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Henriette Herz, née Henriette de Lemos,by Anna Dorothea Lisiewska, 1778

Henriette Herz (September 5, 1764 – October 22, 1847) was a close friend of Dorothea Mendelssohn, daughter of the famous Jewish thinker Moses Mendelssohn. Born Henriette De Lemos, she was the daughter of a physician, descended from a Portuguese Jewish family of Hamburg, Benjamin de Lemos (1711–1789) and Esther (1742–1817), née Charleville.

Henriette Herz had grown up in the Berlin of the Jewish Emancipation and had shared tutors apparently with the Mendelssohn's daughters. She initiated the "salonnieres" or literary salons that Emancipated Jews would start in Prussia in what has been described as a "miniature utopia" by the writer Deborah Hertz. At age fifteen, she married a physician, twenty years her senior. Dr. Marcus Herz had studied medicine at the University of Königsberg, one of only three universities that accepted Jews -- but only in its medical faculty. She was said to be an extremely beautiful woman.

After a few years the salon split in two, a science-seminar led by her husband and a literary salon by Henriette herself. Most notable men and women in Berlin were said to have attended her salon. Among her friends and acquaintances were Jean Paul Richter, Friedrich Schiller, Mirabeau, Friedrich Rückert, the Danish Barthold Georg Niebuhr, Johannes von Müller, the sculptor Schadow, Solomon Maimon, Gentz, Fanny von Arnstein, Madame de Genlis, and Princess Luise Fürstin von Radziwill, sister of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, mother of Princess Eliza von Radziwill. See her in 1801 visiting:

Alexander von Humboldt often visited and even received Hebrew lessons from Henriette. The theologian Schleiermacher was another frequent visitor. After the death of her husband she came under the powerful influence of Schleiermacher and converted to Protestantism.



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