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Henriette Benveniste (De Lemos)

Henriette Benveniste (De Lemos)

Female 1764 - 1847  (83 years)

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  • Name Henriette Benveniste (De Lemos) 
    Born 5 Sep 1764  Altona, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Biography HERZ, HENRIETTE (1764–1847), Berlin, Germany salonnière. The beautiful and highly educated daughter of Benjamin de Lemos, a Portuguese Jewish physician, she married the physician and philosopher Marcus *Herz, 17 years her senior, in 1779. In the 1780s their home became a center of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment learning, attracting young Prussian nobility and reform-minded Jews interested in Marcus Herz's lectures and demonstrations in chemistry and physics and in discussing the new Romantic literature with his beautiful wife. Henriette Herz and her friend Dorothea (Brendel) *Mendelssohn Veit Schlegel, the daughter of Moses *Mendelssohn, formed a Tugendbund (Society of Virtue) with Wilhelm and Alexander von *Humboldt, Karl Laroche, and others to promote friendship and learning. Wilhelm von Humboldt's later efforts on behalf of Jewish emancipation stem in part from his youthful infatuation with Herz. Some of their correspondence is composed in Hebrew script. In the 1790s Herz developed a lifelong friendship with the philosopher and Protestant theologian Friedrich *Schleiermacher. Reading groups among intellectual circles developed into the famous Berlin, Germany salons hosted almost exclusively by women such as Herz, Rahel Levin *Varnhagen von Ense, and Sara Levi. Among those who frequented Herz's salon were Friedrich Schlegel, Karl Gustav von Brinkmann, Friedrich Genz, Madame de Genlis, and Jean Paul Richter. Herz's beauty was captured in portraits painted by Anna Dorothea Therbusch (1778) and Anton Graff (1792), and in a bust sculpted by Gottfried Shadow (1783). She knew many languages, including ancient Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, and English and in 1799 and 1800 she translated two English travel books into German. Following Marcus Herz's death in 1803, her salon activity tapered off and ended by 1806 with Napoleon's occupation of Berlin, Germany. Herz lost her pension and was forced to seek work as a governess; in 1817 she became a Protestant and traveled to Rome (1818–19). Herz spent her later years in reduced circumstances teaching languages and needlework to young women and offering hospitality to Schleiermacher's students. In the 1820s she began a memoir focusing on her youth; wishing to control her posthumous reputation, she burned some of her correspondence. At the end of her life, Herz she gave J. Fuerst access to her remaining papers and spoke with him about her life. Following her death, he published her reminiscences (J. Fuerst, Henriette Herz. Ihr Leben und ihre Erinnerungen (1858)).
    M. Davies, Identity or History Marcus Herz and the End of the Enlightenment (1995); M.E. Goozé, "Posing for Posterity: The Representations and Portrayals of Henriette Herz as 'Beautiful Jewess,'" in: M. Henn and H.A. Pausch (eds.), Body Dialectics in the Age of Goethe. (2003), 67–95; D. Hertz, Jewish High Society in Old Regime Berlin, Germany (1988); P. Seibert. Der literarische Salon: Literatur und Geselligkeit zwischen Aufklaerung und Vormaerz (1993).
    [Marjanne E. Goozé (2nd ed.)]
    Source Citation: Goozé, Marjanne. "Herz, Henriette." Encyclopaedia Judaica. Eds. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik. Vol. 9. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. 51. 22 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Thomson Gale. SPERTUS COLLEGE OF JUDAICA. 3 July 2007 

    HERZ, HENRIETTE:   (back to article)

    By : Isidore Singer   Henrietta Szold  

    German leader of society; born in Berlin, Germany Sept. 5, 1764; died there Oct. 22, 1847. From her father, De Lemos, a physician, descended from a Portuguese Jewish family of Hamburg, she inherited intellectual ability; from her mother, energy and philanthropic spirit; and from both, extraordinary beauty. Her queenlike bearing, her finely cut and delicately colored Spanish type of face, continued, even after she had passed middle life, to arouse admiration. But the homage paid her from childhood up left traces in her character; she was vain and domineering.Henriette’s education was conducted at home, in part by her father, to whom she was fervently attached. Her linguistic attainments were remarkable. She knew French, English, Spanish, Italian, and Greek, enough Hebrew to read the Bible and its commentaries, and some Portuguese, Danish, and Latin.
    In old age she attempted Turkish, and under Bopp obtained a slight knowledge of Sanskrit. Besides, she was interested in the sciences; and her literary judgment was deferred to by authors of repute.This almost scholarly equipment was acquired chiefly after marriage, through her husband (much older than herself), the physician Hofrat Markus Herz, whom she married at fifteen (Dec. 1, 1779).
    Henriette’s beauty, wit, goodness of heart, and social graces made his house the resort of the most distinguished men and women in Berlin, Germany. Among her friends and acquaintances were Jean Paul Richter, Schiller, Mirabeau, Rückert, Niebuhr, Johannes von Müller, the sculptor Schadow, Solomon Maimon, Gentz, Fanny von Arnstein, Madame de Genlis, and Princess Luise von Radziwill. Her idol Goethe, to whose cult her salon was devoted, she met once, in Dresden, Germany (1810). Her intimates were her pupil in Hebrew, Alexander von Humboldt, who corresponded with her in the Jewish cursive script; Friedrich von Schlegel, whose marriage to Dorothea Mendelssohn-Veit became possible through her intermediacy; and especially Schleiermacher, her daily visitor during his first sojourn in Berlin, Germany. Schleiermacher addressed her familiarly with “thou” and as”Jette,” and read Shakespeare, “Wilhelm Meister,” and the Greek poets with her. She in turn taught Schleiermacher Italian, and stimulated him to undertake independent literary work.The intimacy of Henriette with Schleiermacher was town talk: it even furnished a subject to the caricaturists. Yet it was a purely Platonic friendship.
    However much Henriette may have subscribed to the prevalent theories, her own conduct, regulated by sound sense and a rigid conception of duty, was above reproach. Her relation to Börne is an instance in point. The youth of seventeen came to live with the Herzs in 1802, and fell desperately in love with his hostess. Tactfully she diverted his passion into quieter channels, and later she became his friendly adviser. Her husband trusted Henriette implicitly, and in turn inspired her, if not with passionate love, at least with devoted respect. She mourned him sincerely on his death in 1803.
    Left in straitened circumstances, she had to resort to teaching to support her blind mother, a sister, and herself. Though material cares had a depressing effect upon her humor, she rejected, out of deference to her mother, enticing offers of marriage and of positions, because they involved acceptance of Christianity. A few weeks after her mother’s death she yielded to Schleiermacher’s importunities, and was baptized (June, 1817). In her old age, at the request of Alexander von Humboldt, Frederick William IV. of Prussia granted her a pension on the ground of her public activities, especially her unremitting efforts to relieve distress during the Napoleonic wars.
    Except a short period in Prenzlau, Hofrätin Herz’s life was spent in Berlin, Germany. Occasionally she took short journeys to the Harz Mountains, to Rügen, and to Dresden, Germany. In the galleries Dresden, Germany she discovered that she was more sensible to the beauties of art than to those of nature. Her longest journey was to Rome in 1819, with the family of Wilhelm von Humboldt.In the way of literary productions, Henriette Herz left little. She published, in 1799 and 1800, two works of travel translated from the English with the help of Schleiermacher.
    Later she wrote two novels, which, like her extensive correspondence, she destroyed before her death. Her reminiscences (“Erinnerungen an Schleiermacher”) were not, strictly speaking, her work; they were told by her, but recorded by others.Bibliography: Ludwig Geiger, Allg. Deutsche Biographie, vol. xii.; Julius Fürst, Henriette Herz, Ihr Leben und Ihre Erinnerungen, 1850, 1858; Aus Schleiermacher’s Leben in Briefen, 2d ed., 1860; Briefe des Jungen Börne an Henriette Herz, 1861; Kayserling, Die Jüdischen Frauen, 1879, pp. 198-208; Nahida Remy, Das Jüdische Weib, n.d., pp. 231-234.S. H. S.  [1, 2
    Hebrew Birth 8 Elu 5524 
    Hebrew Death 12 Che 5608 
    Residence Altona, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence Berlin, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 22 Oct 1847  Berlin, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I5358  Blank Family
    Last Modified 26 Oct 2010 

    Father Dr. Benjamin Benveniste (De Lemos),   b. 1711, Hamburg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Feb 1789, Berlin, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years) 
    Mother Esther Charleville,   b. 9 Apr 1742, Halle, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Apr 1816, Berlin, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years) 
    Married 1763  Berlin, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F4411  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Dr. Marcus Herz,   b. 17 Jan 1749, Berlin, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Jan 1803, Berlin, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years) 
    Married 1 Dec 1779  Berlin, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 24 Feb 2009 
    Family ID F1772  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 5 Sep 1764 - Altona, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 1 Dec 1779 - Berlin, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Altona, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Berlin, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 22 Oct 1847 - Berlin, Germany Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
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  • Photos
    Herz Henriette
    Herz Henriette

  • Sources 
    1. [S14] Encyclopedia Judaica.

    2. [S68] Jewish Encyclopedia.

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