Mendelssohn, The Nazis And Me

Sheila Hayman, a descendant of Mendelssohn's sister Fanny, explores how Felix tried to reconcile his Christianity with his Jewish roots, tracing the events from his time to the emergence of the Third Reich.

She talks to conductor Kurt Masur, an Aryan boy in 1930s Berlin, forbidden to listen to Mendelssohn, and Claus Moser, a Jewish boy in Berlin at the same time, forbidden to listen to Beethoven and consoled by Mendelssohn. Steven Isserlis shows how Mendelssohn's own struggle between his two faiths can be heard in his music.

And Hayman's cousin Cecile, an adolescent in the Third Reich, talks for the first time of how it felt to be a 'Mischling', belonging neither with Jews nor Aryans, in a world where being a Mendelssohn had suddenly changed from a badge of pride to a source of shame, and even mortal danger.