Fritz Mannheimer : biography
Fritz Mannheimer (19 September 1890 – 9 August 1939) was a powerful German Jewish and from 1936 Dutch banker and art collector who was the director of the Amsterdam branch of the Berlin-based investment bank Mendelssohn & Co. that was for some time the main supporter of the Dutch capital market. Known as the "King of Flying Capital", he was one of the main organisers of credit for post-war Germany. His international financial work brought him recognition, such as being awarded grand officer of the Légion d'honneur. His collection was bought by Hitler in 1941, but was returned to the Netherlands after the war.
Career and lifestyle
According to an obituary of the banker published in the 21 August 1939 edition of Time magazine:
- "During the War, barely out of college, he got a job in the German Government bureau directing the flow of raw materials through Germany. In no time, he headed it. At 27 he persuaded Belgian industrialists to accept the paper currency issued in occupied territory. After the War he managed Germany's central monetary office, where his first job was to organize the Amsterdam branch of the famous, 125-year-old Mendelssohn & Co. Bank." The article continued, "Mysterious (few people even knew his name), powerful, grasping, he began to formulate the financial policies of nations and to get fat. At one time he worked simultaneously for the German, Austrian, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Yugoslav and Romanian Central Banks. Twice he turned down the presidency of the German Reichsbank, the second time proposed Hjalmar Schacht in his place. Schacht got the job. He began to buy antiques, among them the valuable Eucharistic Dove stolen from Salzburg's Cathedral. He was too skeptical to have any truck with Ivar Kreuger or any private financier. His was the last Jewish-owned bank allowed to do business in Germany."
The Time magazine profile, while acknowledging Mannheimer's power and position, was also remarkably negative, describing him as "fat-lipped, mean, noxious, cigar-chomping" man who gave one of his mistresses a gold bathtub and who, "after 20 years in The Netherlands, could not speak enough Dutch to boss his chauffeur." Another source recalled that while most Amsterdam bankers were discreet enough to use taxis for daily transportation, the flamboyant Mannheimer used a Rolls-Royce limousine. He also raised eyebrows by maintaining two lavish homes: a 1913 redbrick mansion at Hobbemastraat 20 in Amsterdam, which house was derogatorily nicknamed Villa Protsky, and Villa Monte Cristo near Vaucresson, France. His offices were located in a palatial 17th-century mansion in Amsterdam, at Herengracht 412.
- "Fritz Mannheimer, Financier, Is Dead", The New York Times, 11 August 1939, page 19.
- "Action Follows Shortly After Mannheimer's Death – House Granted Government Loans", The New York Times, 12 August 1939, page 1.
- "Mendelssohn Lost Heavily on Bonds; Huge Fortune of Mannheimer Is Believed to Have Been Lost in His Operations ", The New York Times, 14 August 1939, page 7.
- "Trustees Named for Mendelssohn", The New York Times, 15 August 1939, page 32.
- "Holland Unmoved by Bank's Crisis", The New York Times, 21 August 1939, page 23.
- "Daladier Testifies in War Guilt Court", The New York Times, 23 September 1940, page 5.
- "Met Painting Traced to Nazis", The New York Times, 24 November 1987, page C19.
- "Records at the Met Disprove Charge of Acquiring 5 Paintings Improperly", The New York Times, 25 November 1987, C11.
- "", Time, 21 August 1939.
- J.P.B. Jonker, , Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland.
Category:1890 births Category:1939 deaths Category:German bankers Category:Dutch bankers Category:German art collectors Category:Dutch art collectors Category:German Jews Category:People from Stuttgart
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