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Death of Hortense Anda-Bührle announced

The death has been announced of Hortense Anda- Bührle, once Switzerland's richest woman after inheriting a fortune from her father.
Hortense Bührle was born on 18 May 1926, the daughter of the German industrialist Emil Georg Bührle and his wife Wilhelmine.
Emil Bührle became the managing director of the tool-making company Oerlikon and sold patent rights for a 20- millimetre canon, first to the British and then, after the outbreak of World War II, to the Nazis. According to an article in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, he paid out more money in bribes in Germany than he did wages in Switzerland. While his fortune stood at CHF 1 million in 1938, by 1944 it had risen to CHF127 million, making him the richest (and most unpopular) man in Switzerland. He spent much of his money on art, allegedly buying one impressionist painting a week.
By 1956 he was dead and his son Dieter took over the company, by which time it had become involved in a number of areas, the armaments industry having become too hi-tech for one company alone. But things did not go well and, by the end of the Eighties, the Oerlikon company was losing as much as CHF 1 million a day.
In 1990 Hortense dismissed her brother from the company and 10,000 employees shared the same fate. It was her son who took on the much slimmed-down business in 2000. He was the issue of her marriage to the Hungarian pianist Geza Anda, who died relatively young at the age of 55. In his memory, his widow established a piano competition which still takes place every three years in Zurich. The winners are expected to show perfect technique yet feeling at the same time, like Anda.
Then her son Gratian tried to make Oerlikon into a hi-tech company but failed investments brought further losses.
What was left of the Oerlikon company was bought by Austrian financiers in 2005.
Until the end of her life Hortense Anda Bührle remained active as a patron of the large Bührle collection of paintings housed in a beautiful villa amid splendid grounds next door to the former family home in Zollikerstrasse.     

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