Today is the day of remembrance for the victims of National Socialism. On this occasion we would like to present the story of an object from the collection of the International Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem, for which the Special Representative of the Federal Foreign Office for Holocaust Remembrance, Ambassador Dr. Robert Klinke has taken on the sponsorship. We want to set an example against forgetting.
Whether he was in a concentration camp or later fleeing via England towards Uruguay, Josef Wolf carried all of his documents, ultimately his identity, with him in a briefcase. It reminds us of this man, his family and his story.
At the age of 18, Josef Wolf came to Greifswald. He married Charlotte Rotenberg who, like him, was originally from Poland. Their daughter Jutta was born in 1937. A year later, Josef Wolf was arrested and taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Although he was released there, he was subsequently interned several times and used as a forced laborer.
The Wolf family eventually managed to flee to England and from there to South America. Their destination country Uruguay had already closed its borders to refugees, but they could stay in Bolivia. Josef Wolf died there at the age of only 49. Charlotte and Jutta went to Israel as soon as possible. Jutta Wolf gave her father’s briefcase to the Yad Vashem International Holocaust Memorial as testimony to her family’s history of persecution and flight. She is representative of the fate of millions of victims of the Nazi regime.
Josef Wolf’s briefcase is part of the “Sixteen Objects” exhibition, which can be seen until February 17 in the Paul-Löbe-Haus in the German Bundestag in Berlin. The exhibition is also the prelude to the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the international Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem here with us. For “Sixteen Objects”, these pieces from the Holocaust Memorial’s collection were brought to Germany for the first time.
Josef Wolf’s briefcase has a universal message: for memory and against forgetting!
Through February 17, “Sixteen Objects. An exhibition on seventy years of Yad Vashem” in the Paul-Löbe-Haus in the German Bundestag and then from March 5th to April 10th in Hall 8 at the UNESCO-World Heritage Zollverein in Essen.