All posts by HIS

Rosalia’s Mummy

The Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Sicily, holds 8000 mummified bodies. One of the last corpses to be admitted to the Catacombs is the mummy of Rosalia Lombardo who is believed to have died from a bronchial infection/pneumonia. Born on 13 December 1918 she died on 6 December 1920 shortly before her second birthday. Her father is believed to be Mario Lombardo although there are no official documents to confirm this. According to legend Mario was so distraught that he contracted an embalmer named Alfredo Salafia to preserve Rosalia for eternity. The cadaver was injected with a fluid to kill bacteria and fungi, desiccate the body without over-drying, and give the body rigidity.

There are no known photographs of Rosalia when she was alive. Earlier photos of the mummification show a very lifelike Rosalia. However, her skin tone has become discoloured with each passing decade most likely due to the damaging effects from light sources which has also changed her hair colour to blonde (she was born a brunette).

imgur
Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/z56SE/comment/344185950

This tiny sleeping beauty whose hair is adorned with a yellow ribbon rests beneath a faded silk blanket in a glass coffin. The casket which has been hermetically sealed within a glass enclosure filled with nitrogen gas to prevent decay is seated on a marble pedestal in a small chapel. On her chest is a faded talisman showing a cherub holding a lamb which represents purity and innocence.

siciliy
Source: http://sicilymummystudies.blogspot.com/2016/07/mummy-monday-little-rosalia-lombardo.html

Over the years, speculation was made that the mummy of Rosalia Lombardo had decayed and had been replaced with a wax reproduction. Rosalia’s coffin was x-rayed for a documentary by the History Channel in the 2000s. It revealed a skeletal structure and internal organs that were still intact. Her brain had shrunk 50% due to the mummification process.

No one had ever looked beneath the blanket that covers Rosalia’s body since she was sealed inside her coffin. When National Geographic performed an MRI to produce the first 3D images of Rosalia’s mummified body in 2009 it showed her arms resting at her sides. The MRI also confirmed that all her organs were intact.

xray2
Source: https://owlcation.com/humanities/RosaliaLombardo

This Grave Is Full

This chest tomb located in St. Mary’s Churchyard, Bathwick, Bath, Somerset, England is a memorial to the Clark family. Cremation was not legal until 1885 therefore it would appear that four bodies were buried within the tomb. It has inscriptions on the top and all panels.

Sacred to the Memory of JOSEPH CLARK, a native of London, who died 14th December 1842 aged 73 [or5] years

Also of SOPHIA CLARK, niece of the above named and daughter of the late THOMAS CLARK Esq of Broughton near Kettering, Northants, died 25th September 1843 aged 36 years

Also to the Memory of SARAH CLARK, sister to the above SOPHIA CLARK, died 6th March 1846 aged 40 years, beloved by all who knew her.

Also in Memory of SUSAN, wife of JAMES ABBEY of Lubbenham in the County of Leicester, Esq, (and sister of SARAH & SOPHIA CLARK) died 30th April 1866 aged 63 years. She knew that her Redeemer liveth

This grave is full, May 1866

flickr lovestruck

Wooden Sculpture

At the end of 1931, the Old Cemetery in Zakopane, Poland, was entered in the register of monuments and given the name of the Meritorious Cemetery. The wooden marker identifying the grave of Wanda Gentil-Tippenhauer was made by pupils working under the direction of Polish sculptor Anthony Rząsa.

flickr Paul_wanda
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulpablopawel/229707231/

Wanda Gentil-Tippenhauer was a Polish artist who painted with watercolor, and an author who wrote about her love of skiing and the Tatras Mountains. Although Wanda married Wacław Widigier on June 13, 1924 in Warsaw, she later became the companion of Józef Oppenheim. Wanda was with him when he was shot and killed during a robbery at his home on February 28, 1946. Wanda was shot in the head and thereafter combed her hair in a manner that hid the resultant scar.

wikimedia_wanda
Creative Commons License. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nagrobek_W._Gentil_Tippenhauer.jpg

Antoni Rząsa, a sculptor who created wooden sculptures inspired by folk art described his work: “Through my sculpture, I strive to reflect various human emotions – joy, sacrifice, love, wisdom, suffering, despair, horror. Sometimes, my characters express a silent question: who is this person and what is the purpose of their passing. I call (…) for human dignity, which is nowadays becoming ever so scarce.”

mojec
Source: https://mojecmentarze.blogspot.com/2012/05/wanda-gentil-tippenhauer-widigierowa.html

Borsi Torchbearer

The Porte Sante cemetery is a monumental cemetery in Florence located within the fortified bastion of the basilica of San Miniato al Monte. This interesting cemetery, from which it is possible to enjoy an extraordinary view of Florence, houses some illustrious tombs including the Borsi memorial to numerous family members.

The memorial to Averardo Borsi and his daughter Laura is adorned with the statue of a naked prone man holding a flaming torch in his right hand with his left fist clenched.

flickr_werner
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409813706

The torch is symbolic of the darkness of death and the light in the world to come. A winged cherub looks down on the grave located in the section reserved for non-Catholics in the cemetery. The family were not religious, and as Averardi and Laura died without the sacrament they were denied a Christian burial.

flickr_Michael Hamburg2
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409813706

Averardo was married to Verdiana Fabbri known as Diana. They had three children; Laura born on 31 December 1886, Giosue born on 10 June 1888 and Gino born on 10 December 1891.

Averardo died on 10 December 1910 due chiefly to grief over a family tragedy which involved the honour of his daughter. In 1908, Laura had given birth to a son named Dino following a relationship with Gabriele Maria D’Annunzio (known as Gabriellino), an Italian actor, director and screenwriter. Laura, who was a brilliant and promising actress, died on 18 July 1912 due to complications from what was most likely food poisoning after eating raw oysters. Her infant son, who was never recognized by his father, died in March 1913.

flickr_Michael Hamburg
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409822710/

Giosue Borsi was born on 10 June 1888. He was a journalist for his father’s newspaper and a famed poet. As an Italian Lieutenant in WW1 known for his valor, he was killed in action on 10 Nov 1915. On the centenary of his birth to recognize his life and his sacrifice, a plaque was placed in the memorial chapel of Piazza di Montenero, Livorno, Italy.

Gino served as a Corporal with the 2nd Artillery Regiment. In 1916 he married Chiti Lilia (1893 – 1973) with whom he had three daughters: Giulia born in 1920; Lauretta who was born in 1921 died in Florence on October 26, 1927 after an excruciating illness; and Laura born in 1928 – it was the tradition at the time that if the first child died, a second child was given the same name in order to perpetuate the name within the family. Gino died in Florence in 1976.

Epitaphs on the memorial record the lives of

Averardo Borsi 1858-1910 and his wife Diana 1865-1942

Laura Borsi1886-1912 and her son Dino Borsi 1908-1913

Gino 1891-1976 and his wife Lilia 1893-1973, and his daughter Lauretta Borsi 1921-1927

flickr_chris holt

INTERESTING EPITAPHS

Grave of Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania

Ellen Shannon

The following satirical epitaphs cannot be confirmed but the humour is worth reading.

First Church of England Cemetery at East Dalhousie, King’s County, Nova Scotia, Canada: Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102, The Good Die Young.

Ruidoso-Hondo Valley Memorial Park, Ruidoso, Lincoln County, New Mexico: Here lies Johnny Yeast, Pardon me For not rising.

In Thurmont, Maryland: Beneath this stone lies Dr. John Bigelow an Atheist all dressed up with no place to go

Stowe, Vermont: I was somebody. Who, is no business of yours.

Will The Real Mother Goose Please Arise

In the United States, the Granary Burial Ground in Boston contains a slate gravestone dedicated to Mother Goose. It is located at the rear of the cemetery off one of the main paths. A pile of pennies at the headstone are left in recognition by visitors. The inscription reads:
Here lyes ye body of / Mary Goose wife to / Isaac Goose; aged 42 / years decd October / ye 19th 1690 / Here lies also susana / goose ye 3d aged 15 ms / died august 11th 1687

Translation from Olde English:
Here lies the body of / Mary Goose wife to / Isaac Goose; aged 42 / years deceased October / the 19th 1690 / here lies also Susana / Goose the 3rd aged 15 months / died august 11th 1687.

Isaac Goose was a wealthy landowner in Boston who married Mary Balston. She died at the young age of 42 in 1690 after bearing ten children. After Mary’s death, Isaac married Elizabeth Foster of Charlestown in 1693. She had six children before dying in 1758.

One of those children also named Elizabeth married a printer/publisher named Thomas Fleet who was responsible for publishing a collection of stories in a book entitled Songs for the Nursery. Although commonly believed that this book is the basis of Mother Goose nursery rhyme fame, French texts from as early as 1626 reference stories from Contes de ma Mère l’Oye (Tales of My Mother Goose).

findagrave_Kieran Smith

In London, England there is an information board at the entrance to the graveyard of St. Olaves which identifies the grave of Mother Goose interred on 14th September 1586. The burial register records the name as mother Goose (no first name recorded) therefore possibly a mother with the last name of Goose.

find a gravelondonist

Holocaust Memorials in Paris

The city of Paris has acknowledged the plight of Jews in the multitude of memorials dedicated to the victims of the German concentration camps. Within the grounds of Pere Lachaise Cemetery each concentration camp is recognized on its own memorial.

AUSCHWITZ, the main camp, was located in Oświęcim in southern Poland to hold Polish political prisoners. The camp went on to become a major site of the Nazis’ Final Solution to the Jewish Question. Most of the Jews from all over German-occupied Europe who were sent to the camp were gassed on arrival. More than 1.3 million men, women and children died in the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, the vast majority of whom were Jews.

Auschwitz was also known as Monowitz-Buna, Buna and Auschwitz III. The memorial consists of five emaciated figures in bronze bearing witness to the suffering and exhaustion of the deportees. A body carried in a wheelbarrow reminds us of the frightening mortality of this camp.

BIRKENAU This memorial is in the form of a column with the featureless silhouette of a human figure standing over an engraved plaque. Written in script are lines from the poet Paul Eluard: When we will no longer kill, they will be avenged … The only vow of justice has life as its echo.

BERGEN-BELSEN in northern Germany was an “exchange camp” where Jewish hostages were held with the intention of exchanging them for German prisoners of war held overseas.

The memorial represents the railway tracks leading to the gates of the camp. Between the ‘railway tracks’ are footprints in various sizes representing all age groups arriving at the camp. It was in this camp that the young Anne Franck died along with her sister.

1943 They suffered and hoped. You fight for your freedom. 
1945 We broke their bodies never their minds. 

BUCHENWALD near Weimar, Germany, was one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps within Germany’s 1937 borders. Many actual or suspected communists were among the first internees. All prisoners worked primarily as forced labor in local armaments factories.

The memorial expresses the horror and violence in the concentration camp system. Three emaciated prisoners define suffering, death, solidarity and resistance.

DACHAU, north of Munich in southern Germany, was a forced labor camp which imprisoned Jews, German and Austrian criminals, and eventually foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded.

The two pillars forming a gateway are symbolic of the gates of Heaven. The red granite triangle represents the patch worn on political prisoners’ clothes.

A plaque to the left of the stairs is inscribed with a quotation by Edmond Michelet. We have surveyed abysses in ourselves and in others.

DRANCY was an internment camp run by the French located in a northeastern suburb of Paris. It was an assembly and detention camp for confining Jews who were later deported to the extermination camps.

The Memorial reads in translation Inscription engraved at Ninth Fort of Kaunas deported by Convoy 73. In memory of 878 Jews deported from Drancy May 15, 1944 to Kaunas (Lithuania) and Reval-Tallinn (Estonia). 22 returned in 1945.

FLOSSENBURG A map identifies the location of the camp which unlike other concentration camps was located in a remote area in the mountains of Bavaria. Quarries, arms and aviation factories surrounded it. Although the camp’s initial purpose was to exploit the forced labor of prisoners for the production of granite for Nazi architecture they eventually produced armaments for the war effort.

The imprint of a staircase of ten steep steps are visible at the base of the monument in addition to four blocks of cut stone.

MAUTHAUSEN This concentration camp was located on a hill above the market town of Mauthausen in Upper Austria. It was one of the first massive concentration camp complexes in Nazi Germany, and the last to be liberated by the Allies.

Seven blocks of were used to reproduce the monument. Stairs carved into the granite from the quarry of Mauthausen represent 186 uneven steps known as the staircase of death that prisoners had to mount with stones weighing more than 20 kilos on their backs. A bronze statue depicts an emaciated prisoner collapsing under the weight of his load.

NATZWEILER-STRUTHOF located in the Vosges Mountains in France was the only concentration camp established by the Nazis on French territory. Prisoners were mainly from the resistance movements in German-occupied territories. This labor and transit camp eventually became a place of execution.

This memorial is the form of a triangle. The red triangle identified political prisoners and the letter F was an indication to the Germans that the prisoner could speak French and could be called upon to translate. The bronze sculpture of an emaciated figure lies beneath a stone wall with the letters NN, acronym for Nacht und Nabel (a Nazi directive targeting political activists).

NEUENGAMME This camp was located near Hamburg in Northern Germany close to railway and metallurgy factories. With over 85 satellite camps the Neuengamme camp became the largest concentration camp in Northwest Germany. The memorial is created in white granite and the plaque reads in translation under this stone is a bit of ash from the seven thousand French martyrs murdered by the Nazis at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp – they died for us to live free – their families and comrades, survivors have erected this monument to their memory November 13, 1949“

Neuengamme_untapped
Source: https://untappedcities.com/2012/03/13/the-treasures-of-the-pere-lachaise-cemetery-part-ii/

ORANIENBURG AND SACHSENHAUSEN Used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May 1945. The prisoners were also used as a workforce, with a large task force of prisoners from the camp sent to work in the nearby brickworks to meet Albert Speer’s vision of rebuilding Berlin. At the base of the monument, a symbolic barbed wire fence impales an emaciated prisoner.

Orienburg_historichouston
Source: http://historichouston1836.com/holocaust-memorials-at-pere-lachaise-cemetery-paris-france/

RAVENSBRUCK was a camp exclusively for women from 1939 to 1945, located in northern Germany. The prisoners were used as slave labor. Two hands linked in captivity and solidarity emerge from roughly hewn stones one of which is engraved; Here lies the ashes of deported women martyrs of Nazi barbarism.