Memorial plaque for James Simon
The cousins James Simon (1851-1932) and Dr. Eduard Simon (1864-1929) were second-generation owners of the textile trading company Gebr. Simon, which was one of the largest trading houses in the German Empire. They belonged to the so-called “Kaiserjuden”, a group of assimilated upper middle-class Jews living in the Tiergarten district, who had achieved great prosperity in the Empire and struggled for recognition by the majority society through social commitment and patronage. Their passion was art, which they demonstrated by displaying their collections in their villas. Both were advised by Wilhelm von Bode and donated large sums to the Royal Museums. James Simon also donated numerous important works, including the bust of Nefertiti, and he financed excavation campaigns. In the 1920s, Gebr. Simon fell into economic difficulties, which meant that James Simon had to sell his villa in the Tiergarten district in 1927.