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Already layed Stumbling Stones
Lilly Wolff * 1896
Heinrich-Barth-Straße 8 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
further stumbling stones in Heinrich-Barth-Straße 8:
Rolf Arno Baruch, Marion Baruch, Georg Baruch, Bernhard Baruch, Dan Baruch, Gertrud Baruch, Berthold Walter, Elinor Wolff, Georg Wolff, Leo Wolff, Toni Wolff, Machla Wolff, Willi Wolff
Lilly Julie Wolff, married name prior to divorce Jäckel, born on 26 Nov. 1896 in Cologne, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga-Jungfernhof, murdered there
Lilly Julie Wolff was born in Cologne as the only child of the married couple Leo and Toni Wolff, née Landsberger, (see corresponding entry) on 26 Nov. 1896. In 1916, the family moved from there to Hamburg. Lilly’s short marriage, about which no further details are known, failed and ended in divorce. Lilly then dropped her married last name Jäckel, reassuming her maiden name. It is not known whether she came to Hamburg along with her parents as early as 1916 or continued to live in Cologne until her divorce.
In Hamburg, Lilly Wolff worked as an actress. The year 1933 saw the formation of the "Jewish Society for Arts and Sciences” ("Jüdische Gesellschaft für Kunst und Wissenschaft"), for which Lilly Wolff also worked as an actress. The "society” was born of necessity in order to provide Jewish artists with engagements and offer entertainment to Jewish audiences. In 1935, the organization renamed itself "Jewish Cultural Federation Hamburg reg. soc.” ("Jüdischer Kulturbund Hamburg e.V.”). Only one year later, the association already had 5,208 members, amounting to approximately half of Hamburg’s Jewish population at the time. Lilly Wolff was able to perform in various productions, for example, in Twelfth Night and Der Pojaz. In 1936, she also appeared in artistic events held at Conventgarten, initiated by the chairman of the "Jewish Association for the Support of Artists” (Jüdische Künstlerhilfe). (Conventgarten was a venue and concert hall at the intersection of Kaiser-Wilhelm-Strasse/Fuhlentwiete (Hamburg-Neustadt), which was destroyed in the air raids of 1943).
Lilly’s fees, however, did not suffice to support her and her parents financially. Thus, in 1934 and 1935, she temporarily clocked in and out at a switchboard, also receiving tide-over fees from the Cultural Federation and caring for elderly Jewish families prior to their emigration. In addition, she received payments from the welfare office.
From 1938 onward, she no longer got any engagements with the Jewish Cultural Federation. In a letter to the welfare department, she explained this with the fact that the Cultural Federation lacked the funds for a broad range of events due to the emigration of many well-to-do Jews. However, she also criticized the course of action taken by the executive committee to engage Jewish artists from outside of Hamburg or retired actors for plays, leaving local actors such as her without employment. She was not alone with this view. Around the actor Wolfram Garden, a "Jewish artists’ group” gathered that protested against the leadership of the Jewish Cultural Federation, especially against the association’s selection of plays to be staged, which was not suitable for the general public, the group argued. In its programs, in 1938, the Jewish Cultural Federation advertised by stating that in an evening of entertainment both external and Hamburg artists would appear, thus bearing out the criticism both by Lilly Wolff and Wolfram Garden. Lilly, though asked to participate in this evening of entertainment as an artist, had to turn down the offer because she did not own a formal dress she could have worn on such an occasion.
In Nov. 1938, after Lilly was no longer able to document any engagements, the tide-over moneys she had received as from the fund for needy Jewish artists payments between seasons were also cancelled. She then earned the upkeep of her family by working in the households "of Jewish families […] particularly those wishing to emigrate,” by reading to older people or taking them for walks. This work was not always remunerated with money but instead frequently paid in kind.
Since 1933, Lilly had lived together with her parents in different apartments: initially, at Schleidenplatz 7 (today Biedermannplatz) in Barmbek, then, in 1934, in the same part of town at Meister-Francke-Strasse 5, where they sublet a room to a woman with a 14-year-old son. When the latter moved out in 1935, an unmarried female hospital employee succeeded them. During this time, Lilly slept in the kitchen on "a very old chaise longue.” On 28 Mar. 1938, the family moved into a one-bedroom apartment at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 34, where they resided for only seven months though, "since all of the Jewish families were given notice.” From 20 Nov. 1938 until their deportation on 6 Dec. 1941, the Wolffs resided at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 8, where the Stolperstein commemorates them.
In order to be able to cover the rent of the relatively expensive apartment, the Wolff family applied for assistance from the welfare office. Vis-à-vis the welfare authority, Lilly explained the rental costs with the fact that the ban on Jewish tenants living with a non-Jewish landlord or landlady resulted in demand significantly exceeding the supply of available apartments. The building at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 8 was used as a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”), where the former Jewish Community (by then, "Jewish Religious Organization”) put together Jews.
No more traces of the family could be found for the period from 1 Dec. 1939 and the deportation on 6 Dec. 1941. Together with 750 other Jewish residents of Hamburg, they were deported to Riga-Jungfernhof, perishing there due to hunger, cold, diseases, or being murdered in the mass shooting during "Operation Dünamünde” ("Aktion Dünamünde”). The exact dates of death, either of Lilly or of her parents Leo and Toni Wolff, are not known.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: April 2018
© Katharina Steinebach
Quellen: StaHH, 522-1, 992b, Kultussteuerkartei; StaHH, 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge 2021 (Wolff, Leo); Bundesarchiv, R 1501 Ergänzungskarten zur Volkszählung vom 17.5.1939; IgdJ Archiv, Bestand Kulturbund; Apel, Linde (Hrsg.): In den Tod geschickt. Die Deportation von Juden, Roma und Sinti aus Hamburg 1940 bis 1945, Hamburg 2009; Meyer, Beate (Hrsg.): Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933–1945. Geschichte, Zeugnis, Erinnerung, Hamburg 2006, S. 25–31; http://www.dasjuedischehamburg.de/inhalt/%C2%BBjudenh%C3%A4user%C2%AB (Zugriff 28.2.2014); Barbara Müller-Wesemann, Theater als geistiger Widerstand. Der Jüdische Kulturbund in Hamburg 1934–1941, Stuttgart 1996.