The Woman Who Almost Fooled Everyone
In the time after Anastasia's disappearance, many women stepped forward claiming to the heiress of the Romanov fortune. Perhaps the most compelling (and the one that took the longest to disprove) was that of Anastasia Tschaikovsky, who arrived in the United States in 1920 claiming to be the long lost princess.
The woman shared the same striking looks as Anastasia, and even bore horrifying scars that were, according to her, from the harrowing assassination escape. Many were impressed with her resemblance to the princess and the things she seemed to remember — she soon began to accrue quite a few supporters who sought to official declare her Anastasia Romanov, but others were not so sure.
One of the biggest sceptics was The Grand Duke of Hesse, Anastasia's uncle. The Duke hired a private investigator to discern Anastasia Tschaikovsky's real identity. After digging around, this man claimed she was actually Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish-German factory worker who had a history of mental illness and had disappeared in 1920. The woman eventually began to identify as Anna Anderson, and a play called Anastasia was written about her. It was even adapted into a 1956 film starring Ingmar Bergman — Bergman's performance won her the Oscar for best actress.
Anderson continued to insist she was the long-lost Anastasia, but lost a final legal battle in 1970, leaving the remainder of the Romanov fortune to he duchess of Mecklenberg. She died in 1984.