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Oppenheimer

The Oppenheim(er) family was a very old family with branches throughout Europe. Some family members achieved great fame and fortune.
The Frankfurt branch of the family was founded by Löb (Juda) Oppenheimer and his wife Edel. They moved to Frankfurt from Heidelberg in 1531 and moved into the zum Hirschen. They had three sons, Amschel at the Fisch, Joseph at the Weißer Löwe, and Mosche at the zum Schwert. The last two were respected businessmen as early as 1573, making their living from the trade in silk, laces and fabrics. In 1590 they were among the highest taxpayers in the Jewish community.
The family was always one of the most highly respected in the Judengasse, and produced many scholars, community leaders and wealthy bankers. The various branches of the family are named according to their family homes, the most famous being the Oppenheim branch known as Heidelburg at the Roter Hirsch and the zum Schwert.
The Viennese court factor Samuel Oppenheimer (1653 to 1703), known as "the Fugger of his day", was one descendant of this branch. He was a friend of Prince Eugen and played an important role as supplier to the army and lender to the imperial family to finance the war against the Turks in 1683. His loan interest rates of 12 to 20% were the largest item in the Austrian national debt at that time. After his death in May 1703, the imperial government put his estate into bankruptcy, plunging all the stockexchanges with which Oppenheimer had been connected into a serious crisis, especially the Frankfurt stockexchange and all its brokers. Almost every major Jewish broking firms, together with numerous Christian brokers, suffered heavy losses, including that of Isaac Goldschmidt.
Another descendant of this family was the famous Josef Süss Oppenheimer (1690-1738) who held the office of court factor to Prince Karl Alexander von Württemberg in Stuttgart. His mother was also a Frankfurt resident, and Jud Süss Oppenheimer often spent months in Frankfurt, where he owned a commodious house outside the Judengasse. Lion Feuchtwanger based the historical novel "Jud Süss" on Oppenheimer.
David Oppenheim (1664 -1736), the famous scholar and regional rabbi of Moravia and Bohemia, was also a member of the family.






© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources