Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Poignant Monument

When I first seen the photo of Helena Schaaff's monument on the cover of Images of America Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries by Thomas H. Keels I knew I had to go see her in person.  Obviously, she has weather a considerable amount since the photo for the book was taken, but she is still quite beautiful.
According to the book I mentioned above this is her story:
One of Laurel Hill's most poignant monuments, overlooking the Schuylkill River, shows a weeping woman clutching two babies.  It was carved by a Polish sculptor named Henry Dmochowski-Saunders (1810-1863), whose bust of Kpscuiszko and Pulaski are in the U.S. Capitol.  It represents the wife, the noted pianist, Helena Schaaff (1823-1857), and their two children.  Their first was stillborn; two years later, the second child also died during birth, as did Helena.  The distraught widower spent a year and a half carving the memorial to his dead family.  Later, Dmochowski returned to Europe, where he was killed in 1863 while leading an uprising for Polish freedom against the Russian army.  For many years, one of Laurel Hill's urban legends was that the mother looked on the spot in the river where she and her babies drowned during a boating accident. (Laurel Hill Cemetery Company)
I believe this is Henry Dmochowski-Saunders.
To the memory
Helena Schaaff
Wife of
Henry Dmochowski-Saunders
 Born Neustadt on the Rhine May 24, 1823.
Died Philadelphia July 8, 1857.
Her children repose with her.
"We live in deeds - not years
In thoughts - not breath
In feelings - not in figures on the dial
We should count time by heart throbs
He most lives
who thinks most
Feels the Noblest
Acts the best"

Just a side note, these words were composed by English poet Philip James Bailey.

Nov 29

Cos Wszystko Stracie
Co naidrozsze na swicie
rodzicow pryjaciela
zone dzieci
poswiec tu ????lczucia rezke

Not sure what this means but I plugged it into a few translator and this is what I got:

Cos losing everything
What naidrozsze at dawn
Parents pryjaciela
kids zone
sacrifices here?? lczucia rezke
me?? tion

The second translator gave me this:

something very losing
What naidrozsze at dawn
Parents pryjaciela
meeting zone
sacrifices here?? Lczucia rezke
me?? Thione

A wonderful contributor on Find-A-Grave by the screen name of francescag was able to translate this for me. This is what she says:

Who have lost everything,what was the dearest in all world,
the parents,the friends,
the wife,the children.
Leave for me compassionating tear.
For my Milena?(it's a pity,I can't see weel last sentence,but I belive it's "for my Milena-Milena it's a female name)"

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