H/T SodaHead for the historically accurate photo above
This Friday George Soros will be celebrating his 81st birthday. Soros, a man of incredible wealth and influence intrigues me. How does someone of this magnitude become who he is? What were his early influences? What shaped his world view? Let’s find out . . .
George Schwartz was born in Budapest, Hungary to Tivadar and Erzabet Schwartz. The family changed their last name to Soros in 1936 to avoid growing anti-semitism. Tivadar was a proponent of Esperanto — an easy to learn, politically neutral language. “Soros” means “will soar” in Esperanto.
In 1944 the Nazis occupied Budapest. George was 13. His father, having survived as a prisoner of war in WW1, could see what the future held for Jews and planned for his family’s survival by evading Nazi detection. He obtained false identities for his four family members and arranged for them to be separated. George now became known as Sandor Kiss and lived with an employee of the Ministry of Agriculture, Baumbach, who was paid to hide him.
In the period shortly before the family separated George was conscripted to play a role in rounding up Jews in Budapest. He worked as a courier for the Jewish Council, along with other Jewish children, delivering notices informing Jews that they were being registered for deportation. While under Baumbach’s care George accompanied him on assignment to take inventory of an affluent Jewish man’s estate who fled to Lisbon. He witnessed horrific acts towards Jews in Budapest, including seeing bodies hanging from lampposts with notes attached threatening Jews who may be hiding. By 1945, after the Soviets defeated the Nazis in Hungary, the Soros family reunited.
Of this time Soros has said: “It was actually probably the happiest year of my life, that year of German occupation. For me, it was a very positive experience. It’s a strange thing because you see incredible suffering around you and the fact you are in considerable danger yourself. But you’re 14 years old and you don’t believe that it can actually touch you. You have a belief in yourself. You have a belief in your father. It’s a very happy-making exhilarating experience.” He has also been quoted as saying that he has “carried some rather potent messianic fantasies with me from childhood, which I felt I had to control, otherwise they might get me in trouble.”
These events are foundational to understand the George Soros of today. They provide the motivation for his behavior and philosophy. We will explore this more in future installments.
By the way, do you know which contemporary of Soros didn’t celebrate her 82nd birthday this year? Anne Frank. A week before George turned 14 Anne’s family was betrayed and captured by the Gestapo in Amsterdam.
Two young Jews, hiding in Nazi occupied Europe, who eventually influenced the world.
“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness.” – Anne Frank
“I admit that I have always harbored an exaggerated view of self-importance―to put it bluntly, I fancied myself as some kind of god or an economic reformer like Keynes or, even better, a scientist like Einstein.” – George Soros
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