A lot is said by the fact that almost simultaneously their private housing was given to a military hospital by two Russian officers: the Winter Palace - the colonel, Emperor Nikolai Romanov, and the house in Gatchina - the lieutenant, the famous writer Alexander Kuprin, whose wife, Maria Kuprina-Iordanskaya, who had experience sister of mercy, took over the management of the hospital. And such actions did not surprise anyone, because they were for the peoples of Russia the natural work of mercy and care for the wounded soldiers, which proved to be especially extensive and widespread in the subsequent testing for our Fatherland - during the Great Patriotic War 1941 – 1945.
... This unusual for other countries, but not for Russia, the hospital was created by the decision of Nicholas II. Help and care for the wounded and maimed soldiers of the Russian army was one of the main concerns of the rulers of Russia and their families. Peter the Great issued a special Decree of 3 in May of 1720 on the allocation of injured and wounded soldiers into a special group of suspected persons from the state. And in the future, his descendants, who did not share in terms of importance their royal rank and belonging to the officer corps of the Russian army, faithfully and mercifully performed their duty to the defenders of the Fatherland, who were injured and injured on the battlefield.
For Emperor Nicholas II, this duty did not contradict the way the Emperor was raised by his mother - Empress Maria Fedorovna, wife of Emperor Alexander III. This Danish princess, like almost all the foreign wives of Russian tsars, was an ascetic in helping and caring for Russian soldiers. She, traditionally for Russia, was the chief of several regiments of the Russian army, including for 36 years the guards of the Cavalier Guard of Her Imperial Majesty the Empress Maria Fedorovna regiment. Therefore, directly participating in the lives of her military personnel, she became not only their patroness in army life, but, having assumed the post of head of the Russian Red Cross Society, she began to patronize all Russian soldiers injured in the battles for the Fatherland. Naturally, her children, who were from an early age, like their parents, chiefs of army regiments and fleet, constantly accompanied her mother in her visits to hospitals, hospitals and shelters of crippled warriors and considered it necessary for herself to take care of these military heroes.
The family of Emperor Nicholas II gave under military hospitals not only their main house on Palace Square, but also almost all the country palaces and residences throughout the Russian Empire.
The transfer of the Winter Palace, the main state, historical and artistic value of the building of the northern capital and the treasury of Russia, under the premise for suffering warriors was a landmark event for the peoples and estates of our Fatherland during the First World War.
Before the opening of this infirmary there was a thorough technical and organizational preparation, which ended only in 1915, when wounded soldiers from all fronts, where the Russian army fought, began to enter the luxurious halls of the Winter Palace. This imperial hospital accepted only seriously wounded soldiers who needed complex operations or special treatment. When they started to get better and walk, the soldiers were transferred to other medical institutions, and seriously wounded people again took their places.
The Hospital of the Winter Palace was given the official name of "The Infirmary of His Imperial Highness the Heir to the Tsarevich and the Grand Duke Alexei Nikolayevich in the Winter Palace." Initially, chambers and operating rooms wanted to be placed in the Hermitage, but they had to abandon this due to the lack of necessary technical conditions. Museum director Dmitry Tolstoy told the emperor that there was no electricity, running water and sewage, so they decided to use the Winter Palace building to house the hospital. Eight ceremonial halls with adjoining premises were allocated for it and considerable sums of money were spent on the creation of a modern for that time stationary military medical institution.
The infirmary was opened on October 10 1915, without unnecessary celebrations, as the Emperor considered it inappropriate during the hostilities. The hospital organizers took very seriously, not only to equip it with special medical equipment, but also to create the necessary facilities for patients, medical and service personnel. The walls were draped with special fabric, and the floors were covered with material that creates noise protection so as not to disturb the wounded. Special common canteens were created for patients and doctors with sisters of mercy. The builders carried out painting work in all the halls and improved the ventilation system, as well as installed boilers and boilers of the most modern design. The water supply and sewerage network was significantly expanded and repaired. One of the important construction tasks in creating dressing rooms, operating rooms for doctors and procedures was to preserve the unique decoration of the ceremonial halls of the Winter Palace. The steps of the Jordan Staircase were covered with boards, and all decorative items and works of art from the main halls were moved to other rooms. Everything was carefully fixed, photographed and packed in boxes. Special night lighting was created with purple electronic lamps.
On the first floor of the Winter Palace were located the outbuildings of the infirmary: a waiting room, a pharmacy, a kitchen, bathrooms, doctor’s offices, a household unit, office, the chief doctor’s office. On the second floor in Avanzal, the Eastern Gallery and the halls: Field Marshalsky, Gerbovom, Piketnom, Aleksandrovskiy and Nikolayevskoye housed wards for wounded. The famous Petrovsky Hall was given for postoperative patients.
In the Military Gallery of 1812 Heroes, an X-ray laboratory was installed and underwear was stored. In the Column and partially Field Marshals' Halls were dressings. Bathrooms and showers were located in the Winter Garden and the Jordan Entrance.
The entrance to the hospital was from the Palace Embankment, through the main entrance. The wounded arrived upstairs along the Jordanian stairs, delivered food and medicine.
In the infirmary, about 1000 wounded were to be treated. The hospital hospital staff consisted of 34 doctors (most surgeons), 50 nurses, 120 orderlies, and 26 people of household staff. The emperor appointed A.V. as chief doctor of the infirmary. Rutkovsky. An outstanding Russian surgeon, Professor N.N. Petrov, one of the founders of the national oncology, the future corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, academician of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR, Hero of Socialist Labor.
“The infirmary of His Imperial Highness, Heir, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Alexei Nikolaevich in the Winter Palace” existed only for two years, but during this time made an invaluable contribution to the nationwide cause of salvation and healing of Russian soldiers. Despite the ceremonial visits that were natural to his status, as well as visits by representatives of the authorities and prominent foreign guests, the medical team of the infirmary and the attendants professionally performed their duty and saved thousands of lives of the sick and wounded.
Unfortunately, the events of October 1917 have not bypassed this medical facility. On the morning of October 25. 1917 in the northern capital of the Russian state of Petrograd several hundred armed men: soldiers, sailors and civilians broke into the Winter Palace and, disarming the Provisional Government, arrested his ministers. It was a short but most significant event in its consequences for Russia and the world of the October revolution or revolution ... Historians and various ideologists have written about this a lot and in different ways, depending on the political situation. However, the memories of the participants of this historical event are more interesting.
American writer John Reed, who was at that time in Petrograd, wrote from the words of a sailor - a participant in the capture of the Winter Palace: “We discovered around the 11 hours of the evening that there were no Junkeri at the entrances to the palace from the Neva. Then we burst through the door and began to climb up the stairs, one by one or in small groups. When we climbed to the top floor, the cadets detained us and took from us weapon. But our comrades all approached and approached until we were in the majority. Then we turned against the junkers and took away the weapons from them. ”
Here is what the outstanding figure of Russian art, Alexander Nikolayevich Benois, writes: “... At about five o'clock in the afternoon I was told by telephone from the Hermitage that they received a telephone call from the“ revolutionary headquarters ”that the cadet guard would be replaced by another soon. After a quick bite, I went inside to the Hermitage. On my way, the so-called “Gallery of Petersburg Views” was filled with female soldiers of the Women's Battalion. Getting down to the entrance, I called the senior officer on the Junker guard and asked him what he intended to do. To this he explained that he was now going to the head of the guard at the Winter Palace and, having received instructions from him, would report everything to me. Upon returning from the Palace, he assured me that they would not leave their cadet position, they would not give up the guard and would protect the institution entrusted to their protection to the last opportunity ... .. 9 around the evening there was a loud knock on the front door and 30 man of armed transfigurations came in from non-commissioned officer in charge. They demanded that the cadets give up their weapons and announced that they themselves would be replaced. There was a rather lively altercation, there were explanations that I could not hear behind the general din, but the result was that the old guard gave up and was disarmed. The senior junker came in front of me to apologize and prove that they had no other way out, since they could not defend the Hermitage against a decisively superior detachment. I had to admit that I considered the peaceful end of the collision to be the most responsible in this case the interests of our artistic repository - God knows what could have happened, how much irreparable harm would have been done if there had been an armed struggle inside the building ... ”
Arresting and sending the ministers of the Provisional Government to the Peter and Paul Fortress, the winners scattered around the halls and offices of this hitherto unknown royal dwelling and the great treasury of Russia unknown to them.
Many of them were led by simple curiosity - to see how the king and queen lived ... Others were occupied with royal values, but they all found out with bewilderment that they unexpectedly got into a huge military hospital. Almost all ceremonial halls were filled with hospital and medical equipment, and from the beds they looked at the exhausted faces of the wounded, just like them, of ordinary Russian people. Representatives of the new government passed through the Fieldmarshall Hall with a heavy smell of blood and pus, where wounds were bandaged ... carefully walked around the Column Hall, where despite military events around the palace, operations were going ... moving the hospital clothes in the 1812 Gallery of Heroes, which served as a clothes room, to see pictures on the walls and with curiosity looked at an unprecedented device located in the X-ray room. Especially struck all the huge Nicholas Hall, placed under the chamber for the newly received soldiers. It turned out that the Provisional Government and the protection of the Winter Palace and the Hermitage occupied a very small place in this realm of suffering and mercy. And it could be said that the new masters of the country seized not the stronghold of the ruling power, but a peaceful hospital with the same wounded sailors and soldiers as they did.
This is how the end of the Winter Palace infirmary's activities is described. Benoit: “... With this tour of the palace we could be convinced that, although it was stated that all the military units from the inner chambers of the palace had been removed, many soldiers with guns in their hands still roamed the palace and it is possible that they also plundered ... .. A particularly sad sight was the first one - that vaulted room on the lower floor that overlooks the Admiralty and that once served as a strict Sovereign at the same time as the study and the bedroom. Here was his writing desk, on which the mass of writing utensils remained, as well as all sorts of knick-knacks and portraits of loved ones; and the walls of this room were completely (and even in the embrasures of the windows) hung with paintings and miniatures, mostly of a souvenir order; Immediately there was a simple soldier's bed of the emperor. Now the walls were bare, the table was broken, the floor was littered with papers, and the whole bed was torn up. ... The same abomination of desolation was the cabinet of Alexander II, who once served as the cabinet of Alexander I (he was decorated for him by his grandmother, Catherine II, when he was the Grand Duke; the architecture of this room was restored after the 1837 fire). But in this alone the floor was now completely covered with letters, all sorts of papers and broken things. Pictures and drawings were not taken out of the frames, but their glasses were broken, and the frames were broken. ... .. Obviously, the soldiers were looking for gold here, imagining, in their naivety, that the king, precisely in his room, had to hide his fabulous treasures ... ”.
The second testimony came from the great Petersburger and Leningrad citizen Boris Borisovich Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage Museum, who kept the diaries of the former nurse of this hospital Nina Galanina, too frank for the Soviet era, whose records were archived in the State Hermitage Museum. Here are some of her memories: “On the night of October 26, the most disturbing, ominous rumors crept in. Among others, the fact that as a result of the shelling of the Winter Palace from the Peter and Paul Fortress and Aurora the palace and many nearby buildings were allegedly destroyed. ... As soon as morning came ... I, asking for a half day from work, hurried to the city. First of all, I wanted to go to the hospital of the Winter Palace. Getting there was not so easy: from the Palace Bridge to the Jordan entrance there was a triple chain of Red Guards and sailors with rifles at the ready. They guarded the palace and did not let anyone to it ... Required documents. I showed my ID issued in my name back in February, with the seal of the hospital of the Winter Palace. It helped - I missed. Something else shouted after, but I didn’t make out and went on. The third chain is no longer delayed. I entered, as happened hundreds of times earlier, at the Jordanian entrance. There was no place for the usual doorman. At the entrance stood a sailor with the inscription "Dawn of Freedom" on his peakless cap. He allowed me to enter. The first thing that caught my eye and struck was a huge amount of weapons. The entire gallery from the lobby to the Main Staircase was littered with it and looked like an arsenal.
Armed sailors and Red Guards walked in all the rooms. In the hospital, where there was always such an exemplary order and silence: where it was known in what place which chair should stand, everything was turned upside down, everything was upside down.
And everywhere - armed men. The elder sister was under arrest: she was guarded by two sailors. I did not see anyone else from the medical staff ... ”.
October 28 The 1917 of the Winter Palace Infirmary, designed to help the wounded and sick soldiers of the Russian Army, was officially closed by a new Bolshevik power ...