Raoul Fernand Jellinek was the son of Emil Jellinek, a diplomat, businessman and consultant to the Daimler-Motorengesellschaft, and Rachel Carmen Jellinek, née Gogman-Azoulay. The automobile is named after Raoul's sister Mercedes Adrienne Manuela Ramona. Raoul was married to Leopoldine, née Weiss. In 1903 the family changed its surname to Jellinek-Mercedes. Raoul lived in 1938 as a man of private means at Wienerstraße 41 in Baden near Vienna, working occasionally as a writer and journalist, for example for the Badener-Zeitung, and was also a supporting member of the Wiener Musikverein. Thanks to the inheritance from his father, Raoul had a large musical collection, a painting collection and a valuable library. Because of his Jewish origins he was subject to increasing repression by the National Socialist regime after Austria's annexation to the German Reich. He attempted initially to prove that he was a "2nd class Jew". This failed because the French birth certificate issued in Algiers – he was an Austrian citizen – had no information about the religion of his parents or grandparents. His accounts were frozen under the Regulation on the Declaration of Jewish Assets of 18 May 1938. For months he was forced to sell items from his collections under their real value, including books to booksellers and antiques dealers. He committed suicide on 10 February 1939 in Baden because of the persecution by the Gestapo and the officials of the Vermögensverkehrsstelle (Property Transaction Office). His family remained under pressure from the National Socialist regime. His widow described this retrospectively in 1958 in a report to the Finanzlandesdirektion für Wien, Niederösterreich und Burgenland (Regional Tax Office for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland): "On 10 February my husband shot himself after an official act of the executory officer. He was about to be arrested. After his death I had to pay 32,000 RM as a Judenvermögensabgabe (Jewish asset levy). To raise this enormous amount I had to sell the valuable library, the unique collection of scores and my property in Baden … along with jewellery and five very valuable Persian carpets at prices well under their real value." Leopoldine Jellinek-Mercedes's application to the Republic of Austria in 1962 for restitution was refused because it had not been submitted within the deadline. The whereabouts of the painting collection are still unknown today.
In July 2012 five books from Raoul Fernand Jellinek-Mercedes's private library were restituted to his heirs from the Universitätsbibliothek der Medizinischen Universität Wien. The five books contain the ex libris "Dem Fernand Jellinek-Mercedes sein Buch" in various forms and the handwritten comment concerning the seller, Antiquariat Hiersemann in Leipzig, and the date of acquisition 1941. Other books from his library were restituted from the university library in Leipzig, the Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin, the Stadtbibliothek Essen and the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky.