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See B’nai B’rith.

Financier and philanthropist. From a titled and wealthy family, he became one of the richest men in Europe by investing his inheritance in railroads, banking, and other industries. When his plan to improve the deplorable condition of Russian Jews failed to receive the Czar’s approval, he formed the Jewish Colonization Association in order to resettle Jews in various parts of the world and to establish colonies in North and South America, particularly Argentina. Hirsch believed that the condition of Jews could be greatly improved if they were to become farmers and industrial workers in less densely populated areas of the world. To this end, he established agriculture and industrial schools in both Europe and the New World. Baron de Hirsch gave millions of dollars to charitable causes of all sorts. In 1887, his only son died. “I have lost my son but not my heir,” he said. “Humanity is my heir.”

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