Dame Stephanie Shirley

wealthymattersDame Stephanie, or Steve as those closest to her call her, is the creator of the multibillion-pound IT software consultancy,the F1 Group, from which she made her £150-million fortune.

Dame Stephanie,was born Vera Buchtal to a gentile mother and German Jewish judge in Dortmund, Germany . Her family fled to Vienna only weeks before the outbreak of the Second World War and her parents put her and her nine-year old sister on one of the Kindertransport trains taking 1,000 refugee children across Europe to London to escape the Nazis.

“I remember arriving at Liverpool Street station; it was July but it was dull and grey . There were big bags of straw all around and the air was sickly with the smell of unwashed children. We had no idea what to expect. We were tired, hungry and traumatised,“ she says.

What she found, however, was a wonderful childless family who fostered her and her sister in the West Midlands where she lived until she was 18, even though both her parents survived the war. Later she took Brook ­ from her love of the poet Rupert Brooke ­as her naturalised name. Read more of this post

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