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Description

This cluster of burial monuments surrounded by a wrought iron fence is the only one of its kind in the Notre-Dame Cemetery. It commemorates several generations of merchants from the Bruck, Schmit, Clesse and Cordonnier-Polomé families, who had a major impact on business in Luxembourg City. The monuments are sculpted out of pink sandstone and are among the oldest found in the cemetery. They also incorporate pale limestone, which can be seen in the cross that sits atop a broken column.

A cross towers over a broken column, symbolising a life that ended too soon. The cast iron cross was made in Champagne, and represents Christ the martyr. It crowns a traditional rectangular base. A draped column stands as a reminder that death shrouds life. Pink sandstone is softer to sculpt but less resistant than Ernzen or Dillingen sandstone. Luxembourg funerary art did not begin to incorporate granite until 1890. The epitaphs are detailed and personal, extolling the values of "good spouses, good parents, and sister angel". Only in 1879 did it become a requirement to petition the College of the Mayor and Aldermen for a special authorisation for epitaphs. The children express their gratitude to their parents: Marie Marguerite Schmit (1763–1827) and her first husband, Pierre Bruck (died 1799), as well as her second husband, Jean-François Bruck (1776–1855), Marie Marguerite's second husband. In 1784, Pierre Bruck took over the former Chevalier (Perl) printing house and bookstore, which was established in 1686. Pierre had been trained in the profession by his older brother, Jean-Baptiste Bruck. After Pierre died, the printing house passed to Jean-François Schmit, the son of a notary, Jean-Pierre Schmit, and Suzanne Marguerite Vallet. He was the second husband of Marie Marguerite Schmit-Bruck, and since their wedding in 1802, he went by the name Schmit-Bruck. Schmit attended the Collège Royal de Luxembourg. During the blockade of the Luxembourg fortress in 1794–1795, he served as a non-commissioned officer in the Luxembourg Light Infantry Corps (Corps des chasseurs luxembourgeois). After the surrender of the fortress, Schmit became a gunner in the 6th French Foot Artillery Regiment.

In 1802, he married Pierre Bruck's widow and took the helm of the Bruck business. His printing house became the official printer of government edicts, orders and proclamations. In 1811, Jean-François Bruck purchased the Muhlenbach paper mill, whose origins dated back to 1689. Schmit-Bruck was also a dedicated public servant: he joined the City of Luxembourg's municipal council in 1804. As chief alderman, he received King Grand-Duke William II on 25 June 1841. In 1815 and 1828 he served as head of the Municipal Guard. In October 1817 and March 1824 he sat on the Conseil de Régence (Regent's Council). Schmit-Bruck served as Secretary of the Charities Office (Bureau de bienfaisance), member of the College of Aldermen's Review Commission, and Chairman of the Council of Notre-Dame Cathedral. His commitment helped garner the title of "Druckerei des Apostlosichen Vikariats" for his printing house. In 1841, Jean-François Schmit-Bruck was appointed to the Assembly of Estates of Luxembourg. In 1843, he was made Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion. He died on 19 December 1855. In 1856, Jacques-Dieudonné Clesse took over the Schmit-Bruck paper mill while continuing to operate his own patented "top down knitting" factory, which was established in 1844. Anne-Françoise Clesse (1827–1847) and her sister Adélaïde Marie Clesse (1833–1888) were interred in the family grave. Jacques-Dieudonné sold his knitting and spinning works in Muhlenbach in 1870, but held on to his shop in Rue du Curé. He was a member of the council of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a member of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, and a member of the City's Charities Office. In 1872 he was made Knight of the Order of the Oak Crown. Between 1874 and 1878 he raised money to fund the Holy Communion celebrations for poor children in the city. Clesse died in 1881. The business passed by marriage to François Cordonnier (1843–1917), who opened a wine shop in Rue du Curé after J. D. Clesse's business was wound up. In 1880, he opened a shoe factory, and his business, "Au petit Paris", became an official supplier to His Majesty King and Grand Duke William III.


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