WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THAT MONEY?

BLOG  494

NOVEMBER  16,  2020

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THAT MONEY?

There’s an important street in Tel Aviv named Rothchild Avenue because the Rothchild family made a substantial donation when the city was founded in 1923. For centuries the world has known that the Rothchild name stands for one of the most significant bankers in European history. The success of the Rothchild family somewhat fueled the unfortunate myth that all Jews were wealthy. Today, people often wonder what has become of their wealth.

Here’s a recent development.

A member of the Rothschild banking dynasty has claimed victory in the first stage of a legal battle against Vienna over a family trust that was seized by the Nazis during World War II and then appropriated by the Austrian city.  Unfortunately, Vienna has always been known  as a highly anti-Semitic  city and is basically so to this day.

Geoffrey Hoguet’s suit revolves around a foundation set up in 1907 with the funds of his great-great uncle Nathaniel Freiherr von Rothschild who left the equivalent of about 100 million euros ($110 million) when he died in 1905 to provide psychiatric help for the needy.

Hoguet, a 69-year-old New York investor, is accusing Vienna of appropriating the foundation in breach of its founder’s will and “perpetuating” Nazi-era laws. He only  dscovered the foundation’s existence in 2018.

A court has backed Hoguet in an early stage of the legal fight, the Guardian  newspaper  (Manchester, England) reported  Saturday, stating that the city of Vienna has a conflict of interest over the foundation’s finances and that therefore the charity must be represented by an independent figure in the legal proceedings.  “The decision is an important first stage win in our legal battle with the city of Vienna to correct the course of Nazi-era injustices endured until today,” Hoguet told the newspaper. “In doing so the court recognizes the improprieties conducted by the city of Vienna since the Nazi usurpation of that foundation in 1938.”

Hoguet additionally called on officials in Vienna to “reinstate an independent governing board for the foundation and return the Nazi booty to serve its purpose as dedicated by my family.” At stake is, among others, a neurological hospital dating from 1912 whose elegant period architecture makes it stand out in a 230-hectare (300-acres) park on the capital’s outskirts.

The dispute recasts the spotlight on Austria’s ambivalent relationship with the Jewish banking family, whose history goes hand-in-hand with the former Hapsburg Empire’s financial and commercial success. “The history of the Rothschilds has been repressed” from Vienna’s collective memory, said Austrian historian Roman Sandgruber, who authored a 2018 book on the history of the Rothschilds’.

Vienna has not done well in these legal struggles that are a residue of World War II. And neither has the great city’s reputation.  

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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