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Mendel Levin Nathanson

NATHANSON, MENDEL LEVIN (1780–1868), Danish merchant and editor. Born in Altona, Nathanson went to Copenhagen at the age of 12 to join relatives. In 1798 he settled down as a wholesale draper and until 1831 was a prosperous businessman. Later on he wrote works on economics and in 1838 became editor of the Berlingske Tidende, making it the leading newspaper in Denmark. Nathanson was a tireless exponent of the emancipation of Danish Jews. Through his initiative the Jewish Free School for boys was founded in Copenhagen in 1805 and five years later a similar school for girls. He organized the administration of the Jewish community, favoring the religious Reform movement, and had a large share in the Danish government's edict of March 29, 1814 which gave the Jews equal rights. His writings on economics are still studied, especially his historical and statistical presentation of Denmark's administration of public revenues up to 1836. Of special Jewish interest is his history of the Jews in Denmark, Historisk Fremstilling af Jødernes Forhold og Stilling i Danmark (1860). Nathanson's children all converted to Christianity.


G. Siesby, Mendel Levin Nathanson: En biographisk Skizze (1845); I. Luplan Janssen, Mendel Levin Nathanson og hans Slaegt (1960).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.