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Wertheimer, Samson

Samson Wertheimer, also known as Wertheimber, was born in Worms in 1658. In 1684 he moved to Vienna, where Samuel Oppenheimer introduced him to the financial world of the Viennese court. During the War of the Spanish Succession he and Oppenheimer supported the emperor Leopold I. When Oppenheimer died, he was the sole lender to the Austrian government and was appointed court factor. Wertheimer took every opportunity to use his influence at court to advance the interests of Jews. He possessed great knowledge of the Talmud and held the title of a Hungarian national rabbi.
Many personal and commercial connections linked him to Frankfurt. One of his daughters was married to the banker Moses Löb Isaak zur Kann, also known as Moses Kann.
Two business transactions involved him in serious and longdrawnout disputes with the Frankfurt city council. The council did not want to let him buy a bleaching meadow belonging to Rebekka Dietz, a pastor's widow, because the residence code did not permit Jews to purchase land outside the Judengasse. He emphasised his services to the imperial court, and with the vendor's help he managed to persuade the emperor to order the city council to approve the purchase. His application to build a massive fourstorey stone house for his soninlaw, Isaak Nathan Oppenheimer, after the Judengasse fire in 1711 was also refused by the city council. A further appeal to the emperor again helped Wertheimer, and after five years the city council approved the house. Work on building the Steinernes Haus commenced in August 1717. Wertheimer died in Vienna on 6 August 1724. His descendants became one of the most respected and wealthiest Jewish families in Europe.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources