BONN (Oct. 30)
The House of Rothschild returned to Frankfurt last week.
The world-famous Jewish banking family has set up shop, after an absence of 88 years, in the city where its financial empire originated nearly 200 years ago, now West Germany’s financial center.
“It is not without emotion that we come back to Frankfurt,” said Baron David de Rothschild. Those emotions were shared by the civic authorities.
“We are happy they came back here, and we certainly hope they will like it,” declared Mayor Volker Hauff, after receiving Rothschild family members at his office for a lengthy meeting.
Baron Elie Rothschild, head of the bank’s Zurich branch, said it was “unthinkable” not to be represented in Frankfurt.
The business was opened in Frankfurt’s Judengasse in 1796 by Mayer Amschel Rothschild.
The patriarch of the family, Isaac son of Elchanan, came to Frankfurt in 1530. In 1567, he and his wife moved into a house with a red shield — Rothschild — on the door, and the name stuck.
The family business left Frankfurt in 1901 to concentrate the family’s German activities in imperial Berlin. The Rothschilds had also become a major financial force in Paris and London.
They stayed away through two world wars, the Nazi era, Germany’s defeat and economic revival.
But Frankfurt cannot now be ignored by a major banking house. It will become the financial hub of an economically integrated Europe by 1992.
Nevertheless, the Rothschilds initially will only “test the market.”
The family decided to establish a small branch in Frankfurt, with a staff of three employees headed by Erich Stromeyer, a German banker. Four additional persons may be hired in the next two years.
According to family members, the main task of the new branch would be to study the market and consider opportunities for further, deeper penetration.
According to David de Rothschild, it stands a good chance of success, despite fierce competition from the giant German banks.