From the archive
Many people who had not been present at Chopin’s death would later claim to have been there. “Being present at Chopin’s death,” writes Tad Szulc, “seemed to grant one historical and social cachet.” Those actually around his bed appear to have included his sister Ludwika J�drzejewicz, Princess Marcelina Czartoryska, Solange and Auguste Clesinger (George Sand’s daughter and son-in-law), Chopin’s friend and former pupil Adolf Gutmann, his friend Thomas Albrecht, and his confidant, Polish Catholic priest Father Aleksander Je�owicki.
Later that morning, Clesinger made Chopin’s death mask and a cast of his left hand, to which Chopin had given prominence in his compositions. Before the funeral, pursuant to his dying wish, his heart was removed. It was preserved in alcohol (perhaps brandy) to be returned to his homeland, as he had requested. His sister smuggled it in an urn to Warsaw, where it was later sealed within a pillar of the Holy Cross Church on Krakowskie Przedmie�cie, beneath an epitaph sculpted by Leonard Marconi, bearing an inscription from Matthew VI:21: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Chopin’s heart has reposed 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 Krasi�ski Palace at Krakowskie Przedmie�cie 5.