Saturday, October 17, 2009

160 Years Ago

Frédéric François Chopin died 160 years ago today at the Place Vendôme. Before the funeral, pursuant to Chopin's dying wish (which stemmed from a fear of being buried alive), his heart was removed and preserved in alcohol, perhaps brandy. His sister later took it in an urn to Warsaw, where it was sealed within a pillar of the Holy Cross Church on Krakowskie Przedmieście, beneath an inscription from Matthew VI:21: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Chopin's heart has remained there—except for a period during World War II, when it was removed for safekeeping—within the church that was rebuilt after its virtual destruction during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.
The church stands only a short distance from Chopin's last Polish residence, the Krasinski Palace at Krakowski Przedmeiscie 5.

Chopin was buried, in accordance with his wishes, at Père Lachaise Cemetery.