Excerpts from the reminiscences of Czarina Alexandra and her executioner on July 16, 1918. The Romanovs were killed July 16-17 by the Bolsheviks in Ekaterinburg. The documents were found by playwright Edward Radzinsky in Soviet archives.

Alexandra (writing in English in her diary):

"Ekaterinburg. Tuesday. Grey morning, later lovely sunshine. Baby {the 13-year-old heir to the throne, Czarevich Alexei} has a light cold. All went out 12 hour in the morning. Olga {daughter} and I arranged our medicines. T{atyana} {another daughter} read the gospels. They went out. T{atyana} stayed with me. Every morning the commis{sar} comes to our rooms, at last after a week bought eggs again for baby.

"8 p.m. supper. Suddenly Alyonka {the footman} was fetched to go and see his uncle and flew off. Wonder whether it's true and we shall see the boy again. Played bezique {a popular game} with N{icholas}.

"8.30 p.m. To bed. 15 degrees {centigrade}."

{Five hours later, the czar's family was awakened by Yakov Yurovski, the regional justice commissar. In his later reminiscences, Yurovski recalls that the family was upset by the sudden departure of the footman. He then takes up the story of the execution, referring to himself in the third person as "the commandant:"}

"The Romanovs had no idea what was going on. The commandant went for them personally and led them downstairs into the basement. Nikolai carried Alexei in his hands and the rest held pillows and other minor articles. On entering the empty room, Alexandra Fyodorovna asked, 'Why is there no chair here? Is it forbidden to sit down?' The commandant requested that two chairs be bought in. Nicholas sat in one of them and A.F. in the other. Then the commandant told the Romanovs that since their relatives in Europe were continuing to attack Soviet Russia, the Ural Committee had decided that they would be shot.

"Nicholas turned his back to the {execution} squad and faced his family. Then suddenly, as if remembering something, he turned again to the commandant and asked: 'What? What?' The commandant hurriedly repeated what he had said and ordered the squad to get ready. Members of the team had already been ordered who to shoot and were told to aim at the heart to avoid spilling a huge amount of blood and get it all over with quickly. Nicholas did not say anything more. He turned toward his family. The others pronounced some incoherent words. All this took a couple of seconds. Then the shooting began, lasting two or three minutes. Nicholas was shot by the commandant himself.

"It was discovered that three of the sisters, the maid of honor and Botkin {the doctor} were still alive. They were fired at again. This took the commandant by surprise since he had shot right through the heart. The bullets ricocheted off some objects and were scattered all over the floor as in a hail. When one of the girls was pierced by a bayonet, it would not penetrate her corset. Because of this, the whole procedure, including checking for the pulse beat, lasted for 20 minutes.

"Then the theft started. Three trusted comrades were told to guard the corpses while the corpses were transferred one by one {to a truck}. The stolen articles {a golden watch, a diamond-studded cigarette holder} were retrieved on threat of execution."