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Emil Bacher, Hungarian Jewish King of Flour Industry, Dies in Prison

October 21, 1926
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(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Emil Bacher, king of the Hungarian flour industry and one of the largest mill owners in Europe, died of apoplexy behind prison bars, where he found himself as a result of his attempt to compete with the Chicago Wheat Exchange.

Bacher, who was 71 years old, was arrested last June on the charge of speculation, following rumors which reached his London creditors that his concern, comprising 27 giant mills and famous for many years as the outstanding flour mills in Europe, was about to be declared insolvent. To prevent damage to Hungarian credit abroad, the Hungarian government proclaimed Bacher’s mills under state control. Prior to his downfall, Bacher accepted a credit of £ 500,000 in his attempt to fight the Chicago Wheat Exchange, having formed the opinion that the Chicago Exchange was raising the price of wheat in Europe. In this fight which lasted less than a year, Bacher lost his colossal fortune; which he had taken fifty years to amass.

When the rumor reached London that Bacher had lost his fortune, the demand that the British advances be paid was presented. Bacher submitted to the Hungarian government all his private investments abroad in order to meet the obligations. At the same time the public prosecutor of Budapest was ordered to arrest the aged merchant on the charge of having paid too high a rate of interest on his monies and having failed to consult the other directors of the company.

Emil Bacher was a son of the Hebrew writer, Bacher, who translated the German classics into Hebrew. During his entire career he was considered one of the richest men of Hungary and one of the Strongest leaders in Hungarian economic life. All his large business transactions were carried on with his own capital and he enjoyed the reputation of never having borrowed money from any one.

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