Bernard Baruch was born in Camden, South Carolina to Simon and Belle Baruch. He was the second of four sons. His father Simon Baruch (1840–1921) was a German immigrant of Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity who came with his family to the United States in 1855. He studied medicine, became a doctor, and served as a surgeon on the staff of Confederate general Robert E. Lee during the American Civil War. He was a pioneer in physical therapy. His mother's Sephardic Jewish ancestors (likely from Amsterdam or London) came to New York as early as the 1690s, where they became part of the shipping business.