Yaschiks´home and shop

Private home of an Imperial Cossack

Timofei Xenofoontowich Yaschik served as private Imperial bodyguard Cossack for the Empress Dowager Maria Feodorovna, December 1915 – October 1928

Yaschik´s house is situated in the oustkirts of Copenhagen, part of the area called Valby, a corner-property originally intended as an allotment, for harvesting fruits and vegetables in a small city-household. The house was built in 1917, a small building with a basement and ground floor, later adding a roof that in 1926 was arranged as a secondary flat. The house had one owner and a tenant, sharing the property and the large garden. In 1926 they filed a request for removing the fence and replacing it with a thorn hedge towards the road, dividing the garden in two with separate entrances. The owner was a waiter M. Larsen, using the architecht Henry Madsen

At some time after 1926, probably right after the Empress´death in October 1928, Yaschik states that he, by the grace of some of the Empress´friends, was given the opportunity to buy or receive a small business, thus earning his living as a merchant in a modest house. In fact he moved in with his Danish wife Agnes and his best friend, the Cossack Poliakov, the latter staying on until his untimely death by illnes in 1934

The building counted only 124 square meters, but had a surprisingly large number of rooms: The largest room on the ground floor was the grocery shop. The shop had its´ own entrance and two large square windows overlooking the streets, decorated with painted glass panels and enamelled metal signs painted with colorful commercials. The shop had a cupboard and shelfs and drawers on the walls, in the center stood a large counter. From the back of the interior, two doors led to a small kitchen and the ground floor living room. A stairway led to the cellar and second floor. In the cellar the largest room was used as grocery stock, two smaller rooms were used for washing, and here the small household also had a watercloset and a bathroom complete with bathtub, a great luxurious commodity in those days! On the first floor, there were three large rooms; a bedroom, a diningroom and a livingroom, all centered around a small corridor leading to the second kitchen. In 1934, Yaschik filed a request to the city hall magistrate concerning an extension of the house, adding a small wintergarden and a lumber room on the ground floor, thus creating a veranda on the first floor leading to the living room. In the cellar, the extension would be used for firewood, the bathroom being fitted out with a gas heater. In fact, the whole house was heated by ovens and firewood, the central heating being added by a new owner as late as in 1953

This series of wonderful photographs shows us the private life of the Imperial Cossack as shop-keeper in Copenhagen. Trading with wonderful products as grapes, wine (lots of wine!) eggs, coffee and tea, gardening his own vegetables in the large orchard. Illustrations © Yaschiks´private family album, Private collection

Yaschiks´ house. In 1934 Yaschik filed a request for further extensions on his house, adding a new entrance with two rooms on the ground floor and two rooms in the basement, and a veranda on the first floor (pink). City of Copenhagen, City magistrate.

Beginning a new life didn´t seem difficult for Yaschik. His nephew Bent remembering his uncle having to cut off part of his large Cossack beard, since the voluminous trimmings frightened children. Yaschik preferred to serve his customers wearing his black, simple Russian Cossack shirt, a button-down with a characteristic, high shirt collar. Actually he never spoke Danish, but he understood everything, smoothing the customer-grocer encounter by dispatching his clients with a little Danish song, having heard and remembered the chorus-line of the 1921 hit “Lille sommerfugl” (Little Butterfly. Composed by Elith Worsing, text by Axel Andreasen and Ludvig Brandstrup, performed by Ingeborg Bruhn-Bertelsen), and somehow mistaken the lyrics meaning someone being drunk! When Yashik dispatched a client, he would receive the cash payment and immediately put it in a wooden drawer behind the counter. The customer then having left, he would fetch the money and put it into his very large, black leather private purse. On winter mornings, the young 14 year old boy Bent would bicycle to the Yaschik house, shoveling snow and receiving a packet with five cigarettes. Bent was also taught some Russian words, as Yaschik had learned how to say “thank you”, “Empress” and “yes” (in Danish). Bent would also later remember how Yaschik had filled the house with mementos from his Imperial service, including a large variety of impressive uniforms, one studded with goldbraid, and a collection of Cossack weapons decorated in silver ornaments. On the walls there was a painting, by the Grand duchess Olga, from his native and beloved Novo Minskaya

Yaschiks´sister-in-law in her drawing room with the painting from Novo Minskaya on the wall

Yaschik is buried alongside his Danish wife at the historic Assistens Cemetery in Copenhagen, the New Russian Cemetery. In 2005, a large white marble cross having been set up on their grave, decorated with the image of Christ. The niece of Yaschik, little Anna, having for years wished to see the grave once again properly marked and fittingly decorated as memorial

Magazine article from “Billed Bladet”, 1946 printed on the occasion of Yaschiks´ death, aged 68. Several private photographs illustrating Yaschiks´life, including one from his shop and the last taken, showing him in his coffin. An icon, given to him by the Empress and some Russian soil (kept for many years in an envelope) was according to his wishes placed in his coffin. In a small photograph Yaschik rides alone in the Imperial carriage sitting in the back with the Emperor Nicholas II and the French President Poincaré, having met at Kronstadt