Ephrussi family

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Palais Ephrussi on Vienna's Ringstraße (Universitätsring), opposite the Votivkirche, 2006
Villa Ephrussi on the French Riviera, 2011

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

History[edit]

The progenitor, Charles Joachim Ephrussi (1792–1864), from Berdichev, made a fortune controlling grain distribution beginning in the free port of Odessa (then Russian Empire, now Ukraine)[1] and later controlled large-scale oil resources across Crimea and the Caucasus. By 1860, the family was the world’s largest grain exporter.[1]

Charles Joachim's eldest son, Leonid (d. 1877), founded a bank in Odessa, while his brother Ignaz (1829–1899) moved to the Austrian capital, Vienna, where he established the Ephrussi & Co. banking house in 1856. In 1872, he was elevated to the noble rank of Ritter by Habsburg emperor Franz Joseph I. In 1871, Leonid, together with his younger half-brothers Michel (1845–1914) and Maurice Ephrussi (1849–1916), founded a branch in Paris, followed by subsidiaries in London and Athens.

During the 19th century, the family possessed vast wealth and owned many castles, palaces, and estates in Europe. The family members were known for their connoisseurship, intellectual interests, and their huge collections of art.[2] Leonid's son Charles Ephrussi (1849–1905), a well-known art historian, collector and editor, became a model for the character of Charles Swann in Marcel Proust's novel In Search of Lost Time.

The family's bank and properties were seized by the Nazi authorities after the 1938 Anschluss annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany.[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, transformed through the Ashkenazi pronunciation (Ephrati–Ephrassi–Ephrussi).[3]

Notable members[edit]

Notable members of the Ephrussi family include:

Properties[edit]

81 rue de Monceau, Paris

Notable properties of the family 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.

References[edit]

  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. ^ Rottenberg, Dan (1986). Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy. Genealogical.
  4. ^ https://www.embl.de/research/units/dev_biology/ephrussi/members/index.php?s_personId=CP-60003271
  5. ^ Pinçon, Michel; Pinçon-Charlot, Monique; Secara, Andrea Lyn (1998). Grand Fortunes: Dynasties of Wealth in France. Algora. p. 124. ISBN 0-9646073-5-2.