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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Dan und Olga Wolf 1941
© Privatbesitz Familie Wolf, San Raphael CA, USA

Dan Wolf * 1939

Eppendorfer Baum 10 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

1941 Riga


further stumbling stones in Eppendorfer Baum 10:
Hans Beer, Heinz Beer, Margot Beer, Fanny Berlin, Thekla Bornstein, Paula Gans, Richard Gans, Hedwig Weiss, Olga Wolf

Dan Wolf, born on 22 Feb. 1939 in Hamburg, deported to Riga on 6 Dec. 1941

Dan Wolf was born on 22 Feb. 1939 in Hamburg as son of Donat and Olga Wolf, née Berlin. The couple lived on Fuhlsbüttler Landstrasse, where Olga Berlin’s family ran a gravestone company. After Donat’s brother James Wolf and the two brothers of Olga, Ernst and Herbert Berlin, were deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp for about a month during the night of the November Pogrom of 1938, Donat Wolf tried several times since the beginning of 1939 to obtain entry permits to various countries ... without success, however, because the necessary financial means were lacking.

In July 1939, Donat Wolf succeeded in booking a shipping passage together with his brother James and his brother-in-law Ernst Berlin, which eventually led them to Shanghai. The families were to follow them at a later date, "because nobody believed anything could happen to the women and children,” as Donat Wolf wrote in a letter to his grandchildren from his second marriage in 1977.

In this letter, Donat describes the day of his departure on 26 July 1939 as follows: "How should a man describe the days before leaving his home, his wife, his son, and everything he believes to be his future? I still see myself leaving the house in Ohlsdorf – Olly stands in the hallway, our son in her arms, and so does my mother-in-law, Fanny Berlin … and I will never see any of them again.”

A few months after Donat had left, the business of the Berlins in front of the Jewish cemetery in Ohlsdorf was "Aryanized” and Fanny Berlin as well as Olga and Dan Wolf had to move into a small apartment on Eppendorfer Baum, in which they evidently felt quite comfortable, however, as can be gathered from the letters still preserved. Thus, Fanny Berlin wrote to her son Herbert, who had emigrated to Britain on 8 Aug. 1939: "So now we have been living in our new house for a week already and Olly, I, and Dan as well like it a lot; we have no longing for Ohlsdorf, not for one minute yet. You can imagine that I have almost forgotten the old sty. After all, in the end it was simply too filthy; the plaster was literally crumbling from the walls, all you could do was mop up the rainwater, since it was raining through everywhere.”

Dan’s development is also described in the following letters:

"Dan is a great joy to us; in a few days, he will surely have his first teeth. He also says ‘Mama’ already, sometimes even to me. He is coming along well, even though he can no longer be left standing outside all day.” [Fanny Berlin (F.B.): 15 Aug. 1939]

"Today, 22 Aug., Dan is half a year old. He gives us a lot of pleasure. He has had a pot for over 14 days, but he does not use it. He wants to grasp everything, understands some things, says ‘Mama’ from time to time, without obviously knowing the actual meaning ,’coos’ like a nightingale, is strapping, firm, round as a ball, always friendly, smiles at almost everyone – but unfortunately he can never eat enough – what a glutton! But at least it [feeding him] is not agony. Do you think he will learn to use the pot properly by the time he is a grandfather? He is into all kinds of nonsense then, hitting his legs. Turns around after everything, but he does not notice the right thing. Too bad, you should see him; you would have a good time.”
[Olga Wolf (O.W.): 22 Aug. 1939]

Dan now weighs at least 18 lbs. The other day, I went to the doctor’s because he is too healthy, meaning he eats too much. He was weighed at 8.3 kilograms. He [the doctor] patted him a few times, repeating all the while, ‘A peach of a guy he is!’ Considering his weight, he is big and sturdy. Has a broad and high man’s chest; promises, if all business transactions fail, to become a world champion in prize fighting or the like! For the moment, he promises to be a little rascal. He is very well-behaved. A pretty cheerful one. Miss Bertha Heymann calls him ‘Snuten und Poten-Wolf’ [‘Snuten und Poten’ (Low German for ‘snout and paws,’ a hearty North German meat dish) was one of the popular songs by the Wolf Brothers]. He sometimes shows off mightily. Stirs things up around here. Laughs when Mommy Jr. laughs. Incidentally, he smiles at everyone in a friendly way and is not shy at all with strangers. Is passed around from one lady’s lap to the other. He does not mind at all! He has tremendous prospects already and is admired a lot. […] – We are really doing well and are not giving up hope that soon there will be peace and all of us will be reunited.”
[O.W.: 2 Oct. 1939]

Dan is in fine shape, creates a lot of work but also joy, he sleeps through every night. He loves his pot so much and wants to play with it, but Olly will not let him get away with anything, you know her! He has got four teeth on top and only two on the bottom.
[F.B.: 12 Dec. 1939]

Lucos [Ludwig and Jacoba Meyer] recently sent us a plentiful parcel [from Holland], which showered and still showers Dan with presents. He is a peach of a guy, constantly growing in weight and talents. Donat will not have us raise him [to be] a dandy, and you know, that is not our thing either. Now you can really romp around with him already. He is ticklish … the only thing he has inherited from me so far!”
[O.W.: 23 Jan. 1940]

Dan has developed splendidly, he could already romp around with you, and he has also a will of his own. If he says no, it is almost certainly going to be no. Otherwise, he is very kind and already has many girlfriends, like you. He sleeps through every night now. I also hope he will not bother us any longer [at night], but he is not inclined to be dry at night yet. [F.B.: 14 Jan. 1941, the last preserved letter]

In 1942, Ludwig Wolf (Wolf Brothers) sent the following message via the Red Cross to Herbert Berlin:
Mother, Olly, Dan evacuated
to unknown place on 4 Dec. 1941,
I have not received a message yet.
With best regards,
Ludwig Wolf
Hütten 86

Fanny Berlin, Olga Wolf, and Dan Wolf were deported to Riga on 6 Dec. 1941. The date of their murder is not known.

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

Stand: May 2019
© Johann-Hinrich Möller, Februar 2008

Quellen: Brief von Donat Wolf an seine Enkelkinder Dan und Jessica vom 9. März 1977, Privatbesitz Familie Wolf, San Raphael, CA, USA; Briefwechsel Fanny Berlin [F.B.] und Olga Wolf [O.W.] mit Herbert Berlin in England, Privatbesitz Familie Berlin, San Raphael, CA, USA.

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