Abraham Mendelssohn Bartholdy

Abraham Mendelssohn Bartholdy

Berlin-Mitte, Mitte, Berlin, Germany
Death 19 Nov 1835 (aged 58)
Berlin-Mitte, Mitte, Berlin, Germany
Burial Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
Plot family plot
Memorial ID 46517091 · View Source
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Financier. The son of German-Jewish philospher Moses Mendelssohn and father of composers Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn. Born in Berlin, he showed an early interest in cultural life, co-founding the Jewish liberal society Gesellschaft der Freunde (1792) and becoming an active member of the Berlin Singakademie (1793). During that time his brother Joseph founded the Berlin bank of Mendelssohn and Friedlaender, and at his behest Abraham went to Paris in 1797 to study banking. He became a partner in 1804 and the firm was renamed J & A Mendelssohn, with headquarters in a new branch in Hamburg. This city was invaded by the French Army in 1810; the brothers were less than cooperative with the occupying forces and the following year they had to flee in disguise to Berlin. They were heavily fined for refusing to help fund Napoleon's Russian campaign. After Napoleon's defeat in 1815, the Mendelssohns established themselves in the heart of Berlin's financial district and joined a consortium of German banks, led by the House of Rothschild, to secure war reparations from France. A Paris branch was opened for this purpose. In 1822 Abraham sold his partnership to become an independent financial broker and devote himself to philanthropic pursuits; afterwards the bank was reorganized as Mendelssohn & Co. Abraham strongly believed that Jews should assimilate into German society and in 1816 he and his family converted to Christianity, adding "Bartholdy" to the family name. The Mendelssohns' affluent home in Berlin hosted Sunday salons at which Felix and Fanny, both child prodigies, were the star attractions. Their father spared no effort to give both the best musical education and Felix became a famous composer while still in his teens; but in keeping with the social code of the era he forbade Fanny from pursuing music as a profession. He died of a stroke at 58. Abraham seemed philosophical about his place in history. He liked to say, "First I was the son of my father, now I am the father of my son", and "I am but a dash connecting Moses and Felix Mendelssohn". But this is too modest. Besides providing Felix with the ideal environment for his genius to develop, he helped build one of Germany's most important private banks, an institution that survived under family ownership for 140 years. Mendelssohn & Co. was liquidated by the Nazis in 1938.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Frank K.
  • Added: 10 Jan 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 46517091
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Abraham Mendelssohn Bartholdy (11 Dec 1776–19 Nov 1835), Find a Grave Memorial no. 46517091, citing Dreifaltigkeitsfriedhof I, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany ; Maintained by Find A Grave .