The Fund has done a great
deal in Russia over the past fifteen years. This enormous amount
of work has only been possible because of the selfless character
of Russians and non-Russians in Canada, USA, France, Australia,
Finland and other countries around the world. However, there are
still many suffering, needy and sick individuals who require your
attention, care, and helping hand. We have many plans,
and our work is evolving in a number of directions, including
humanitarian and medical assistance, education and culture.
The Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Memorial Fund is a non-commercial,
non-profit organization. We unfortunately do not have permanent
office or storage facilities, although our volunteers urgently
need them to carry out our basic objectives. The success of our
programmes depends in large part on our volunteers, benefactors
and those who are not indifferent to the fate of the underprivileged,
disabled and orphans. We are certain that there are many people
abroad and in Russia who are prepared to lend a helping hand,
so please donate to this worthy cause.
that giveth, receiveth!
DUCHESS OLGA ALEXANDROVNA, DAUGHTER AND SISTER OF EMPERORS
Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna
was born on June 1 (14), 1882, in Peterhof, on the Gulf of Finland.
Hers was a royal birth, deemed in the purple, since her father,
Alexander III, was still Russia’s reigning monarch. She was also
the youngest and favourite sister of Nicholas II, Russia’s last
Tsar. A remarkable woman, she devoted a considerable part of her
working life to philanthropic and charitable activities, all in
With the medical knowledge and experience she had acquired from
a doctor on her estate in Voronezh, she volunteered, as a simple
sister of charity, to go to the Front in the First World War.
While there, she used her own funds to equip a hospital where
she became sister superior.
By the time the Second World War broke out, the Grand Duchess
and her family had already established themselves in Denmark (birthplace
of her mother, Maria Feodorovna), which was occupied by the Nazis.
The country gave refuge to needy Russians in exile whom the Grand
Duchess did not hesitate to assist. Threatened with trial and
execution by the Soviets after the War, she and her family had
to seek asylum in Canada in 1948.
The Grand Duchess passed away on November 24, 1960, in Toronto,
Canada, and was buried in the North York cemetery beside her beloved
husband, Nikolai Alexandrovich Kulikovsky.
The creation of the Russian Relief Programme
in memory of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga is therefore
a natural idea arising from the living example of this humble,
yet great lady.
The thought of creating the Charity was planted
by chance on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the
death of the Grand Duchess, following the requiem held in her
memory. After the service, in keeping with Russian Orthodox tradition,
all those present gathered in the refectory to share a meal prepared
in her honour. Among those invited was a Canadian who held the
Grand Duchess in high esteem. He visited her grave every time
he came to Toronto. He unexpectedly posed the following question
to Tihon Nikolaevich and me: “Have you ever thought of perpetuating
the memory of the Grand Duchess in some way?” “But of course!”
I replied, without hesitation, although at that time I really
didn’t know what we would do.
While we were driving back home in the car, Tihon Nikolaevich
and I started to discuss what we might do. As I recall, it was
1990, a year of great change in Russia, a time when there were
shortages of almost everything: medical supplies, food and clothing,
and high unemployment everywhere. Tihon and I were closely following
what was happening in Russia and, since the Grand Duchess loved
Russia and its people very much, and always strove to help those
in need, that gave us the idea of establishing Her Imperial Highness
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Memorial Fund, Russian Relief
Programme. The Charity was registered first of all in Canada and
then in Russia in 1991.
Grand Duchess Olga, Sister of Charity (centre),
at the Field Hospital,