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Mendelssohn, The Nazis and Me


The Extraordinary Story Behind Mendelssohn And His Music

Everybody knows Mendelssohn; at least, everybody knows his Wedding March. But there's an extraordinary story about him and his music that nobody knows. 

Sheila Hayman, Mendelssohn’s great-great-great niece sets out in this film to answer the story behind his life. During her journey Sheila attempts to answer questions such as ‘Why has defining Jewishness obsessed so many people for hundreds of years? How could the baptism of the seven year old Mendelssohn in 1816 become a matter of life and death in 1938? Why was Mendelssohn’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ such a problem for the Nazi’s that they tried to replace it 44 times without success? Why did Jewish inmates of Auschwitz risk their already threatened lives just to be able to play the composer?' Each discovery sets off another question and the search for the whole truth leads from Berlin in the 1760’s to present day Britain and many places in between. The film travels between these episodes, up and down family trees, through musical scores, and in and out of performances of Mendelssohn’s timeless and universal music.

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