Michel David-Weill, the former head of investment banking giant Lazard Frères, came to Humboldt County last week to see the redwoods. But at some point during his stay, tranquility turned to panic as he realized his briefcase was missing.

It had all of the usual things one keeps in a briefcase — his passport, green card and cash — and some things that aren’t as easily recouped: family photos and letters, including some from a brother who died in the Holocaust.

According to the Lost Coast Outpost, David-Weill’s briefcase went missing from his room at the Carter House Inn in Eureka. Karen Ledet, who works for David-Weill, is heading up the search for the briefcase’s contents. Ledet said David-Weill isn’t asking any questions. He just wants his belongings back.


“His brother died in a concentration camp right before the war ended,” Ledet told the Lost Coast Outpost, “so these items cannot be replaced.”


The briefcase went missing “between July 5 and 7” Eureka police confirmed to the Times-Standard; a review of security footage from the hotel found that “the briefcase was not seen entering or exiting the hotel.”

Ledet and David-Weill believe the item may have been taken when David-Weill went downstairs for breakfast, perhaps leaving his room door unlocked.

The famously “media-shy” financier, now 86, survived the Holocaust by going into hiding with his mother in occupied France. After the war, he moved to New York City with his family and later joined Lazard Frères, the family business. He was named chairman in 1977.

Anyone with information regarding the lost briefcase is asked to contact Eureka police at 707-441-4044.

Katie Dowd is the SFGATE Senior Manager. Email: [email protected] | Twitter: @katiedowd

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