Mendelssohn & Co. was a private bank based in Berlin, Prussia. One of the leading banks in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was Aryanized by the Nazis because the owners were Jewish.[1]

Former Bankhaus Mendelssohn & Co., Jägerstraße 49–50 near Gendarmenmarkt; built 1891–93.

History Edit

The bank was established in 1795 by Joseph Mendelssohn in Berlin. In 1804, his younger brother Abraham Mendelssohn Bartholdy joined the company. In 1815, they moved into their new headquarters at Jägerstraße 51, thereby laying the foundations of Berlin's financial district. Mendelssohn & Co. remained in that building until its divestiture in 1939.

Mendelssohn quickly rose to prominence among European banks. Starting in the 1850s, they acted as Royal bankers for the Russian Tsar, and from the 1870s dominating the Central European financial market for Russian sovereign bonds and railway bonds. Only the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and the Lenin putsch in 1917 put an end to these close contacts. The Mendelssohn family through the descendants of the founding brothers continued to run the company.

Mendelssohn & Co. survived the financial meltdown of the 1930s comparatively well. Following the death of Franz von Mendelssohn and Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy in 1935, Rudolf Löb was appointed as chairman of the bank, the first non-family member to be chairman.

Aryanization and destruction by the Nazis Edit

Persecuted by the Nazis, in 1938 Mendelssohn & Co was Aryanized, which was the word used to describe the Nazi policy of transferring assets owned by Jews to "Aryans". Mendelssohn & Co. were forced to hand over their assets to Deutsche Bank and to shut down.[2][3][4][5]

Members of the Mendelssohn family were plundered and forced into exile where several committed suicide.[6]

Notable employees Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ Köhler, Ingo (2012). The Aryanization of private banks in the Third Reich. Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-76662-3. OCLC 793099629.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  2. ^ Gall, Lothar & Underwood, J. A. (1999), "Hermann Josef Abs and the Third Reich: 'A man for all seasons'?", Financial History Review, 6 (2): 147–202 [pp. 163–173], doi:10.1017/S0968565000000378.
  3. ^ "Mendelssohn Gesellschaft | History". Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  4. ^ "CLAIMS RESOLUTION TRIBUNAL: In re Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation Case No. CV96-4849 Certified Award to Claimant Kommanditgesellschaft Mendelssohn & Co. i. L., represented by von Trott zu Solz Lammek" (PDF). Claims Resolution Tribunal. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2010-11-21. According to the decision, four of the six partners of Mendelssohn & Co. Berlin were considered to be Jewish under the Nuremberg laws, and consequently, the bank was considered to be a Jewish bank. The decision indicates that on 1 December 1938, ownership of Mendelssohn & Co. Berlin, which was organized as a general partnership (of ene Handelsgesellschaft), was transferred to the Deutsche Bank; on 5 December 1938 Mendelssohn & Co. the aryanization was considered complete, as the four Jewish partners, Rudolf Loeb, Dr. Fritz Mannheimer, Dr. Paul Kempner, and Marie von Mendelssohn, were forced to relinquish their partnerships on that date and the decision was taken to dissolve the partnership by the end of the year. Therefore Mendelssohn & Co. was in liquidation as of 31 December 1938. The departure of the four Jewish partners was entered into the Company Register (Handelsregister) on 15 December 1938 and on 16 January 1939, Mendelssohn & Co. Berlin was eliminated from the register of companies.
  5. ^ James, Harold (June 2006). The Deutsche Bank and the Nazi Economic War Against the Jews : The Expropriation of Jewish-Owned Property. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-02730-6. OCLC 1064762412.
  6. ^ Müller, Melissa (2010). Lost Lives, Lost Art : Jewish Collectors, Nazi Art Theft and the Quest for Justice. Barnsley: Frontline. ISBN 978-1-84832-577-7. OCLC 742252182.

Further reading Edit

External links Edit