A Countess in Limbo
Diaries in War & Revolution Russia 1914–1920 France 1939–1947
About the Book
“The diaries reveal details of a remarkable life of a woman born in Imperial Russia who refused to complain about the luxurious life she left behind.”
—CTV National News
“It’s a miraculous tale that takes the readers through revolutions and world wars and chronicles Hendrikoff’s transformation from a wealthy privileged lady in-waiting for the Russian empresses to desperate survivor scavenging for coal in a Nazi-occupied France.” —Calgary Herald
Countess Olga “Lala” Hendrikoff was born into the Russian aristocracy, serving as lady-in-waiting to the empresses and enjoying a life of great privilege. But on the eve of her wedding in 1914 came the first rumors of an impending war—a war that would change her life forever and force her to flee her country as a stateless person with no country to call home.
In A Countess in Limbo, Countess Hendrikoff tells her remarkable true story that includes the loss of her brother in the Russian gulag, her sister-in-law murdered with the Russian Imperial family, and herself being robbed at gunpoint and accused of being a spy by the Nazis. She also speaks of the daily life that continues during wartime: ration cards and food restrictions, the black market, and the struggle just to get by another day. Her gripping story and thoughtful analysis provide a valuable look at life and humanity in the face of war.
Spanning two of the most turbulent times in modern history—World War I in Russia and World War II in Paris—Countess Hendrikoff’s journals demonstrate the uncertainty, horror, and hope of daily life in the midst of turmoil. Her razor-sharp insight, wit, and sense of humor create a fascinating eyewitness account of the Russian Revolution and the occupation and liberation of Paris.
About the Author
Olga Hendrikoff was born in 1892 in Voronezh, Russia, and attended the famous Smolny Institute. In 1914, she married Count Peter Hendrikoff just as World War I began. In the ensuing years, Hendrikoff lived in Constantinople, Rome, Paris, and Philadelphia. She spent her last twenty years in Calgary. She died in 1987.