British police are searching for thieves who attempted to steal a 2,300-year-old Greek urn containing the remains of Sigmund Freud and his wife Martha, from the Golders Green Crematorium in London New Year’s.
The urn, decorated with images of the Greek god of wine and ecstasy, Dionysys, is reported to have been a gift to Freud from fellow psychoanalyst Princess Marie Bonaparte. It was badly damaged during the botched burglary, and left the remains of the Freuds defiled.
"Even leaving aside the financial value of the irreplaceable urn and the historical significance ... the fact that someone set out to take an object knowing it contained the last remains of a person defies belief," stated Detective Constable Daniel Candler.
Born May 6, 1856, to Hassidic Jewish parents in Pribor, Monrovia (now part of the Czech Republich), Sigmund grew up (the eldest of 8 children) in Manchester, England after his family emigrated there in 1859. He later enrolled in the University of Vienna at the age of 17, and began his medical career at Vienna General Hospital in 1881, where he conducted research in cerebral palsy, aphasia and microscopic neuroanatomy.
He eventually moved back to England with his wife and children in 1938 after the Nazis took control of Austria, and died in London on September 23, 1939 at the age of 83. Martha Freud died there in 1951.
Other celebrities’ remains housed at the 112-year-old crematorium include former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, “Dracula” author Bram Stoker, comedic actor Peter Sellars and singer Amy Winehouse.