C'est réconfortant, après l'horreur de ce discours, de savoir qu'en Europe beaucoup de gens comme le Prince Dimitri Romanov pensent et agissent avec noblesse.
|Le prince et son épouse Dorrit avec |
l'ancien ambassadeur Danny Ayalon
[...] Nearby sat Dimitri Romanov — one of those Romanovs — a towering and gracious 87-year-old prince. After dinner, Romanov mused about his own history and that of Israel, where he had just arrived for the first time, and about the nature of statelessness.
Prince Dimitri Romanov was born in 1926, 18 years after Bolshevik revolutionaries murdered the last czar of Russia and his family at Ekaterinburg and threw their bodies into an abandoned mine shaft. The surviving Romanov duchesses and grand dukes and the rest of the extended royal family, including Dimitri’s father, Prince Roman Petrovich, fled Russia, never to return.
Romanov and his wife, Princess Dorrit, who wore an elegant salmon dress and golden slippers, were early in a 36-hour sojourn in the country, part of a round-the-world journey on a cruise ship called the Seaborne Quest. They were being given a whirlwind tour of which the dinner — at an unmarked and luxurious establishment called Spoons, near Montefiore’s windmill — was part. There was Tuscan cabbage, Israeli wine, superb Jerusalem artichoke soup, and candlesticks the size of modest missile silos. [...]
Born in France and raised across Europe and, for a time, in Alexandria, the prince is a great-great-grandson of the reactionary Czar Nicholas I, who died in 1855. Romanov spent his life, however, not as royalty but as a banker. [...] Romanov returned to the country his family ruled for centuries for the first time only after the fall of Communism, when he was in his 60s. “For me, ‘returning’ to Russia is a misnomer — I can’t return to a country I never visited before,” he said.
He has lived half of his life in Copenhagen, but until 23 years ago he held no citizenship at all. Then a friend suggested that he finally become a Danish citizen — “You’ll feel at home,” she promised. This friend, Margaret, was the queen of Denmark, so he obliged.
“It’s important to be a citizen of something, like a Jew who comes from Yemen or Morocco and comes here and becomes a citizen — it’s important to be a part of society. I felt that in Denmark for the first time in my life,” he said.
During the main course, talk turned to Jewish history and the prince was reminded of a visit he once made to Warsaw, where he was touched by the story of the Jewish partisans who took part in the uprising in that city’s ghetto during WWII. He proposed a toast to them.
“I thought I must express my feelings about these young people fighting Nazism, dreaming that one day those who lived would come back to Israel,” he said afterward. Of course, he noted, they had never actually been to Israel. “How can you go back if you’ve never been?” he wondered. “I suppose it’s in your blood.”