Fact-Check: Is Greta Thunberg Related to the Rothschilds?

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Jul. 11 2023, Published 3:45 p.m. ET

Greta Thunberg smiles and looks at another person
Source: Getty Images

Greta Thunberg takes part in a press conference at the UNFCCC SB58 Bonn Climate Change Conference on June 13, 2023 in Bonn, Germany.

Ever since Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was thrust into the public eye, she has been the subject of a multitude of conspiracies. Everything she says is scripted! She's a paid actor! She's being brainwashed!

And one of the most peculiar theories? That Greta Thunberg is a part of the Rothschild family, a famous European Jewish banking dynasty.

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With both the Rothschild family and Greta Thunberg being no strangers to conspiracy theories, it was only a matter of time before the two European entities were linked. But is Thunberg really a descendant of the Rothschilds? And how did this rumor get started? Here's what we know.

Greta Thunberg speaks into a microphone
Source: Getty Images

Greta Thunberg speaks during the Fridays For Future march on November 5, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.

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Is Greta Thunberg a Rothschild?

No, there is no evidence that Greta Thunberg is related to the Rothschild family in any way.

According to the Australian Associated Press (AAP) FactCheck, the rumor began in April 2022 with an article published by a website called Europe Renaissance, which self-identifies as a "friendly non-political news platform" that works to "promote understanding and respect for ethnic exceptionality" for Europeans.

The article was titled "What a coincidence that press-promoted Greta Thunberg is a blood relative of the Rothschild Clan," and it went so far as to state that the Rothschild family confirmed that Thunberg is a relative.

AAP FactCheck looked into the claims, and found them to all be completely untrue.

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A black and white photo of eight members of the Rothschild family in formal attire, taken in 1967.
Source: Getty Images

April 1967: The House of Rothschild. (From left to right, clockwise) Baron Elie Robert de Rothschild with wife, Baron Alain de Rothschild (1910-1982) with his wife Liliane Rothschild, Baron Guy de Rothschild with wife Marie-Helene, Eric Rothschild (son of Alain) and Nathaniel (son of Elie).

According to anti-disinformation platform Logically, the rumor was really ignited in July 2022, when an unnamed "fringe website" wrote an article citing "a neo-Nazi blog," reporting that Greta Thunberg is the great-granddaughter of Lionel Walter Rothschild, and the granddaughter of his illegitimate son Joachim.

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The article also claimed that the Rothschilds verified that Greta Thunberg is indeed related to the family.

However, Logically did in-depth research into Thunberg's genealogy, as well as into the genealogy of the Rothschild family, and found that not only is Thunberg not related to the Rothschilds, but that there never was a Joachim Rothschild in the wealthy banking family.

Who is the Rothschild family?

The Rothschild family is an influential European family dynasty, that has been in the banking industry since the late 1700s, as explained by Britannica. The Rothschilds were once one of the most wealthy families in the world, and to this day, the family is still extremely rich and a major player in the banking industry.

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Britannica also notes that the Rothschilds are well-known, in part, thanks to all the conspiracy theories about the banking dynasty.

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There have been many conspiracy theories about Thunberg — and the Rothschilds.

As noted by AAP FactCheck, many of the conspiracy theories about the Rothschild family center on "anti-Semitic tropes of global control and secret family links" — which this Thunberg rumor fits into quite nicely.

Britannica notes that for years, "the Rothschilds have been targeted by conspiracy theorists as a prime example of Jews allegedly using their money to control global financial institutions," and that despite fact-checkers continually disproving these claims, the theorists don't seem to let up.

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There have also been plenty of conspiracy theories about Thunberg, many of which connect her to people of influence. For instance, in addition to the Rothschild rumor, an anti-climate science website falsely reported that Thunberg is related to the World Economic Forum's founder Klaus Schwab. Logically also debunked this claim.

However, none of this gossip seems to bother the climate activist. In a 2019 Instagram post, Thunberg wrote about "the endless conspiracy theories and denial of facts" when it comes to climate activism. "This is hope in disguise. We're winning," she wrote.

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