OPPENHEIM, family of German bankers, originally from Frankfurt, and later from Bonn, where in 1789 SOLOMON OPPENHEIM, JR. (1772–1828) established a commission and forwarding business. From 1798 Cologne was the headquarters of the banking house of Sal Oppenheim Jr. & Cie. Proximity both to West European financial centers and to the Rhine-Ruhr industry determined its rise after World War II to the position of Federal Germany's second largest private banking concern. The firm promoted railroad construction, river transportation, insurance, and corporate banks in Germany and abroad, participated in syndicates for the public sector, and supplied industrial credit. Solomon Oppenheim Jr. helped to establish the Paris bank of B.L. Fould et Fould-Oppenheim (now Heine & Co.). His daughter Helene married the banker Bénoît fould . Solomon Oppenheim Jr.'s sons, SIMON (1803–1880) and ABRAHAM (1804–1878) were ennobled and their descendants converted. Simon's great grandsons WALDEMAR (1894–1952) and FRIEDRICH CARL (1900–?), "quarter-Jews" by Nazi reckoning, had to change the firm's name to Pferdmenges (a non-family partner) & Co. in 1938. Friedrich Carl Oppenheim was imprisoned in 1944, following the abortive attempt on Hitler's life. After World War II, the bank resumed its original name and Oppenheim partnership interests. Two descendants of Solomon Oppenheim Jr. were active in public affairs: Simon's brother DAGOBERT (David; 1809–1899), who converted to Christianity, was a co-founder and co-director of the progressive daily Rheinische Zeitung (1841–43). Simon's baptized grandson MAX OPPENHEIM (1860–1946), a German career diplomat and Orientalist, founded the Deutsches Orient Institut. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: K. Grunwald, in: YLBI, 12 (1967), 201–2, 207; W. Treue, in: Rheinisch-Westfaelische Wirtschaftsbiographien, 8 (1962); idem, in: Tradition, Zeitschrift fuer Firmen-Geschichte und Unternehmerbiographie, 9 (1964). (Hanns G. Reissner)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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