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Elie Robert de Rothschild (1917-2007)

Elie Robert de Rothschild was born on May 29 1917, the younger son of Baron Robert de Rothschild. Robert was one of the partners of the family bank, de Rothschild Frères. Elie and his siblings Diane, Alain and Cécile were brought up at Château de Laversine, near Chantilly, and in Paris at 23 avenue de Marigny, a mansion built by their grandfather Gustave de Rothschild in 1885.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, Elie rode to the front with their cavalry regiment, the Anciens 11èmes Cuirassiers. After German forces invaded France in May 1940 Elie and his brother Alain were captured near the Belgian frontier. Elie was sent to a German PoW camp near Nienburg from which, after an unsuccessful escape attempt, he was sent to Colditz. Subsequently he was moved again, to a camp at Lübeck, where he was reunited with Alain. During his internment, Elie wrote to his childhood sweetheart, Liliane Fould-Springer, proposing that they be married by proxy; she accepted. The groom took his vows at Colditz in October 1941; the bride took hers in the town hall at Cannes, in Vichy France, in April 1942 - sitting beside an empty chair with a photograph of Elie in front of her. Elie and Liliane had a son and two daughters, Nathaniel, Nelly and Elisabeth.

The French business post-war

After the war Elie helped his cousin Guy and brother Alain to put de Rothschild Frères back on its feet, and to expand their Compagnie du Nord. In 1967, the old rue Laffitte building was pulled down to make way for a modern concrete and glass structure. In 1956, Elie became president of the family company PLM, an enterprise to build and promote hotels, motels and restaurants. Liliane supervised the interior decoration of PLM's properties.

Château Lafite-Rothschild

In addition to his business activities in Paris, in 1946 Elie had assumed charge of running the vineyard at Château Lafite-Rothschild, which he owned jointly with Alain, Guy and their Anglophile cousin Jimmy de Rothschild (of Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury). In the immediate postwar years, in Paris, Elie and Alain and their wives shared 23 avenue de Marigny, and in the 1950s Elie and Liliane and their children moved into a house of their own, 11 rue Masseran. An 18th-century mansion built by Brongniart for Prince Masserano in 1785, their new house was almost as big as 23 avenue de Marigny, and more attractive. It provided a fine setting for their magnificent 18th-century French furniture, objets d'art, Old Masters and modern paintings. In 1974 Elie handed over the reins at Château Lafite-Rothschild to his nephew Eric, Alain's son. Elie de Rothschild remained active until his death at his hunting lodge in the Austrian Alps. 

Elie de Rothschild, private papers, c.1914-1990

000/2032, 000/2292, 3 boxes, 1 file

A collection of private papers deposited by Elie de Rothschild. Includes papers relating to the military career of Robert de Rothschild (1880-1946) (Elie’s father) including discharge papers, and a menu for Anglo-French Christmas meal, 1914; papers of Elie assembled during his time as PoW in Colditz, documentation relating to his marriage to Liliane Fould-Springer; a collection of articles, mainly from the French language press, about the Rothschild family, assembled by Liliane de Rothschild, 1970s-1990s; photographs, including the Green Shield house, by Mylius;  a joint portrait of Gustave and Cecile de Rothschild; Elie, Liliane and children by Alfred Newman; two framed watercolours of the premises of Rothschild Bank AG, Zurich.