The lofty connections of Helena Bonham Carter

By Laurie Bennett

September 5, 2013 at 8:38am

You wouldn’t always know it to look at her, given her propensity for wild-eyed, wild-haired roles, but Helena Bonham Carter has a towering family tree.

As the interactive Muckety map above shows, Bonham Carter has family ties to both the Rothschilds and the Asquiths.

H.H. Asquith caricature
Asquith caricatured by Spy, in Vanity Fair, 1891

Her grandfather, Eduardo Propper de Callejon, has been honored posthumously for saving thousands of Jews from the Nazis in World War II. As a diplomat in the Spanish embassy in France, he recognized the crisis confronting refugees placed in his care.

The Anti-Defamation League noted in 2008:

Realizing he could not wait for prior approval of the Madrid authorities who operated as part of Francisco Franco’s pro-German Regime, Propper de Callejón began issuing “special visas.”

For three frenetic days in June 1940, Propper de Callejón issued thousands of visas to refugees, many of them Jewish (his father and wife were Jewish). The refugees crossed over the border from France to Spain, then on to Portugal, where they could possibly escape. All day and night he sat at his desk stamping visas.

His sister-in-law, Liliane de Rothschild, was married to Elie de Rothschild, great-grandson of the founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty.

Another branch of Bonham Carter’s family tree leads to her grandmother, Helen Violet Bonham Carter, daughter of Herbert Henry Asquith, who was prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916.

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