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Guy Edouard Alphonse Paul de Rothschild (1909-2007)

Baron Guy Edouard Alphonse Paul de Rothschild was born 21 May 1909, the second son of Edouard Alphonse James de Rothschild (1868-1949) and Germaine Alice née Halphen (1884-1975).  He was educated at Lycées Condorcet et Louis le Grand, Facultés de Droit et des Lettres, France.  He married, firstly, Alix Hermine Jeanette Schey von Koromla in 1937, by who he had a son, David (b.1942).  He and Alix were divorced by 1957 when he married, secondly, Marie Hélène Naila Stephanie Josina van Zuylen de Nyevelt, by whom he had a son, Edouard (b.1957).  

He fought in the Second World War and was decorated with the award of the Croix de Guerre.  He was also decorated with the award of the Chevalier du Mérite Agricole in 1948 and in 1959 he was decorated with the award of the Officer, Legion of Honour.  

Guy joined Associé de MM de Rothschild Frères in 1936, serving until 1967. He was President of the Banque Rothschild between 1968 and 1978. He was also president of the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer du Nord between 1949 and 1968, and president of the Societé Imétal between 1975 and 1979.  He wrote a book The Whims of Fortune, published in 1985.

Guy was also a well-known and respected Jewish philanthropist. In 1950, he founded the United Jewish Fund (UJF), a federation of about 200 Jewish social, educational, and cultural associations.  He headed the UJF until 1982 at which time his son, David, assumed its leadership.  The UJF played a large part in restructuring the French Jewish community following World War II.  After marrying Marie-Hélène van Zuylen de Nyevelt de Haar, a Roman Catholic, in 1957 Guy felt compelled to resign the Presidency of the Jewish Consistory, the organization created in 1905 to represent French Jewry.

Under Marie-Hélène’s influence, Guy restored the Château de Ferrières, the country home where he had been raised and gained new prominence in the Paris social scene.  Extravagant costume balls and dinners were often held at the Château de Ferrières.  Salvador Dali himself attended the Surrealist Ball at the couple’s country home.  In 1975, Guy donated the Château de Ferrières to the University of Paris and bought the Hôtel Lambert at the tip of the Île Saint-Louis.

He died on 12 June 2007 at age 98.