GENEVA — The absent-minded passenger who left a Stradivarius violin worth millions of euros on a train in Switzerland last week was identified as a top concert violinist by the BernerZeitung Wednesday.
Alexander Dubach, an acclaimed exponent of the works of Paganini, forgot the precious instrument on Friday when he got off the suburban train at Bern, near his home in Thun.
It was handed in at the station's lost-property office on Sunday after a police appeal for help.
Pascal Tretola, the fellow passenger who returned the violin, told the paper that he had not been able to take it back any earlier because he had to work on Saturday.
"There were some drunks in the train, which is why I took the violin case to make sure nothing happened to it," he said, adding that he had suspected it was valuable.
When he heard the police appeal, he was "very surprised".
Dubach, who does not own the violin, was very relieved. "I would never have been able to repair the damage," he said, vowing never to transport it by himself again.
"I will pick it up just before a concert and give it back straight away afterwards," he said.
The violin's owner, who wants to remain anonymous, told the paper and he and Dubach would reward Tretola amply even though he "had not asked for anything."
Around 600 violins made by Italian master craftsman Antonio Stradivari are still in existence. One fetched about 11 million euros ($13.5 million) in a 2011 charity auction for victims of the Japanese tsunami.
In 2008, a US violinist left a $4-million (3.2-million-euro) Stradivarius in the back of a New York cab. The cabbie returned the violin to its owner.
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