Francesco von Mendelssohn (born Franz von Mendelssohn) was an eccentric German cellist, art collector, actor, and theater director. Mendelssohn was born in Berlin, a member of the prestigious Mendelssohn family. The Mendelssohns were baptized as Christians but after the Nazis came to power in January 1933, the Mendelssohns were persecuted as Jews. Francesco, his sister Eleonora, and other friends emigrated to New York City. There, his health declined. He sought restitution for the Nazi looting of the Mendelssohn art collection.