Cologne Cathedral and 'The Jews'-The Solomon window

In the nineteenth century, Cologne Cathedral became the landmark of the city and the Rhineland and a national monument.

This explains why Jewish citizens contributed financially to its completion from 1842 onwards. The Oppenheims, a Jewish banking family, in particular gave considerable sums of money towards the completion of the cathedral and donated several items for it. Four windows alone bear the name 'Oppenheim'. These windows all feature—as might be expected for a donation from a Jewish family—figures from the Old Testament. Simon von Oppenheim (1803–1880) and his wife Henriette Obermayer (1812–1885) celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in the year the cathedral was completed (1880). To mark the occasion, they donated a large four-lancet window to the cathedral. The figures in the window were designed by glass painter Michael Welter. The first two lancets show the Old Testament kings Josiah and Jehoshaphat, each beneath a baldachin and above a shield. On one of the shields is the coat of arms of the Oppenheim family; in the other the words 'Baron Simon von Oppenheim, dated 1880'. Texts beneath the coats of arms explain the reason for the donation. The coat of arms and name of Henriette Obermayer appear in other two lancets and include, among other figures, King Solomon, who gave the entire window its name.

The Solomon window is part of a series of windows that was created in the nineteenth century for the clerestory in the nave and transept. The intention here was to pick up on and continue the medieval Cycle of Kings in the choir. While the panels in these windows containing figures were removed during the Second World War, the ornamental panels did not survive the hostilities. Reconstructed according to original plans, the Solomon window was re-installed in 2005. The associated costs were borne by the Sal. Oppenheim bank, which ceased trading in 2018.
Joachim Oepen

KulturstiftungDombau Verein