in 1970 a judge's ruling declared that she was not the daughter of the last Tsar of Russia. Finally, a series of investigations into the remains of the Romanovs determined that they were all murdered.

In 2015, the Russian Orthodox Church reopened the case about Anastasia's survival, but everything seems to indicate that the little princess's real story ended up along with that of the rest of her family.

Anna Anderson's organic material, which had been recovered from her time at various hospitals, tested negative for DNA. Later, her remains were compared with those of a grandson of Franziska Schanzkowska's sister and the result was positive.

The world met Anna Anderson, the most famous of the false Anastasias in an animated musical, a song and several films, one of them played by Ingrid Bergman. Her life, really, was much less glamorous than what cinema had taught us.