George Schwartz was born in Hungary in 1930 — not the luckiest time and place to be born a Jew.
George’s father Theodore tried to change the family’s fortunes by changing their name to something less Jewish-sounding. It didn’t help. And soon war came.
When the Nazis took total control of Hungary in 1944, the Holocaust followed. In two months, 440,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to death camps.
To survive, George, then a teenager, collaborated with the Nazis.
First he worked for the Judenrat. That was the Jewish council set up by the Nazis to do their dirty work for them. Instead of the Nazis rounding up Jews every day for the trains, they delegated that murderous task to Jews who were willing to do it to survive another day at the expense of their neighbours.
Theodore hatched a better plan for his son. He bribed a non-Jewish official at the agriculture ministry to let George live with him. George helped the official confiscate property from Jews.
By collaborating with the Nazis, George survived the Holocaust. He turned on other Jews to spare himself.
George moved to London after the war and then to New York, where he became a stockbroker. He’s rich now. Forbes magazine says he’s the 35th richest man in the world. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He goes by the name his father invented: George Soros.
How does Soros feel about what he did as a teenager? Has it kept him up at night?
Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes asked him that. Was it difficult? “Not at all,” Soros answered.
“No feeling of guilt?” asked Kroft. “No,” said Soros. “There was no sense that I shouldn’t be there. If I wasn’t doing it, somebody else would be taking it away anyhow. Whether I was there or not. So I had no sense of guilt.”
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