George Soros is a Hungarian born billionaire investor, philanthropist and author. The American businessman was once known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” after speculating on the Pound Sterling, believing it was overvalued. Soros earned himself 1.1billion US dollars from the deal in 1992. George Soros is also a generous philanthropist, giving away millions of dollars every year to the poor and disadvantaged of the world. He also has numerous critics in both finance and politics.
George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary on August 12, 1930. In 1947 Soros fled the Soviet Union Communist occupation of Hungary and arrived in England. George Soros is the son of the Esperantist writer Teodoro Schwartz. Teodoro (also known as Tivadar) was a Hungarian Jew, who was a prisoner of war during and after World War I and eventually escaped from Russia to rejoin his family in Budapest.
The family changed its name in 1936 from Schwartz to Soros, in response to growing anti-semitism with the rise of Fascism. Tivadar liked the new name because it is a palindrome and because it has a meaning. Although the specific meaning is left unstated in Kaufmann’s biography, in Hungarian, “soros” means “next in line, or designated successor”, and in Esperanto, it means “will soar”. His son George was taught to speak Esperanto from birth and thus is one of the rare native Esperanto speakers. George Soros later said that he “grew up in a Jewish home”, and that his parents were “cautious with their religious roots”. However, Soros’s father was proud of his Jewish roots.
He then went on to study at the London School of Economics and graduated in 1952. Soros then emigrated and settled in in the United States of America in 1956.
George Soros has been married and divorced twice, to Annaliese Witschak, and to Susan Weber Soros. He has five children: Robert, Andrea, Jonathan (with his first wife, Annaliese); Alexander, Gregory (with his second wife, Susan). His elder brother Paul Soros, an engineer, is a well-known philanthropist, investor, and New York socialite.
Upon moving to America, Soros set up an investment fund that went on to create his massive fortune. It was his intention to simply support his love of writing from his Wall Street earnings, but his well timed investment decisions saw his wealth increase dramatically each year. The Quantum Fund, went on to become one of the most successful managed investment funds ever, with a more than 30% increase annually over a 30 year period.
Soros also gained many critics along his path to financial success. Through his International currency speculating he was once given the nickname of “the man who broke the bank of England” from a deal that earned him more than one billion US dollars. He has also been accused of negatively affecting the Malaysian ringgit during the Asian financial crisis through his aggressive currency speculation.
George Soros is also a very active philanthropist that is willing to use his money to fund causes that he believes in. Since 1979 he has been supporting and funding various organizations and activities world wide. His first charitable actions helped to fund black students in the University of Capetown in South Africa during apartheid. Soros is founder and chairman of the Open Society Institute, an organization that supports activities in more than 50 countries worldwide.
George Soros is also the author of several books on the economy and politics. He first entered the business world to fund his passion for writing and philosophy, and continues to fulfill this passion with more than 8 published books.
During the 2004 American election year, Soros has risen to fame with his criticism of George W Bush. Although not usually known for his participation in politics, Soros believes that the direction the Bush government has been taking America is dangerously wrong. He has contributed more than 15 million dollars to oust President Bush. Soros commented that “it is the central focus of my life” and “it is a matter of life and death”.