Friday, Oct. 03, 2008

Anastasia Romanov

While most historians believe Bolshevik revolutionaries killed the grand duchess of Russia in 1917 following the October Revolution, several women claimed her identity, along with the vast Romanov fortune held in Swiss banks. The most well known of these impostors called herself Anna Anderson, though critics allege she was actually a Polish woman named Franziska Schanzkowska. In the 1990s, officials conducted DNA tests on Anderson's remains (she had passed away in 1984) and finally established, once and for all, that she was not related to the royal family. But because Anastasia's remains were never found, rumors persisted. In 1954 a French playwright immortalized the tale with a play that later became a Hollywood film starring Ingrid Bergman. She won the 1956 Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of the youngest daughter of Russia's last emperor.