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George Soros: From Holocaust Survivor to Hedge Fund Billionaire

George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary on August 12, 1930. He was only 13 years old when the Nazis occupied Hungary in March 1944. Earlier, his upper-class Jewish family changed their name from the Jewish Schwartz to the indeterminate Soros. They also obtained documents stating that they were Christians, which helped them survive the Nazi Holocaust. After the war, Soros moved to England where he attended the London School of Economics. Here he earned a B.S. and an M.S. in philosophy while working as a waiter and a railway porter. After graduation in 1954, Soros moved on to become a prodigiously successful investor.

Soros started his career at the Singer and Friedlander financial services provider in London. He moved to New York in 1956 to work for the F.M. Mayer brokerage house as an arbitrage trader. He went to work for the investment firm Wertheim & Co. in 1959. By 1963 he went to work at the New York-based investment bank Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder where he became a vice president. He set up a successful Double Eagle hedge fund in 1969, and by 1970 he founded Soros Fund Management. He resigned from the Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Double Eagle Fund to manage his own Soros Fund. George Soros was well on his way to becoming one of the richest men in the world. Learn more on about George.

By 1992 Soros gained fame as “the man who broke the Bank of England.” The United Kingdom had an unfavorable position in the Exchange Rate Mechanism of Europe. The UK withdrew from this Exchange Rate Mechanism which devalued the British pound and simultaneously made over $1 billion for Soros. Through his Soros Fund Management, George Soros remains a force to be reckoned with. He hired Dawn Fitzpatrick as chief investment officer to run the investment portfolio of Soros Fund Management. Soros turned his attention to liberal causes and philanthropy.

Before 2004, Soros donated little to political causes in the US. However, during the 2004 US presidential election Soros donated $23,581,000 to help defeat President Bush according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2012 Soros donated $1 million to help reelect President Barack Obama. He donated millions to back Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. Soros became an outspoken critic of Donald Trump describing him as a “con man and a would-be dictator.”

Since 1979 Soros has been an active philanthropist. He started out by giving scholarships to help black South African students go to the University of Cape Town in spite of the apartheid government. When the Berlin Wall fell, Soros established the Central European University in his home town of Budapest to develop democracy and human rights for those who had never experienced such progressive thinking. Other projects include a donation of $100 million for an Internet infrastructure geared toward regional Russian universities. He also donated millions to abolish extreme poverty in African countries. Soros established the Open Society Foundations to build tolerant democracies and accountable governments.

Soros has acquired honorary doctoral degrees from such prestigious institutions as the University of Oxford and Yale University. He was also inducted into the Institutional Investors Alpha’s Hedge Fund Manager Hall of Fame. He has also authored many articles and books on stock trading, finance, economics, and geopolitics. Read his profile at Forbes.

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