Crime

Century-old statue stolen from cemetery still missing

Two months have passed since somebody stole one part of a beautiful sculpture group from the Roman Catholic cemetery of Marosvásárhely/Târgu Mureș. The statue is still missing, but Police are continuing the investigation.

This is what the sculpture group used to look like for 117 years… (Image: kozterkep.hu)

One part of the group, which stands on the grave of Károlyné Specht (maiden name: Emilia Züllich) in the Marosvásárhely Roman Catholic cemetery, was stolen on the night of May 26. The disappearance was discovered by the cemetery employees, and the caretaker immediately reported the crime to the Police.

…and this is how it looks now. The kneeling woman’s statue was cut off at her wrist by the thieves. (Photo: Zoltán Rab/szekelyhon.ro)

Two months later, Szekelyhon.ro visited the cemetery again this week, trying to find out if any progress had been made in the case. According to cemetery caretaker Imre Simon, the investigation has not yet been closed, but there is still nothing known about the perpetrators or what could have possibly happened with the statue itself.

“Most probably, it has already been melted down, and even if the perpetrators were caught, it would not help the statue itself. It would no longer be possible to restore it.”

– said the caretaker to the Transylvanian Hungarian news portal. He added that such a large-scale theft has never happened before, but smaller plaques have been stolen, and those thieves were never found. His opinion was that the statue was melted down right after being stolen because

it was made from bronze and most probably was stolen, not because of its artistic value, but because of its material.

According to the caretaker, the family that owns the grave has no living descendants; at least, he said the grave is not taken care of by anybody. Only strangers sometimes place a candle or single flower on the grave.

The Police spokesperson told szekelyhon.ro that the statue was taken away from the cemetery through the fence by unknown culprits on the night of May 26 and that they are still performing a criminal investigation.

(Photo: Zoltán Rab/szekelyhon.ro)

One member of the statue group is a woman, who is bending down to hand bread to another woman who is kneeling with a baby in her arms. The standing woman with the bread still can be seen, as well as the other woman’s hand, which was cut off at the wrist by the thieves.

Reminder of an outstanding Prussian family

The tomb is a reminder of one of Marosvásárhely’s outstanding Prussian families. The allegorical statue symbolizes mercifulness, and the woman giving bread impersonates Károlyné Specht (1816-1900) herself.

The sculpture group was inaugurated three years after Specht’s death on June 26, 1903, along the cemetery’s central promenade close to the lower chapel. According to the epitaph, her father, Captain János Züllborni Züllich, late commander of the Marosvásárhely Castle, who was born in 1782 and died in 1843, also rests here.

Károlyné Specht’s father also rests here. (Image: kozterkep.hu)

 

Title image: The vandalized tomb and picture of the statue group as it originally stood. (Photo: Zoltán Rab/szekelyhon.ro)

Author: Attila Szoó