Ondrej Jajcaj, a Slovak who calls himself the Freedom Undertaker, has been robbing graves in Vienna for at least the past ten years, but so far, the police have not been able to charge him with a crime due to technicalities in the laws. Now, he’s going on YouTube to brag about his crimes and explain the reason for them…..he’s starting a museum of famous teeth.
The pride of his collection are the dentures of Johann Strauss, Jr., and his wife Adele. In third place are the rubber teeth of Johannes Brahms. In his YouTube presentation, Jajcaj boasts of how, he, “as an amateur have managed to build illegal historical collection of dental works.” He also said that the thefts took place in 2002, which complicates any attempts at prosecution. Furthermore, Jajcaj is not Austrian and does not live in Austria.
He first came to the attention of police in 2008 when cemetery officials complained that some graves had been disturbed, but the statute of limitation ran out before they could prosecute Jajcaj. After the YouTube video appeared, the police checked the named graves and discovered they had been disturbed. They are also checking the graves of other well-known composers in the Central Viennese cemetery, including those of Beethoven, Schubert and Schoenberg. Because the #71 tram goes past the cemetery, a phrase for dying has evolved in Vienna, “taking the 71 tram.”
Perhaps the authorities are taking the wrong track here, given the obvious problems over prosecution. The descendants of the disturbed composers could bring suit in civil courts to reclaim their ancestor’s parts, as could any church that may be involved in the cemetery.