George Soros was born in Hungary in 1930. Growing up amid a rising tide of anti-Semitic nationalism, Soros’ father had the perspicacity to change his family’s last name to Soros from the Jewish surname Schwartz. This turned out to be a crucial move, one that would ultimately save the entire Soros family from near-certain death at the hands of Nazis and their extermination camps.

However, many of Soros’ extended family was not nearly so fortunate. Many of his aunts and uncles obstinately chose to remain in the country and openly declared their own Jewish heritage. This quickly brought them to the attention of Nazi commissars, who ended up sending many of them to concentration camps. Many of the brothers and sisters of Soros’ parents were never seen or heard from again. Know more on CNBC about George Soros.

This was a seminal period in the young Soros’s life. It instilled in him a deep need to understand the roots of nationalism run amok and the ways in which malignant political movements could be stopped before they had a chance to build to the fevered crescendo that nearly destroyed all of Europe in its entirety during World War II.

At first, the young Soros had no idea that he would ever end up becoming one of the greatest capitalist in the history of the markets. In fact, Soros had absolutely no desire to accumulate personal wealth, nor any inclination towards investing in the stock market. It was not until he had attended the London School of Economics, where he studied under the famous professor of philosophy Karl Popper, that Soros begin to see the benefits of accumulating vast wealth, especially for those who were philanthropically and civically minded. Soros slowly came to see the acquisition of wealth not as an end in itself, but as a means to accomplish the broad scale civic and society-wide goals that he felt were necessary to the survival of open societies.

It was only shortly after taking the helm of his own hedge fund, Soros Fund Managment, that George Soros founded his first philanthropic organization, which is still functioning today, The Open Society Foundations. The foundation has been dedicated to changing the political environment throughout many countries in the world. These include many of the former Soviet satellite states, in some of which Soros has been nearly single-handedly responsible in toppling the despotic regimes that oversaw them. Learn more about his profile at washingtontimes.com.

But it has been in the United States where Soros has received possibly the most attention for his intrepid willingness to wade into contentious areas of the political arena. Throughout the last few years, Soros has waged a one-man campaign to reform the criminal justice system from the ground up. This strategy has involved the replacement of local sheriff’s, judges and prosecutors, which Soros rightly perceived as holding some of the most potent keys to the reformation of the criminal justice system that produces the highest incarceration rates in the world.

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