1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Justitia Statue
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/D. Freigner

Trial starts over theft of 250-year-old violin

Elliot Douglas
May 7, 2020

The eighteenth-century violin, worth more than a quarter of a million euros, was stolen in March 2019 from a Berlin music college. The trial has begun — but the instrument remains missing.


A trial in the case of the theft of a 250-year-old violin was set to begin in Berlin on Thursday.

A 41-year-old man is accused of stealing the violin from a Berlin music university. The instrument, built by renowned violin-maker Nicolaus Gagliano in 1769 in Naples, Italy, is valued at around €275,000 ($297,000), according to the German Press Agency (dpa).

Read more: Dresden police release details of brazen €1 billion heist

The violin was never recovered and is still missing since its theft in March 2019. The man was arrested six weeks after the arrest, and is believed to have carried out the theft with an accomplice.

The man has already spent 14 months in prison. 

At the time of the theft, police reported that the violin should be easily recognisable for what it was as the words "Nicolaus Gagliano 1769" were clearly legible on the neck of the instrument.

Gagliano's violins, along with those of Antonio Stradivari, are considered some of the most beautiful and valuable ever produced.

CCTV footage showed two men carrying the violin on Berlin public transport, according to Berlin newspaper B.Z. The second man, along with the violin, has evaded capture for over a year.

No verdict is expected on Thursday.

Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. Sign up to receive it directly here.

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

A man along with a youth use a satellite dish to move children across a flooded area after heavy monsoon rainfalls

UN: Climate action needs 'quantum leap' to save 1.5C goal

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage