- DREYFUS, family of bankers originating from Sierentz in Alsace. ISAAC DREYFUS (1786–1845) founded the firm Isaac Dreyfus, Soehne, Basle, with his sons as partners, as one of the few Jews the city magistrate allowed to settle within the walls (1813). His son SAMUEL (1820–1905), who remained with the firm, was president of the Basle Jewish community (1865–96) and founder of the Jewish orphanage and old-age home. A second son, JACQUES (1826–1890), moved to Frankfurt where he established the Dreyfus-Jeidels bank in 1868, which became J. Dreyfus and Co. in 1890, to which a Berlin branch was added in 1891. His son ISAAC (1849–1909) and grandson WILLY (1885–?) developed the bank into one of the largest investment banks in Germany, but the Nazis forced it into liquidation in 1937. Samuel Dreyfus was succeeded by his son JULES DREYFUS-BRODSKY (1859–1941) and his nephew ISAAC DREYFUS-STRAUSS (1852–1936). The family banking tradition was further maintained by Jules's son PAUL (1895–1967), who considerably expanded the firm's activities. Members of the Dreyfus family worked for the Jewish community. In Switzerland, Jules was president of the Swiss Union of Jewish Communities (1914–36) and of the community of Basel (1906–36) and Paul, who was a founder of ort in Switzerland, campaigned for the admission of Jewish refugees from Germany during World War II. In Germany Jacques, Isaac, and Willy Dreyfus were all active in communal affairs. Katjy Guth, née Dreyfus, was the director of the Jewish Museum of Switzerland in Basel (est. 1968). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: R.M. Heilbronn, Das Bankhaus J. Dreyfus & Co. (1962). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. Haumann, Acht Jahrhunderte Juden in Basel. 200 Jahre Israelitische Gemeinde Basel (2005). (Hanns G. Reissner / Uri Kaufmann (2nd ed.)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.