3 JUNE 1972, Page 27

File on the Tsar

Sir: I read with no little interest the letter written by Tony Summers and Tom Mangold of the Lime Grove Studios of BBC in your April 8 issue; last summer these researchers were doing the spade work here for what promised to be a documentary that would at the least throw doubt upon the fact that the Russian Imperial Family had not survived their supposed deaths, and if successful might prove for all time that the Tsarevich is very much alive. I am acquainted with someone who is in communication with one of the Grand Duchesses and possibly with the other three.

Messrs Summers and Mangold were unable to convince Aleksei Nicholaevich Romanoff that his appearance on their then projected documentary would give the lie for all time to the fifty-three years of fable that he and his parents and his sisters had perished during the night of July 16-17, 1918. Tom told me that he and Tony had sufficient footage for more than one documentary on the Romanoffs, but whatever they might produce after cutting and editing would be like Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark' which might have been a better title for the BBC 1 opus of January 23 than File on the Tsar. I talked to His Imperial Highness last night about the letters appearing in your May 6 issue on page 707. With the exception of one letter that is well written and objective, he found two of the letters contrary to what he terms British fairness.' One can hardly call the response to Messrs Summers and Mangold's efforts very fair. One wonders how much of the literature written just within the past two years the critics read. Guy Richards's Imperial Agent4 The GoleniewshiRomanov Case (Devin Adair Garrity, 1966) and The Hunt for the Czar (Doubleday, 1970) are perhaps the primers in this research, not to forget Rescuing the Czar (California Publishing Company, 1920) that Herman Bernstein reviewed in the New York Times at the time of its publication. He had accompanied Carl Ackerman to the site of the supposed deaths of the Tsar and Tsarina and their children. They are not on record any more than Joseph Lasie, that the assassination of the Imperial Family could have taken place by any objective evidence. Last summer, the Tsarevich ran a series of columns in the nowdefunct New York Daily Mirror in which he frequently told his own story whilst commenting upon world events. He is a man with a sharp eye for news and analyses world politics with the wisdom born of his years in exile and serving in counter-espionage. Allers, the Swedish home magazine, ran an excellent article by Allan Beer in the April 17 issue on the Russian Imperial Family 1971. The issue contains a current photo of them taken in the summer of 1970. For any with doubts as to the truth of Ekaterinburg, there is literature available that goes further than mere speculation. There is an excellent new book published recently by Prentice-Hall, The Conspirator Who Saved the Romanovs, by Gary Null, that recounts the influence of the Kievan jeweller and goldsmith, Aaron Simanovitsch, who is said to have treated with Wilhelm von Hohenzollern for the safe-conduct of his Russian kin out of Russia as a part of the secret codicil of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed by German army and Bolshevik signatories. Aaron Simanovitsch, author of Der allmachtige Bauer — Rasputin (1928) was a friend and confidant of the monk and of the Russian Imperial Family, according to Mr Null. It is worth the while of anyone to read with an open mind these works and search, if still in doubt, the divers newspapers that carried articles about the Romanoffs and their physical survival. The New York Herald Tribune in July 1929 carried a news release that tends to show that they were still very much alive.

It is curious today that the man who printed Rescuing the Czar, said to have been written by William Rutledge McGarry (1872-1942), will even now not divulge the facts of the book's printing and the fact that the Dowager Empress then opposed its wide distribution even though she knew her son and his family were all alive. The actual order for the printing of Rescuing is not retained today in the records of the California Printing Company in San Francisco.

I lack the talent and information to adjudicate the whole story of the Russian Imperial Family but am somewhat amused that those without any genuine knowledge at all tend to dismiss their survival as a fable. There are those living who know exactly how they escaped from Ekaterinburg; there are certainly bankers who have grown prosperous on the interest from their money. If Aron Simanovitsch were alive today, I am inclined to believe that he could clarify this better than anyone else.

E. H. Stewart-Hill

1702 Second Avenue — 3B, Gracie Station, New York 1972, USA