Before Russia invaded Ukraine, which sometimes seems like a lifetime ago, I began a quest to discover my great Aunt Ella’s correct birth year. Since then I have poured over the documents in my possession and read over pieces of information sent to me by my friend in St Petersburg.
As I have mentioned before, my father learnt Latvian, English, German and French at high school and also knew a smattering of Russian. As a Baltic-German who did his schooling in Latvia, it is not a great leap to presume he spoke German at home and Latvian within the wider
I have written previously about my grandfather, Peter von Fircks (above), here and here and how he was a follower of Rudolf Steiner. My grandfather’s belief in Steiner and Anthroposophy, the philosophy Steiner founded, were to colour his and his children’s lives. All I know about my grandfather, and his
The geographical history of Europe often blows my mind. Areas, regions and even entire countries are seemingly juggled between various governments, with borders being drawn and redrawn at will. Both sides of my family have been impacted by the geographical history of the land which is now known as Latvia.
During and after World War II, both of my father’s sisters were nurses. My Aunt Sigrid, the eldest, six years older than my father, began training as a nurse at the age of 18, in 1931, – the minimum age at the time. At the time my father’s family were
Friedrich-Georg Otto Heinrich von Fircks; fourth child and eldest son of Peter Julius Otto von Fircks. Known to his family as Frigo, he was by all accounts a sweet boy and a charming young man. My aunt, the eldest of the children, described Frigo as always happy, always cooperative and
- Knowing your place: the boundaries around relationships in pre-Revolutionary Russia
- Searching for an April birth month and finding more questions
- Ella – elegant, enchanting and somewhat elusive – was she also evasive?
- What’s in a Name? Was I named in memory of the Empress?
- The Tsar is buried… the Emperor is no more…