A wealthy Jewish European industrialist gave George Washington $2.6 million? Huh?

This was the beginning of a letter to the editor in the local paper (the body of the letter is a pro-Israel, “we must support the Jews” kind of thing, which isn’t important here.) What is important is the factoid, which I can’t find, and which made me go “huh?”

**Okay, debates about whether or not this made any difference in the eventual outcome of the American Revolution aside–huh?

Googling things like “jewish industrialist george washington” and “george washington $2.6 million” is bringing up nothing.

and the frustrating thing is that it’s vaguely familiar from somewhere

Snopes didn’t return anything, for whatever that’s worth. At least, if it’s glurge, it’s not current glurge.

Haym Solomon, maybe, even though he wasn’t an “industrialist”. He was born in Poland, then moved to Philadelphia, where he made money as a merchant and banker. When the war broke out, he gave a lot to the American side, either as donations or loans, and negotiated with foreign countries to get America aid.

Salomon (the correct spelling, as in financial services firm Salomon Smith Barney) is the subject of this article:


A consortium of Dutch bankers loaned the United States about $2 million during the Revolutionary War; some or all of the bankers may have been Jewish. I don’t know that I’d characterize that as “giving money to George Washington”, any more than someone buying government bonds today is “giving money to George Bush”.

Seing as the industrial revolution began in the 1800’s, were there even any “industrialists” back in the days of Washington?

FWIW, there were a handful of industrialists in Europe during the late 1800s, engaged in things like textile mills, mining, etc. (No one at the time would have called them “industrialists,” though.)

According to McCullough’s recent biography of John Adams, Adams negotiated a $2 million loan for the US in 1782 from three Dutch banking houses: Willink, Van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje. No word, however, on whether any any of the principals of those banking houses were Jewish.