We find ourselves wondering how Mozart's and Schubert's entries in Vienna's death registers ever could survive into the 21st century.
The replacement of Franz Schubert's entry in the death records of the Vienna City Council (A-Wsa, Totenbeschreibamt, Bd. 163, S, fol. 80)
The typewritten replacement of the stolen page begins with the following statement:
The missing and in itself worthless leaf was cut out by a user in an act of vandalism. The missing data have been completed from the Wiener-Zeitung.
The original text of Franz Schubert's entry in the Totenbeschauprotokoll is not completely lost. The words that are missing in the Wiener Zeitung (concerning the place of birth and the time of death) survive in the following unpublished entry in the Bahrleihbuch of St. Stephen's concerning the composer's burial on 21 November 1828:
The entry concerning Schubert's burial in the Bahrleihbuch of St. Stephen's (A-Wd, Bahrleihbuch, 1.11.1828-31.10.1829, fol. 32v)
[Den 21. November (1828)]Schubert / Franz
Es ist der H[err] Franz Schubert Tonnkünstler / und Compositeur ledig hier gebürtig alt 32 Jahr / den 19. November nachmittags um 3 1/4 Uhr auf / der Neuwieden
Nr°694 Pf.[arre] Sonenhof verschied[en] / und am Nervenfieber beschaut worden
Wurde im Dorffreydhof Währing beerdiget
Bezahlt worden nach 2. Klaß, 5. Rubrik . . . 20 f 27 [kr]
The musician and composer Franz Schubert, unmarried, born here, aged 32 years, died on 19 November at 3:15 p.m. at Neuwieden No. 694 in the Sonnenhof parish [St. Joseph in Margareten] and was inspected of nervous fever.The unpublished entry concerning Schubert's death in the church record's of St. Joseph in Margareten shows two things: 1) Schubert's body was first supposed to be buried in the Matzleinsdorf cemetery and 2) Schubert only received the anointing of the sick, but not the last rites.
He was buried in the village cemetery in Währing
Paid for according to the 2nd class, 5th category . . 20 florins 27 kreuzer
The entry concerning Schubert's death in the records of St. Joseph's: "[Ort, wohin, und Tag, an welchem die Begräbniß geschehen.] den 21tn November in Matzleinsdorfer. [Anmerkungen] Erhielt blos die letzte Oehlung." (St. Josef, Tom 7, fol. 312)
Schubert was not buried on 21 November 1828. The exequies at Margareten, the transport to Währing and the second consecration at St. Gertrud's Church had taken too long. Schubert's body was put into the morgue at the Währing cemetery and buried the following day, on Saturday November 22nd.
It is very unlikely that Robert Franz Müller had access to the original death records. Until 1922 – when the protocols were transferred to the City Archive and the thefts were noticed – these documents were held by the Totenbeschreibamt of the Vienna Magistrate and were not accessible to the public. Therefore these thefts seem to have been an inside job, perpetrated by one of the City's employees. Although we have to accept the loss of the entries of Beethoven and Schubert, there is still occasion to wonder, because the original entries concerning the deaths of Mozart and Haydn are still extant. And since the original protocols are not handed out to readers anymore (following a suggestion that I filed a few years ago), these two documents seem to be safe.
The entry in the Vienna Totenbeschauprotokoll concerning Mozart's death (A-Wsa, Totenbeschreibamt, Bd. 96, M, fol. 53v)
The entry in the Vienna Totenbeschauprotokoll concerning Haydn's death (A-Wsa, Totenbeschreibamt, Bd. 126, H, fol. 42v)
© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2014.
Updated: 17 August 2017