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How Joshua Bell's 300-year-old Huberman Stradivarius saved dozens from Hitler?s Germany / New York Post

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It was prized, stolen and disguised - after helping its owner and Albert Einstein spirit dozens of musicians out of Hitler's Germany. No wonder Joshua Bell cherishes the 300-year-old Stradivarius violin he'll play Monday at Lincoln Center: Its history is more twisted and uplifting than any work of fiction.

The Grammy winner remembers seeing it nearly 15 years ago in a London shop where he went to buy some strings. The shopkeeper emerged from a back room "with a stunning violin in hand," Bell, 48, recalls. "He told me it was the famous Huberman Strad, and I was instantly intrigued." Bell didn't know the whole story back then, but he did know this: The violin spent nearly 50 years incognito - the golden varnish that violin-maker Antonio Stradivari applied in 1713 slathered with black shoe polish.

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