Rebekka Henriette Dirichlet (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy) (1811 - 1858) MP

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Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Death: Died in Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany
Managed by: Ofir Friedman
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About Rebekka Henriette Dirichlet (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy)

Rebecca Lejeune Dirichlet (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy)


Rebecca Mendelssohn was born in Hamburg, one of four children of a banker, Abraham Mendelssohn (who later changed his surname to Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and who was himself the son of the German Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn), and of Lea Salomon, a member of the Itzig family and the sister of Jakob Salomon Bartholdy. Rebecca was the family's fourth (youngest) child: her oldest sister Fanny was also to display exceptional and precocious musical talent, and her brother was the famous composer Felix Mendellsohn.

Rebecca grew up in an environment of intense intellectual ferment. The greatest minds of Germany were frequent visitors to his family's later home in Berlin, including Wilhelm von Humboldt and Alexander von Humboldt.

Abraham renounced the Jewish religion; his children were first brought up without religious education, and were baptised as Christians in 1816. (Abraham and his wife were not themselves baptised until 1822.) The name Bartholdy was assumed at the suggestion of Lea's brother, Jakob Salomon Bartholdy, who had inherited a property of this name and adopted it as his own surname. Abraham was later to explain this decision in a letter to his children as a means of showing a decisive break with the traditions of his father Moses: "There can no more be a Christian Mendelssohn than there can be a Jewish Confucius".

The family moved to Berlin in 1811 and Abraham and Lea Mendelssohn sought to give his children (Fanny, Felix, Paul and Rebecca) the best education possible.

Rebecca became the centre of a notable salon, having social contacts with the important musicians and scientists in a highly creative period of German intellectual life.

She married the German mathematician (of Belgian origin) Lejeune Dirichlet who was introduced to the Mendelssohn Bartholdy family by Alexander von Humboldt.


Rebekka Dirichlet's Timeline

April 11, 1811
Hamburg, Germany
Age 4
Berlin, Germany
Age 19
July 2, 1833
Age 22
Age 25
November 9, 1840
Age 29
February 12, 1845
Age 33
Florence, Tuscany, Italy
December 1, 1858
Age 47
Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany
Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany