Is your surname Mendelssohn?

Research the Mendelssohn family

Moses Mendelssohn's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Moses Mendelssohn

Also Known As: "Philosopher"
Birthplace: Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
Death: Died in Berlin, Germany
Immediate Family:

Son of Menachem Mendel Heymann and Bella Katzenellenbogen (Wahl)
Husband of Fromet (Frumet) Mendelssohn
Father of Dorothea Veronika von Schlegel (Mendelssohn); Haim Mendelssohn; Sarah Mendelssohn; Recha Beer; Joseph I Mendelssohn and 5 others
Brother of Jente Mendelssohn; Saul Mendelssohn and Sara Jeitteles (Mendel)

Occupation: Philosopher, teacher
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Moses Mendelssohn

Moses Mendelssohn (Dessau, September 6, 1729 – January 4, 1786 in Berlin) was a German Jewish philosopher to whose ideas the renaissance of European Jews, Haskalah (the Jewish Enlightenment) is indebted. For some he was the third Moses (the other two being the Biblical lawgiver and Moses Maimonides) heralding a new era in the history of the Jewish people. For others, his ideas led towards assimilation, loss of identity for Jews and the dilution of traditional Judaism. He was also the grandfather of the composers Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn.

Moses Mendelssohn was born in Dessau. His father's name was Mendel and he later took the surname Mendelssohn ("Mendel's son"). Mendel Dessau was a poor scribe—a writer of scrolls—and his son Moses in his boyhood developed curvature of the spine.

His early education was cared for by his father and by the local rabbi, David Fränkel, who besides teaching him the Bible and Talmud, introduced to him the philosophy of Maimonides. Fränkel received a call to Berlin in 1743. A few months later Moses followed him.

His life was a struggle against crushing poverty, but his scholarly ambition never relaxed.


view all 14

Moses Mendelssohn's Timeline

September 6, 1729
Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
June 22, 1762
Age 32
Berlin, Germany
Age 33
October 24, 1764
Age 35
Berlin, Germany
Age 36
July 18, 1767
Age 37
Berlin, Germany
Age 39
August 11, 1770
Age 40
Berlin Stadt, Brandenburg, Preussen
August 23, 1775
Age 45
Berlin, Germany
December 10, 1776
Age 47
Berlin, Germany