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A Portrait of Mendelssohn$
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Clive Brown

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300095395

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300095395.001.0001

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• Early Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitism

• Early Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitism

(p.109) 16 • Early Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitism
A Portrait of Mendelssohn

Clive Brown

Yale University Press

The racially motivated disturbances known as the Judensturm made Felix Mendelssohn realize the deep-seated prejudice against Jews in Prussia. That he was touched by the 1819 Judensturm is evident in Carl August Varnhagen von Ense's Denkwürdigkeiten. An account given by Eric Werner cites an abusive attack on Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn during a stay in Doberan in 1824. Although there are no other recorded incidents showing that Mendelssohn had encountered openly anti-Semitic behavior, he apparently continued to be regarded derisively as a Jew by many contemporaries. In his memoires, Ernst Rudorff suggests that Mendelssohn and Betty Pistor had an awkward relationship due to the anti-Semitism of some branches of her family. In addition, Mendelssohn's Jewish origins may have played a role in his rejection for the directorship of the Berlin Singakademie in 1832.

Keywords:   anti-Semitism, Judensturm, Jews, Prussia, Carl August Varnhagen von Ense, Denkwürdigkeiten, Eric Werner, Fanny Mendelssohn, Doberan

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