Berthold Reif 1862- 1937
Intrepid entrepreneur and textile magnate Berthold Reif was born in Butchowitz, Czechoslovakia in 1862. In 1892 aged 30, he arrived in industrial Bradford.
Many years later, Reif would be buying up business after business which had been affected by liquidation, resulting from the Wall Street Crash in 1929. Reif focussed mainly on the acquisition of potentially lucrative mills. He kept hold of these former liabilities, and upon the recovery of the global economy, turned them into assets with his ‘Midas touch’. He made a sizeable fortune through the managing, financing, marketing and selling of goods himself.
Having the gift of great people skills, and interacting exceptionally well with all around him, he was able to command with distinction within the business world he inhabited. This meant that through hard work and a natural flare, his export business grew rapidly. It is said of Reif that he had the ‘Spice of Adventure’.
Over time he became chairman of a number of mills and was a member of the Bradford Chamber of Commerce. Generously giving money to charities both Jewish and non-Jewish alike was something which he placed high on his agenda. He donated funds to the Benevolent Institute and Leeds Hertz-Moser Hospital. It is also recorded that he handed £25,000 to the Bradford Grammar School.
Following his death in 1937, he left a will of £115,834. As an additional act of his generosity, all forty of his employees benefited from donation gifts of at least £100 from him.
Berthold Reif died in Bradford in 1937. He is not buried in Bradford however, unlike many of his predecessors and contemporaries.