A 100-year old Holocaust survivor who flew with the RAF after fleeing Nazi-occupied France has become the first centenarian ever to appear on The Sunday Times’ Rich List.
Tony Murray was born Gaston Jacques Kalifa in Paris in 1920 but changed his name upon arrival in the UK, where he later built up a fortune now valued at £2.3 billion.
Murray worked for his Jewish father’s construction company in the French capital before winning a place to study architecture at the highly regarded École des Beaux-Arts. His father was later deported to Auschwitz and killed.
Murray joined the French army in 1940 but the Paris government quickly surrendered. Having heard Charles de Gaulle’s call to join the Free French in the UK, Murray escaped his Nazi captors and made for London on a Polish steamer.
Upon arrival he signed up with the RAF, latterly serving with the famous 613 Squadron, flying 38 missions, including taking part in D-Day. He was later commended for “exceptional bravery” and appointed to the Légion d’Honneur.
His family’s business interests include hotels in Florida and Switzerland as well as London Security, which makes extinguishers and other fire-protection equipment, and Andrew Sykes Group, which hires out air-conditioning, heating and pumping kit.
Asked the secret of his success recently, he said playing chess for two hours a day and “never stopping”.