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Moritz Hochschild

(1881 - 1965)

Dr. Moritz (Don Mauricio) Hochschild was one of the most famous men in the mining industry in the first half of the twentieth century and was, along with Simón Iturri Patiño and Carlos Víctor Aramayo, one of the three so-called Bolivian tin barons. It is now known that he saved Jews during the Holocaust as well.

Hochschild was an agnostic Jew whose family had already been active in the mining industry for over a generation. After Hochschild graduated from school, he studied mining and engineering at the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology. In 1905, he began his career in the field at the large industrial conglomerate Metallgesellschaft. Later he went to Spain and Australia and then finally moved to South America to work independently. After several years in Chile, he returned to Germany and stayed there until the end of the first World War.

In 1919, Hochschild returned once again to South America with his wife, Käthe Rosenbaum, whom he had married the previous year. His son, Gerardo Hochschild Rosenbaum, was born in 1920, and his wife died four years later.

During the following two decades, Hochschild built up an economic empire in Bolivia around the mining and trade of tin ore. His empire stretched from Peru in the north to Chile in the south. During this period of growth, more of his family followed him to South America to work for him, including his cousin Philipp Hochschild and Philipp's wife Germaine. 

The 1930s saw the peak of the Moritz Hochschild Group's economical and political influence. In 1938, using his influence with German Busch, Bolivia's military president from 1937 to 1939, Hochschild pushed Bolivia to open its doors to Jewish refugees from Hitler's Germany. An estimated 9,000 were admitted to Bolivia because of Hochschild. He also funded the transport of the refugees and their housing once they arrived in the South American country. Newspapers have called him "Bolivia's Schindler."

In both 1939 and 1944, Hochschild was arrested by the Bolivian government and sentenced to death. Just two weeks after his release following his 1944 arrest, he was captured and held by kidnappers for two weeks. After he was freed he left Bolivia, never to return.

In 1951, the Hochschilds donated the majority of their fortune to the Hochschild Trust and Foundation. In the following year, the Moritz Hochschild Group was nationalized during the Bolivian National Revolution; however, they were compensated with an allotment of 30% of the company's prior assets. The company, Hochschild Mining, grew further and expanded worldwide. In 1961 Hochschild inaugurated Mantos Blancos copper mine in Antofagasta, Chile, which became his most successful mining operation, although its best results were to come after his death.  Moritz Hochschild died in 1965 in Paris. He is the great uncle of billionaire Eduardo Hochschild, who is now the Chairman of Hochschild Mining PLC.

Source: Moritz Hochschild, Wikipedia.