Hans-Peter Wild was a boy in Germany during World War II, and was struck by the generosity and kindness of American GIs who flooded his country after Hitler’s defeat. Later, he came to the conclusion that “the American military saved Germany.” Elites in his country “forget so quickly what the Americans have done for us,” he says. Wild himself did not forget.
Thanks to the food-processing firm he built up in Heidelberg, Wild is now a billionaire, and a philanthropist. In January, this German gave $16.5 million to the U.S. Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Over the next ten years, his gift will provide tuition and living assistance to more than 3,000 children of Marines.