Permanent exhibition on the history of the Mendelssohn family at the Dreifaltigkeitsfriedhof cemetery

28 descendants of the family matriarch and patriarch, Fromet and Moses Mendelssohn, from the second to eighth generations – ones who were baptized into the Lutheran church – are buried in the cemeteries near Hallesches Tor. A number of famous contemporaries and associates of the Mendelssohns also have their final resting place there. Though classified as a European cultural monument, this group of cemeteries fell into a state of neglect over the years, especially when it comes to some of the most prominent graves and the overall infrastructure.

In late October of 2013, an ambitious project was completed by the foundation Historische Kirchhöfe und Friedhöfe in Berlin-Brandenburg in cooperation with the association Evangelischer Friedhofsverband Berlin Stadtmitte and with the added assistance of the foundation Deutsche Klassenlotterie. Its purpose was to raise public awareness of the historic importance of these cemeteries and to improve their appeal as a unique tourist attraction. This also involved making the necessary repairs to the graves of the Mendelssohn descendants and restoring the pathways and greenery to a proper and dignified condition.

In addition, the first-ever documentation of the entire history of the Mendelssohns was installed on a permanent basis in a former chapel of the cemetery known as Dreifaltigkeitsfriedhof I. This building, which is located near the graves of honor of the Mendelssohn Bartholdys and formerly served as a storage space, now houses pictorial and photo reproductions, short biographies, and overviews arranged by topic: Science & Scholarship, Social Activities, Commerce, Music, Art, Literature, Politics and Patronage of the Arts. Supplemented by a large family tree spanning more than seven generations, the exhibition offers a wealth of impressions and insights on the subject for experts and novices alike. The installation was officially inaugurated on November 3rd, 2013. It opens at 8 am and does not close before 4 pm during the winter months. For more details, please see the website of the Website des Evangelischen Friedhofsverbands Berlin Stadtmitte.

The Mendelssohn-Gesellschaft served as an advisor on the project while contributing specific objects for the exhibition as well as ideas on how the facility could best be managed and used for future attractions.