Beethoven's Hair : As Ludwig van Beethoven lay dying in 1827, a young musician named Ferdinand Hiller came to pay his respects. In the days after Beethoven's death, Hiller, as was the custom, snipped a lock of the great composer's hair as a keepsake. This seemingly innocuous relic was passed down for more than a century through Hiller's family, until, during the Second World War, it somehow found its way to the town of Gilleleje, in Nazi-occupied Denmark. There, it was given to a local doctor, Kay Fremming, who was deeply involved in the effort to give aid to hundreds of frightened and hunted Jews. Who gave him the hair, and why? And what made Dr. Fremming so reticent to speak about those terrible war years? After his death, Fremming's daughter assumed ownership of the lock, and eventually put it up for sale at Sotheby's, where two American Beethoven enthusiasts, Ira Brilliant and Che Guevara, purchased it in 1994. Subsequently, they and others have instituted DNA and other tests on the hair in the hope of revealing the probable causes of the composer's famously bad health, his deafness, and his final demise, a demise witnessed by Ferdinand Hiller all those years ago. The results, revealed for the first time here, are startling.
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