Tatiana and Olga 2010

Tatiana and Olga  2010

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dr. Botkin's last letter.

Dr. Eugene Botkin with his children, Tatiana and Gleb.

I recently read Dr. Eugene S. Botkins's last letter, addressed to his brother, Alexander. I was so moved by Dr. Botkin's letter and what this man says , I had to make a video.

But there are so few photos of Dr. Bokin that I know of, that I decided to made drawings of him especially for this video to illustrate his letter.This letter was found by the White forces in 1918 when they captured Ekateringburg Siberia, and searched " The House of Speical Purpose " as it was called, where the last Russian Tsar and his family was held in the early to mid summer of 1918.

Dr. Botkin was one of four companions that were still with the family at the time of thier deaths.

They were :

Footman : Aleksei Egorovich Trupp
Maid: Anna Stepanovna Demidova
Cook : Ivan Mikhailovich Kharitonov
and of course, Dr.Yevgeny Sergeyevich Botkin .

Dr. Eugene S. Botkin (1865-1918) was the court physician to the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas Romanov, and his family. He took this position in 1908. When the family was arrested and imprisoned in 1917, Dr. Botkin elected to join them.

Because doctors were so scarce, the Bolsheviks would have allowed Dr. Botkin his freedom at any time. But his physician's oath was more to him than his life and he writes about this in his letter.

This is the first time I made art for a video...usually I make the video for art! In my research, I found an excellent blog post about Dr.Botkin.

This was quite a man http://tinyurl.com/48mse9j

Here is the text to Dr. Botkin's last letter

I am making a last attempt at writing a real letter -- at least from here -- although that qualification, I believe, is utterly superfluous. I do not think that I was fated at any time to write to anyone from anywhere.

My voluntary confinement here is restricted less by time than by my earthly existence. In essence I am dead -- dead for my children -- dead for my work ... I am dead but not yet buried, or buried alive -- whichever, the consequences are nearly identical ...

The day before yesterday, as I was calmly reading ... I saw a reduced vision of my son Yuri's face, but dead, in a horizontal position, his eyes closed.

Yesterday, at the same reading, I suddenly heard a word that sounded like "Papulya". I nearly burst into sobs. Again -- this is not a hallucination because the word was pronounced, the voice was similar, and I did not doubt for an instant that my daughter, who was supposed to be in Tobolsk, was talking to me ...

I will probably never hear that voice so dear or feel that touch so dear with which my little children so spoiled me ...

If faith without works is dead, then deeds can live without faith ...

This vindicates my last decision ... when I unhesitatingly orphaned my own children in order to carry out my physician's duty to the end,

as Abraham did not hesitate at God's demand to sacrifice his only son.

And now the video


  1. Anne, this is terrific. I like the drawings of Botkin reading, when he suddenly opens his eyes and sees his son dead -- very effective. Is this how he discovered that his son was dead?

    I also like the drawing where we're looking over the executioner's shoulders -- spooky.

    Now you need to keep painting AND drawing!

  2. Thank you for your comments and for stopping by! Dr. Botkin did lose a son during the war,his son Dimitry. But in the vision while reading ,he saw his son, Uri, who was was alive,as being "dead." I believe Dr. Botkin experienced this as his son would soon be dead to him because he, himself would soon be dead...I think this because Dr. Botkin immediately links this vision with another psychic experience : that of hearing his daughter's voice call him her pet name for him when in reality she was miles away.

    So he knew his fate both intellectually and supernaturally. Actually having such an experience while reading is not surprising, the mind has changed focus enough for it to happen, for other "information" to slip into our thoughts ....like when engaged in art etc.

    Dr. Botkin was offered the chance to live and be a doctor as late as Impative House. But he could not violate his oath... and kept fighting for better conditions for the family till the end. At this point , 11 people were not allowed an open window during a heat wave....so it was not a case of no work to do.

    But I believe Alexis was dying in any case. The washer women who saw the family two days before their deaths said the girls were strong and apple cheeked...but their brother was " not of this world".

    Yes! Painting from photos and drawing events we knew took place, but of which there is no photo!

  3. What a letter! There really are heroes in this world...

    A very haunting post, with wonderful drawings! Keep up the good work.

  4. Thank you Matterhorn! I now see I'm to draw pictures of the time from which we have no photographs...as well as painting portraits from the Romanov's photos we do have.

    I will be doing a book of drawings covering the last phase of their lives. There's many events to cover . I'm itching to do a series of Olga and her father acting in Chekhov's play, "The Bear"...which we know they did in Tobolsk....I believe Doctor Bokin's last letter is the last chapter of this book. I just had to do the drawings to realize it.

    Oh and you'll love the painting of Olga, Tatiana and Marie from the last Imperial Russian state funeral which is nearing completion.

    Thanks for your interest and support!

  5. Anna: I'm giving a lecture next month on Dr. Botkin. Please allow me to use some of your drawings as illustration to my talk. I would give proper credit, of course. Rafael Jimenez. Rochester, MN

    1. Mr. Jimenez,

      You may certainly use them for a lecture about Dr. Botkin. If you wish to use them further, please let me know. Thank you

  6. Thank you so much. Congratulations on such a nice work!!