I. Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg - Neustadt/St. Pauli.
© Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-jüdische Gesellschaft Hamburg.
11. No. 98 Ost-West-Straße/Erste Brunnenstraße.
Jacob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, German romantic composer:
The former house where Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was born was originally No. 14 Große Michaelisstraße. When in 1900 Große Michaelisstraße was amalgamated with "Bei der Kleinen Michaeliskirche" and renamed Michaelisstraße, the house became No. 54 Michaelisstraße. It stood on the eastern corner of the former Ersten Brunnenstraße and existed until the beginning of the 20th century.
The composer's father Abraham Mendelssohn took the hyphenated name Mendelssohn-Bartholdy following his baptism as a Christian. His father was the famous Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), philosopher and writer.
Moses Mendelssohn had 10 children with his, Hamburg born, wife Frommt. Of these ten four died in infancy. Abraham 1776-1835, was not 10 years old when his father died. Abraham married Lea Salomon in Berlin in December 1804. Her brother Jacob had previosly adopted the name Bartholdy. Three of their children Fanny 1805-1847, Felix 3.02.1809-4.11.1847, and Rebecca 1811-? were born in Hamburg.
The French occupation of Hamburg and its inclusion within the Napoleonic Empire forced the family to return to Berlin. In 1816 in Berlin their now 4 children were baptised. In 1822 both parents were also baptised. In 1829 Abraham requested that his son Felix, who was at this time in London on a concert tour, take the name Felix Bartholdy. In his letter of reply Felix wrote that he would never ignore an order from his father but that in London, due to a newspaper article, all people referred to him as Mendelssohn, and asked after his grandfather Moses Mendelssohn. Most of the advertising of later concerts in England used the name Mendelssohn.
The wealth of his banker father had facilitated Felix with a broad education. Initially he and his sister Fanny received piano lessons from their mother. Following this he had lessons from various composers. Additionally he had lessons in languages, drawing and painting.
In 1818 he first performed as a pianist in public. In 1819 his first compositions were performed. Various works followed upon one another: a symphony, operas, and lyrical dramas. In 1821 he was introduced to Goethe. In 1826 he composed the overture to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. None of his later works surpassed this overture, written when he was 17 years old. In 1829 he conducted J.S. Bach's St. Mathew's Passion. He travelled to Great Britain and Italy which inspired works such as the Italian Symphony. Following posts in Düsseldorf and Köln he was appointed director of music at the Leipzig Opera in 1835. In 1837 he married Cäcilie, who bore him 5 children. In 1841 he staged music to Greek drama. In 1843 he founded the Leipzig Conservatory which became the definitive seat of learning of Romantic music. He died in 1847 of no discernable illness.
A memorial plaque was erected above the entrance of the house in which he was born. Today nothing
remains of this house.
There is also a relief on one of the columns in the hallway of the Hamburg Town Hall:
German text: Dipl.-Pol. Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft, Hamburg.