Piatigorsky Recovers His Stradivarius Cello Looted by Nazis
Menu JTA Search

Piatigorsky Recovers His Stradivarius Cello Looted by Nazis

Download PDF for this date

Baroness Germaine de Rothschild arrived in New York this week-end with an extraordinary gift for her son-in-law, world famous cellist Gregor Piatigorsky– a Stradivarius cello which was looted by the Nazis from her home in Paris in 1942.

The instrument, which has a label attesting to its manufacture in 1712, was bought and presented to Mr. Piatigorsky in 1927 by a group of music lovers in Berlin. He left it in Paris with the Rothschild family when he came to the United States in 1939.

The instrument was purchased in Aachen, Germany, by a violin dealer named Mathias Niessen. He paid the sum of $200 for it. After satisfying himself that Mr. Piatigorsky, who no longer had the documents proving ownership, had actually been the owner, Mr. Niessen turned the cello over to the Baroness, as Mr. Piatigorsky’s agent, for the $200 he had paid plus a few dollars for the repairs he had made on the instrument.

Mr. Piatigorsky, who has recently been playing on another Stradivarius cello, was extremely happy to recover the first one. He indicated, however, that he may present it to a talented young artist. The value of the recovered cello is estimated at $50,000.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund