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Holocaust Survivor And Famed Financier’s Briefcase Of Family Photos And Letters Goes Missing

Michel David-Weill, a Holocaust survivor and a famous financier, had a small trove of irreplaceable family photographs and letters from before World War II go missing while on vacation in California, the Lost Coast Outpost first reported.

David-Weill is the former chairman of Lazard Frères — his French Jewish family ran the private investment firm Lazard Frères for almost a hundred years. (The firm currently manages over $210 billion.) David-Weill and his family survived the Holocaust by passing as Catholics, hidden in a small village in southwestern France. As a respected (and feared) investor on Wall Street in the 1980s and 1990s, and a businessman with influence across several global industries, David-Weill gained a reputation for secrecy and media shyness, as well as philanthropic largesse.

Earlier this month, David-Weill went to an inn in Eureka to visit the redwood forests. While he was there, a briefcase he was traveling with went missing. Inside the briefcase was a small trove of family pictures and letters from before the war, including photographs of David-Weill’s brother who died shortly before the end of the Nazi occupation of France.

According to a review of security footage from the hotel, the briefcase was not seen entering or exiting the hotel.

An employee for David-Weill told the Outpust that “these items cannot be replaced.” The employee also said that David-Weill will not press charges against the thief, and asked that “if anybody has a conscience” they should return the briefcase. David-Weill has also announced a $10,000 for the return of the briefcase.

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman

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