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Allan Speers
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I just came across this interesting discussion. As I am finishing my new research on Kittel.....Regarding KIttel, he was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia to Austrian parents. He maintained his Austrian citizenship throughout his life.  Kittel brought his son Nikolai Jr. to study with Derazey (at Vuillaume shop) in Mirecourt, France 1858-1860.

Now regarding the very interesting Russian label, of Master Luka Maryanenko

Luka Maryanenko, according to Vitachek worked in Kerch and then Kiev where he built several dozen violins and violas.

Edited by GennadyF.
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Dear Gennady,

I refereed to this data about Kittel here https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/337981-to-kittel-or-not-to-kittel/&do=findComment&comment=755941

Do you have new documentary sources, or are you referring to his indentures too? Also with Maryyanenko, I knew the data you mentioned. Do you by chance know who he learnt from?

I would very much enjoy reading your new research, so please tell me when and where it is/will be available!

 

 

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2 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Dear Gennady,

I refereed to this data about Kittel here https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/337981-to-kittel-or-not-to-kittel/&do=findComment&comment=755941

Do you have new documentary sources, or are you referring to his indentures too? Also with Maryyanenko, I knew the data you mentioned. Do you by chance know who he learnt from?

I would very much enjoy reading your new research, so please tell me when and where it is/will be available!

 

 

 

Yes I have uncovered a lot of new information regarding Nikolai Kittel and his circle of friends.

Vitacheck mentions Maryanenko, but does not specify where or with whom he learned the craft.

Edited by GennadyF.
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One of the problems with violin making in the ex iron curtain countries is that their regimes broke the lineage of families and shops.

Although classical music (being, at least to some degree, a non political form of art - even so Shostakovitch and Prokofiev and others suffered a lot under the regime) was greatly fostered in these countries, violin making suffered a lot during this time.

I have players in the Gewandhaus Leipzig (Leipzig was on the communist side) and Ukraine, they mentioned good schools and teachers, but bad instruments. The viola principal of the Kiev Opera is one of my players, his former viola was made by a furniture... ....industry!!!

Not to mention that the in many of these countries  all the good instruments were confiscated by the government, the Nazis did the same.

A book was published in Cremona some decades ago called "Stradivari in Russia", or something like that, and the instruments there were all in bad condition, I remember a viola, if I am not wrong, with an unmatched horrible  huge peg.

Things are changing now, of course.

 

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9 hours ago, MANFIO said:

 

Not to mention that the in many of these countries  all the good instruments were confiscated by the government, the Nazis did the same.

 

“The Nazis” didn’t specifically confiscate instruments, an old myth with a long grey beard. In E. Germany many workshops were collectivised (Volkseigene Betrieb) but many survived to this day in possession of the grounding family (H.R. Pfretzschner for instance).

 

One should also get some perspective by comparing for instance the English violin making scene in the 1950’s and 1960’s which only had very few individuals making violins.

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Living in central Europe I can agree with what Jacob wrote. Communist did confiscate some valuables in posession of rich german families or noblemen that left the country. Instruments in hands of common players were not confistated. 30 years ago you could see old gypsy play old worn fiddle that was actually some of the valuable Prague school or Kloz or Nemessanyi or whatever. Some folks had some valuable fiddles from (grand)parents on their walls (not knowing their value as there was noone to tell them). After fall of iron curtain many of those ended in hands of greedy dealers who often put ads in local papers and even went house to house and bought old "crap" or offered exchange for newer ("better") and got many of valuable antiques for nothing selling them abroad for much more (mostly to Germany or Austria) for cash in Marks or Schillings.

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3 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

“The Nazis” didn’t specifically confiscate instruments, an old myth with a long grey beard. In E. Germany many workshops were collectivised (Volkseigene Betrieb) but many survived to this day in possession of the grounding family (H.R. Pfretzschner for instance).

 

One should also get some perspective by comparing for instance the English violin making scene in the 1950’s and 1960’s which only had very few individuals making violins.

Jacob, a Jewish Hungarian friend told me that the Nazis confiscated instruments, and afterwards the communists did the same.

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18 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism

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1 minute ago, jacobsaunders said:

Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable

Here is the gist. It was written in 2001.

Quote

 

Simon Geldwerth, whose family fled Austria during the Holocaust, lost his prized Stradivarius. David Katz, whose family died in concentration camps, left behind a roomful of precious fiddles. And Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist Francis Akos, who was forced into the Hungarian Army, never again saw his centuries-old Italian Gagliano. Each of these men felt blessed to have survived the Holocaust and considered the loss of an instrument a relatively small sacrifice. But none knew that the instruments he lost--worth relatively little at the time--would be valued in the millions a few decades later.

Nor did the thousands of Jews and other non-Aryans whose instruments disappeared during the Holocaust realize that their violins were targeted by the Nazis, who conducted a secret operation to seize the best musical instruments ever made, according to newly declassified documents located by the Tribune in the National Archives.

Though overlooked until now, these instruments represent the forgotten loot of World War II: dozens of priceless Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati violins, as well as lesser-known models nevertheless prized by collectors, dealers, musicians and investors around the world.

The Nazis' haul of some of the world's most coveted violins stands to become the next area of inquiry by those seeking reparations for Holocaust-era losses.

"This is right now in the earliest phase of our work, but it may be one of the most fascinating areas of exploration," said Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, a New York-based organization formed in 1936 to protect Jewish lives and property during the Holocaust. In recent years, the World Jewish Congress has been at the forefront of negotiations regarding all forms of Holocaust-era loot, from stolen bank accounts to unredeemed insurance policies.

But the details of the Nazis' thefts of antique violins have been buried in classified documents for decades. And weighing the full impact of the looting on today's market has been complicated by the secretive ways of the rare-instruments industry, which historically has shown little need for documentation in the sale and purchase of violins.

 

 

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

Not surprised that they don't want Jonny Forginer reading their fake news

Not fake news. I am really not sure what you're defending here. 

German Panel Rules That a Rare Violin Was Looted by Nazis:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/arts/music/german-panel-rules-that-a-rare-violin-was-looted-by-nazis.html

The stolen instruments of the Third Reich:

https://www.thestrad.com/the-stolen-instruments-of-the-third-reich/5470.article

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15 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Not fake news. I am really not sure what you're defending here. 

German Panel Rules That a Rare Violin Was Looted by Nazis:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/arts/music/german-panel-rules-that-a-rare-violin-was-looted-by-nazis.html

The stolen instruments of the Third Reich:

https://www.thestrad.com/the-stolen-instruments-of-the-third-reich/5470.article

Jacob, the information offered appears to be too detailed to simply be a fabrication.

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I have been “Gerrichtlich beeidete Sachverständige” (permanently sworn in violin expert) for the courts here (one of two experts) for the last 27 years, and there hasn’t been even one single piece of litigation on this non-subject during this time.

 

There was no particular National Socialist interest in violins. It was a particularly poor time to be a violin maker, since nobody had any money to buy a violin. In fact many makers here drifted into other ways of making a living. Haid, for instance (and others) changed from violin-making to dealing with gramophone records, which people didn’t have money for either, but it was at least new, and perhaps someone would scratch the last Groschen together and buy one. Near Markneukirchen is the famous “Geigenmacherkurve” (violin maker curve) named such because the labourers who built it were unemployed violin makers.

 

Frau Shapreau even visited me in my workshop looking for stolen violins. I’m afraid I didn’t have any

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It is definitely a very delicate question to discuss, because it's directly related to war and Holocaust. To assume that the Nazis had a general interest to confiscate instruments, or all valuable instruments from everybody would be a misconception. Like described in the Strad article, there were several "phases" to expropriate Jews, Sintis or political opponents, starting with forced sales for extraordinary low prices, forced emigration and during the war imprisoning and genocide.

Of course there must have been many violins within the "looth", but this was a general theft and expropriation. In opposite to paintings, sculptures or other artwork, which was collected systematically, there seem to be relatively few "great" violins lost during this period, maybe because violins are more easily moveable or one needs a special expertise to recognize them. All this is explained in the linked essay, too. What happened to the many nameless instruments is unknown. I'm strongly supposing that they stayed in the depots, because there was hardly a need for musical instruments during the war time, and were later conficiscated by the allied winners, probably some of the valuable undetected within the rest.

 

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