Asscher Diamond Factory

Tolstraat 127

At number 127 Tolstraat stands the Asscher Diamond Factory , built in 1907 to a design by architect G. van Arkel (1858-1919), who also designed the Diamond Exchange on Weesperplein. The factory employees lived nearby, their addresses bearing names to conjure with - Diamond Street, Emerald Street, Sapphire Street. The Royal Asscher Diamond Company, founded in 1854, had earned an international reputation by the early 20th century.

Asscher Diamond FactoryShortly after the opening of the Tolstraat factory, the brothers Abraham and Joseph Asscher received a request from the British monarch to cut the enormous Cullinan diamond. The two parts of this jewel, known as Cullinan 1 and 2, are now set in a crown and sceptre which are part of the British Crown Jewels, to be seen in the Tower of London.

As employer, Abraham Asscher (1880-1950) held completely opposite ideas to those of Henri Polak, chair of the General Dutch Diamond Workers' Union (ANDB); the two would have dealings about the workers' conditions. But they got on well together. Polak once said, 'If Abie and I agree to something, we don't need to draw up a contract, everyone sticks to their word.'

Abraham Asscher was also actively involved in many Jewish organizations, and was a conservative politician. During World War II, together with Professor David Cohen, he was in charge of the Jewish Council, which was set up under the German occupiers. The first meeting of the Jewish Council was held in his office on Tolstraat, on 13 February 1941. Today the Asscher Diamond Factory occupies no more than a couple of floors in one of the building's side wings. These rooms are not open to the public.


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