November 28, 1918 (report sent November 21)
New York Times reporter Carl Ackerman is reporting that there is no evidence that former emperor Nicholas II and his family were killed in Ekaterinburg. He writes: "I have been through the house where he [Nicholas] is supposed to have been killed, and have talked with many inhabitants and foreigners. None possessed proof that the family were executed. There is no evidence except some twenty bullet holes in the wall, and there is considerable circumstantial evidence to make the Bolshevist story that the family were executed a doubtful one."
For the last three months an Ekaterinburg judicial commission has been investigating the reports of the executions, but "so far has been unable to reach a conclusion."
The Allied Consular corps, which has been in Ekaterinburg throughout the Bolshevist occupation, "does not possess evidence that the family were executed."
Prominent Ekaterinburg residents have doubts that Nicholas was killed.
The owner of the house where the family was imprisoned has no information on the status of the family.
Ackerman says, "on the other hand, there are bullet holes in the walls of a basement room, and there is the Bolshevist official statement that the family were executed."
The reporter adds that there is the "testimony of a prominent Ekaterinburg citizen" who claims that he saw the former emperor and his family at the railroad station three days after their reported disappearance.
The family arrived at the Ipatiev House in May and were allowed outside for one hour each day. The house was under daily surveillance. On the morning of July 17, every one who worked at the house departed. The house was in a deplorable condition.
One room in the basement, according to Ackerman, were "bullet holes in the wall about thirty inches from the floor. There were bullet holes also in the floor and on it some blood stains. This is the only evidence there is of executions."
The prisoners included Nicholas, his wife, Alexandra, their five children, one valet, one doctor and one maid. "Ten persons must have been executed, or some of them or all escaped."
After the Bolseviki were forced to leave the city by Czechs, a judicial commission was formed to find out what happened to the former Emperor and his family. Parts of the wall and floor were removed and taken to the courtroom. "If the family had been executed they must have been seated on chairs but no chairs have been found. The bodies have never been found, and no traces of them have ever been discovered."
Ackerman stated that it was possible that the Bolseviki "took every evidence with them, this does not seem logical considering the hopes of the Bolsheviki who were guarding the Czar."
A local resident walked into the station master's office at the train station in Ekaterinburg and said that he had seen the family who were hidden in an inner room in the house. Although he is the only person who claims to have seen Nicholas since the reported execution, "he is considered a reliable man."
The report concludes: "Added to all the evidence here must be the German influence, which at the time was very great. This is believed to have been exerted in the Czar's behalf. After my investigation I am of the opinion of most people here that there is not sufficient evidence to prove the family were executed. There is circumstantial evidence that they may still be alive. The question of the Czar's fate is a conundrum to which even the judicial commission has not found the answer. The Czar may be alive, or he may be dead. Who knows?"
The execution was "alleged to have taken place on July 17." The Czech soldiers arrived in Ekaterinburg on August 1. On August 15, a dispatch from Amsterdam announced that Nicholas' body "had been taken from the well where it had been placed by his executioners and buried with great pomp by the peasants."