Friday, 20 September 2013

Nazi gold - violinmaker's secret clue ?

Do these violin-makers hold the secret to to the fabled horde of Nazi gold ? This is a Luftmalerei, an outdoor fresco from the village of Mittenwald in Bavaria. Mittelwald was the centre of German violin-making in the 18th century. Mathias Klotz (1653-1743)  was a contemporary of Stradivari and Guarneri, and was connected to Jacob Stainer. This Luftmalerei dates only from 1930, when the Mittelwald Geigenbaumuseum was built, but Klotz founded a violin-making tradition that still endures today. So what's the connection to Nazi gold ?

There have been many theories about the gold the Nazis are supposed to have hidden in the lower Alps. Now, a Dutch film maker, Leon Giesen, claims that there's a hidden code in a score to a March-Impromptu by Gottfried Federlein. Allegedly, Martin Bormann scribbled cryptic notes on the papers, which were found by a Dutch journalist. The "evidence" is a marking that says "Wo Matthias die Saiten Streichelt" and another that says "Enden der Tanz"" which Giesen claims can be read like a "treasure map" to the gold hidden under the local railway. Der Spiegel isn't convinced. It quotes a local historian, who says "It could be a treasure chest.......but it could just be a manhole cover."

So I did a bit of detective work, too. Gottfried Federlein (1883- 1952) was an American organist, who wrote transcriptions and  music for the Wurlitzer. Maybe that's how Martin Bormann supposedly came across his score. On the other hand, Federlein was Jewish. Maybe there's another Federlein who wrote marches. But I think the case rests. Perhaps, the Tooth Fairy can comment.

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