Bethel Henry Strousberg, known as doctor, a German adventurer, born of Jewish parents at Neidenburg, East Prussia, Nov. 20, 1823. His original name was Baruch Hirsch Straus-berg. In 1835 he entered the commission house of his uncles in London, became a Christian, and married an English woman. He finally engaged in the insurance business, incurred losses in 1847, taught languages at New Orleans in 1848, returned in 1849 to London with money made by trading in damaged goods, and was interested in publishing "The Chess Player," "Lawson's Merchant's Magazine," and " Sharpe's London Magazine." In 1855 he settled in Berlin as agent for an insurance company, and in 1861 obtained for English capitalists the concession of an East Prussian railway. After building other rail-ways for different companies, he built many on his own account, chiefly in northern Germany, Hungary, and Roumania, and became the owner of vast establishments for producing all the materials required for them, as well as of beet-sugar, porcelain, and other factories, mines, the Berlin cattle yard, the Antwerp south citadel grounds, and the great Zbirow domain in Bohemia. At one time he employed more than 100,000 persons, and was engaged in speculations involving several hundred millions of dollars.
He eclipsed princes in his luxurious, living and ostentatious charities, and was popularly known in Berlin as Der Wunderdoctor. He lost heavily during the war of 1870-71, became inextricably involved in 1872 after a ruinous settlement with the Roumanian government on account of unfulfilled railway contracts, failed in 1875, and in November was imprisoned at Moscow for alleged fraudulent transactions with a bank.