Portrait: Rothschild family

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Portrait

Coat of arms of the Rothschild family

Coat of arms of the Rothschild family

The Rothschild family is a wealthy family descending from Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a court Jew to the German Landgraves of Hesse-Kassel, in the Free City of Frankfurt, who established his banking business in the 1760s in Judengasse. Unlike most previous court Jews, Rothschild managed to bequeath his wealth and established an international banking family through his five sons, who established themselves in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, and Naples. During the 19th century, the Rothschild family possessed the largest private fortune in the world, as well as the largest private fortune in modern world history. The family’s wealth was divided among various descendants. Today, Rothschild business encompass a diverse range of fields, including financial services, real estate, mining, energy, mixed farming, wine and charities. The name of Rothschild became synonymous with extravagance and great wealth; and, the family was renowned for its art collecting, for its palaces, as well as for its philanthropy. By the end of the century, the family owned, or had built, at the lowest estimates, over 41 palaces (Le Goût Rothschild), of a scale and luxury perhaps unparalleled even by the richest royal families. The British Chancellor of the Exchequer Lloyd George claimed, in 1909, that Lord Nathan Rothschild was the most powerful man in Britain.

Jewish solidarity in the family was not homogeneous. Many Rothschilds were supporters of Zionism, while other members of the family opposed the creation of the Jewish state. Lord Victor Rothschild was against granting asylum or helping Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. In 1917 Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild was the addressee of the Balfour Declaration to the Zionist Federation, which committed the British government to the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. After the death of James Jacob de Rothschild in 1868, his eldest son Alphonse Rothschild took over the management of the family bank and was the most active in support for Eretz Israel. The Rothschild family archives show that during the 1870s the family contributed nearly 500,000 francs per year on behalf of Eastern Jewry to the Alliance Israélite Universelle. Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, youngest son of James Jacob de Rothschild, was a patron of the first settlement in Palestine at Rishon-LeZion, and bought from Ottoman landlords parts of the land which now makes up present-day Israel. In 1924, he established the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association (PICA), which acquired more than 125,000 acres (50,586 ha) of land and set up business ventures. The Rothschilds also played a significant part in the funding of Israel’s governmental infrastructure. James A. de Rothschild financed the Knesset building as a gift to the State of Israel and the Supreme Court of Israel building was donated to Israel by Dorothy de Rothschild. Outside the President’s Chamber is displayed the letter Mrs. Rothschild wrote to the then current Prime Minister Shimon Peres expressing her intention to donate a new building for the Supreme Court. Interviewed by Haaretz in 2010, Baron Benjamin Rothschild, a Swiss-based member of the banking family, said that he supported the peace process:

“I understand that it is a complicated business, mainly because of the fanatics and extremists – and I am talking about both sides. I think you have fanatics in Israel… In general I am not in contact with politicians. I spoke once with Netanyahu. I met once with an Israeli finance minister, but the less I mingle with politicians the better I feel.”

Château de Mouton-Rothschild © Jack ma/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Degser/cc-by-sa-3.0 Hotel Villa Rothschild © Karsten11 Rothschild family home in Frankfurt Judengasse © Nikelaos Coat of arms of the Rothschild family Frankfurt - Old Jewisch Cemetery - Grave stone of Mayer Amschel Rothschild © Genealogist/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Frankfurt - Old Jewisch Cemetery - Grave stone of Mayer Amschel Rothschild © Genealogist/cc-by-sa-3.0
Since the late-19th century, the family has taken a low-key public profile, donating many famous estates, as well as vast quantities of art, to charity, and generally eschewing conspicuous displays of wealth. Today, Rothschild businesses are on a smaller scale than they were throughout the 19th century, although they encompass a diverse range of fields, including: real estate, financial services, wine and charities.

The Rothschild Group
Since 2003, a group of Rothschild banks have been controlled by Rothschild Continuation Holdings, a Swiss-registered holding company (under the chairmanship of Baron David René de Rothschild). Rothschild Continuation Holdings is in turn controlled by Concordia BV, a Dutch-registered master holding company. Concordia BV is managed by Paris Orléans S.A., a French-registered holding company. Paris Orléans S.A. is ultimately controlled by Rothschild Concordia SAS, a Rothschild’s family holding company. Rothschild & Cie Banque controls Rothschild banking businesses in France and continental Europe, while Rothschilds Continuation Holdings AG controls a number of Rothschild banks elsewhere, including N M Rothschild & Sons in London. Twenty percent of Rothschild Continuation Holdings AG was sold in 2005 to Jardine Strategic, which is a subsidiary of Jardine, Matheson & Co. of Hong Kong. In November 2008, Rabobank Group, the leading investment and private bank in the Netherlands, acquired 7.5% of Rothschild Continuation Holdings AG, and Rabobank and Rothschild entered into a co-operation agreement in the fields of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisory and equity capital markets advisory in the food and agribusiness sectors. It was believed that the move was intended to help Rothschild Continuation Holdings AG gain access to a wider capital pool, enlarging its presence in East Asian markets. Paris Orléans S.A. is a financial holding company listed on Euronext Paris and controlled by the French and English branch of the Rothschild family. Paris Orléans is the flagship of the Rothschild banking Group and controls the Rothschild Group’s banking activities including N M Rothschild & Sons and Rothschild & Cie Banque. It has over 2,000 employees. Directors of the company include Eric de Rothschild, Robert de Rothschild and Count Philippe de Nicolay. N M Rothschild & Sons, an English investment bank, does most of its business as an advisor for mergers and acquisitions. In 2004, the investment bank withdrew from the gold market, a commodity the Rothschild bankers had traded in for two centuries. In 2006, it ranked second in UK M&A with deals totalling $104.9 billion. In 2006, the bank recorded a pre-tax annual profit of £83.2 million with assets of £5.5 billion.

Edmond de Rothschild Group
In 1953, one Swiss member of the family, Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild (1926–1997), founded the LCF Rothschild Group (now Edmond de Rothschild Group) which is based in Geneva, which today extends to 15 countries across the world. Although this Group is primarily a financial entity, specializing in asset management and private banking, its activities also cover mixed farming, luxury hotels and yacht racing. Edmond de Rothschild Group‘s committee is currently being chaired by Benjamin de Rothschild, Baron Edmond’s son. In late 2010, Baron Benjamin Rothschild said that the family had been unaffected by the financial crisis of 2007–2010, due to their conservative business practices: “We came through it well, because our investment managers did not want to put money into crazy things.” He added that the Rothschilds were still a small-scale, traditional family business and took greater care over their clients’ investments than American companies, adding: “The client knows we will not speculate with his money”. Edmond de Rothschild Group includes these companies:

RIT Capital Partners
In 1980, Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild resigned from N M Rothschild & Sons and took independent control of Rothschild Investment Trust (now RIT Capital Partners, a British investment trust), which has reported assets of $3.4 billion in 2008. It is listed on London Stock Exchange. Lord Rothschild is also one of the major investors behind BullionVault, a gold trading platform. RIT Capital stores a significant proportion of its assets in the form of physical gold. Other assets include oil and energy-related investments.

Wine
The Rothschild family has been in the winemaking industry for 150 years. In 1853 Nathaniel de Rothschild purchased Château Brane-Mouton and renamed it Château Mouton Rothschild. In 1868, James Mayer de Rothschild purchased the neighbouring Château Lafite and renamed it Château Lafite Rothschild. Today, the Rothschild family owns many wine estates: their estates in France include Château Clarke, Château de Malengin, Château Clerc-Milon, Château d’Armailhac, Château Duhart-Milon, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château de Laversine, Château des Laurets, Château L’Évangile, Château Malmaison, Château de Montvillargenne, Château Mouton Rothschild, Château de la Muette, Château Rieussec and Château Rothschild d’Armainvilliers. They also own wine estates across North America, South America, South Africa and Australia.

Art and charity
The family once had one of the largest private art collections in the world, and a significant proportion of the art in the world’s public museums are Rothschild donations which were sometimes, in the family tradition of discretion, donated anonymously.

Read more on Wikipedia Rothschild family (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.


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