Historical example: where the true Snow White lived - and died
TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates
Bamberg (dpa) - When Snow White died of the poisoned apple of her vengeful mother-in-law, the seven dwarves did not have the heart to bury the beautiful girl.
They had a glass coffin made, put the girl in it and wrote in golden letters that Snow White was a princess. This is the story of the Brothers Grimm. Whether Maria Sophia von Erthal was buried in a glass coffin is more than questionable. After all, Snow White's historical model got its own tombstone - and it has now surfaced again.
There are few traces of the life of Maria Sophia von Erthal in a Bamberg monastery. All the better her death is documented in 1796: her will is in the city archive Bamberg, the death note in the University Library Würzburg, and now her tombstone is back. He was long lost and was recently discovered in an inherited house in Bamberg. "The finder has probably googled that the tombstone is dedicated to the historical model of Snow White," says Canon Norbert Jung of the Archdiocese of Bamberg. The finder had realized that the gravestone is significant. He donated it to the Diocesan Museum.
In the Diocesan Museum, the stone was first checked, cleaned and restored. Now it is on display, slightly inconspicuous between two large arched windows. A dark gray marble slab in an oval shape, very simple, only a few tiny, white stars are engraved as an ornament. It is written in dark capital letters: "The noble heroines of Christianity: here, after the victory of the faith, they rest ripe for the transfigured resurrection."
How transfigured the life of the noblemen from Lohr am Main meanwhile, at their funeral probably no one guessed. The trigger was a mirror from 1720, which hung for years in a wine house in the city of Lohr am Main. In a medallion on the upper frame of the mirror, decorated with red lacquer, gold foil and silver foil, there is an ornate inscription: "Amour Propre", which means "self-love". "Of course, that reminds of the mirror of Schneewittchen's self-loving mother-in-law," says Barbara Grimm, director of the Spessart Museum in Lohr am Main. In addition, the engraving of French sayings was particularly popular in the 18th century. Hence the statement of the "talking mirror".
With a glass of wine under the mirror, in 1986, the Lohrian pharmacist Karl Heinz Bartels finally came up with the "Märchen vom Märchen". It fits too well. Because there are some parallels between the fairy tale of Snow White and Maria Sophia von Erthal's life in Franconia.
Maria Sophia grew up not far from Lohr am Main in the Kurmainz castle in Tauberbischofsheim. Her father was a mirror manufacturer. When she was 18, he married his second wife, who was considered domineering and unfair. Maria Sophia's home is in the Spessart, a "wild forest". From there the trail "Wieser Straße" leads over seven mountains. In the region used to be minors in the mining industry, as protection against rockfall they wore hood-like robes. Bartels pointed to the glass coffin and iron slipper as an indication of the tradition of glassworks and iron hammers in the region.
Lohr am Main now describes itself as "Snow White City" and advertises it to tourists. Visitors to the Spessart Museum can take a look at the famous mirror. In fact, the Brothers Grimm lived only seventy kilometers away - and that at almost the same time as Maria Sophia von Erthal. Theoretically, Maria Sophia could have really inspired the storytellers. "With us one says only: ... and who does not believe, pays a thaler ...», means Barbara Grimm.
Death certificate of Sophia Maria von Erthal
Homepage of the snow white city Lohr am Main
Homepage of the Spessartmuseum with information about the mirror
Press release of the Archdiocese of Bamberg on the issue of the gravestone