Ephrussi family

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Palais Ephrussi at Vienna's Ringstraße (Universitätsring), opposite the Votivkirche, 2006
Palais Ephrussi, detail
5764 KER2063 C Recoura.jpg

The Ephrussi family (French pronunciation: ​[ɛfʁysi]) were a Russian Jewish banking and oil dynasty.[1]

Family members made their fortune controlling grain distribution beginning in Odessa (then Russian Empire, now Ukraine)[1] and later controlled large-scale oil resources across Crimea and the Caucasus. From 1856, members of the family established banking houses in Vienna, Paris, and Athens. By 1860 the family was the world’s largest grain exporter.[1] The Austrian branch of the family were elevated to the nobility by the Habsburg emperor.

During the 19th century, the family possessed vast wealth, owning many castles, palaces, and estates in Europe. The family were known for their connoisseurship, intellectual interests, and their huge collections of art.[2]

The family's bank and properties were seized by the Nazis after the March 1938 German annexation of Austria.[1]

The family name is considered to be a variation of "Ephrati", a Jewish family name attested in various countries since the 14th Century and still current in present-day Israel, in this case transformed through the Ashkenazi pronunciation (Ephrati-Ephrassi-Ephrussi).[3]

Notable members of the Ephrussi include:

Properties included:

Other Ephrussi[edit]

The Hare with Amber Eyes[edit]

The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010) is a family memoir of the Ephrussi family by British ceramicist Edmund de Waal, whose grandmother was Elisabeth Ephrussi of that family (see above).


  1. ^ a b c d 'Hare' chronicles unheard of Jewish family, The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh (6 September 2011)
  2. ^ De Waal, Edmund (2010). The Hare with Amber Eyes. Chatto & Windus. ISBN 0-7011-8417-5. 
  3. ^ Dan Rottenberg, "Finding our fathers: a guidebook to Jewish genealogy", 1986 [1]
  4. ^ Grand fortunes: dynasties of wealth in France, (Algora Publishing, 1998), By Michel Pinçon, Monique Pinçon-Charlot, Andrea Lyn Secara, page 124