The era of decisions
The history of the Mendelssohn family began when Moses Mendelssohn married, and his bride from Hamburg, Fromet Gugenheim (1737 - 1812), obtained the residence permit for Berlin in 1762. Their children decided on the direction they wished to give to their lives in the watershed decades of German history, in which one revolutionary event followed directly on the other. The ideas of enlightenment and romanticism informed their decisions. Two of Moses´ children - his eldest son Joseph (1770 - 1848), founder of the bank, and his daughter Recha (1767 - 1831) - remained true to Judaism. Two others decided to convert to Protestantism: the youngest child, Nathan (1781 1851) and Abraham (1776 - 1835), who left the bank of his Jewish brother upon converting to Christianity. Two of his children became Catholics: Henriette (1775 - 1831), a governess who never married, and the scandalous daughter Brendel / Dorothea (1764 - 1839), who after divorcing her first (Jewish) husband initially became a Protestant for her second husband, Friedrich Schlegel (1772 - 1829), only to then convert to Catholicism together with him.