Alexander Mendelssohn (Alexander Mendelssohn)

Alexander Mendelssohn

Financier. As head of the Berlin-based Mendelssohn & Co. from 1848 until his death, he built it into Germany’s most important private bank of the late 19th Century. The son of the firm’s founder, Joseph Mendelssohn, he was born in Berlin into a distinguished family. His grandfather was German-Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn,  and his cousins included composers Felix Mendelssohn and Fanny Mendelssohn. After studying banking and economics, he joined Mendelssohn & Co. in 1822 and became its senior partner upon his father’s death. Mendelssohn increased the company’s international standing by focusing on doing business with Russia. As Royal Bankers to The Czars from the 1850s, they represented that country’s financial interests not only in Berlin but throughout Central Europe, where they dominated the market for Russian sovereign bonds. Both the Russian and Prussian governments decorated him for his services. Like his father, Mendelssohn bucked the family trend of converting to Christianity. He established several Jewish philanthropic organizations and appealed to the Prussian rulers for religious tolerance. But he had his children baptized, and when he died he was the last descendent of Moses Mendelssohn who was a practicing Jew. Mendelssohn & Co. survived the loss of its Russian business in World War I and remained solvent through the postwar and Great Depression years. It was shut down by the Nazis in 1938. (bio by: Bobb Edwards)  Family links:  Parents:  Joseph Mendelssohn (1770 – 1848)

Born

  • September, 19, 1798
  • Germany

Died

  • October, 10, 1871
  • Germany

Cemetery

  • Jüdischer Friedhof Prenzlauer Berg
  • Berlin
  • Germany

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