Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ruskulova and Salnava Manors in Latvia

This is the Ruskulova Manor (in need of repair and in ruins) which is not far from the Vulfiuss/Wulfiuss Salnava Manor (they are both in the Salnava parish) and was the home of Count Tolstoy, in 1883 it was bought by Baron Levenstein, and then bought around 1897 by Nicholas II's mother the Empress Dowager Maria and used as the home of the Empress's Lady in -waiting whose daughter was a half sister to the Czar Alexander III and the mother of my step-grandmother Madame Nadine Wulffius (nee Krivkov/ Krivko) who lived here with her grandmother, parents and siblings until the Russian Revolution. Nadine was also known as Madame Mirceva. The Ruskulova Estate was originally about 40,000 acres. In 1909 the Ruskulova Manor was burnt and the family moved to an estate near Riga until the rebuilding of the Manor. The family left Latvia in 1917 and Nadine (Mirceva) returned to Latvia after escaping Russia in 1922 by then the estate had been broken up under the Agrarian land laws of 1920 and she spoke of the Latvian manager having taken possession of the Manor and the land surrounding it. It would seem on reflection that Madame Nadine's family held this estate as a grace and favour residence from the Royal Family and thus she could not make any legal claim on it or the residence near Riga.

Nadine's paternal Jewish grandmother Nadezhda Krivkov (Nechama Staradab) lived in a Jewish village near Karsava (or in Karsava itself). Nadine once described hiding under a bridge while going to visit her paternal grandmother as a pogrom was in process. Nechama had married Anton Krivkov who had been a serf that was freed in 1861. They lived in the Moscow region. It would seem that Nechama took the name Nadezhda when she eloped and married Anton but returned after his death to her Jewish identity. After her son Fyodor moved to Latgale she moved to Karsava to be closer to him and his family where they could secretly visit her. Her great grandson Dimitri Krivkov (b.1913) died in Auschwitz on 9 January 1942. These Jewish connections were a closely guarded secret as firstly from the anti-Jewish Russian Orthodox high society of the Russian Empire who they mixed with and of course later with the rise of the anti-Semitic Nazis and fascists.

The home of the Barons Wulffius/Vulfiuss in Latvia from the 1860's until 1944 was Salnava Manor. The estate was once over 5,000 acres which was subdivided into 80 little farms in the Agrarian reforms of 1920. After this the Barons Wulffius only held about 133 acres with the Manor until World War 2.

"Salnava manor was built in second part of the 18th century in the classicical style. In Salnava Manor Park you can see a plantation of rare trees and alleys. There is a Love stone in the centre of the park – it is a huge stone with a flat surface. Also there is pictorial pond with two little islands;.." from

The Catholic Chapel at Salnava dating back to 1770 and the time of the Frankist (Jewish Catholic) times of influence among the Jews and Catholics of Latgale.