From auschwitz to a castle in the hamptons: the wilzig story

Hamptons castle for sale. Walk to beach. Furnished. Must see to believe. Seven bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, two kitchens, 5,000 square feet. Turrets. Trompe l’oeil bookcase conceals a lovebirds’ nest. Massive chandeliers. A Wedgwood hallway. Swimming pool. Tennis court. Indoor, outdoor Jacuzzis. Gold leafing. Fake Picassos. Faux medieval tchotchkes. Living room doubles as a discotheque, complete with glitter ball. Built circa 1997. Must see to believe. Priced to move at $5 million, as is.

It is owned by the Wilzig brothers-Alan, 33, and Ivan, 43-two wild and crazy bankers who, in the last few years, have become the subject of juicy tabloid items. But behind the funny little gossip items (girls from Scores stripping by the pool, etc.) lies something more: While the Wilzig brothers have been enjoying themselves, something has nagged at them-the fact that their father, an Auschwitz survivor and self-made multimillionaire, Siggi Wilzig, 72, is not all that impressed. It’s hard, after all, to impress a man who survived the death camps and a death march and then managed to turn himself into a wealthy banker in another country.

When the Wilzig brothers became boldface names in the gossip columns for their wild parties, there was some trouble in the family over the Hamptons castle. “My father was disgusted,” said Alan, the younger brother. “He was inches away from blowing up the house with a bazooka.”

During the week, the brothers live in separate apartments in the City Spire building on West 56th Street. They went in on the castle in the seaside town of Watermill, L. I., partly as an investment. Alan is the one who got it built, with the help of his longtime girlfriend, Karin Koenig. “I told my mother, my sister and my girlfriend, ‘If you see something you like, buy it. We’ll find a place for it,'” Alan said. With so many hands decorating the place, the décor ended up eclectic, kind

of like an everything bagel.

Alan has mixed feelings about what the castle has become. “People didn’t understand,” he said. “I just wanted to do something to make my father proud.” He laid blame for all the commotion at the castle on Ivan’s “laissez-faire” attitude: “My brother felt bad that the people who worked in the clubs never got to come over because they were working,” Alan said. “So he said if they want to come over at 3:45, O. K. All of a sudden, people are ringing the buzzer in the middle of the night.”

As the owner of the Trustcompany Bank of New Jersey, a founder of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D. C., and the first Holocaust survivor to lecture the cadets at West Point, Siggi Wilzig is not interested in spending much time there. The whole notion of a summer home doesn’t interest him, in fact. If he takes a vacation, he goes to Kutsher’s Resort Hotel and Country Club in the Catskills.

Still, he admires certain things about the castle. “The quality is excellent,” Siggi Wilzig said. “It’s a credit to Alan, because Ivan likes design, but Alan built it. It is built like a fortress. Someone doesn’t have to worry in a bad storm or hurricane. But I am a simple guy. I don’t drive two and a half hours to a place.”

He has made only two visits to his sons’ castle. The first time, he climbed a ladder on the property in his business shoes. “I wanted to make sure you could see the ocean over the tops of the trees,” Mr. Wilzig said. After inspecting the place, he told Alan to change four things. “And I made the changes,” Alan said.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

From auschwitz to a castle in the hamptons: the wilzig story