Hochschild, Moritz, 1881-1965

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1881
Death 1965

Biographical notes:

Moritz Hochschild was born 1881 in Biblis (Hessen), a small town in Germany near Frankfurt. Members of his family were already in the mining and metal business. Eventually, he studied mining and engineering at the Bergakadamie Freiberg . He began his career working for the Metallgesellschaft, a metal trading company, in 1905 in Germany. He then went to Spain and later Australia before moving to South America to start his own business. After several years in Chile, he went back to Germany and stayed in Europe during the First World War. In 1919, he returned to South America accompanied by his wife Käthe Rosenbaum, whom he had married the year before. Their son Gerardo Hochschild was born in 1920. Four years later, Käthe died.

Meanwhile, Moritz Hochschild's business spread from Chile to Peru and Bolivia, Bolivia being the most important place for his company in the coming decades. The main business of his company was mining and trading tin ores, and he became one of the "tin barons" of Bolivia. During this period of growth, additional family members came over to South America to work for him. His second cousin, Philipp Hochschild, immigrated with his wife Germaine. Moritz Hochschild began an affair with her and, upon her divorce, he married her.

In the 1930s, the Moritz Hochschild Group expanded and his economic and political influence grew. In 1939 and 1944 he was arrested and sentenced to death by the Bolivian government. He was released, but a few weeks later he was kidnapped. After two weeks, he was released and left Bolivia forever.

In 1951, Hochschild and his wife donated the bulk of their fortune to the Hochschild Trust and Foundation. His company was expropriated in Bolivia in 1952, but still managed to survive with 30% of its previous assets. The company grew even bigger, expanding worldwide, including the very successful Mantos Blancos operation. When Moritz Hochschild died in Paris in 1965 he was an internationally known mining industrialist and merchant in ores and metals centered in South America.

From the guide to the Moritz Hochschild Collection, 1881-2000, (Leo Baeck Institute)

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