Further photos and stories about the Mendelssohn family continue in Chapter 2







Many people have contributed to the information on this page, helping to build up this Mendelssohn family history, and I will try and list them all. If I have left any person or people out, it is inadvertent and I hope they will advise me accordingly. Thank you:
Cilly Fischer
Jane Kimber
Cecile Raphaely

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Menachem Mendelssohn-Halevi was married to ? Passe. They had two sons - Julius who was born in Labischin in 1809 and died in 1889 and Itzik who was born in Labischin in 1812 and died in Berlin in 1889.

Julius married Fredericke (1810-1894) and their children's descendents were Mendelssohn and Rawitzki.

Itzik married Caroline and they had nine children, the offspring being Mendelssohn, Raphaely and Stadthagen. Not all nine married and/or not enough has been found out about their histories.

The nine children were:

1) Johanna, born Pakosch 1839, married Max Raphaely, died Johannesburg 1915
1a Paula, born Berlin 1862
1b Leo, born Pakosch 1869
1c Jack, born Berlin 1872
1d Clara, Berlin 1874
1e Herman, Posen 1878
1f Siegfried, born Gross Neudorf 1879
1g Arnold, born Berlin 1881

2) Markus, born Pakosch 1841, married twice - Jette (Wunderlich) and Anna (Danzigier), died Berlin 1898
3) Bernard, born Pakosch 1842, married Julie (Busch) died Posen 1885
4) Jakob, born Pakosch 1843 - (drowned at sea in 1867 on way to New Zealand with brothers Emanuel and Elias)
5) Elias, born Pakosch 1847 - (drowned at sea in 1867 on way to New Zealand with brothers Emanuel and Jakob)
6) Emanuel, born Pakosch 1849, married Caroline (Emanuel) in The Synagogue, Bourke Street west, Melbourne on 23 December 1874, died at sea on way from South Africa to UK in 1910
7) Rosa, born Pakosch 1852, died Berlin 1913
8) Joseph, born Pakosch 1854, married Dina (Wolffenstein) died Johannesburg
9) Marie, born Pakosch 1857, married Ephraim (Stadthagen), died Berlin 1904

This genealogy mainly concentrates on the family of Emanuel and Caroline Mendelssohn but will include other family members where that information is available.

Emanuel and Caroline's children were:

1) Elizabeth (Lizzie), born 18 December 1875, Melbourne, married Alfred (Platz) 27 October 1897
2) Paulina, born Brisbane 19 June 1877, married Charles Moses (De Saxe), London, 22 December 1897, died Melbourne, 29 August 1902
3) Lena, born 20 October 1880, married ----(Harris) 16 April 1902
4) Jack, born 7 March 1882, married Vera
5) Emil, born 18 October 1885
6) Dolly, born 8 October 1892, married Lawrence (Kostoris)

circa 1850s ?

Mendelssohn great-great-grandparents

Photo believed to be of my great-great-grandparents, Itzik (1812-1889) and Caroline (died 1888) Mendelssohn (born Levy) (Word on the back of the photo - Grosseltern = grandparents in German - presumably Paulina's photo) in Europe, somewhere around 1850 - a very historic photo - if correct!



Photo of Elizabeth (Lizzie)(7) and Paulina (5) Mendelssohn was taken in Berlin in 1882

Lizzie Mendelssohn married Mr Platz and went to live in Belgium

Paulina Mendelssohn married Charles De Saxe in London in 1897, came to Melbourne in 1898, and died in Melbourne in 1902, aged 25

circa 1890

Emanuel Mendelssohn

This photo of my great-grandfather Emanuel Mendelssohn, which appears in the book edited by my father, Morris De Saxe, The South African Jewish Year Book, 1929, 5689-90, was probably taken around 1890 in Johannesburg, when he became the First President of the Johannesburg Jewish Community

The following is an extract from "Welcome to Jewish South Africa", an online resource.

In spite of the materialistic spirit that generally prevailed at the time, there were also a number of Jews who were deeply concerned about the future of Judaism on the goldfields. On the initiative of Emanuel Mendelssohn, the "Witwatersrand Goldfields Jewish Association" was formed on 10 July 1887. It purchased two building plots in President Street on 29 January 1888 for the purpose of erecting the first synagogue in the Transvaal. Ten months later, Mendelssohn laid the foundation stone of the new synagogue which became known as the President Street Synagogue, and he was its first president. Mendelssohn was at different times chairman or president of most of the cultural and religious institutions of Johannesburg. He was also part-owner of the 'Standard and Diggers News', and for some time its editor.



UPDATE - 8 APRIL 2008!

CIRCA 1897

At last! A photo of Caroline Mendelssohn (born Emanuel) which was sent to me from South Africa on 8 April 2008, and as a bonus, the whole family, Caroline, Emanuel, Lizzie, Paulina, Jack, Lena, Dolly, Emil. They may not be in the correct order, and I will amend if I receive further information. The identity of the four women with white caps and aprons has also not been disclosed at this stage.

14 April 2008: The book from which the above photo was extracted: "Founders and Followers - Johannesburg Jewry 1887-1915" arrived as a gift from Jane Kimber, in Johannesburg, who assisted with the compilation of the book.

The caption under the photo reads as follows:
With their servants on either side, this Mendelssohn family group was photographed in the garden of their home in Belsize Grove, Hampstead, London, possibly in 1896 when Mendelssohn visited England.Left to right, standing, Caroline and Emanuel Mendelssohn and their elder son Jack, then aged about 14; seated, Lena; Paulina; Lizzie, with her arm around Dolly, born 1892 in Johannesburg and, seated on the ground, Emil. Dolly related how 'Madame Mendelssohn', as she called herself, once took her to an opera, and, to her acute embarrassment, stood up and started singing the aria with the soprano on the stage 'because she could sing it better'! By courtesy Mrs. Cecile Raphaely



This photo of Paulina Mendelssohn and Charles De Saxe was taken in London at the time of their marriage, December 1897.


25 Brighton Road St Kilda 1898

This photo was taken at 25 Brighton Road, St Kilda, Melbourne, on 23 December 1898, when Morris Isaac De Saxe was 8 weeks old. Whether the family was as prosperous as the number of servants indicates is an interesting question. The photo shows Paulina holding the baby, Charles standing behind her, and 4 servants!! one of whom was presumably the child's nurse! (photo enhancement by Greg de Saxe 2007)


De Saxe brothers 1902 Melbourne

(The photographic studio Mendelssohn & Co. was situated in the old Queen Victoria Building on the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets - the owners of the studio do not appear to have been related to my family.)(right-hand photo)

(Left-hand photo) Photo of Morris Isaac De Saxe (born 23 October 1898) and brother Wilfred Emanuel De Saxe (born 28 April 1900) taken in Melbourne in late 1902, some months after their mother Paulina (born Mendelssohn) had died in Melbourne on 29 August 1902, aged 25.

I wrote the letter below to the editor of the Australian Jewish News on 8 January 2000. The letter was published, but there was no feedback. Now, four years later (2004), I am still trying to find out what happened to Wilfred Emanuel De Saxe. I have tried to obtain a death certificate in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, West Australia, United Kingdom and South Africa, all to no avail. So, it is time to publish the story on our web pages, and hope someone, somewhere in the world, may know something of the story of this tragic family.

Dear Editor,

I am writing to you to ask whether, through the medium of your paper and your readers, you are able to help me solve a mystery which is nearly 100 years old.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, I have no living relatives who would be able to provide an answer, and so I am turning to you in the hope that someone out there knows the answer.

The story is as follows:

My father, Morris Isaac De Saxe, was born on 23 October 1898 at 25 Brighton Road, St Kilda. His parents were Charles and Paulina (born Mendelssohn) De Saxe. Charles De Saxe was born in England about 1865, but he had brothers in Victoria who were umbrella manufacturers - a business which seems to have been started in the UK and carried on in Melbourne. Paulina was born in Brisbane about 1877. They married in London in December 1897, and came out to Australia where my father was born. Apparently Charles became a partner in the business of his half-brother Joseph De Saxe, the umbrella manufacturer, in Melbourne.

On 28 April 1900 a second child was born at the same address - Wilfred Emanuel De Saxe.

On 29 August 1902, Paulina De Saxe died at the age of 25, apparently from an abortion which went wrong, and was buried in Melbourne General Cemetery where her gravestone still stands and which my partner and I recently rehabilitated - the lettering was all but faded, and we gave the letters a new coat of paint and the engravings became legible once again after nearly 100 years.

I was born in Johannesburg in 1926, the second child of my parents, the older still living in Johannesburg. My father died in Johannesburg in 1930 of myasthenia gravis - a very rare disease at the time, and he was buried in Johannesburg.

It appears that after my grandmother died in Melbourne in 1902, and her grandfather, Abraham Emanuel, who is buried next to her, died in 1907, Charles De Saxe, now a widower, and with apparently only one child, Morris, decided to return to England to live. It appears that he did not want to be encumbered with a child, and so, on his way to England in about 1908, he left my father with his grandparents Emanuel and Caroline Mendelssohn, who had left Australia where Caroline had been born in Sydney in 1849, and gone to live in South Africa.

My father was brought up in South Africa and, apart from 2 years in England in the Royal Engineers towards the end of World War 1, he lived for the rest of his 31 years in South Africa until his premature death in 1930.

Now the mystery begins! I have birth and death certificates of my father, I have birth and death certificates of his mother, and I have a birth certificate, recently obtained from Melbourne, of Wilfred Emanuel De Saxe, but no death certificate. He seems not to have got to South Africa and my understanding was that he died as a young boy of 7 or 8 in Melbourne. However, there is no record of his death in Victoria - or at least none seems to have been found when I requested such a certificate.

What happened to Wilfred Emanuel? Was he adopted and his name changed? Did he die and his death went unrecorded? - unlikely - I have death certificates of his mother, Paulina and great grandfather Abraham Emanuel, both around the same period, and I have not been able to get any further with solving the problem.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no members of my family alive today who would be able to solve the mystery - Charles De Saxe died in England in 1943 without further issue from his second wife whom he married there, and my father, who seems to have grown up as an only child, died too young for me to have been able to get any answers.

I am aware that in the greater scheme of things, this story really has no great significance, but I have managed to solve many family problems, starting life in South Africa without knowing that I had a vast Australian history. I arrived in Sydney in 1978 where I have lived since then. I started genealogical research into my family’s Australian roots and, having come a long way to obtaining most of the answers, I would now like to solve this problem.

Attached to this letter is a copy of a photo (see above) of my father and his brother, taken in Melbourne in November 1902, just a few months after their mother had died. Maybe someone out there knew of this family and their descendants today may know what the solution is.

Will you help?

Yours faithfully

Mannie De Saxe (Emanuel Joshua De Saxe)

Copy sent to The Australian Jewish Historical Society, Level 2 / 385 Abercrombie Street, Darlington NSW 2008

BETWEEN 1902 AND 1910

Wolmarans Street Shul, Johannesburg

This photo of the Wolmarans Street Synagogue, of which Emanuel Mendelssohn was the first president, was probably taken around the early 1900s and appears in The South African Jewish Year Book


South Africa 1910

This photo was apparently taken in South Africa, when Morris De Saxe was nearly 12 years old, on 27 July 1910. Morris is standing in the middle of the photo with a party cap on his head. Many of the other people in the photo appear to be members of the Raphaely family, who apparently looked after Morris in South Africa when his father had returned to England.



Mendelssohn Descendents 1951

The photo above was taken in Hale, Cheshire, UK in 1951 at the wedding of Beryl Kostoris, younger daughter of Dolly and Lawrence Kostoris. Dolly was the youngest of the six children of Emanuel Mendelssohn and Caroline Emanuel, and the photo has at least one representative descendent of each of the six children

From left to right, John Mendelssohn, son of Jack Mendelssohn, Pauline Shapiro, daughter of Lena Harris, Mannie De Saxe, grandson of Paulina De Saxe, Carol Mendelssohn, daughter of Emil Mendelssohn, Jack Harris, son of Lena Harris and brother of Pauline Shapiro, Elise Remy, daughter of Lizzie Platz, Cecile Raphaely, daughter of Dolly Kostoris

On 30 September 2009 I was notified by Geni, the family history web programme, that a Mendelssohn wedding video in London had been posted on Geni by Joanne Cowan, John Mendelssohn's daughter. The home movie, in colour, was taken in 1951, probably by John Mendelssohn, so it is now nearly 60 years old! The above black and white photo shows a grouping set up by Dolly to record this historical family gathering, never to be repeated! The film below shows all except Jack Harris who may well have been the camera man who shot this particular group segment.

Kostoris wedding at Altrincham, Hale, Cheshire, 1951 - an astonishing home movie suddenly coming to light on 30 September 2009!








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This page updated 6 SEPTEMBER 2013 and again on 25 OCTOBER 2016