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Clarice von Rothschild (née Sebag-Montefiore) (1894-1967)

The English-born Clarice Adelaide Sebag-Montefiore married Alphonse Mayer von Rothschild (1878-1942) in 1912. They had three children: Albert (1922-1938) who tragically died young, Gwendoline Charlotte (1927-1972) and Bettina Jemima (1924-2012). They lived mainly in Vienna, in the Rothschild Palais on Theresianumgasse, and divided their time among their Austrian country estates, including a hunting lodge near Vienna, Schillersdorf, a castle and extensive estate in Silesia.

At the time of the Anschluss in March 1938, Alphonse and Clarice were in London, attending an exhibition of stamps to which Alphonse, an avid philatelist, had lent some items. Having left their daughters Bettina and Gwendoline behind at home, on March 11 they telegraphed to Vienna instructing their staff to take the girls to Switzerland without delay. The party had got as far as Innsbruck when they were orderd off the train and taken to a police station where they were held before being suddenly released, the result of the arrest by the Gestapo of the girls’ uncle Louis, who had been held in custody in Vienna (he was only released after a year, having paid a vast ransom). In the family's absence, the Germans seized the great art and antique collections in Rothschild properties.

In 1940, Alphonse took his family to live in an apartment on Park Avenue, New York. Alphonse died in America in 1942. In 1947, Clarice began a long campaign for restitution of the family's assets. Bettina accompanied her mother and uncle Louis to Vienna, to see what could be salvaged of their former property in Austria. The palaces had been occupied by the Gestapo and badly damaged during the War, and the Rothschilds did not want them back. Clarice and Louis sold them to a trade union for virtually nothing. The estates and forests at Waidhofen, Göstling and Hollenstein, were given to the Austrian state, on condition that it used the proceeds to fund pensions for his former employees.

Clarice kept Alphonse’s 30,000-acre estate at Langau, although because it was in the Russian zone she was unable to return there with her family until 1952.

Clarice von Rothschild, marriage testimonials, 1912

000/2468/15-16, 2 items

Marriage testimonials presented to Clarice von Rothschild from associations she was patron of: illuminated testimonial from the Rekonvaleszenten-Erholungsheim Philanthropia für jüdische Frauen Kinder, Vienna; illuminated testimonial from the Emperor Franz Josef home for the recovery of working girls of the Frauenhart.