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H. C. Andersen

The Jewish Maiden:


In a charity school, among the children, sat a little Jewish girl. She was a good, intelligent child, and very quick at her lessons; but the Scripture-lesson class she was not allowed to join, for this was a Christian school.


During the hour of this lesson, the Jewish girl was allowed to learn her geography, or to work her sum for the next day; and when her geography lesson was perfect, the book remained open before her, but she read not another word, for she sat silently listening to the words of the Christian teacher. He soon became aware that the little one was paying more attention to what he said than most of the other children. “Read your book, Sarah,” he said to her gently.


Read the full story here.


Dorothea Melchior (1823 - 1855). -Painted by August Schiøtt in 1855. Age 32.

Courtesy: The H.C Andersen Center.

”Dearest Mrs Melchior!

Today you granted me yet another letter! And as always a blessed one! How very kind you are! And so loyal to your friends . … . Thank you so much for the letters you sent me in Odense, I received them all yesterday and even more awaited me. It was a sheer joy to read them! Oh, I do indeed have kind and loyal friends…”


H.C. Andersen

Rolighed was a country house in what is now the Østerbro district of Copenhagen. As a regular guest of the Melchior family, Hans Christian Andersen died there in August 1875


"My Home in the home, behind the elderflower

Gave sunshine to my life and made my harp ring,

I am grateful to you and bring you my song!”


H.C. Andersen


Hans Christian Andersen or H.C. Andersen (1805–1875) was a Danish author and poet whose work has been translated into 150 languages. His fairy tales were - and are still - equal to love stories and the world of wonderment of any Scandinavian child, who became bewitched by his mysterious, dreamlike voyages of tales, the wealth of his imagination, as well his strong moral voice. In particular, The Ugly Duckling tells the tale of a homely little bird who suffers abuse from the others around him until he matures into a beautiful swan, the most beautiful bird of all. The story is about personal transformation and has that soulfulness which even an adult can embrace.

H.C. sits on a bench in Central Park, New York, somewhere between the Whitney Museum and Conservatory Water, his book wide open and his reflective gaze perhaps stops at the first page of The Ugly Duckling:  “The wheat fields were golden, the oats were green, and down among the green meadows the hay was stacked. There the stork minced about on his red legs, clacking away in Egyptian, which was the language his mother had taught him…” Or perhaps the statue is reading The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Little Match Girl?  For sure one of his 168 tales!

Rolighed (the Danish word means "tranquility") had originally been built around 1800 as a one-storey house with a mansard and a large garden. The Jewish merchant Moritz Melchior and his wife Dorothea acquired it in the 1850s as a summer residence. In 1869, they had it completely rebuilt in the style of Rosenborg Castle with a tower and rounded Dutch gables.

Moritz and Dorothea Melchior entertained a variety of famous guests from the late 1850s when the family business really began to prosper. The most famous of these were certainly Hans Christian Andersen who was a frequent visitor, first in their home on Højbro Plads then increasingly at Rolighed where, in 1866, he was given his own room with a balcony overlooking the Øresund.

Moritz' brother, Israel, a keen amateur photographer was also a frequent visitor. Andersen, who was interested in photography himself, and he became good friends with the result that Israel took many photographs of family gatherings at Rolighed together with Andersen.

Andersen had become increasingly ill after a fall in 1872. He relied increasingly on the care the Melchiors gave him, spending long periods at Rolighed. On 12 June 1875, he arrived there for the last time. A week later he was no longer able to write his diary which instead he dictated to the Melchiors and their children.

Article coming soon!

Andersen at Rolighed: Israel Melchior (c. 1867)

Family group at Rolighed Mansion, Østerbro, near Copenhagen with Dorothea Melchior (centre), Hans Christian Andersen and Moritz G. Melchior. The photograph was taken by amateur photographer, Israel B. Melchior, Moritz' brother.

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