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Nadelmann and Wolff Families Collection

Identifier: AR 25667

Scope and Content Note

The Nadelmann and Wolff Families Collection documents the lives and histories of members of the Nadelmann, Wolff, Lewinsohn, and Kann families. The collection consists of family correspondence, photographs, genealogical research, and research on towns from which family members originated. Nearly all of the correspondence and many documents have been translated into English. The collection's original order has been retained in the arrangement of series.

The first series of the collection contains family correspondence of both the Nadelmann and Wolff sides of the family, which consists of both letters and postcards, along with some articles and information on specific family members. The correspondence centers around family news, including many letters focusing on Willi Lewinsohn's time in the German army during World War I, the emigration of Hans and Hilde Wolff to the United States and their early years there, and Martin and Paula Wolff's efforts to flee Germany and their eventual deportation. Other prominent topics among the correspondence include trips taken by Alfred Nadelmann and the lives of his sisters and their families in Israel. Closely related to the correspondence are the copious photographs that form Series II, including family photographs of the Wolffs, Nadelmanns, and Lewinsohns. Many of the correspondents of Series I can be seen in the photographs of Series II. Frequent subjects of the photographs are Hans and Hilde Wolff as children and young adults, Alfred Nadelmann as a young man, and many group shots showing multiple family members.

Series III focuses on family genealogy as well as research into the history of the families. The bulk of this series is composed of research on the towns family members and their ancestors came from, including many postcards that depict the towns as well as articles about them and maps upon which the towns were featured. In addition, the series includes family trees along with correspondence on the genealogy of the Kann family, related to the Wolffs.

Series IV holds addenda added after the processing of the archival collection and centers on the Wolff family, especially Martin and Paula Wolff. Much of this series consists of correspondence accompanied by related documentation and photographs. The correspondence focuses on the time Martin and Paula Wolff lived in Berlin under Nazi dictatorship, and includes descriptions of aid given the Wolffs by Rainer and Maria Barzel, among other topics. Series IV also includes material on a lecture on the Jewish history of Braunsberg (today Braniewo, Poland) and the family pharmacy as well as on Stolpersteine (commemorative stumbling stones) placed in Berlin in honor of Wolff and Nadelmann family members.


  • 1809-2016

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, Polish and Russian.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Part of the collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

Martin Wolff was born on May 20, 1877 in Thorn (today Toruń, Poland), the son of the merchant and Thorn synagogue chairman David Wolff, and the great-grandson of Rabbi Arieh Lieb ben Seeb/Lewin (Loebisch) Wolff. On August 12, 1907 he married Paula Lewinsohn, also of Thorn. They had two children: Hans Georg and Hildegard Mathilde, both born in Braunsberg, Ostpreussen (today Braniewo, Poland). Martin owned the Neustaedtische Apotheke pharmacy in Braunsberg, East Prussia (now Braniewo, Poland), and was the Braunsberg synagogue Chairman. In 1936 Martin and Paula Wolff moved to Berlin. About a week later Hans Georg departed for the United States; his sister followed in 1937 after having been expelled from her university studies due to being Jewish. In their first years in the United States, Hans studied to become a pharmacist and Hilde held various positions, working as a nanny, saleswoman, and in the department of postal censorship. Hans changed his name to H. George Wolfe, from Hans Georg Wolff. Although Martin and Paula Wolff tried to leave Germany, by the time they received visas to travel to Cuba, in November 1941, Jews were no longer allowed to leave Germany. They were deported to Raasiku, Estonia, near Tallin in 1942, where they were shot to death.

Alfred Hans Nadelmann was the son of Hugo Nadelmann and his wife Elise (née Russ). The Nadelmann family owned a pharmacy, the Hof- und Garnison-Apotheke in Stettin (today Szczecin, Poland), where Alfred, who earned a PhD in organic chemistry, also became a pharmacist. He had two sisters: Erna and Alice. In 1938 Alfred came to the United States, changing his surname to Nadelman. In 1944 he married Hilde Wolfe. They had two children. The family moved to Michigan, where Alfred Nadelman became a university professor, founding the Department of Paper Technology at Western Michigan University.


1.25 Linear Feet


The Nadelmann and Wolff Families Collection provides documentation about members of the Nadelmann, Wolff, Lewinsohn, and Kann families, including details on their professions, early lives, the towns from which family members derived, and including details on the emigration and deportation of family members. The collection consists of family correspondence, photographs, genealogical research, and research on family members' hometowns.

Other Finding Aid

The collection included copies of an inventory created by the donor that lists most folders in the collection. This inventory has been retained at the front of the first folder of the collection.

Related Material

The letters in this collection are excerpted in: We shall not forget! : memories of the Holocaust / edited by Carole Garbuny Vogel, with the assistance of The Sons and Daughters of Holocaust Survivors Discussion Group [of Temple Isaiah of Lexington, MA], located in the LBI Library (D 810 J4 W380 1995).

Separated Material

Binders were removed from the collection during the processing of the archival collection. Entire publications were removed, with photocopies of relevant articles retained in the collection.

Two CDs were removed to the LBI Audiovisual Collection. These CDs contain photographs of postcards of the town of Leszno, Poland and photographs of a memorial that features Jewish gravestones in Osieczna in Leszno County, Poland.

Processing Information

The collection was organized into series based on the original order of the collection. The collection included several large binders, the contents of which were subdivided into multiple folders keeping the arrangement found in the binders.

Additonal material was added to the collection after the initial processing of the collection. This material forms Series IV: Wolff Family Addenda.

Guide to the Papers of the Nadelmann and Wolff Families 1809-2016 AR 25667
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2016
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Nadelmann_and_Wolff_Families.xml

Revision Statements

  • July 2016:: dao links added by Emily Andresini.
  • September 9, 2016:: Series IV added by Dianne Ritchey and Hermann Teifer.
  • September 15, 2016:: Collection title edited by Dianne Ritchey to better reflect prominence of Wolff family materials.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States