“Wenn immer mir die Frage nach meiner Volkszugehörigkeit vorgelegt wird, kann ich mich nach wie vor nur (als) zu dem deutschen Volke zugehörig bezeichnen.”
“If there is ever any question about which nation I belong to, the only answer is Germany.”
May 31, 1939 (Extract from a letter written by Fritz to his brother Herbert in Palestine)
Fritz Wolff was born on October 4, 1891, the second son of Kommerzienrat Victor Wolff, owner of one of the largest and most successful fur companies in Germany, H. Wolff AG, with headquarters at Krausenstrasse 17/18. Fritz studied engineering and, spurning the wealthy lifestyle of his parents and brother, became a Communist. He was arrested shortly after the Reichstag fire in 1933 and sent to Spandau prison for three months. During Fritz’ incarceration his brother Herbert left Berlin for the safety of Palestine, where his wife and three children joined him a few months later.
On release from Spandau prison in May 1933, Fritz and his non-Jewish wife Charlotte Schwarz moved to Stolper Weg, Berlin-Hermsdorf where his wife died of cancer in December of that year. Early in 1934, Fritz moved to Scheffelstrasse, Parzelle 450, Bernau-Eichwerder, and in 1938 to Bachstrasse 8, Zepernick.
Fritz remained in Germany to oversee the management of the business headquarters at Krausenstrasse 17/18 which by then was rented as office space to well-known Jewish textile merchants. In 1937 Fritz was forced to sell the building to the Reichsbahn when the Victoria Insurance Company foreclosed on the mortgage.
Following the Reichspogromnacht in November 9-10 (also known as Kristallnacht) , 1938, Fritz was arrested again and on November 22 he was sent to Sachsenhausen, as Prisoner number 13677, Category: Jew.
He was released from “protective custody” on December 6, 1938 on the understanding that he would leave Germany, as his brother had given assurances he could acquire a visa for him to French-controlled Syria.
But instead of emigrating Fritz moved, in early 1939, to a new address at Dresdener Strasse 97. A photo from the early 1920s shows what the building looked like when Fritz lived there, before it was destroyed by Allied bombs in 1945 and ultimately demolished in the 1950s.
This is where Fritz was living, in the same apartment with four other Jews, when the Nazis conducted the May 1939 population census. This included a supplementary card for each household that had to be completed as long as one occupant responded “yes” to the question of whether they had at least one Jewish grandparent. Fritz had four Jewish grandparents – as did all the others in his apartment.
Until today, no record or any information, has been discovered indicating where Fritz Wolff worked in forced labour during the Nazi era. He was still living in the Dresdener Straße when he was rounded up during the Fabrikaktion of February 27, 1943 and deported to Auschwitz on March 1, where he was murdered.
Fritz Wolff was a proud German whose steadfast loyalty was repaid with persecution and murder.
Biography compiled by Dina Gold, great niece of Fritz Wolff, granddaughter of Herbert Wolff, daughter of Aviva Gold (nee Wolff), great granddaughter of Kommerzienrat Victor Wolff.