Architect: C.B. Posthumus Meyjes Jr. (1893-1975)
Commissioned by: De Amsterdamsche Bank
Year of construction: 1928
The Amsterdamsche Bank was established in 1871. The first bank director was the Jewish lawyer Frederik Salomon van Nierop (1844-1924). He occupied this position for a period of fifty years. Van Nierop was politically active for the Liberal Union. He was also very important to the Jewish community.
Sarphatistraat 47-55. Photo: Jan van Dijk
Bank for the diamond trading sector
The Amsterdamsche Bank had many Jewish clients and was therefore closely connected to the diamond industry. When the Diamond Exchange set up house on the Weesperplein (square) in 1910, the bank opened a special branch on the Sarphatistraat (street)29-31 that was specially intended for the diamond trading sector. Trading and providing credit in this branch was realised through code accounts and was largely based on mutual trust. The bank moved to a new building at numbers 47-55 in 1928.
The German occupier established the notorious loot bank Lippman-Rosenthal (Liro) in this building during the war. The name of a renowned Jewish bank in the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat was deliberately used in order to gain the trust of the Jews. All Jewish capital was to be handed over here, including jewellery, artwork, papers of value and immovable property. The Liro-bank managed Jewish capital in the amount of an estimated 3 to 4 hundred million guilders. The Nazi’s used this money to pay for the activities of the Jewish Council and for the construction and exploitation of the Camp Westerbork, among other things.
The Amsterdamsche Bank (the AMRO Bank as of 1964 and merged into ABN-AMRO Bank in 1990) returned to the building after the war. A major fraud case involving code accounts came to light in 1996. The special bank branch for the diamond trading sector was discontinued as a result. The building has accommodated the Theater Instituut (Theater Institute) since 2009.