HANNIBAL, NY – On March 23 at 7 p.m., at the Hannibal Community Center, Oswego Street, Hannibal, John Donohue will be sharing his experiences during his quest to find out “Who Were the Women of Perm?
The history of Donohue’s quest started in July of 1918, when Nicholas Romanov, Tsar of all the Russias, along with his immediate family and several others, were assassinated in a cellar in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
The bodies were not seen again for 60 years.
In the 1970s, two researchers from the BBC found court testimony from the town of Perm, 600 miles west of Yekaterinburg, that the Romanov women were seen there, by multiple unrelated witnesses, months after the assassinations.
But then in 1979, most of the bodies were discovered near Yekaterinburg.
The final two bodies were uncovered in 2007.
All doubt was settled in the 1990s by using DNA evidence – all the Romanovs had been buried near Yekaterinburg.
Who, then, were the women of Perm?
And what happened to them?
Donohue thought he knew the answer to the first question, and he had a plan: to locate grandchildren of the people who gave testimony in 1919 and ask them.
In July of 2009, Donohue went to Russia to solve one of the last remaining mysteries from the shooting.
But Perm was not an average city. Not even the desk clerk at the Hotel Prikamie spoke English.
And until the late 1950s, Perm did not appear on Russian maps – because it is where the Soviet Union’s – and now Russia’s – most secret weapons are built.
What happened along the way is a mystery, a travelogue and a series of amazing coincidences – including an accidental attempt to enter the headquarters of the FSB – formerly called the KGB.
Donohue, a resident of Hannibal, operates Donohue and Co. Computer Services, a custom software firm, and is the business administrator of Melvin and Melvin, a Syracuse law firm.
The public is invited; refreshments will be served.