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The Rothschild conspiracy

In 2015 the British newspaper The Independent published an investigation of anti-Semitic claims against the Rothschilds. Journalism professor Brian Cathcart traced the first widespread conspiracy theory to a political pamphlet called Histoire édifante et curieuse de Rothschild Ier, roi des juifs, which began rolling off European printing presses in 1846. Written by Georges Dairnvaell under the pseudonym “Satan,” this pamphlet narrates the history of the Rothschild family and its influence in Europe. According to Cathcart, its most famous passage details Nathan Rothschild’s involvement in the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. Immediately after the battle, according to the pamphlet, Rothschild was rushed to the Belgian coast and paid a fortune to cross the English Channel in the middle of a thunderstorm. He arrived in London 24 hours before news of Napoleon’s defeat was officially announced, “Satan” claims, and, as a result, he “suddenly won 20 million [francs], while his other brothers seconded him; the total profit made in this fatal year amounted to 135 MILLION!”

Although this account became instantly popular across Europe, it was both false and dangerous. Cathcart’s research found that on June 18, 1815, Nathan Rothschild was nowhere near Waterloo. There were no reports of a storm over the English Channel at that time. And while the Rothschilds did profit immensely off the war effort against Napoleon, they did not make millions from announcing the Allied victory at Waterloo. The fact that these claims were so readily believed draws on the pernicious history of European anti-Semitism. 

Cathcart’s article in The Independent is not alone in its exposé and criticism of anti-Semitic tropes surrounding the Rothschild family. After World War II, Western media and academia made significant strides in educating the public on how anti-Semitism is often perpetuated. However, there is clearly still work to be done. In March 2018 The Washington Post reported that Washington, D.C., lawmaker Trayon White, Sr., alleged on Facebook that the Rothschilds “[control] the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities.” His post refers to Internet conspiracy theories surrounding the Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilient Cities initiative, which rewards cities for addressing environmental concerns in their community. After intense controversy, White issued an apology and confessed his ignorance regarding the origin of the claims. He worked with Jewish activist organizations to learn more about anti-Semitism. But his visit that April to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum—presumably as an act of contrition—was catastrophic. According to the Post, White made several comments that were widely panned as insensitive at best, and he abruptly left the museum halfway through his tour. He refused to comment on the reason for his departure. 

White’s anti-Semitic treatment of the Rothschilds and his ignorance of Jewish suffering is reprehensible. Unfortunately, his story shows us that conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds have only grown more outlandish since the publication of Dairnvaell’s infamous pamphlet. And not unlike the editors of Britannica’s 11th edition, White is among a number of influential figures who—knowingly or unknowingly—are complicit in spreading these conspiracy theories. Although anti-Semitic attacks on the Rothschild family have been thoroughly disproved, they have revealed themselves to be embedded in the Western cultural subconscious. Those who contribute to this form of anti-Semitism must make a sustained effort to root it out.


This is not true. The post suggests Mr Schwab is related to a woman whose surname before marriage was Rothschild but is not directly related to the House of Rothschild. Mr Schwab has said they are not related.

1 of 2 claims

An Instagram post suggests the World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab is related to the Rothschild family. 

The post includes two photos: one is a photo of a woman with the caption “Marianne Schwab, née Rothschild”. The post appears to imply Klaus Schwab is related, via Marianne Schwab, to the Rothschild family. 

The other image is a photo of a book passage captioned “A page from Klaus Schwabs (sic) book”. Text from the book states “At least 4 billion ‘useless eaters’ shall be eliminated by the year 2050 by means of limited wars, organized epidemics of fatal rapid-acting diseases and starvation.”

None of this is true. 

The information about Marianne Schwab comes from an article about the Holocaust. Marianne Schwab, born in 1919 in Frankfurt, fled Germany in 1939. Mrs Schwab was the daughter of Louis Rothschild. According to the Holocaust Memorial Center although her father was a banker, his family was not directly related to the House of Rothschild - a wealthy family who have been the subject of numerousconspiracy theories.

Mrs Schwab arrived in the United States in 1940, where she met her future husband, Fred Schwab, with whom she had two children, Leslie and Madeleine. 

A biography of Klaus Schwab published by the World Economic Forum states he was born in 1938, in Ravensberg, Germany. Mr Schwab also dedicated his book “Stakeholder Capitalism”, published in 2021, to his parents Eugen Wilhelm Schwab and Erika Epprecht. 

Mr Schwab told the German Press Agency in 2021 "I don't know Marianne Schwab. She does not belong to our family.”

As we’ve said before, the book pictured in the post is not by Klaus Schwab. It is an excerpt from a 1992 conspiratorial text called “Conspirators’ Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300” by John Coleman. In the text, Coleman appears to incorrectly attribute the “4 billion ‘useless eaters’” passage to science fiction writer H.G. Wells

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