Guy de Rothchild Channeled by Karl Mollison 06Feb2022

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Guy de Rothchild Channeled by Karl Mollison 06 Feb 2022


Guy de Rothschild 21 May 1909 – 12 June 2007 was a French banker and member of the Rothschild family. He owned the bank Rothschild Frères from 1967 to 1979, when it was nationalized by the French government, and maintained possessions in other French and foreign companies including Imerys.

Baron Guy de Rothschild was born in Paris, the son of Baron Édouard de Rothschild (1868–1949) and his wife, the former Germaine Alice Halphen (1884–1975). He has three siblings. Guy’s elder brother, Édouard Alphonse Émile Lionel (1906–1911), died at the age of four of appendicitis; he also had two younger sisters, Jacqueline and Bethsabée.

Half of his great-grandparents were Rothschilds.

He was a great-great grandson of the German patriarch of the Rothschild family Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1743–1812), who founded the family’s banking in the 18th century in Frankfurt, Germany.

He grew up at his parents’ townhouse on the corner of the rue de Rivoli and the Place de la Concorde in Paris (a property once occupied by Talleyrand and now the United States Embassy) and their country estate at Château de Ferrières, 25 miles east of Paris. Château de Ferrières is a massive house built to a design by Joseph Paxton in the 1850s, based on Paxton’s earlier design of Mentmore Towers for Baron Mayer de Rothschild of the English branch of the Rothschild family.

He was educated at the Lycée Condorcet and Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris, and by private tutors. He undertook military service with the cavalry at Saumur, and played golf for France. He won the Grand Prix de Sud-Ouest in 1948.

Guy de Rothschild married twice: In 1937, he married a distant cousin, Baroness Alix Hermine Jeanette Schey de Koromla (1911–1982). Alix was the former wife of Kurt Krahmer and the younger daughter of Baron Philipp Schey von Koromla. They had one child, David René de Rothschild (born 1942). Rothschild also raised his wife’s daughters from her prior marriage to Krahmer, Lili and Bettina. They divorced in 1956.

In 1957, he married Baroness Marie-Hélène van Zuylen van Nyevelt (1927–1996). Marie-Hélène’s first marriage to Count François de Nicolay—with whom she had one son, Philippe de Nicolay—had been dissolved in 1956. Like his first wife, she was a distant cousin, though in this case, a Roman Catholic. They had one child, Baron Édouard de Rothschild (born 1957).

After his second marriage, Guy de Rothschild renovated the Château de Ferrières, using it to put on lavish balls in the early 1970s, before donating it to the University of Paris in 1975. The same year, he bought the Hôtel Lambert on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris, the top floors of which became his Paris residence.

In 1940, as a result of the German occupation of France in World War II, Guy de Rothschild’s parents and sister Bethsabée fled France and made their way to safety in New York City.

Guy de Rothschild had enlisted in the French Army and was a company commander in the 3rd Light Mechanised Division during the Battle of France in early 1940.

After fighting the Nazis at Carvin, he was part of the French Army that was forced to retreat to Dunkirk. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre for his actions on the beaches at Dunkirk, from where he was evacuated to England. He immediately returned to France, landing at Brest, and taking charge of the family’s office at La Bourboule, near Clermont-Ferrand.

Under the Vichy government, his father and uncles were stripped of their French nationality, removed from the register of the Légion d’honneur, and the family was forced to sell its possessions. Rothschild managed to persuade the buyers to grant options under which he would later be able to buy the family’s interests back.

He left France again, via Spain and Portugal, to join his parents in New York City. He joined the Free French Forces and boarded the cargo ship, Pacific Grove, to travel back to Europe. His ship was torpedoed and sunk in March 1943, and he was rescued after spending 12 hours in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. In England, he joined the staff of General Koenig at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force near Portsmouth.

Guy de Rothschild studied law at university then joined de Rothschild Frères in 1931 when it was being run by his father and a cousin, Robert de Rothschild, who died in 1946. As part of his learning to manage the family’s businesses, in 1933 he joined the executive board of their Northern Railway Company.

At the end of World War II, Guy de Rothschild returned to the bank’s offices at rue Laffitte in Paris in 1944. On his father’s death in 1949, Guy de Rothschild took formal control of the business. Years later, Rothschild was on the cover of the 20 December 1963 issue of TIME magazine in a story that said he took “over the family’s French bank during the disorder of war and defeat, changed its character from stewardship of the family fortune to expansive modern banking.”

Following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Guy de Rothschild served as a director of the Banque de France. On his father’s death, he also inherited part of Château Lafite-Rothschild but did not run it.

Georges Pompidou, who would later become President and Prime Minister of France, was recruited by Guy de Rothschild from a job as a teacher, and worked for him from 1953 to 1962, during which time he became the general manager of the Rothschild bank. The bank diversified, from investment management under De Rothschild Frères to the deposit-taking Banque de Rothschild, with branches throughout France. Guy was its president from 1968 to 1978. In 1968 Guy de Rothschild became a partner at N M Rothschild & Sons, London, while cousin Sir Evelyn de Rothschild was appointed a director of Banque Rothschild, Paris.

In 1950, Guy de Rothschild became the first president of the Fonds Social Juif Unifié (FSJU) (United Jewish Welfare Fund), a federation of about 200 Jewish social, educational, and cultural associations. He headed the FSJU until 1982 at which time his son, David, assumed its leadership. The FSJU played a large part in restructuring the French Jewish community following World War II. After marrying Marie-Hélène van Zuylen de Nyevelt de Haar, a Roman Catholic, in 1957 Guy felt compelled to resign the Presidency of the Jewish Consistory, the organization created in 1905 to represent French Jewry.

In 1975, Rothschild and his wife donated the Château de Ferrières to the University of Paris.

Widowed in 1996, Guy de Rothschild died in 2007.