Faces and Symbols of Saint-Genevieve-des-Bois
Much has been written about the “Russian churchyard” in Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois. Photos of many graves can be seen on the net, since the cemetery has become a place of pilgrimage for Russians who come to France from a wide variety of regions, cities and cities. I want to show the cemetery from a slightly different side: through the faces and bits of the destinies of people buried here, through perceptible and not very symbols … This essay is inspired by a recent trip, in which I somehow especially felt what “roots” are. The roots are not related, but historical and cultural, those without which you feel as if cut off from everything that was once Russia, but did not become the Soviet Union. And this feeling appeared when I began to peer into namogilnye photos – those enamel medallions, of which there are so many at home, in the cemeteries of my native land …
Princess, model, member of the Resistance, poetess, lieutenant of the French army, holder of the Legion of Honor and World War I degree and member of the French Resistance in 1940.
Underground was known as “Wiki.” She was a member of the Civil and Military Organization (OCM), which was engaged in intelligence activities, as well as the organization of escapes of British prisoners of war. Obolenskaya, who possessed a phenomenal memory, was the general secretary of the OSM, she was in charge of communication with other underground groups and the DeMalle command in London. Since 1943, OSM began working with Soviet prisoners of war. Vika’s husband, Prince Nikolai Obolensky (nickname “Nicky”), was doing this.
In late December 1943, the Gestapo arrested Vera Obolenskaya. In prison, she managed to mislead investigators for a long time, and then she refused to give any evidence at all, having received the nickname “Princessin ich weiss nicht” (“Princess Nothing-Not-Know-It”). After the Allied landings in Normandy, Obolenskaya was transported to Berlin. On August 4, 1944, she was decapitated in Plötzensee prison, her body after the execution was destroyed.
In more detail about Vera Obolenskaya you can read here:
New historic bulletin
Elena Arsenyeva. Princess Nothing-Not-Know
The wiki memorial plaque is part of the Memorial of the Russian participants in the French Resistance, who died during the Second World War.
Vika’s husband, Prince Nikolai Obolensky, survived by a miracle. He was arrested by the Germans in the summer of 1944 and placed in the Buchenwald death camp. Out of their party of prisoners only one in ten returned to France. Obolensky, driven to the limit of exhaustion, still survived. On April 11, 1945, American troops entered the camp, freeing the remaining prisoners. For a long time Nicholas was looking for his wife among the living, not knowing anything about her death. When I learned about the tragic death of the Faith, I decided to become a priest.
Nikolai Obolensky was the rector of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris, the rector of Orthodox schools in Biarritz and Monterre. He died in 1979 and was buried here, in Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois, in the area of the Foreign Legion, in the same grave with General Zinoviy Peshkov, the adopted son of Maxim Gorky. Before his death, Nikolai bequeathed that the name of his beloved wife was stamped on his tombstone. This desire was fulfilled: the first lines on the common plate of N. Obolensky, Z. Peshkov and B. Egiazarov de Nork are carved in memory of Vera Obolenskaya.