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Rapid relief! Violin lost in Munich is found safe and well

This just in from Rachel Harris, who left her baroque violin on a train:

violin rachel





Die Polizei hat meine Geige wieder! Angeblich konnte der “Finder” wg seiner Arbeit sie noch nicht abgeben und hat sie zu Hause aufbewahrt. Er wollte sie heute abgeben. Jetzt muss sie nur noch nach HH…

The police in Munich have found my violin! Apparently the “finder” hadn’t managed to hand it in yet (because of work) and had kept it “safe” at home. He or she wanted to hand it in today… Now we’ve just got to get it up to Hamburg…

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  1. First of all: congratulations! Must have been terrible days.

    However, I’m not sure if this is intended, but the German word “angeblich” usually means “he claims, but I don’t believe him”. Let’s just assume that the finder simply wasn’t aware of the violin’s value (in economic terms as well as concering what it means to Rachel). If he is no expert in classical music, it might have seemed “just a violin” to him. And yes, lost property offices usually have quite restrivctive business hours – if he lives at the other end of the city it’s quite understandable not to deliver it with 24 hours without acting in bad faith.

    • I don’t think we should read so much into this single word. Since she was basically quoting what the police had told her, it seems appropriate enough to me to translate it as “apparently” as Norman has done. “Angeblich” is used mostly in situations where the content of the supposition cannot be immediately proven to be true, where an element of faith is implied.

      That being said, after living in Germany and Switzerland for over 30 years, I still can’t claim to have a grasp of all the nuances of the language. Also, there are a great deal of regional differences in usage which are tough to master.

  2. bass-voice-of-reason says:

    My experience is that most people are honest. I left an expensive camera in a taxicab in Frankfurt, Germany, once. No way to trace the cab, no way for the driver to find me; but he took the camera to the hotel where he had picked me up, and turned it in to the reception desk. Another time I read of a Turkish “guest worker” in Germany who found a bank deposit of DM 56,000 cash (= > $20,000) in a paper sack. He turned it in to the authorities.

  3. Martin Locher says:

    Similar case last year in Switzerland. The finder picked up the violin (a Strad), which had been forgotten on a train, on Friday night. Due to work commitments he didn’t hand in the instrument until Sunday – unaware that the police was looking for him and already had published a photograph of him on the internet.

  4. I had a music store accidentally give me their bank deposit once! They were very happy to get it back. Looking back the events the spurred from the incident would make a great film. I can imagine a similar comedy with this incident. Thank you dear sweet man for keeping that wonderful piece of history / work of art/ musical instrument safe.

  5. Well, “angeblich” usually just denotes “apparently”, but it can be used ironically, to indicate doubt in the mind of the speaker, as if that person believed the motive was not well intentioned. But angeblich can also connote “allegedly”, so as to avoid making a libelous statement. Interestingly, the cleaner who found the instrument was recorded on CCTV as he left the concourse. He has now been charged by the State with holding on to private property.

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