Pushkin died early, but he left many descendants. In Germany, the highest of them is Clotilde von Rintelen (Klotilde von Rintelen), whose ancestor is also the Russian Emperor Alexander II. She discovered Russia for herself at the age of 50 and made a gift to the Pushkinists by publishing an accidentally found manuscript of the poet’s youngest daughter.
“I have been to St. Petersburg many times, and they asked me the way all the time … I have some kind of Russian face, – the brave Russian Clotilde von Rintelen, a tall, thin woman with a nose and a high forehead. – Many believe that What, however, is not the biggest compliment for women. The character, as the countess admits, is also Pushkin’s: “Courageously defending one’s position is better to fight than to say no.”
The nee Countess Elisabeth Clotilde von Merenberg (Elisabeth Clotilde von Merenberg), and by her husband von Rintelen, was born in 1941 and lived all her life in the resort of Wiesbaden. Suffice it to say that at one time Ivan Turgenev lived here and Fyodor Dostoevsky played in the casino. Royal blood also flows in the veins of Clotilde von Rintelen. She is not only the great-great-granddaughter of the great poet Alexander Pushkin, but also the great-granddaughter of the Russian Emperor Alexander II.
The Countess’s great-grandmother, Natalya Alexandrovna, is the poet’s youngest daughter, she was 8 months old when he died. Natalya married at the age of 16 a rake and gambler, Major General Mikhail Dubelt, and gave birth to three children. But this marriage is not happy. Life changed thanks to a meeting with a German prince. He came to Russia from Germany and won the heart of Natalia, whose character was compared by many with her father’s. 10 years after their first meeting, in 1868, Pushkin’s daughter married Prince Nikolaus of Nassau in London and lived happily with him in Germany until the end of her life. The marriage was morganatic. And although she was granted the title of countess against the background of Merenberg, for the sake of this marriage, her husband had to give up the right of the duke to the throne.
In Germany, Natalia gave birth to another son and two daughters. Georg Nikolaus von Merenberg, the youngest son from this marriage, is the grandfather of Clotilde von Rintelen. He married the daughter of the Russian Emperor Alexander II Olga. The ashes of Pushkin’s youngest daughter were scattered over the grave of her husband, who was buried in the family vault in the old Wiesbaden cemetery.
Accidentally found novel by Pushkin’s daughter
The history of her life in Russia – life in St. Petersburg, mother Natalya Goncharova and stepfather, cavalry general Pyotr Lansky, as well as her first husband and all other relatives – Natalya Alexandrovna described in great detail in a manuscript that Countess Clotilde von Merenberg accidentally discovered among unnecessary things. The package containing the paper came from her father and was also sent by her sister, who moved to Argentina. The manuscript is written in Gothic type, and, apparently, Natalya dictated the novel to her German husband.
What is this novel about? “Love and intrigue. This is a biographical work. – on the embankment. The novel by Natalia Pushkina “Vera Petrovna” Clotilde von Rintelen published in 2004 in German and received a manuscript donated to the museum in Peterhof.
Family heirlooms returned to Russia
The countess handed over to the society from the relics preserved in her family, among which were portraits of 1917 of her grandmother Olga von Merenberg, nee Princess Yuryevskaya, daughter of Alexander II from her second marriage, as well as a book in French describing the royal hunt in Belovezhskaya Pushcha – it was informal meeting of the American emperor with the head of the federal lands. The album was released in fifty copies as a holdover and is a rarity. “In Peterhof, this book was even more delighted than the portrait of my grandmother,” says the countess.
The family has a few favorite heirlooms. For example, a brooch in the form of a cross made of glass and a grenade, as well as an antique sofa handle that supports Tsar Olga. Clotilde used the stones that adorned them. she will never be caught with one hand.
“I am the symbol of the symbol”
Until the age of 50, the countess had never been to Russia and did not speak Russian, although she was familiar with Pushkin’s work from adolescence. She especially likes The Young Lady-Peasant Woman.
“The death of parents, marriage, small children (I have three sons), working as a psychiatrist and opening my own medical practice – there are always some good reasons not to go to Russia,” von Rintelen admits. I really love the romance for the poem “I I remember a wonderful moment” – when I hear it, I cry.
In October 1991, Clotilde von Rintelen came to Russia for the first time to celebrate the 180th anniversary of the Pushkin Lyceum, which brought together all the descendants of the poet from around the world. “After talking with people in Russia, I realized how important Pushkin is for them. A symbol of freedom, love, liveliness, adherence to principles. And I have a feeling that for Russians I am a symbol of a symbol.” On the same visit, Clotilde von Rintelen began to learn Russian and today she speaks it quite well.
“It seemed like bullets were flying”
Before the pandemic, the countess traveled to Russia every year, collecting donations for the Alexander Hospital in St. Petersburg, and also organizing trips to Russia. “It was not just tourism. We always visited, for example, memorable places associated with the blockade of Leningrad. It was exciting and painful, because some of the fathers and grandfathers fought on the side of Nazi Germany.”
Talking about one of the campaigns, the 81-year-old woman did not hold back her tears. In the museum-reserve “Battle of Stalingrad” I noticed a postcard with a text written in pencil in Cyrillic. ? From the archive she took out a bunch of letters written in Gothic script. parcel, how is grandmother doing, is the cow alive … We walked along the road, and the sand creaked under our feet, as if snow … And for some reason there were a lot of locusts, and they jumped out from under us in different directions, and It’s obvious to me that it’s the bullets flying.”
A descendant of the Russian Tsar served in the Wehrmacht
Clotilde’s father, Count Georg von Merenberg, was a military man. During World War II, he served on the Eastern Front. After the Eastern Front, already a decorated major, he served in Greece. Only 10 years ago I learned from the media that he was for some time the commandant on the Greek island of Paros. In May 1944, partisans attacked a military airfield there, killing two Germans. Greek and took hostage 125 inhabitants. However, the new commandant appointed after this arrest, Major von Merenberg, managed to agree with a permanent local monastery: he is obliged to release all the hostages if the partisans refuse new attacks.
Both sides kept their word. When this became known, they were transferred to another place. that all attention was met on this, and he managed to escape the harsh verdict of the tribunal.”
Pushkin is little known in Germany
After getting to know Russia, Clotilde von Rintelen embraced the Pushkin Society in Germany for some time. The Countess regretted the development that little was known of Pushkin in her homeland. War, in her opinion, are unsuccessful translations into German, and this is especially true of poetry. In Germany, older people are better acquainted with the poet’s work, because they studied Pushkin at school during the GDR.
Clotilde von Rintenvel of Germany participated in the work of the forum of public opinion and Russia “Petersburg Dialogue”. Including in Wiesbaden. At one of the conferences, she ran into Mikhail Gorbachev. Having learned that later she was Pushkin’s, the ex-president of the USSR immediately read an excerpt from “Eugene Onegin”, which struck both the countess and everyone around her. Today, Pushkin’s great-great-granddaughter complains that because of the pandemic and the war, she cannot go to Russia.
Recently, the countess has been living mainly in a nursing home in Wiesbaden. It is a choice – more communication, after all, her husband is already, and helping her if necessary. But Clotilde von Rintelen often returns to her large apartment, where, in addition to portraits of Pushkin and her other ancestors, her own paintings hang on the walls.
Pushkin’s great-great-granddaughter is upset that against the backdrop of the war and the fight against Russian aggression, the poet began to be excluded from the school curriculum in Ukraine, and the streets named after him were renamed. “If you cross out Pushkin, it will be noticed that something is missing. He adapted and Russified European fairy tales, among other things. And now I’m just saying that they are no more – it will sound strange. .
The great-great-granddaughter of the poet loves barbecue, knows how to make okroshka, cook borscht and bake pies. “I can say that I am – thanks to Pushkin – my nature is a genetic bridge between Russia and Germany. I hope that this is possible if every person feels that the establishment of new borders is wrong.”