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Mi. 01.02.2023

Men Moving Money? Staying Rich in the Twentieth Century

From Occupy Wall Street and the Panama Papers to the Russian oligarchs, their yachts and real estate – in recent years, the rich and super-rich as well as the finance industry and the services they offer to the rich have become the subject of much public and academic debate. In this light, the role the rich and super-rich play in perpetuating and exacerbating social inequalities has been brought sharply into focus. Many of the practices, institutions, and assets involved have a long history to look back on, which has only recently received more attention. However, historical research plays an essential role in explaining the perseverance of wealth by asking the following questions: Who were the rich? What did the rich do with their assets? How exactly did wealth shape their relations – and how did their relations shape their wealth? And, not least: How did the rich manage to stay rich – despite the challenges of the age of extremes, including severe economic crises and two world wars?

Simone Derix holds the chair in Modern and Contemporary History at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. She is a historian of nineteenth- and twentieth-century German, European and transnational history, with a particular interest in the history of capitalism and wealth. Her book Die Thyssens: Familie und Vermögen (2nd edition, 2021), which was awarded the Carl Erdmann Prize of the German Historical Association, examines the financial activities of a super-rich steel magnate family in the twentieth century. She is also a co-editor of Historische Anthropologie and Studien zur internationalen Geschichte.

Simone Derix. 2022. “Capitalism, Wealth, and the Question of (In)Visibility: The Thyssen Family and Its Investments.” In Reshaping Capitalism in Weimar and Nazi Germany, edited by Moritz Föllmer and Pamela E. Swett, Cambridge, 117–135.
Simone Derix. 2015. “Hidden Helpers. Biographical Insights into Early and Mid-Twentieth Century Legal and Financial Advisors.” In European History Yearbook 16, 47–62.


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Simone Derix, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Nürnberg/Department Geschichte

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