This article will be integrated in the article Jewish Litmus Test: Ludwig von Mises.
Serving the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers
One additional reason why Mises never liked to identify Jews and especially Jewish bankers could be the fact that the Mises family included many prominent bankers. In fact, they seemed to be fronts for the Rothschilds. Hulsmann downplays this but unlike Mises and Rothbard still reveals the basic facts:
The deal must have gone well, for in 1860, Abraham [Mises’ granduncle] accepted a position as director of Credit-Anstalt’s [Rothschild bank] new Lemberg branch office. (Biography, p. 15)
Mises was obviously bred and educated to become a banker, an ally and front for the Rothschilds like his ancestors. Therefore it is not surprising that the Rothschilds offered Mises an important position in their flag ship bank Credit Anstalt. However, Mises had realized that fractional reserve banking was about to crash. Even the biggest banks were not safe. So Mises refused the position. Margit explains:
One day Lu told me he had been offered a high position at the Credit Anstalt, the foremost banking institution in Vienna, but that he had decided not to accept it. When I asked him the reason for his refusal, he told me that a great “crash” would be coming and that he did not want his name in any· way connected with it.
He preferred to write and teach. “If you want a rich man, he told me, don’t marry me. I am not interested in earning money. I am writing about money, but will never have much of my own.”
I did not need to assure him how I felt. When the stock market crashed in New York in October, 1929, the effect was worldwide. An international depression followed, world trade was seriously affected, and in 1931, on May 11, the Austrian Credit Anstalt went into bankruptcy, exactly as Lu had told me beforehand. (My years, p. 30)
Mises’ refusal to help Rothschilds and the Jewish bankers in general must have enraged not only his family but also the Rothschilds. But Mises was determined not to help the inherently fraudulent banking system. On the other hand he would not reveal the utterly weak state of the Jewish banks either. Mises was still loyal to the Jews but he would not be the fall guy.
Neither would he be the pawn of dynastic policy. He hated the idea of arranged marriages. This naturally shocked his whole family who expected Mises to marry well and take the dynastic alliance into the next level. The dream, of course, was to some day make a direct family alliance with the Rothschilds. Mises’ mother Adele was busy trying to find as suitable candidates as possible for her two sons. Rothbard and Hulsmann say nothing about this but Margit tells us an interesting story:
Once he [Mises] chided me: “If you would not have been, I could have married a very rich heiress.” “Why didn’t you?” I asked him. “We both would have lived happily ever after.” He rejected both my flippancy and my proposal. (My years, p. 27. Emphasis added.)
Hulsmann gives us a further hint:
Mises’s own private seminar started on November 26, 1919 with a talk by Elisabeth Ephrussi on Carver’s theory of interest. (Biography, p. 365)
Starting his own seminar was a very important event for Mises. Letting a woman give the very first talk was in those days very strange especially since the 20-year old Elisabeth Ephrussi was no great intellectual. But it was a great honor. For Mises. It signaled that not only one of the greatest heiresses of all Europe but also the mighty Rothschild-Ephrussi family was hands-on supporting Mises.
The Ephrussi family was truly legendary. They were the Rothschilds of the East who started their trading and banking empire in Odessa, Russia and then expanded to Paris and Vienna. They intermarried with the Rothschilds and built many palaces the most famous of which is Palais Ephrussi in Vienna. It was located on the most expensive location on the famous boulevard Ringstrasse. In fact, opposite to the Vienna university where Mises was teaching.
Hulsmann downplays these dynastic connections and buries the clincher in a footnote.
Footnote 61: See Mises Archive 17:37. Ephrussi was probably the heiress to the Ephrussi Bank. Margit von Mises mentions Ludwig’s occasional joking remark that he could have married a rich heiress had he not met Margit. He was probably referring to Elisabeth Ephrussi. See Margit von Mises, My Years with Ludwig von Mises, p. 19. (Biography, p. 365. Emphasis added.)
The way Margit told the story it was no joke. And Elisabeth Ephrussi giving the first talk is also revealing. Elisabeth was probably very infatuated with the handsome and highly intelligent Mises who had returned from the war as a captain. Not only an officer and a gentleman but also a young professor. And from a good Jewish family. It looked like the perfect Jewish dynastic alliance. Adele’s dream was coming true.
But then something happened. Many people must know. It must have been the talk of the town. Or at least the Jewish part of the town. We do not know the details but we do know Mises had no desire to be a father. Tidy axiomatic theories were much more interesting than messy home life with children. Adele was exasperated. His son was not only throwing away the perfect alliance but refusing to continue the line!
There was probably also one other reason why Mises’ was not that enthusiastic about Elisabeth. She wasn’t exactly a great beauty and she had a temperament. She would probably have been the boss of the family.
But Adele was not going to give up. Elisabeth was still very young. She might wait for Mises to come to his senses. Indeed, Elisabeth remained single despite many very enthusiastic suitors. For years she continued to take part in Mises’ seminar and finished her doctorate in economics. Maybe she waited for Mises. There was still hope. But then Mises met the petite and stunningly beautiful Margit Herzfeld. Even better, she had a pleasant disposition. They hardly ever had any fights. She understood absolutely nothing about science and economics but it didn’t matter. First time in his life Mises was truly in love.
Adele would not have it. Margit was a Jewess but a crypto who had deserted her family religion and traditions. Even worse – if possible – she was an actress. And the worst part was that she was a widow who did not want to have more children! A true nightmare for Adele.
Probably Adele soon found out that Margit was also bending the truth. A lot. She claimed to be 29 but was really 35 years old. Hulsmann explains:
[Margit] lied about her age, claiming to be six years younger than she really was. Even on her gravestone, the birth year is incorrectly given as 1896. Her correct birth year is stated, in her marriage certificate as well as in U.S. immigration paperwork, as 1890 (see the 1941 U.S. “Affidavit of Identity and Nationality;” a copy is in Grove City Archive: Mexico 1942 files). (Biography, p. 518)
Not only Adele but the whole family seems to have forbidden Mises to marry Margit. Hulsmann notes “the shadow” of the mother.
He [Mises] often came to the Austrian capital in the middle of the week, for one or two days. Whenever he was in Vienna, he visited with Margit. She was still waiting for him; he could not make his mind up about proposing. For another three years, their love could not get out from under the shadow of his mother. (Biography, p.684)
Adele had forbid Mises from marrying Margit but despite this he still lived with her mother another 15 years well into his fifties. Rothbard and Hulsmann do not attempt to explain this strange behavior but Margit mentions how perplexed she was about all this:
I never really understood why Lu stayed with his mother until he left for Geneva. There was no financial reason for it. The only explanation I could find was that his mother’s household was running smoothly-their two maids had been with them for about twenty years-and Lu could come and go whenever it pleased him and could concentrate on his work without being disturbed. There certainly was no inner need for him to stay with her. (My Years, p. 25)
Margit had to wait well over 10 years until Adele died.
Adele von Mises suffered only for a few days. She died on April 18, 1937 and was buried four days later in the presence of her sons. Ludwig had been very close to her—so close that she was an obstacle to marriage with Margit. Now the gates were open for this union. (Biography, p. 708)
Mises married Margit in 1938 and one year later Elisabeth married her first and only husband, Hendrik de Waal.
Margit notes that the over 10 year waiting period seems to have been so painful for Ludwig that he could never talk about it. In fact, Ludwig totally refused to talk about their past together.
But there was one thing about him that I never understood and still don’t understand. From the day of our marriage he never talked about our past. If I reminded him now and then of something, he cut me short. It was as if he had put the past in a trunk, stored it in the attic, and thrown away the key.
In thirty-five years of marriage he never, never-not with a single word-referred to our life together during the thirteen years before our marriage. As the past was part of my life, part of the person I became, I could not forget. His silence about the past remains in my mind like a crossword puzzle that one cannot solve because one needed letter is missing. (My Years, p. 43)
Perhaps the missing letter is J as Jews. Mises had been under tremendous pressure to fulfill his dynastic duties. But he would not budge. He would not directly work for the Rothschilds nor would he marry into their network. He was his own man. But he was not disloyal. He never disobeyed his mother and he would never criticize the Rothschilds.
The strategic position of the Mises-Landau family was so central that they most certainly were also running a Jewish intelligence and terrorist network on the Russian side. This network probably also included the family of Rose Friedman as noted in the article on Milton Friedman. It probably linked with the network of the Ephrussi family who together with the Rothschilds were financing Stalin and other terrorists in Russia. The network might well have also included Trotsky’s banker family from Odessa. Rothbard’s maternal family might also have been part of this Jewish Rothschild-Ephrussi-Mises network. In fact, Rothbard might have been Ephrussi himself!
The fact is that Rothbard refused to tell about his ancestors. But two years ago the Mises Institute came into possession of an autobiographical essay written while Murray was still a high school student. He tells about his mother’s family but curiously fails to name names. For some reason he took them to his grave and nobody seems to have studied the subject.
My mother’s background, though different, is just as colorful. Her family abounded in the traditions and characteristics of the old Russian aristocracy. My grandmother’s family, especially, had reached the highest pinnacle that the Jews in Czarist Russia could have achieved, One ancestor founded the railroads in Russia, one was a brilliant lawyer, another was a prominent international banker; in short, my mother’s family was raised in luxury and wealth. (Emphasis added.)
The Ephrussis had reached the highest pinnacle that the Jews in Czarist Russia could have achieved. They helped found the railroads in Russia and they were prominent international bankers. It is difficult to find any other Jewish family that would fit Rothbard’s description. Was Rothbard an Ephrussi? Or was he just exaggerating? Or had her mother just told him made-up stories about her life in Russia?
Perhaps revealingly Rothbard never wrote a word about the Ephrussis. Even in his Mises biography he went out of his way to avoid mentioning Ephrussis in general and Elisabeth Ephrussi in particular. Even when telling about the female participants of the Mises seminar Rothbard left out Elisabeth.
The number of devoted women members of the Mises seminar was remarkable for that era in Europe. Helene Lieser, later for many years Secretary of the International Economic Association in Paris, was the first woman to attain a doctorate in the social sciences in Austria. Ilse Mintz was the daughter of economist Richard Schüller, a student of Menger’s and permanent Undersecretary of Trade (later at the New School for Social Research.) Ilse Mintz later emigrated to America and worked at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and taught at Columbia University. Other leading women members were Marianne von Herzfeld and Martha Stephanie Braun (Browne), who later taught at Brooklyn College and New York University. (Scholar, p. 39-40. Emphasis added.)
Why was not Elisabeth a “leading woman member” or “a devoted woman member” of the Mises’ seminar? Did Rothbard just forget the most famous female member of the Mises seminar?
If Rothbard really was related to the Ephrussi family it would certainly have created many interesting discussions between Mises and Rothbard. They could even have been in-laws if Mises had married Elisabeth. World is a small place. Or at least the world of the Jewish intellectuals.