Like many Jews in Europe throughout history, they had to undergo name change in order to assimilate.
Efrati? (circa 14th century)
There has been speculation that the Ephrussi name derived from Efrati which was already a Jewish surname used in Spain and Portugal. It may have been a variant of the biblical name Ephraim.
We can only speculate that Ephrussi was a form of Ukrainization of Efrati which itself may have been a Sephardic transliteration of Ephraim.
Charles Joachim Ephrussi (1792–1864)
While Charles may not have changed the name to Ephrussi, he was the progenitor of the family. He was a Ukrainian Jew who controlled the port of Odessa, which enabled him to monopolize the distribution of wheat. By 1860, the Ephrussi family became the world’s largest exporter of wheat.
While the Ephrussi family continues to exist, their properties and bank in Austria were seized by the Nazis when they annexed it in 1938.
- (Image Attribution) Werner, Berthold. “Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild BW 2011-06-10 11-24-41.” Wikipedia. 10 June 2011. CC BY-SA 3.0.
- “Ephrussi family.” Wikipedia.
- ‘Hare’ chronicles unheard of Jewish family, Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle (6 September 2011)
- Rottenberg, Dan (1986). Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy. Genealogical.