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STROUSBERG, BETHEL HENRY (BARUCH HIRSCH):

German railway contractor; born at Neidenburg, East Prussia, Nov. 20, 1823; died at Berlin June 1, 1884. After an unsuccessful business career in London he emigrated to America, and for some time taught languages at New Orleans. In 1849 he returned to London with money made by trading in damaged goods, and became identified with the publication of "The Chess Player," "Lawson's Merchants' Magazine," and "Sharpe's London Magazine." In 1855 he settled in Berlin as agent for an insurance company, and in 1861 obtained for English capitalists the concession of building East-Prussian railways. After acting for some time as agent for different companies, he established himself as an independent contractor and built several railway lines, chiefly in northern Germany, Hungary, and Rumania. He became the owner of vast establishments for producing all the requisite materials, as well as of various factories and mines. His holdings were enormous; at one time he employed more than 100,000 persons, and was engaged in speculations involving nearly £100,000,000. During the Franco-Prussian war (1870-71) he met with serious reverses, and in 1872, after a ruinous settlement with the Rumanian government on account of unfulfilled railway contracts, he was forced into liquidation. He was declared bankrupt in 1875, and, after standing trial in Russia for alleged fraudulent transactions with a bank, he returned to Berlin, where he lived in partial retirement until his death. He embraced Christianity while young.

Bibliography:
  • Jew. World, June 6, 1884.
J. G. L.
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