Weiss, Manfred

Hungarian Industrialist

A Polish-born Jew who immigrated to Hungary after World War I and established a sprawling industrial, commercial and banking empire named Csepel. The enterprise encompassed over eighty companies engaged in the manufacture of steel, arms, automotive, aircraft, building materials, chemicals, lumber, shipping, and trading with offices in major European capitals.

The Weiss family with close to eighty members including industry leaders such as Chorin, Mautner, Billitz and others, were the dominant industrial-business and banking family in Hungary, compared to the Rockefeller family in the United States. With one swoop and stroke of a pen, Becher ‘acquired’ the entire empire for the SS Economic entity in exchange for letting the family members leave Hungary for Switzerland and Portugal.

Becher used the same method in ‘acquiring’ other key industries. The huge textile empire owned by Budai Leo Goldberger and the Tungsram industries, one of Europe’s leading electrical supplies and bulb manufacturers owned by Leopold Ashner. Simple blackmail and the offer of sparing lives were the currency Becher used to buy up the industrial patrimony of Hungary after having plundered the agricultural sector, Hungary’s traditional core of business.

The Becher strategy was to head off confiscations by the Hungarians who prepared to implement their anti-Jewish laws of taking over Jewish owned businesses. As a German property, ‘legally’ acquired, the Hungarians were preempted from taking over these huge enterprises.

It seemed that all the top industries were owned by Jews who immigrated into Hungary from the other side of the Carpathian Mountains, mostly from Poland. Hungary was a feudal society, ruled by large landowners of the local aristocracy. They disdained of anything involving commerce trading and bartering.

When the Jewish immigrants, looking for opportunities arrived, they started filling the economic void and industrializing the country.


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