This is the world-class writing desk, by Abraham Roentgen (c. 1758 - c. 1760) dating from 1758/60 - was once owned by the banker Dr Fritz Mannheimer in Amsterdam. And afterwards owned by Hitler.

This desk is the glorious high point of German furniture making - and it was star of the show in New York City, Metropolitan Museum of Art, winter 2012-2013 (see youtube movie below).


Drs Kees Kaldenbach


Online Menu of related Mannheimer articles

Outstanding art tours in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Specific Mannheimer tour in the Rijksmuseum by Drs Kaldenbach.

Updated better web site at



During the year 2014, I have carried out extensive archival and literature reserach into the life and the vast art collection of Dr Fritz Mannheimer, and quite surprisingly, a thrilling James Bond-like story has emerged. Dr Fritz Mannheimer was a German Jew who made his fortune in Amsterdam from the 1920s; he was the king of high finance in Europe and could float or break national banks at will. And he could not stop collecting art objects: Meissen porcelain, furniture, countless extremely high quality art objects and furniture from Germany, France, Russia...

An intricate situation developed when he went bankrupt and died in 1939. It turned out that he had not paid for the art objects with his private purse but with the money of the private bank of which he was managing director. In May, 1940 the Nazi leaders fought over who would posess the art treasure of 3000 objects and in the end Adolf Hitler exercized his "Fuehrervorbehalt" and obtained his collection for his future Linz museum, to be opened after the final victory of the Third Reich. Things developed differently, and after the downfall of the Third Reich in 1945 and recuperation the best part of the Mannheimer treasure ended up in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. An incredible treasure trove. I have finished a VERY large publication on Mannheimer and his treasure. And more internet publications which include archival finds.

When the Rijksmuseum opened up again after major refurbishment, I was exceptionally allowed with other Patrons to see this grand piece of furniture in the process of being entirely opened up. The Rijksmuseum always shows it safely - but not quite sexy - in a closed position - because visitors would be enthralled and often enticed to stretch the rules and start to play with the secret drawers and doors.

When you study the desk from close by you will see thet the first owner, Johann Philipp von Walderdorff, Archbishop and Elector of Trier, included a tiny christian cross in the design. A subsequent Jewish owner, perhaps Rothschild, had this cross carefully cut outby a cabinet maker and replaced by a non-religious image. The Rijksmuseum web site states: "This desk is the greatest showpiece ever made by Abraham Roentgen, the most famous German cabinetmaker of his time."


The desk being opened up is also presented in this short movie:

Full discussion page by the Rijksmuseum:

The image above is from the Rijksmuseum web site.

A movie made from opening another less spectacular Rolltop desk, at Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, is seen here:


(photo Kaldenbach, 2014).


(photo Kaldenbach, 2014).


(photo Kaldenbach, 2014).


(photo Kaldenbach, 2014).


These images above in large size are mine, and can be ordered for a fee.

Further reading and notes:

Updated 7 March, 2018.


Reaction, questions?

Drs. Kees Kaldenbach, art historian, Haarlemmermeerstraat 83hs, 1058 JS Amsterdam (near Surinameplein, ring road exit s106, streetcar tram 1 and 17).

Telephone 020 669 8119; cell phone 06 - 2868 9775. Menu of Kaldenbach tours

Open seven days a week.Third party testimonials about Drs Kaldenbach

Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel) number of / Lichaam & Ziel [ Body & Soul] is 3419 6612.

E mail esponses and bookings to art historian Drs. Kees Kaldenbach.

This page forms part of the 2000+ item Vermeer web site at

Launched March 3, 2008. 7 March, 2018.

An exceptional Rembrandt: Uyttenboogaard in the Rijksmuseum





Adriaen Coorte, by Quentin Buvelot, book & exhibition catalogue.
De Grote Rembrandt, door Gary Schwartz, boek.
Geschiedenis van Alkmaar, boek.
Carel Fabritius, Tentoonstellingscatalogus.
Frans van Mieris, Tentoonstellingscatalogus.
From Rembrandt to Vermeer, Grove Art catalogue, book.
Vermeer Studies, Congresbundel.
C. Willemijn Fock: Het Nederlandse interieur in beeld, boek.
Het Huwelijksgeschenk (1934), boek over de egoïstische vrouw, die haar luiheid botviert.
Zandvliet, 250 De Rijksten van de Gouden Eeuw , boek + nieuwe stippenplattegrond!
Ik doe wat ik doe, teksten van Lennaert Nijgh , boek + cd
Het Rotterdam Boek, boek.
Bouwen in Nederland 600 - 2000, boek.
Hollandse Stadsgezichten/ Dutch Cityscape, exhib. cat.
Zee van Land / over Hollandse Polders (NL) boek
Sea of Land / about Dutch Polders (English) book
A full article on the large portrait of the marvellous preacher Uytenboogaard.
Artikel over Uytenboogaerd, Nederlandse versie.
Geert Grote en het religieuze Andachtsbild
TEFAF 2008 art fair