Rothschild Banking Family Opens German Office After 88-Year Absence
FRANKFURT, West Germany (AP) _ The legendary Rothschild banking family on Monday ended an 88-year absence from Germany by opening a new office in Frankfurt, the famed Jewish family’s historic hometown.
The Rothschild family that had lived in this Main River city since the Middle Ages closed its last German firm in 1901, when financial activity had migrated elsewhere and family interests in Paris and London eclipsed those in their traditional home.
The new Frankfurt office, located at Friedrich Street 48, will deal primarily in corporate financing, rather than consumer banking.
Rothschild offices in Paris and London joined forces to open the new office in Frankfurt, said Jan von Trott, spokesman for Frankfurt Mayor Volker Hauff.
Trott said the city views the opening of Frankfurt’s new Rothschild operation as ″a positive signal in connection with European Economic Community plans for free trade in the community by 1992.″
″It is a joining together of tradition and the future,″ Trott said. ″The Rothschilds have a magical meaning for Frankfurt as the original bankers here.″
Hauff joined Barons Elie and David Rothschild of Paris and Amschel Rothschild of London in opening ceremonies for the new office in Frankfurt’s West End district.
The office will initially be staffed by three people under the supervision of Erich Stromeyer, a former managing director of Shearson Lehmen Hutton AG in Frankfurt.
Plans call for the office’s activities to include business mergers and acquisitions, in addition to regular portfolio management, banking sources say.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild, the son of a Jewish money-changer in the Frankfurt ghetto, started the family financial empire in the 18th century.
The Rothschild family later expanded its banking business to other major cities, including London, Vienna, Naples and Paris.
Berlin eventually became Germany’s banking center, and in 1901, when Baron Wilhelm Carl von Rothschild died leaving no male heirs, the family closed its operations in Frankfurt.
″For a Rothschild family member, the return to Frankfurt is a meaningful event,″ Baron David Rothschild, associated manager of Rothschild & Cie. in Paris, told reporters at a press conference.
The Frankfurt office is owned by N.M. Rothschild & Sons Ltd. in London, Rothschild Bank AG of Zurich, and the Paris-based Rothschild & Cie.
The Rothschild family gained prominence by financing such projects as the construction of European railroads and the British military campaign that led to the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815.
The family’s original home on the banks of the Main River was destroyed by Allied bombers in World War II.
In November 1988, West Germany’s only museum devoted exclusively to Jewish life and culture opened in the restored Rothschild Palace. Exhibits range from Jewish traditions in the city to documentation of the horrors of the Holocaust that claimed the lives of 6 million European Jews.