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Gerson Wolff * 1940

Hammer Hof 17 (Hamburg-Mitte, Hamm)

1941 Minsk

further stumbling stones in Hammer Hof 17:
Edith Wolff, Gertrud Wolff, Helmut Wolff, Hilde Wolff

Familie Wolff

Edith Wolff, born on 26 May 1897, deported to Theresienstadt on 19 July 1942, deported to Auschwitz on 12 Oct. 1944
Gerson Wolff, born on 7 Apr. 1940, deported to Minsk on 18 Nov. 1941
Gertrud Wolff, née Landsberger, born on 2 June 1865, deported to Theresienstadt on 19 July 1942, date of death there 17 Aug. 1942
Helmut Wolff, born on 16 Dec. 1892, deported to Minsk on 8 Nov. 1941
Hilde Wolff, née Goldmann, born on 21 Dec. 1903, deported to Minsk on 18 Nov. 1941

Edith Wolff, born in Altona, was single. In the 1920s, the German-Israelitic Community only noted her membership, her address at Schulenbeksweg 11, and her occupation as a salaried employee. She had almost no income. She left the Community in 1931. At this point, the entry read, "Without any creed according to statistics form.” In 1939, she was forced to join the Reich Association of Jews in Germany (Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland). At that time, she lived at Hammerhof 17 on the ground floor and ran a pedicure studio, which no longer generated any income, however. Her mother Gertrud moved in with her, then also her brother Helmut with his wife Hilde. Economic hardship and perhaps the rental laws forced the four of them to cram together at Hammer Hof 17.

Her mother Gertrud Wolff, née Landsberger, born on 2 June 1865 in Berlin, was a widow. The couple had four children: Werner, born on 17 Mar. 1891; Helmut, born on 16 Dec. 1892, Edith, born on 26 May 1897, and Gerhard, born on 21 May 1899.

Gertrud Wolff completed training as an elementary school teacher (Volksschullehrerin). After the death of her husband, she returned to teaching and was employed at the school at Vierländer Damm 61. Her son Werner also became a teacher. Son Gerhard died in 1920.

Gertrud Wolff probably retired in 1933; Werner was forced into retirement in 1934. He found the opportunity to continue teaching at a private Jewish school in Berlin. Living in a "privileged” mixed marriage ("privilegierte” Mischehe), he initially had more freedom than his mother and siblings for the time being.

Like his brother Werner, Helmut Wolff joined the German-Israelitic Community in 1920. He left it again in 1927. In Aug. 1938, he married Hilde Goldmann, born on 21 Dec. 1903 in Harburg. Although she had assets, they did not find a place of their own and moved in with his sister Edith.

Over the years, all family members had left the German-Israelitic Community, but they were forced to rejoin the Reich Association in 1939. In the correspondence on the related tax payments, Gertrud Wolff wrote in Feb. 1940:

"To the Hamburg Jewish Religious Organization [Jüdischer Religionsverband], Beneckestrasse 2
Concerning L 3865
A few weeks ago, you informed me by telephone that if I did not make a new declaration to leave the Jewish Religious Organization, I would automatically be reinstated, even though I had been a dissident for about nine years. However, I have refrained from this renewed declaration. Now, of course, I am very surprised to learn from your letter above that you have nevertheless assessed me retroactively for the years 1938/39. Regrettably, I have to tell you that I am completely unable to pay for this, since from my small pension of 145 marks, I have to support my daughter, who has not earned a penny for over a year; moreover, I had to leave my apartment, and the moving expenses have already exceeded my financial resources by far.”

After additional back and forth, she paid the "head tax” ("Kopfgeld”) of 1 RM a month.

Edith had been given notice for the apartment at the end of 1939. She relocated with her mother to Isestrasse 61; Helmut and Hilde Wolff moved to Wandsbek, where their son Gerson was born on 7 Apr. 1940. When they had to move out of there as well after three months, the Jewish Community housed them at Lenhartzstrasse 3. In 1941, Hilde’s assets were used up and the couple received welfare assistance. In Nov. 1941, they were deported separately to the Minsk Ghetto: Helmut Wolff on 8 Nov. 1941; Hilde with Gerson on 18 Nov. 1941. In the ghetto, they lived together again. They succeeded in sending the relatives in Hamburg news, and Werner Wolff, by then enlisted for compulsory labor, still sent them some food parcels.

On 4 Dec. 1941, Edith Wolff and her mother moved to Grindelallee 23 through arrangements by the Jewish Community, from where they were deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 19 July 1942. Gertrud Wolff died just one month later. Edith was taken to Auschwitz on 12 Oct. 1944 and probably murdered immediately after her arrival.

On 14 Feb. 1945, the Hamburg Gestapo also sent Werner Wolff to Theresienstadt for "labor duty;” he survived.

Distant echo
In a conversation in May 2007, the composer Raimund Schwedeler told of the Wolff family who had lived in the apartment below him. He had played a lot of music and had a spiritual connection with Edith Wolff, to whose family he had then dedicated his Fourteenth Symphony.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: May 2019
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; StaH, 522-1, Jüdische Gemeinden, o. Sign. Mitgliederzählung der DIGH 1928; 992 d Steuerakten Band 34; 992 e 2 Deportationslisten Bde 2, 3 und 5, BA Bln., Volkszählung 1939; Hamburger Lehrerverzeichnis, Jg. 1920/21, S. 36, 150, 189, 249, 251; Jg. 1927/28, S. 36, 64; Jg. 1930/31, S. 70, 120; Jg. 1933 S. 68, 121, hrsg. von der Gesellschaft der Freunde des Hamburger Schul- und Erziehungswesens; Reiner Lehberger und Hans-Peter de Lorent (Hg.): "Die Fahne hoch". Schulpolitik und Schulalltag in Hamburg unterm Hakenkreuz. Hamburg 1986. S. 329–331.
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