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The Siberian Times

'Stradivarius violin' revealed 68 years after being brought from Germany by a Soviet soldier

By The Siberian Times reporter
05 March 2013

A potentially invaluable Stradivarius violin has been disclosed as a family heirloom by a resident of Western Siberia.

'This violin has been passed down by my grandfather,' said the owner. 'It came from Germany'. Picture: The Siberian Times 

The seemingly rare musical instrument was liberated from Germany at the end of the war by the man's grandfather. The owner is now seeking a genuine expert to verify the violin - believed to have been made in 1727.

We have undertaken not to reveal the name of the owner but he hopes publicity via The Siberian Times can lead to a contact with an authority able to authenticate the instrument. 

The violin's journey to Siberia is a remarkable story dating from the Soviet invasion of Hitler's territory at the climax of World War Two. 

'This violin has been passed down by my grandfather,' said the owner. 'It came from Germany, and how he obtained it was, I guess, quite typical for that moment of the war. 

'My grandfather was called to patrol a city in Germany after the Soviet troops entered it.

'It was quite late in the evening, and he was walking cautiously around the streets. 

'Civilians were fleeing the city, and there was a moment when my grandfather and his patrol group noticed a man carefully stepping out of a very expensive and beautiful mansion with nothing but a small suitcase in his hands. 

'He was trying to leave unnoticed, and as soon as he was ordered to stop by the armed patrol, he tried to run - but was caught. 

'He had no documents on him and refused to explain how he got inside the house. 

'The chief of the patrol took the suitcase from the man, looked inside, shook his head in disbelief and said: 'It's just a violin!' 

'Then he passed it to my grandfather, saying - 'Take it, you like music.'

'Stradivarius violin' revealed in Siberia


'Stradivarius violin' revealed in Siberia


'Stradivarius violin' revealed in Siberia


'Stradivarius violin' revealed in Siberia


'Stradivarius violin' revealed in Siberia

The highest price for a Stradivarius was $3.54 million, but the value depends on the condition of the instrument and the period in which it was made. Pictures: The Siberian Times 

The owner - who also served in the Soviet forces - said that his grandfather described the street as well to do and surmised the house had belonged to a 'noble or rich' family. 

'Many years have passed since the violin was taken back home by my grandfather to Siberia at the end of the war in 1945. 

'He carried it across Europe and Russia and kept is safely in his flat. 

'On his death it passed to my father, who paid almost no attention to it - and then to me. 

'I'm not an expert, and all I really want now is to find a genuine authority who can confirm that it is really a Stradivarius. 

'Its quite hard to do it in where I currently live, and I don't have enough knowledge on who is a trustworthy expert in Moscow or St Petersburg - leaving aside abroad. 

'I would not trust to just give it anyway for an expertise without knowing that I am dealing with the top specialist whom I can safely leave the violin with. 

'I've had offers to sell it for some thousands of dollars, but I really now want to understand that it is, as I suspect, the real thing.'

'Stradivarius violin' revealed in Siberia 


'Stradivarius violin' revealed in Siberia

'I'm not an expert, and all I really want now is to find a genuine authority who can confirm that it is really a Stradivarius'. Picture: The Siberian Times 

Antonio Stradivari was born in 1644 and died on 18 December 1737. He was seen as  greatest craftsman of  string instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars, violas, and harps. Stradivari is generally considered the most significant and greatest artisan in this field. 

It is estimated that he made 1,000 to 1,100 instruments and that around 650 of these instruments survive. Estimates suggest this includes between 450 and 512 violins.

The highest price for a Stradivarius was $3.54 million, but the value depends on the condition of the instrument and the period in which it was made.  The golden period is seen as being from the early 1700s to 1720.

Internet sources say there is only a tiny chance that undiscovered Stardivarius violins still exist.

If you can help the owner please send your details and contacts here news@siberiantimes.com

Comments (15)

And to the writer of the article: "...the seemingly rare musical instrument was liberated from Germany..." you must be kidding. You use the term "liberated" which obviously underlines the fact that you don't want or can't separate political views from the facts. In the best case it's very naive journalism and in the worst, rather cynical and oriented.

But please, tell us what happened to the man who fled his house in the middle of the night? Because the nice story of the poor liberated violin doesn't mention it. Was he shot down? Beaten? Why couldn't they give back the violin to the man? Although being written as positive, it is actually a very sad story about honesty and integrity.
Philippe, Switzerland
13/03/2018 16:18
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0
And in case you wonder, yes I played violin during 18 years with my Grandfather's violin until the day someone stole it from me in a train. So I know pretty well the pain I'm talking about.
I would give a lot to get my violin back, way more than its economical value. But I will never happen I suppose. Unless a miracle.
Philippe, Switzerland
13/03/2018 12:45
0
0
At the exception of Alex from Netherlands, everybody here is focused on the economical side of this violin. And this this shows an extremely sad aspect of the human nature. The grandfather of the person who currently possesses this violin is not a hero of war but a simple thief.

Because he was armed, he stole the violin from a man who trying to save his life, forced to abandon his home, as if all that context was not enough. Everybody has already thought about it: "if I could save ONE thing from my burning home, what would it be?" Well that night someone had to make that choice. He could have taken a photo album, but he took his violin. This is how you can measure the price of that violin. Maybe an expert will determine that this violin is only worth 500 Euros. Maybe 600. Just put that price in comparison with what taken from the real owner's heart. Is now Grandpa still a hero?
Philippe, Switzerland
13/03/2018 12:37
0
0
The label is printed on definitely inauthentic paper. Authentic paper from the 18th century would become darker with age and feel coarse. Sorry, but it's definitely not a Strad.
Paul O., United States of America
05/09/2016 22:35
0
1
I have many people come to me with the same common copies.It is clearly not a real STRAD. Hundreds of thousands of violins have the same exact label but with dates usually in the early 1700s but they are not trying to fool you. They are making a copy of a violin in that year as every one is a little different.Picking the very best woods was one of the Masters skills and the wood is very simple and poor. The per fling is painted on.Just bring it to a Violin shop and you will see that no one will offer you big money.It needs more work than it is worth. Almost every violin he made has had a new neck put on with the old scroll and you would see a graft and the angle of the neck was change .The necks were nailed on with 3 hand made nails and even if they are gone the holes would still be there. I hate to give you bad news but good luck.
Steve, CT USA
21/02/2015 19:51
3
1
Give it back to the real owners and you will know exactly what it is worth (money-wise and human-wise).
Alex, Netherlands
15/11/2014 13:47
2
1
please my friend you have an extremely valuable item take extreme care
regards
john, far north qld
07/08/2014 12:48
3
0
Just google "antonius stradiuarius faciebat anno 1727", and hope for the best...
Guido Ruzzier, Italy
29/07/2014 21:12
1
0
The label on a Strad is hand lettered. This is a machine made Stradivarius copy of very little value. The lines on the outside are painted on, not inlaid woods of three types like Stradivari used. And on and on, nothing resembles a Stradivarius.
Patrick Perry, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
30/11/2013 10:43
2
3
I have a violin equal, older and in better condition.
I contacted 5 expertise and no one was able to tell me the exact origin and even the time. I was really disappointed with their wisdom of experts when they are not sure why issue certificates for violins? business or anything else? speculation?
An expert must be sure of what he says.
5 experts of 5 different versions. Including the most famous auctions have not been able to evaluate it, as they themselves said they did not live up to. !?
Poor violins pass false for true and true to false.
One thing is certain only the luthier who created it knows the truth, and the violin itself. Many of us have real ones and many others have become genuine fake ..
this is shameful!
Donata, Italy
24/09/2013 04:40
3
1
Yeah, thousand, if not millions of these "Strads" out there.
Expert, EU
10/08/2013 14:02
3
0
Definitely, not a Stradivaruis at all. Probably German circa 1900.
Ignacio Temino, Madrid, Spain
11/03/2013 04:28
2
0
Definitely, not a Stradivaruis at all. Probably German circa 1900.
Ignacio Temino, Madrid, Spain
11/03/2013 04:27
2
0
Really should have had someone who knows something about rare instruments look at the photos before going to all the trouble of writing this article. Not a Strad.
A person, US
10/03/2013 21:46
3
3
This looks interesting to me.
Paul, Switzerland
06/03/2013 17:32
1
7
1

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