Baron Louis de Rothschild, head of the Austrian branch of the famous banking family, who was arrested by the Nazi authorities shortly after annexation of Austria in March, 1938, and held for a reported ransom of $10,000,000 has reached a refuge in Switzerland, it was learned on unimpeachable authority today. Details of Baron Rothschild’s release and his exact whereabouts were not immediately ascertained.
The banker was one of the first wealthy Jews arrested after Austro-German Anschluss. It was announced that he would be held until he made good the losses of the Kredit Anstalt, the largest bank in Austria until it failed in 1931, of which Baron Rothschild had been president. He had contributed more than $10,000,000 of his private fortune toward the bank’s reconstruction and then retired from its presidency, but the Nazi authorities nevertheless declared the settlement illegal and reopened the case.
Baron Rothschild was held under close guard in Vienna’s Hotel Metropole, which had been transformed into headquarters of the Gestapo (Nazi secret police), and he was said to have been lodged in a room near Dr. Kurt Schuschnigg, pre-Anschluss Chancellor of Austria. He was apparently being held in the hope that his family abroad would put up the money to obtain his release.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.