The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family
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Bankers, philanthropists, scholars, socialites, artists, and politicians, the Warburgs stood at the pinnacle of German (and, later, of German-American) Jewry. They forged economic dynasties, built mansions and estates, assembled libraries, endowed charities, and advised a German kaiser and two American presidents. But their very success made the Warburgs lightning rods for anti-Semitism, and their sense of patriotism became increasingly dangerous in a Germany that had declared Jews the enemy.
Ron Chernow's hugely fascinating history is a group portrait of a clan whose members were renowned for their brilliance, culture, and personal energy yet tragically vulnerable to the dark and irrational currents of the twentieth century.
and lead them all down the primrose path. This mission would woefully complicate Jimmy’s relationship with Max, who had long been his favorite uncle and role model. Jimmy liked Max’s savoir-faire, preferring his red-blooded swagger to his father’s eternal caution. Max worked hard, played hard; earned much, spent much—a formula Jimmy would adopt. Yet Jimmy also shared Paul’s qualms about Max as a businessman and criticized his breakneck expansion. Jimmy would spend much of the year in Germany,
address to himself that began, “My dear gentlemen, dear Mr. Warburg!”53 The speech that followed was laced with suppressed anger and delivered in lightly mocking style. Addressing an imaginary Max Warburg, he said, “To our great regret, we have learned that you have decided to leave the board of the company and consider this decision irrevocable.”54 Max proceeded to catalogue his long service to the company. He told how he had smoothed over rough times between Ballin and the board. He told of his
firm, but Paul tipped the balance toward transparent Mittelweg dominance. When Moritz had first broached this a few years earlier, Paul was enamored of Théophilie’s cheerful daughter, Rosa. Moritz said not to worry, Paul would be her future son-in-law. “Théophilie got furious because according to her one thing had nothing to do with the other and apart from that she found it revolting that her daughter would marry her full cousin,” said Théophilie’s granddaughter.14 When Moritz insisted that an
the Joint had vied with the United Palestine Appeal (UPA) for charity dollars, the Joint being favored by the fat cats of Jewish philanthropy and the UPA by the Zionist masses. After Kristallnacht the two groups decided to stop bickering and merge their fund-raising into the United Jewish Appeal with Eddie leading its first fund drive in 1939. From 1950 to 1955 Eddie served as its president, helping to raise one billion dollars for the UJA, which became the principal source of American money for
dollars in Liberty Bonds. “The marketing of Liberty Loans and the procurement of capital for our infant war industries seemed his only concern,” said his son.46 Paul still tried to devise ways to end the conflict speedily. Like Max, he thought in terms of concessions that should be made to Germany, not by Germany. In August 1917, he told Colonel House that if only France would renounce claims to Alsace-Lorraine, reason would prevail in Germany and the military party would collapse. By virtue of