Simon Moritz von Bethmann

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Simon Moritz von Bethmann, 1812. Portrait of Johann Jacob de Lose (1755–1813)

Simon Moritz von Bethmann (born October 31, 1768 in Frankfurt am Main ; † December 28, 1826 there ) was a German banker , diplomat and philanthropist .

Live and act

The Bethmann family originally came from Goslar and came to Frankfurt am Main at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1748 Johann Philipp Bethmann and his brother Simon Moritz Bethmann founded the Bethmann Bank and made it one of the most important banks in Germany,

Simon Moritz von Bethmann was the son of Johann Philipps. He took over the management of the house in 1791 and became the sole owner after the death of his father in 1793. He expanded the financial business to a considerable extent and issued bonds for Denmark , Austria and Russia, among others . The Bethmann family became, alongside the Rothschild family, the most important financier of the German and European royal houses. In 1808 Emperor Franz I raised Bethmann to hereditary nobility . Tsar Alexander I appointed him Consul General of Russia to the Confederation of the Rhine in 1807 and Council of State in 1810.

Through his diplomatic activities, Bethmann made a special contribution to his hometown without ever having held a state office. In 1802 Bethmann succeeded in intervening in Paris to limit the French contribution demands from the occupation years. The city owed considerable rights and goods from secularized church assets, which had long since been distributed elsewhere, to his personal appearance at the negotiations for the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss in Regensburg .

In 1810, Bethmann married Louise Friederike Boode (1792–1869) from Amsterdam . The marriage had four sons (Moritz, Karl, Alexander and Heinrich), whose eldest Moritz von Bethmann later took over the management of the bank. Named after the wife of Simon Moritz, a park laid out in 1812 by the Bethmann family in the Sachsenhausen district of Frankfurt was laid out in the style of an English landscape garden . The name continues with the forest play park Louisa, which was established in 1954 in place of the Bethmann property .

Bethmann's garden house, where Napoleon billeted in 1813
Sire Eclipse, Bethmann's favorite horse, bronze statue 1812 by Christian Friedrich Tieck , in the
Louisa forest play park in Frankfurt
Monument in the Friedberger Anlage in Frankfurt

His house was the social center of Frankfurt. Napoleon Bonaparte , Tsar Alexander I and King Friedrich Wilhelm III. of Prussia he hosted as his guests. The meeting between Catharina Elisabeth Goethe and Madame de Staël also took place in his house. In 1813 Emperor Napoleon, while retreating from the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig, quartered himself in the Bethmann garden house in front of Friedberger Tor . On October 31, 1813, a fierce artillery battle developed between French and Allied troops for possession of the Main Bridge . Bethmann successfully convinced the emperor to end the devastating bombardment of Sachsenhausen and to withdraw his troops.

Bethmann was very committed to improving the Frankfurt school system. He was one of the founders of the Musterschule (1803, with Wilhelm Friedrich Hufnagel ) and Philanthropin , a Jewish secondary school (1804, with Siegmund Geisenheimer and Mayer Amschel Rothschild ). The Weißfrauenschule , the first municipal elementary school , was also sponsored by him. A donation of 40,000  florins , the interest of which was to be used to maintain a lancaster school , was later used in consultation with his heirs to support other types of school.

Bethmann was also a well-known patron of the arts and a promoter of the sciences beyond Frankfurt's borders. He was one of the founders of the Polytechnic Society (1816) and the Senckenberg Natural Research Society (1817). He supported the construction of the city ​​library with a generous donation . In 1816 he acquired the marble picture Ariadne on the Panther by Johann Heinrich Dannecker , probably the most famous sculpture of the 19th century, which attracted thousands of admirers in a specially constructed classical museum building.

Bethmann died unexpectedly on December 28, 1826 while visiting the theater. He was buried in the Peterskirchhof , where his grave is still preserved today. On his hundredth birthday, his bust created by the sculptor Eduard Schmidt von der Launitz was unveiled in the Friedberg complex . The Bethmannpark in Frankfurt's Nordend district , Bethmannstrasse (seat of the Bethmann Bank) and the Bethmannschule, a vocational school , also remind of him .

The Bethmännchen , a well-known Frankfurt pastry specialty, is said to have originated in his home and was named after Bethmann's sons in local parlance.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Waldspielpark Louisa at , the former website of the city of Frankfurt am Main