Emil Eisenberg was sitting in Paris in 1940. He was the youngest of four brothers, born in 1912 in Tarnow, Austria. His country was no more; it was now a province of the Reich.
Ahh, I forgot. Emil Eisenberg was a jew and the Nazi armies were coming.
Emil married Gery Diamant in Paris in 1933. He was only 20 but had already established a Paris office for his family’s fur trading business. .His brothers would open offices in London and New York as well.
Meanwhile Adolph Hitler rode triumphantly into Vienna and tens of thousands lined the streets and cheered the Anschluss. The round-up of Jews began that day, shipping them off to the ghettos and the camps.
Unabashedly screaming "Heil!" as Hitler rode unafraid in an open Mercedes, the Austrians would be complicit in Nazi war crimes. Today of course and ever since the end of the war Austrians have liked to consider themselves just another people conquered by the Wehrmacht - kind of like Poland.
But no. The Austrians welcomed their German cousins with open arms and eagerly took up the task of making the Reich Judenfrei.
As German armies approached Paris, Emil was arrested and spent four months in a French concentration camp. He was a "stateless person". The plan for the Eisenbergs to flee France went into overdrive.
Visas for fleeing Jews were hard to come by. Most nations didn’t want fleeing Jews and wouldn’t issue visas. Other nations including the United States would issue a limited number of visas. Remember the "M/S St. Louis".
The United States of America gave Emil Eisenberg and his wife visas to escape France and eventually the death camps. The Eisenbergs landed in New York and Emil joined his brother’s fur business.
Several years later, through the personal efforts of Eleanor Roosevelt to get Jews out of Europe where she could, Emil’s parents were welcomed to America.
Emil eventually moved to Worchester, Massachusetts and began manufacturing shoes. He settled happily into the small, but vibrant Jewish community of 12,000. He became a rich man and remained active in his community until his passing in 2003.
Emil had two daughters; Monique and Denise.
Denise Eisenberg would marry Marc Rich, the billionaire fund manager who was convicted of stock fraud. Denise would visit the White House more than 50 times to plead with the Clintons to pardon her husband. Eventually, after a substantial gift to the Clinton Library, Marc Rich was pardoned on President Clinton’s last day in office. The Rich’s would later divorce.
Denise became a famous song writer and socialite bon-vivant living in a $65 million three story penthouse co-op apartment in New York City.
One year she threw a holiday party at the apartment overlooking Central Park. She had the terraces surrounding her apartment flooded for the event, and hired professional figure skaters to dance around on the ice for the benefit of the hundreds of guests who were cozy and toasty inside looking out. It was one of those moments when even the most sophisticated New Yorkers were momentarily astonished.
You get the idea. Denise Rich has lots of money.
But she must be worried she won’t have enough to make ends meet.
At the end of April Denise Rich renounced her American citizenship "because she wants to be closer" to her new "life partner" who is an Austrian, Like she can’t be closer anytime she wants to be closer. London apartment, Austrian chalet, a place in Los Angeles, a private jet at her beck and call etc.
The real reason is that Denise Rich doesn’t want to pay her taxes. And she is concerned, as are the other members of the 1% that tax rates on the fabulously wealthy might actually go up next year.
Good grief Charlie Brown! How are we going to live!!
Now please don’t think Denise Eisenberg Rich is the only one of the idle rich leaving for tax reasons. Eduardo Sevarin, a founder of Facebook, moved to the U. S. from Brazil in 1992 and became a citizen in 1998. He renounced his citizenship just before the Facebook IPO and moved to Singapore, where hopefully if he spits on the sidewalk he will learn why Singapore is so clean. I guess when he raised his right hand he really took the pledge seriously.
But Denise Eisenberg Rich is a special case. She took Austrian citizenship.
She renounced America, which took in her parents and grandparents in their hour of desparate need and provided them opportunity to become wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. She renounced the country which probably allowed her to be born. She didn't ask for dual citizenship. She renounced her U. S. citizenship.
And she pledged allegiance to Austria, the country which would have loaded her parents and grandparents and her if she were around at the time into cattle cars to be shipped off to Auschwitz or Treblinka.
And she did it for the money. For a lower tax rate, especially if she lives outside of Austria for six months or more a year.
She did it for 20 pieces of silver. For shekels.
Shame on you.
Listen to the Austrians greet Adolph Hitler - in German and English
Today, 4.22.14 the Supreme Court upheld Michigan's ban on using race as a factor in college admissions.