Who is Klaus Schwab?
A genealogical investigation of the Bond villain’s mysterious origins
Very few people have heard about the obscure French writer Marcel Schwob, but many have heard about the infamous WEF chairman, Mr. Klaus Schwab. And yet it was a commentary related to the similarity of both surnames which led me through this rabbit hole.
Although Mr. Klaus Schwab has been around for a long time, he rose to prominence in conspiracy theory circles mainly during the Covid era, when he argued that the pandemic was a perfect opportunity for a “Great Reset”.
He dresses and talks like a Bond villain and organizes yearly meetings in Davos when world leaders convene to decide the future of the world. (This year’s meeting is starting today.) He is a big proponent of transhumanism, and among other things the WEF is one of the main sponsors of Israeli writer Yuval Harari, transhumanist extraordinaire and author of “Homo Deus”. (Now that’s an interesting title, supposedly a play on Homo Sapiens, but it could also be interpreted as “Homo(sexual) God”. Harari is of course homossexual, “married” to another man and a big proponent of “human hacking” through “under the skin technology” that may include chips, vaccines and genetic manipulation.)
But back to Klaus. Half of the people in conspiracy theory boards suspect him of being a closet Nazi, and the other half suspect him of being a closet Jew. Neither appear to be exactly correct: the truth is more mysterious and more complicated.
In any case, he has strange family origins. Wikipedia says he’s the son of Eugen Wilhelm Schwab and Erika Epprecht. He himself lists Erika as his mother in the preface of a book. However, according to genealogy sites Wiki Tree and Family Search, Erika is actually the second wife of Eugen, and they “married about 1938 [location unknown], [children unknown]”.
Now, 1938 is also the official birth year of Mr. Schwab, so was Erika already pregnant with little Klaus before the marriage? Or was she just the stepmother, and he was actually the child of Eugen’s first wife?
The first wife is Emma Gisela Kilian, which doesn’t tell us much. Kilian appears to be an Irish surname. The site mentions that “She emigrated to the USA on December 9th, 1938.” Escaping from the Nazis? Or some other reason? Was this just after the divorce or separation from Eugen? But Klaus is registered as having been born in March 1938, so she still could be the mother.
Some say Emma was Jewish, but, it’s not clear it is so. If anything, the father’s surname, Schwab, is more linked to Jewish origins: “German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): habitational name for someone from Swabia (German Schwaben)”.
As I mentioned at the beginning, French writer Marcel Schwhob was Jewish, from the region of Alsace — which is now in France, but was at one point part of the same Swabia region in Germany, which explains the surname.
The second wife, Erika, has no children listed.
Klaus Schwab has no record, neither in Wiki Tree nor in Family Search. Weird.
The Schwab family is listed as living and having roots both in Switzerland and in Germany. Eugen worked for a Swiss company, Escher Wyss, which, according to Wikipedia, “during WWII, the company was a supplier for the German war effort, manufacturing turbines for Norsk Hydro, and supplying flamethrowers. Additionally, the company was an integral part of researching and developing turbines to produce heavy water for the creation of nuclear weapons for the Nazis.” That’s why the family moved to Ravensburg, Germany, at some point during the 1930s, but then went back to neutral Switzerland before the end of the war. Klaus started his primary school in Zurich, this would have been in 1944/1945, but then the family returned to Ravensburg after the war.
Interestingly, the Scwhab family seems to have migrated to Brazil in the 1960s. Although old Eugen returned to Germany, at least Hans seems to have made Brazil his permanent home.
Why Brazil? It is not clear. The family appears to be moving between Brazil and Germany constantly during this period, with several entries and exits recorded from the 1950s until the 1970s. Hans is listed as an engineer, like his father Eugen, who “specialized in the manufacture of turbines and equipment for the Wehrmacht” during World War II.
The first entry of the family in Brazil appears to be in 1957, coming from Ravensburg, Germany. According to Wikipedia, Klaus, then 19, finished school and took his Abitur exam in Ravensburg that same year.
However, while the rest of the family for some reason started moving between Germany and Brazil, Klaus went to study in Switzerland. He graduated in 1961. Continuing the family tradition, he also graduated in Engineering, but afterwards took a doctorate in Business.
Did he stay in Switzerland with Eugen’s second wife, Erika, the woman who raised him? According to Wikipedia, she was Swiss. Or was he living alone from a young age? We are still not sure if Erika’s his actual mother or stepmother, nor where she lived at the time. Very little appears in the genealogy sites about Erika.
Interestingly, there is a record of the marriage of Eugen Schwab and Emma Kilian Jekelius in 1926 (Jekelius was the surname of her first husband, from which she divorced, Kilian was her single name). But there’s no record of the second marriage with Erika Epprecht.
So, we still don’t know for sure whether Klaus was the son of Eugen’s first or second wife. We also don’t know why they went to Brazil so many times. And where did all the family’s money came from? They seem to be very rich, but engineers are, in general, not that rich. Was the Swiss part of the family connected to bankers?
So, we are still very much in the dark. Perhaps this work will need to be complemented with a second part. The investigation will continue… Stay tuned.