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Already layed Stumbling Stones
Gottfried Wolff * 1870
Isestraße 69 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Freitod 18.07.1942 Hamburg
further stumbling stones in Isestraße 69:
Liesel Abrahamsohn, Johanna Adelheim, Henry Blum, Rosalie Blum, Louis Böhm, Gertrud Böhm, Bertha Brach, Hillel Chassel, Irma Chassel, Michael Frankenthal, Erna Gottlieb, Ella Hattendorf, Frieda Holländer, Gertrud Holländer, Henriette Leuschner, Elfriede Löpert, Helene Löpert, Walter Löpert, Ella Marcus, Ernst Maren, Josephine Rosenbaum, Günther Satz, Selma Satz, Else Schattschneider, Lydia Wolff
Lydia Wolff, neé Lychenheim, born 5 Oct in Richtenberg, suicide 14 July 1942
Dr. Gottfried Wolff, born 18 Oct 1870 in Lübtheen, suicide 14 July 1942
Gottfried Wolff came from an old Mecklenburg merchant family. He was born in Lübtheen and had nine brothers and one sister. He broke with the Jewish tradition and joined the Protestant Church. His children were baptized. It turned out that this step didn’t save the family later from being treated as Jews by the National Socialists.
Gottfried Wolff studied law, settled as a lawyer and notary in Parchim. Since 1901, he was licensed at the Schwerin Reginal Court (Landgericht). In 1913 he purchased the plot of land and the house Blutstraße 8 where he set up the living quarters for the family and his office.
The Wolffs had three children. Both their daughters, Annemarie, born in 1905, and Käthe (later married Freise), born in 1909, died in the Schoah. The son Hans, born in 1907, was the first of the family affected by National Socialist persecution. In February 1933 he was arrested in Hamburg. He was charged with activities in the socialistic student union and the Social Democratic Party.
First he came into the KZ Fuhlsbüttel, and was transferred to the KZ Oranienburg. On September 15, 1934, one day before his 26th birthday, he was released. Later he emigrated to South America.
Initially, after the National Socialists came to power, Gottfried Wolff was able to continue his flourishing practice. In 1935 though, he was deprived of the office of notary. Until 1938 he could still work as a lawyer, in the end only as a "consultant” for Jewish clients.
During the night of the November Pogrom on 9/10, 1938, his office was smashed, and books and files were burned at a bonfire. Also the flat was demolished. All 15 Jewish inhabitants of Parchim were taken into "protective custody” (Schutzhaft). Helmut Wolff, the then almost five- years- old grandson, remembers in 2020: ”After our house was destroyed…my grandparents, my mother and I ended up in some building in a room with a pass-through flap for food and a small barred window.” Presumably they were locked in a cell of the town police office or the district court prison. The women and children were released no later than the next morning. On November 11, the five imprisoned men were transported to the prison in Altstrelitz. Gottfried Wolff was kept there until November 17.
In December 1938 Gottfried Wolff had to sell his house and land property, but he was allowed to live there until December 1939. Then they moved to Hamburg. They hoped to be less exposed to persecution in the anonymity of the big city rather than in Parchim. The wish to be able to emigrate to the USA, where one of Lydia’s brothers lived, was not fulfilled. An important connection with Hamburg was obviously made by daughter Annemarie. Her best friend was actress Ilse Alexander, neè Brach. In Mecklenburg the two sometimes had performed together. Ilse’s mother, Bertha Brach, lived at her sister’s, Selma Satz, in Hamburg, Isestraße 69. Their uncle Michael Frankenthal also stayed with them after his wife had died.
Selma Satz ( www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de) was a widow. In 1939 her two sons didn’t live with her in the apartment. Wolfgang had emigrated to the USA. His younger brother, Günther, ( www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de ) attended the Jewish Gartenbauschule in Ahlem near Hannover. So Selma Satz had the opportunity to sublet part of the large apartment in order to improve her income. Like for all well- off Jews, the access to her assets was blocked and she was only allowed to withdraw a certain amount of money per month for her
In 1939 Lydia and Gottfried Wolff three times came to stay with Selma Satz as her house guests, and a friendly relationship developed. For Whitsun 1939 the Wolffs even invited Selma to spend the holidays with them in Parchim. But she declined. On July 26, 1939 she wrote her son: "The Wolff family is here again for a visit, I am always glad to be together again with these people…”
As of December 31, 1939, Gottfried Wolff cancelled his residency in Parchim and finally came to Hamburg with his wife, and in January 1940 they officially moved in as subtenants of Selma Satz in Isestraße 69. On January 25, 1940, Annemarie followed with her son Helmut who was born in 1933. His father a non- Jewish attorney, and corvette commander whom Annemarie Wolff had met in the early 1930s, at the beginning of the National Socialist rule, refused to get married to a Jewish woman.
The Wolffs could move into the two large front rooms and the maid’s room. In 1940 the other daughter, Käthe Freise, who lived in Thuringia with her son Eberhard, stayed with them for a short time.
Annemarie’s friend Ilse Alexander is fequently mentioned in Selma Satzes letters to her son Wolfgang in the USA. She sent presents for Helmut and visited the family in Isestraße. For Helmut she was like an aunt. She was married to the well known actor Georg Alexander, who belonged to the National Socialist elite of the film world in Berlin. Thus she was protected by a Mischehe.
On September 11, 1940, Selma’s son, Günther, came back. He had to leave the school in Ahlem. The large apartment was getting crowded. But the relationship between the two families remained stable, even though the Wolffs now more often retired to their living quarters. Already on October 18, 1939 Gottfried Wolff had invited the Satz family for a comfortable teaparty on his birthday. A year later on his 70th birthday he asked for a sociable drink of wine.
He often spent his time with Michael Frankenthal and the brothers Hermann and Moritz Dugowski (www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de) from Isestraße 61. Them playing cards together, is frequently mentioned in the Satz letters. Hermann Dugowski, already widowed since 1919, had been married to a sister of Selma Satz and Bertha Brach.
The Wolffs were also invited to the celebration of Michael Frankenthal’s 75th birthday on September 1, 1939. There they met Rabbi Carlebach (www.stolpersteine.hamburg.de) and the neighbour Henry Chassel (www.stolpersteine.hamburg.de), who among numerous positions in the Jewish community until 1939 was chairman of the Neue Dammtor Synagogue.
On November 8, 1941, the dwelling fellowship had to cope with the first heavy stroke of fate. Günther Satz was deported to Minsk. His mother’s name was also on the list of deportees, but she was deferred.
In February 1942 the apartment had to be evacuated and all inhabitants had to move into the Bruemmerstift in Frickestraße 24, then a "Jews House”. Directly from there on July 11, 1942, the sisters Selma Satz and Bertha Brach were deported to Auschwitz. On July 15, 1942, Michael Frankenthal was deported to Theresienstadt. He died there on November 4th, 1942.
In the evening of July 18, 1942, at 6:30 Gottfried Wolff was spotted in the Elbe River off the Altona Waterworks in Blankenese. An hour later the water police recovered Lydia Wolff not far away, off the Falkenstein shoreline. Four days earlier, both together, fully dressed, had gone into the Elbe near Rissen. A postal truck driver had found both their papers with the deportation order on the beach. With this, they had sent out a signal. They left life of their own will so as not to be sent into uncertain suffering in Theresienstadt.
Lydia and Gottfried Wolff were brought to the Hafenkrankenhaus, their bodies thoroughly examined and everything they had with them was carefully listed. The custodian of the Bruemmerstift had to identify them. He reported to the police that they had left the stift early on Juli 14. They had been depressed because they had received the deportation order for the next day. From the Hafenkrankenhaus they were taken to the Jewish Cemetory in Hamburg- Ohlsdorf and buried there. To the National Socialist authorities it didn’t matter that they were Christians.
Their daughter Annemarie, last called Anna Maria, on June 10, 1942, got married to Robert Donald Kugelmann and moved into his mansion at Alsterkamp, where she had been registered as a domestic servant already before their marriage. On July 19, 1942, Anna Maria and Robert Kugelmann (www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de) were found dead in their home. They also had a deportation order for Theresientadt and killed themselves.
A few days before, Anna Marie Kugelmann’s friend Ilse Alexander had brought Anna Maria’s son Helmut to safety. She took him to Berlin and then conveyed him to Hamburg, where he grew up in several foster families, without knowing about his Jewish origin.
Ilse Alexander could not save her own mother, Bertha Brach. Obviously the protection she had through her prominent husband didn’t go so far.
Daughter Käthe Freise also didn’t survive the Shoa: In October 1942 she was imprisoned in Sonderlager 21 in Wattensstedt-Hallendorf. From there she came to Auschwitz. Her date of death is February 3, 1943.
In the family it is passed down that she with her son Eberhard was ordered to an office in Weimar. Because she suspected that arrest threatened, she left her son on a bench in the railroad station and told him to wait for her there. After some time he was found and saved by relatives of his father. An odyssee through several homes began, which he survived, but had to cope with mental difficulties.
Gottfried and Lydia’s three grandsons, Eberhard Freise, Helmut Wolff and Jorge Wolff, Hans’ son in Uruguay, survived their parents and their grandparents. After 1945 they had no contact with one another. After the German re-unification in 1990 they inherited together their grandparents’ house in Parchim. Helmut then lived in Hamburg, Eberhard in Weimar, temporarily in Portugal, and Jorge in Uruguay. The lawyers in charge established the contact. Jorge, whose father had died in 1953, wrote:” Hopefully this exchange of letters [because of the inheritance] will be the beginning of a continuous exchange of news, which is not only dealing with material necessities, but is carried by the wish to get to know each other better.”
In Lübhteen, the birthplace of his grandfather, Helmut Wolff had set a second Stolperstein for Gottfried Wolff in front of his parents’ house. Apart from him, three of his siblings had perished in the Shoah. One of his brothers was the grandfather of the former First Mayor of Hamburg, Ole von Beust.
Four of Lydia’s brothers did not survive either. Her brother, who emigrated, passed away in the USA in 1959.
In Parchim another Stolperstein was set for Gottfried Wolff in front of Blutstraße 8.
The Stolpersteine for Lydia and Gottfried Wolff were erroneously laid in front of Isestraße 65. They have been transferred to Isestraße 69.
Translator: Erwin Fink/Changes Christa Fladhammer/Beate Meyer
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: August 2020
© Christa Fladhammer
Quellen: 4; AfW 051078; StaH 331-5 Polizeibehörde - Unnatürliche Todesfälle 1942/1309 und 1942/1405; ITS, Arolsen, TD 457 878; FZH/WdE 632, Original Interview Helmut Wolff durchgeführt von Jens Michelsen; RA Dietrich Schümann, Text für Ausstellung in Schwerin; Benjamin Herzberg, Lichter im Dunkeln – Hilfe für Juden in Hamburg 1933-1945, Hamburg 1997. Ein Beitrag zum Schülerwettbewerb um den Preis des Bundespräsidenten 1996/97, S. 6ff; Stammbäume der Familien Wolff und Lychenheim im Besitz von Helmut Wolff; Informationen in einem persönlichen Gespräch mit Helmut Wolff am 8.2.2008, telefonische Auskunft der Verwaltung des Jüdischen Friedhofs Ilandkoppel am 13.12.2008; Gespräch mit Helmut Wolff im Dezember 2019 und E-mail 16.1.2020; Doreen Frank, Jüdische Familien in Parchim, o.D.; Schweriner Volkszeitung, 12./13. 7.2008: Bericht von Ilse Simonsohn , geb. Elkan, Jüdische Familien in Parchim, o.D.; Ebd., 12./13. 7.2008: Bericht von Ilse Simonsohn, geb. Elkan, über die Verhaftung der Parchimer jüdischen Familien am 10.11.1938; Brief von Jorge Wolff, Montevideo,17.4.1993, Privatbesitz, Helmut Wolff; Briefe von Selma Satz an ihren Sohn Wolfgang in den USA, 1938 bis 1941, Privatbesitz.
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