The Repair of Anton Bruckner's Corpse

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Bruckner's death mask
This is certainly not a story for everyone and may best be told around Halloween, but it's a tale that I have just discovered and my thanks to Felix Thomann in Switzerland for bringing it to me.

According to the article in the Basler Woche newspaper of 17 December, 1998, Anton Bruckner's mummified corpse was secretly transported to an anthropological facility in Basil, Switzerland for restoration. The restoration, performed by Dr. Bruno Kaufmann was done in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Bruckner's death.

The attached article (in German) was the first I had heard of this activity so I did some checking. In doing so, I found that the process of mummification in Switzerland began in 1896. Bruckner was the first person to be mummified. Oddly, the last person to receive this procedure was composer Bohuslav Martinu in 1959.

Indeed, the story checks out. Bruckner's corpse was quietly transported to Basel for some restoration.

For those who seek more information on this subject, a series of photos are provided that were taken in 1921, 1931,and 1996.

Download: baslerweekbrucknercorpse1998.pdf