Catherine Fell knew nothing of her family’s Jewish history, growing up in southern Germany. World War II was not something he talked about with his parents – the subject was touching. In 1978, at the age of 18, she moved to Boston as a couple, where she attended a lecture by Eric Goldhagen, a survivor of the Holocaust at Harvard. As a child growing up in Baden-Wटेrttemberg, he had never met any Jewish survivors. That experience touched her heart, and she began to read about what she could do about the Nazi era.
When she returned home the following year, she told her mother that she wanted to study Jewish studies for her bachelor’s degree. At this point, he still did not know what his family had experienced during the war.
His mother was not interested in this idea. “She was like, ‘Why do you do that?'” Fell told DW.
Her study included a trip to Israel, which she said made her mother very worried because she did not yet understand.
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“I felt like she was really very nervous … It was a completely irrational idea for me to change my religion. Why? I didn’t know,” she said.
In the years that followed, after Fell returned home safely from Israel and continued her studies, her mother began to accept the fact that her daughter’s fascination with Jewish history would not go away.
Eventually, she began to open up, leaving little clue about family history, as if she were part of a Nazi youth organization and wanted to be a leader but “could not.”
When Fell tried to pressure his mother into these remarks, she turned away.
“She chose to talk, but soon I became curious and wanted to know more. She became a kind of clamor,” she said. But the dam was already leaking.
And so decades later his brother Julian began a mission called “the work of life.”
Hidden Jewish roots
Felke’s mother eventually revealed to her daughter that her grandfather was Jewish.
As a child, Lutheran’s baptized mother did not even know his Jewish roots. Her background was not shared with her until she tried to become a leader in the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM), a Nazi youth organization for young girls. To become a leader, he had to prove that he was an “Aryan.”
She did not have that proof because of her father’s Jewish roots, but she was active in public life at the time to worry that her mother would find out about the lack of a German citizenship card. It was decided to send him to a boarding school in East Germany.
“My grandmother seems to know exactly who to call,” Fell said. These connections provided her mother with protection from the Nazis – a protection that was not extended to everyone in the family.
After the war ended, Felke’s mother and her family moved to southern Germany, where they spent the rest of their lives. Years after leaving clues about his past, but never revealing everything, his mother gave birth certificates to two great-aunts Fell never heard of: Betty and Sophie Wolf, unmarried artists who died in Berlin in 1941 and 1944.
At first, Fell had no idea what to do with the documents. But after years of digging, she discovered her relatives, who were never mentioned in the family, were some of the leading female artists in the Berlin separatist art movement, when women were not allowed to attend official art schools. .
Betty Wolf was a painter who learned her craft by copying old masters, while her sister Sophie worked in many mediums, but became known for her sculpture.
Although there aren’t many records left about the two women, Fell discovered that the artists had elbows with personalities, whose stories were well documented – from German writer Anselma Hein to French artist Auguste Rodin – providing enough clues for her. The feeling of what their life was like.
Sophie’s name was mentioned in the diaries of Keith Colvitz, one of the most famous female artists of German descent, whose graphic art and sculpture are still displayed throughout Germany.
In her diaries, Colvitz wrote about August Rodin’s visit with Sophie Wolf at her studio in Paris.
She called Sophie “one of the most well-thought-out Parisians.”
“Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, she returned to Germany to live,” Colwitz wrote. “The move was a great loss to him. He did not succeed in achieving the status quo in Berlin as he did in Paris, and did not receive recognition for his excellent sculpture and painting.”
Colwitz’s remarks are still true today: despite being a famous painter and sculptor of the time, Sophie Wolf’s work is more or less forgotten; Her legacy, erased.
Sophie Wolf was also interested in the curators of the George Colby Museum in Berlin. She included her sculptures in the 2018 exhibition, commemorating the forgotten women’s art of Berlin isolation.
When Catherine began arranging for a Stolperstein (or stumbling stone) for her relatives, she learned from the Berlin Memorial Project Coordinating Office that the George Colby Museum had applied for a stone for Sophie Wolf.
In Germany and around the world, there are more than 90,000 bronze stones commemorating the lives of people who were persecuted by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.
Betty Wolf, the eldest of two sisters, drew pictures. She took lessons with Swiss portraitist Carl Stauffer-Bern, who taught Colwitz and other prominent budding female artists at the Munich Artists’ Union School of Painting and Painting.
Just a few months ago, Fell learned that a portrait of Atele von Bismarck, a daughter of Adelaide Bleichroder, a descendant of Gerson von Bleichroder, one of Berlin’s most prominent Jews at the time, had been donated. At the Jewish Museum in Berlin.
Fell was given meaning by this discovery – she mentioned Betty in a letter written by Bleachroder Agathe Leipman before her marriage in the Leo Beck Institute’s archives.
Death during the war
Betty and Sophie Wolf had a good relationship and before the war began Berlin was part of many artistic circles, such as the Berlin Association of Women Artists, the German Lyceum Club and the Women’s Art Association. However, in 1933, women were forced to leave any of the business entities they belonged to because of their Jewish roots.
1990 को दशकमा, केही अनुसन्धानकर्ताहरूले उनीहरूको विरासत खोज्न थाले, उनले भनिन्। तर धेरै वर्ष पछि, उनीहरूको कथाहरू एकसाथ टुक्रा गर्न गाह्रो थियो।
के थाहा छ कि दुई महिला युद्ध को समयमा मारे।
सोफीको 1944 मा मृत्यु भयो, 1943 मा एम्बुलेन्स द्वारा बर्लिनको विटेनाउ जिल्लाको मनोचिकित्सक अस्पतालमा पठाइएको लगत्तै। आधा शताब्दीपछि अस्पतालको तहखानेमा फेला परेको उनको मृत्यु प्रमाणपत्रले उनको प्राकृतिक मृत्यु भएको बताएको छ।
उनको भाउजु इरेन वोल्फले हस्ताक्षर गरेको मृत्यु प्रमाणपत्र अनुसार बेट्टीको सन् १९४१ मा स्ट्रोकका कारण मृत्यु भएको थियो।
क्याथरिना फेलले आफ्नो अनुसन्धान सञ्चालन गर्दा, उनले किन आफ्नो पारिवारिक इतिहास — उनका ठूला-ठूला-ठूला-ठूला-ठूला उपलब्धिहरू जत्तिकै प्रख्यात थिए — छलफल गरिएन, र किन उनी हुर्किएकी थिइन् भन्ने कुरा बुझ्न थालिन्। उनको पारिवारिक विगत।
“मेरो पुस्ताको मौनताको साथ हुर्किएको थियो, जसलाई मैले आज बुझेको छु, बाँच्ने प्रविधि थियो,” उनले स्टोल्परस्टाइनलाई आफ्नी काकीको सम्मानमा राखिएको समारोहमा भनिन्।
“नाजी युगमा मौनताले हाम्रो सुरक्षाको ग्यारेन्टी गर्यो। पछि, मौनता अपराधको संकेत थियो जुन हाम्रो परिवारका केही सदस्यहरूले सुरक्षालाई घूस दिएर तुलनात्मक रूपमा असुरक्षित फासिस्ट प्रणालीको माध्यमबाट पाएका थिए, जबकि अरूले स्पष्ट रूपमा धेरै पीडित थिए।”
यो अपराधले फीलको परिवारलाई आफ्नो काकीको कलात्मक विरासतमा लिन सक्ने कुनै पनि गर्वबाट लुट्यो। यद्यपि जीवित परिवारका सदस्यहरू, धेरै तरिकामा, गहिरो रूपमा सीमान्तकृत भएका थिए, उनीहरूलाई नाजीहरूले सँगै खेल्नको लागि पर्याप्त विशेषाधिकार पनि दिएका थिए।
आफ्ना बिर्सिएका काकीहरूको जीवन बुझ्न क्याथरिनाको खोज, र स्टोल्पर्सटाइनले बर्लिनको फुटपाथमा आफ्नो नाम स्थायी रूपमा ब्रान्डिङ गर्दै, उनीहरूको विरासत अब बिर्सिने छैन भनेर सुनिश्चित गर्नुहोस्।