Budapest is the birthplace of George Soros. Being a Jew in Hungary in the year 1944, Soros risked being apprehended and killed in Europe’s Holocaust, which was also experienced in Hungary under Adolf Eichmann in the summer of 1944. Eichmann was determined to wipe off the Jewish Community in Hungary at the time. Being a Jew at the time was a definite stigma, drawback and, thus, some Jews like Soros sought to escape it. Only the lucky ones survived this violent onslaught.
Based on his father’s advice, Soros, then a teenage boy, went to live with a non-Jewish family, posing as their godson in the summer of 1944. His father also changed their family name to Soros from Schwartz in 1936 to disguise their family’s Jewishness. All these were in attempts to escape from the Nazi crackdown. During his teenage years in Hungary, Soros witnessed first-hand the onset of Communist dictatorship.
Young Soros left Hungary in 1946, was able to bypass numerous Red Army road checkpoints, and went all the way to England. In England, he attended the London School of Economics on project-syndicate.org. In 1956, he immigrated to the US and worked as an analyst on Wall Street. His parents joined him in New York after they had become expatriates after the Soviet army nullified the Hungarian Revolution. In 1973, he founded a private investment firm that later developed into the Quantum Fund. He accrued wealth on Wall Street and he currently rank among the top 100 on Forbes index of the richest people in the globe. Currently, Mr. Soros chairs the Open Society Institute and Soros Fund Management.
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George Soros channels his billions to several notable causes. His early forays into philanthropy were traditional and commonplace: contributions to arts and education scholarships in Hungary. However, during the mid-1980s, due to the growth of his fortune, Mr. George Soros started to direct his philanthropic initiatives towards promoting openness in the Soviet Bloc which was governed by Communism.
Indeed, Soros played a central role in kicking out European Communism, the trepidation that replaced the Nazis. Soros’s donations were effective given that they assumed an uncontroversial orientation. His funds were channeled to a noble cause, encouraging broad alliances that worked quietly for revolutionary democratic transformation. In 1984, Soros opened the first Open Society Headquarter in Budapest. Soon after, Open Societies sprung up across Eastern Europe. Soros’s generosity helped unify social democrats, conservatives, liberals, and libertarians in several of the world’s most dictatorial regimes. He funded numerous civil-society groups in the Soviet empire. According to Lord Mark Malloch Brown, four people nudged communism in the dustbin. They include Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, George Soros and Pope John Paul II.
Mr. Soros still continues with his pro-democracy activities, with Burma the present focus area. However, he has recently incorporated a large domestic element, including backing for advocacy groups and liberal policy institutes. On the political front, he has spent millions of dollars in support of the Democratic Party agenda and most notably, Barrack Obama’s presidential campaign bid in 2008.