Madeleine Albright

official portrait of Madeleine Albright c. 1997

Birth Name: Marie Jana Korbelová

Date of Birth: 15 May, 1937

Place of Birth: Smíchov, Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic)

Date of Death: March 23, 2022

Place of Death: Washington, D.C., U.S.

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Madeleine Albright was an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., from January 27, 1993 to January 21, 1997, and U.S. Secretary of State, from January 23, 1997 to January 20, 2001. She was the first woman to hold the latter office.

Madeleine was the daughter of Anna (Spiegelova/Spiegel) and Josef Korbel, Czech Jews who converted to Catholicism in 1941, during the Holocaust. Three of her grandparents were killed in the Holocaust. Her father was born in Geiersberg/Kyšperk, Austria-Hungarian Empire, now Letohrad, Czech Republic, and was a diplomat and political scientist, who was Czechoslovakia’s ambassador to Yugoslavia, chair of the U.N. Commission for India and Pakistan, and a professor of international politics at the University of Denver, where he founded the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

The family moved to London, England, in 1939, where her father worked for Edvard Beneš’ government-in-exile. They returned to Prague after the war, though her father was pushed out of his political roles in 1948 because of his anti-Communist positions. The family then moved to the U.S., initially living in New York, and then settling in Colorado.

Madeleine had three children with her former husband, businessperson and news publisher Joseph Medill Patterson Albright. Madeleine was raised Catholic, and later became an Episcopalian, her former husband’s religion. She discovered her Jewish heritage only in the mid 1990s, during her political appointments, and had stated that her parents never told her that they were Jewish.

Her husband Joseph is the grandson of journalist, publisher, and Daily News in New York founder Joseph Medill Patterson, the great-grandson of newspaper editor and publisher Robert Wilson Patterson, the great-great-grandson of newspaper publisher, politician, Chicago Tribune founder, and Mayor of Chicago Joseph Medill, and the nephew of Alicia Patterson, who founded Newsday; her husband Joseph is the adopted step-son of painter, sculptor, and print-maker Ivan Albright, whose own father was impressionist painter Adam Emory Albright.

Madeleine’s paternal grandfather was Ernst Körbel (the son of Josef Körbel and Auguste Lustig). Ernst was born in Bahnhof, and was killed in the Holocaust, in 1942, in the Theresienstadt Ghetto. Auguste was the daughter of Simon Lustig and Flora Porias.

Madeleine’s paternal grandmother was named Olga Ptáček (the daughter of Moritz Ptaček and Florentina/Minna, possibly Thlakto). Olga was born in Tulln, and was killed in the Holocaust, in 1944, in Auschwitz. Moritz was the son of Gabriel Herrmann Ptaschek and Antonia Grossmann.

Madeleine’s maternal grandfather was Alfred Spiegel (the son of Alois Spiegel and Frantiska Ledec/Ledetsch). Alfred was born in Kostelec nad Orlicí. Alois was the son of Rachel. Frantiska was the daughter of Abraham Ledetsch/Ledec and Katharina Frankl.

Madeleine’s maternal grandmother was Růžena Salus (the daughter of Emil Salus and Klara Offer). Růžena was born in Chrudim, and was killed in the Holocaust, c. 1942, in Trawniki. Emil was the son of Jacob Salus and Ernestine Propper. Klara was the daughter of Wolf Wilhelm Offer and Luise Aloisia Seiner.


Genealogy of Madeleine Albright –

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