Stop me if you’ve heard this one! From the department of “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up”, comes the true story of Chopin’s heart. After a life-long struggle with lung-related health issues (most likely TB, but recent research suggests cystic fibrosis), Frederic Chopin passed away in Paris in 1849 at the age of 39. Does this look like a 39-year old to you?
He had been a decidedly eccentric man in a variety of ways. For example, he left instructions that his heart be removed from his body at the moment of his death, to ensure that he not be buried alive. I get that. It fell to his sister to place the organ in a jar of, we believe, cognac and smuggle it into Chopin’s beloved Poland. It is now interred in a church in Warsaw, whereas the rest of Chopin rests at the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery in France, not far from Jim Morrison of The Doors fame.
There’s also the story of a German officer slipping the heart to some nuns for safe-keeping during the bombardment of Warsaw during WW II, but that’s for another blog!