Edmund de Rothschild dies at 93

Edmund de Rothschild, former chairman of N.M. Rothschild and Sons merchant bank in London and a noted horticulturist, died Jan. 17 at his estate in Hampshire, England.

In his autobiography, “A Gilt-Edged Life,” de Rothschild recalled that he was sometimes a target of anti-Semitism while he was in school.

De Rothschild presided over the bank’s transition from a highly conservative family firm to a modern institution. He joined the bank in 1939 and directed its operations after his uncle Anthony suffered a stroke in 1955. He was chairman from 1970 to 1975.

Before the outbreak of World War II, de Rothschild worked at the bank on German-Jewish refugee matters. Later, he became a major in the Jewish Infantry Brigade, driving through Austria and Germany in a truck with a Star of David painted on its side, which was a cause of bewilderment and unease to the Germans. At Mannheim, starving Jews in concentration-camp garb came up to him out of the crowd.

De Rothschild, who was closely involved in postwar reconstruction in Japan, was born in London in 1916, the first son of Lionel de Rothschild and a great-great-grandson of Nathan Mayer Rothschild. He is survived by two sons and two daughters from his marriage to Elizabeth Lentner, who died in 1980; and by his second wife, Anne Harrison. — ap