Ernest von Simson
In the 1920s, a German diplomat from a distinguished family won the release of WWI military officers whom the French and English accused of being war criminals. Shortly afterwards, this same diplomat helped upend the Versailles Treaty through the détente with the Soviet Union, formalized as the Treaty of Rapallo. And in 1925, he co-founded IG Farben, merging six huge chemical firms into the world's fourth largest company - a combination that helped restore German prosperity and eventually facilitated its rearmament. His activities supporting Weimar Germany were widely hailed.
Yet two decades later, this patriotic man was forced into exile with failing health, forfeited wealth and his family in hiding. That man was my grandfather.