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Mosse

MOSSE

MOSSE , family originating from Graetz, a small town in the former Prussian province of Posen. Born in Friedland, Niederlausitz, markus mosse (1808–1865), the family's founding father, moved to Graetz in 1835, where he became a committed physician, president of the local Jewish community in 1838, and deputy to the president of the town council. Unlike his coreligionists, he fought on the side of the Polish nationalists during the 1848 uprising and was wounded and taken prisoner. For the rest of his life, Mosse lived quietly in Graetz, engaged in the practice of his profession and the upbringing of his numerous descendants. Markus' wife, Ulrike (née Wolff; 1813–1888), was the aunt of Theodor *Wolff (1868–1943), one of the outstanding journalists of the early 20th century and from 1906 to 1933 chief editor of his cousin Rudolf Mosse's Berliner Tageblatt. Markus Mosse had eight sons and six daughters. His eldest son, Salomon (1837–1903), founded the Mosse linen house in Berlin and was joined by two other sons, Theodor (1842–1916) and Paul (1849–1920). Two other sons, albert (see below) and Maximus (1857–1920), became lawyers, and rudolf (see below) was to be one of the three liberal pressczars of the Kaiserreich.

albert mosse (1846–1925) specialized in administrative law, which he successfully taught to Japanese diplomats in Berlin. Thus, he became legal adviser to the Japanese government in Tokyo from 1886 to 1890. There he drafted the basic laws for the institutions of local self-government in provinces, districts, and communes. Moreover, he gave legal advice to several ministries and even prepared the Japanese constitution. Returning to Germany, he went to Koenigsberg, Prussia, where he became a state supreme court judge in 1890, the highest position hitherto attained by an unbaptized Jew in the Prussian judicial administration. Until his retirement, he was engaged in academic pursuits in his profession, and received a honorary doctorate and – in 1904 – even a honorary professorship at the University of Koenigsberg. Albert Mosse was active in Jewish affairs all of his life; he was married to Caroline Meyer (1859–1934), daughter of the former president of the Berlin Jewish community. After Mosse's return to Berlin in 1907, he became vice president of the Verband der Deutschen Juden and chairman of the board of the Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums. In recognition of his intensive work with its municipal administration, the City of Berlin made him its honorary citizen in 1917.

rudolf mosse (1843–1920), another son of Markus, founded in Berlin the Mosse publishing house, which acquired a worldwide reputation during the Empire and the Weimar republic. Born in Graetz, he learned the profession of bookselling in Posen and worked for several printing firms in Berlin and Leipzig, where, in 1864, he produced the advertising section for the widely read family magazine Die Gartenlaube. In 1867 he opened his own advertising agency in Berlin and was joined first by his brother-in-law Emil Cohn (1832–1905) and later on by his brother Emil Mosse (1854–1911). The firm expanded rapidly, established dozens of branch offices in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and other European states, and published the Deutsches Reichs-Adreßbuch every year from 1898. Only months after Germany had become an empire, Rudolf Mosse started to publish the Berliner Tageblatt, the mouthpiece of German left-wing liberalism. With the takeover of the Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums (1890), the well-established Berliner Volks-Zeitung (1904), and the founding of the weekly Berliner Morgen-Zeitung (1889), the Mosse publishing house acquired nationwide prestige in the course of half a century. Even after World War i, the revolution, and the inflation, the House of Mosse remained a prominent, solidly financed, and highly regarded enterprise throughout Germany and Europe.

Beside his outstanding career as a businessman and a liberal-minded publisher, Rudolf Mosse was noted as a philanthropist. He established a hospital in Graetz and an educational institute in Wilhelmsdorf with an endowment of several million marks. He set up a fund for his employees and made large financial contributions to many literary, artistic, and, foremost, social institutions as well as academies, universities, and scientific pursuits. He was also active in the Jewish community in Berlin and was president of its Reform congregation from 1897 until 1910.

Rudolf 's son-in-law Hans Lachmann-Mosse (1885–1944) was the last head of the Mosse publishing house. He worked in banking before entering the Mosse concern in 1910. Following the rise of Hitler, he resigned and the publishing house was seized by the Nazis. He moved to Paris in 1935 and in 1940 emigrated to the United States.

bibliography:

R. Hamburger, Zeitungsverlag und Annoncen-Expedition Rudolf Mosse (1928); W.E. Mosse, in: ylbi, 4 (1959), 237–59; O. Neumann, in: Juedische Familien-Forschung, 11 (1935), 665ff., 685ff.; E. Kraus, Die Familie Mosse (1999).

[Elisabeth Kraus (2nd ed.)]

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