• The Survivors

    What happened to the Romanov family?

An interview documentary with historic flashbacks

In this documentary with historical flashbacks, Albert Bartridge, a Russian-American lawyer in San Francisco, tells the story about the Romanov family members who were able to escape the Russian revolution. Here they stand in the courtyard of the Dulbar summer castle in the Crimea, where they were imprisoned. 

Maria Feodorovna with prince Vasili at the Crimea

Prince Vasili Romanov, the nephew of the last Tsar Nicholas II, the youngest amongst the Romanov family members who fled aboard the warship. Here he is with his grandmother the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna on the beach in the Crimea, 1919. 

The nearest family of Prince Vasili

Background to The Survivors – What happened to the Romanov family?

This documentary came about due to a chance encounter when Albert Bartridge travelled to Sweden and made a short visit to the town of Nyköping to see his good friend Ebba von Eckermann, whom he’d known since the 1970’s, when they met during a visit Ebba made to Woodside, outside San Francisco. 

Ebba and Albert

Thanks to Raoul Wallenberg Academy
For pictures out of Nina Lagergrens private collection. Photo Karl Gabor.

Thanks to Anette Lantos

And when Albert turned up in Nyköping for his quick visit, I –Agneta –happened to be there, visiting Ebba that same evening, showing a film I had made about my grandfather and some funny drawings he had made in the early 1900’s. Albert then suddenly remembered that he also happened to have some funny drawings from that same period, made by a Russian prince, somewhere in his cellar back home in San Francisco.

This sparked my curiosity and Albert barely made it home before my good friend and photographer Gunilla de Besche Öhrvall and I were standing on his threshold in San Francisco prepared to make a short movie about the drawings. After some persuasion he permitted us to document the drawings, made by the Russian prince Nikita, brother of Albert’s friend, Prince Vasili.

Gunilla de Besche Öhrvall and Agneta Ulfsäter Troell with Albert Bartridge.

But as it turned out, Albert couldn’t find the drawings we’d come all the way from Sweden to see. He searched desperately everywhere and while he did, we instead looked – in awe- at the photographs that were everywhere in his home. And so he began telling us about the people in them, bringing them to life with his stories about what happened to them during and after the Russian revolution 1917. And so we started making that film instead.

A lot of research

Then began the daunting task of researching all this material, which included the unique drawings by prince Nikita Romanov, that we finally found at the last minute before going back to Sweden.

We returned to San Francisco twice

There we continued our interviews with Albert. We also travelled to St. Petersburg with the Russian-speaking former diplomat Lars Magnuson to continue our research. What we thought would be a quick little side project became a full length documentary which took over three years to complete.

Agneta and Lars in St Petersburg

Gunilla and Lars in St Petersburg

Gunilla and Lars in St Petersburg

Agneta Ulfsäter Troell, Albert Bartridge and Gunilla de Besche Öhrvall during the recordings in California.

But who is Albert Bartridge?

Albert Bartridge grew up in Europe where his father was an Air Force officer serving in NATO.

His mother’s family were Russian exiles who settled in the United States and hence his interest and involvement with the Russian communities on both continents which was furthered by his close relationships with the extended Romanoff Family. 

He received a commission from the United States Navy and later graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the University of Santa Clara. 

He is a retired Vice President of Wells Fargo Bank and travels extensively in the United States and Europe in an effort to perpetuate family comity and awareness, within the Romanoff family, especially among the younger generations. 

Some very special Thank you!

Thank you Ebba von Eckermann!

Because of our chance encounter that evening in Nyköping and thanks to Ebba von Eckermann’s relentless persuasions, Albert granted Gunilla and me the possibility of making this film.

Original photo from 1919, taken onboard the warship
”Marlborough” from Sarah Padwick’s grandfather’s photo album.

Thank you Frances Welch and Sarah Padwick!

Frances Welch, author of the inspiring book ”The Russian Court at Sea”, helped us to get in touch with Sarah Padwick; the grandchild of Sir Frances Pridhamn, at the time First Lieutenant on the warship that evacuated the Romanov family from the Crimea in 1919. 

Sarah Padwick has given us the permission to use the private, unique pictures that her grandfather took of the Romanov family members onboard the “Marlborough” and for this we are so grateful!

The team behind the film

 Albert Bartridge

Albert Bartridge

Cast, research and interviewee Albert Bartridge
Lars Magnusson

Lars Magnusson

Cast, fact checker and translator from Russian
Agneta Ulfsäter Troell

Agneta Ulfsäter Troell

Original idea, scriptwriter, director, producer and narrator
Olle Tannergård

Olle Tannergård

Editor, dubbing mixer and co-producer
Gunilla de Besche Öhrvall

Gunilla de Besche Öhrvall

Yohanna Troell

Yohanna Troell

Additional photographer, script and translation editor
Magnus Dahlberg

Magnus Dahlberg

Original music

Animator, Pepe Franceschi

Colour grading, Johan Hansson, Edit Dudes

Translation to English Carla Wiberg 

Archive, research and copyright Tomas Ehrnborg 

Legal advice
Advokatfirman Cederquist
Malin Allard and Isabelle Emanuelsson

Copyright Förlaget Ulfsäter 2018