This article deals with conversions to Christianity in the Jewish families Mendel, Haller and Oppenheimer (and related families like Heine and Heckscher) in early nineteenth century Hamburg. The focus of interest is the connection between acculturation and conversion in these families who belonged to the small elite of wealthy merchants and bankers in the Jewish community of Hamburg. Born in the 1770s, the parent generation of these families was obviously educated according to bourgeois standards. They shaped their own family life in the same way, attaching, great importance, for example, to an acculturated education for their children. Although highly alienated from Judaism, no members of the parent generation converted in order to gain for themselves the advantage of emancipation; some remained true to Judaism and some converted in later periods of their lives. But most of the children of these families converted, frequently in order to marry a born or newly-converted Christian.
© De Gruyter 2016