Gerhard Wolf was born on August 12, 1896, in Dresden, where he attended the Vizthumsche Gymnasium and passed the examination in October 1915. On November 1, 1915, he joined the army as a flag junior, was promoted to lieutenant in October 1917, and received several awards.
Discharged from the military in 1920, Wolf studied from 1919 to 1924 in Heidelberg, Munich, and Berlin Art history, philosophy, and literature (among others with the professors Friedrich Gundolf, Heinrich Rickert, Ludwig Curtius, Fritz Strich, Ernst Troeltsch, and Eduard Spranger) and political science and national economics (among others with the professors Emil Lederer, Eberhard Gothein, Edgar Salin, Thoma, and Alfred Weber). In August 1924, he was awarded a doctorate in political science in Heidelberg (examiners: Salin, Thoma, and Weber). Diplomatic Passport Gerhard Wolf
From 1925 to 1927, he studied languages in Geneva, Paris, and Cambridge. During his studies in Heidelberg Wolf made friendships among others with the Swiss philosopher Paul Lips and Rudolf Rahn (German Ambassador to Italy since the foundation of the Republic of Salò) and linked Contacts to followers of Stefan Georges (under professors Gundolf and Salin), which he also cultivated during the war (Percy Gothein) and after 1945 (Salin, Rudolf Boehringer).
In May 1927, Wolf joined the Foreign Service and worked from 1927 until 1928 as secretary to Foreign Minister Stresemann. He was a co-founder and member of the democratic club “Quiriten.” In 1930 Wolf laid the diplomatic-consular examination and was sent to the Embassy in Warsaw, transferred to the Embassy to the Holy See in 1933. Also, in 1933. He married Hildegard Wolf, née Wolff; in 1935, their daughter Veronica was born.
1934 to the political department of the Foreign Office in Berlin in 1936, he was appointed to the Economic Department of the German Embassy in Paris. From 1938 to 1940, he was head of the foreign schools department in the cultural department of the Foreign Office in Berlin, from November 1940 to July 1944 Consul in Florence, from November 1944 to April 1945 Head of Milan Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Greater German Reich. On March 1, 1939, he was admitted to the NSDAP.
From 1938 until 1942, he had contacts with the German resistance (General Hans Oster, Hans von Dohnanyi). Diplomatic Passport Gerhard Wolf
On April 26, 1945, Italian partisans took him into the service building of the German Consulate General in Milan, where he was held from May 1 to 30 and remained interned under Allied command 1945. Despite the efforts of the Swiss consul in Florence, Carlo Steinhäuslin, and numerous prominent Florentine personalities around Wolf’s release, he was released for over a year in Allied internment camps (Montecatini until June 30, 1945, Salsomaggiore until March 1, 1946, and Hohen Asperg until July 1946). From Hohen, Asperg was finally released unconditionally on July 27, 1946.
After his dismissal, Wolf first found employment in Baden-Baden, where from September 1946 to September 1947, he ran the branch of the Evangelische Hilfswerk for the French zone. Growing difficulties prompted Wolf to travel via Switzerland as early as October 1947 to Florence. At first, without paid employment, Wolf tried to find an occupation in the field of German-Italian trade relations to find.
Florentine citizens who wanted to make a living for Wolf, finally founded a small German-Tuscan company in the summer of 1949 Chamber of Commerce, which Wolf took over as director. Already in the run-up to the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany, Wolf endeavored to return to the diplomatic service.
Even in November 1949 by the Spruchkammer Nord-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg as “exonerated,” Wolf reacted with rejection to the Trial against Ernst von Weizsäcker and the negative assessment of the “old” of the Foreign Office by the Allies and parts of the German Public.
At the end of July 1950, Wolf was transferred to the Federal Chancellery, Department for Foreign Affairs, which convened and prepared in the coming months for the establishment of the German diplomatic representation in Rome. His service as a representative of the Consul General at the Consulate General in Rome …he started in December 1950. Soon after, his superior, Ambassador Clemens von Brentano, got into conflict with Wolf in March 1952 after Bonn recalled. There he headed the UNESCO unit in Division IV (Culture) of the Foreign Office until he was transferred in February 1954 to a temporary retirement. Diplomatic Passport Gerhard Wolf
In the autumn of 1954, the Florence City Council elected Wolf in thanks for his commitment to the preservation of the city and its monuments of art, and the protection of numerous political and racial victims of persecution during the war years became honorary citizens. In March 1955 Lord Mayor Giorgio La Pira presented him with the certificate of honorary citizenship. Since 2006, a marble plaque on the Ponte Vecchio commemorates him. It was unveiled by the acting mayor of Wolf’s birthplace, Dresden. Florence has been Dresden’s Italian twin city since 1978.
In August 1955, Wolf was appointed head of the German Consulate in Porto Allegre, appointed Consul I. class in September, and took office in Porto Allegre in November. On August 30… In 1961 he was transferred into legal retirement. Gerhard Wolf died on March 23, 1971, in Munich.
The estate of Gerhard Wolf was handed over to the German Historical Institute in Rome by Wolf’s widow, Hildegard Wolf, where it was ordered and recorded I’m November/December 1997. The papers of Gerhard Wolf offer mainly sources on Events in and around Florence since the establishment of the Republic of Salò, and the role, Wolf played as German consul in Florence. From these extraordinarily important months in Wolf’s life have been Wolf’s notes and official and unofficial letters to representatives of German authorities, in particular the German ambassador and friend of Wolf, Rudolf Rahn, preserved from September 1943 and summer 1944. Diplomatic Passport Gerhard Wolf
The events in Florence – partly also in Northern Italy in general – during the German occupation also refer to many documents, which were created after the end of the war (as the statements of Florentine Citizens, the release of Wolf from the Allied internment camps documents that should contribute to the discharge of Wolf in connection with the denazification, Wolf’s statements on the discharge of the others, material collections of Wolfs, etc.).
Besides, the estate includes Wolf, although not in the same quantity and density, sources on other aspects of the German (peaceful) Presence in Italy. Wolf maintained contacts and cultivated friendships with Members of the German colony in Italy and with them to Italy emigrated Germans, so that from the correspondence insights into the situation of this group of people after 1945, in some individual fates, but also into the situation of different German scientific institutes during the war and after 1945. Wolf’s professional correspondence since 1948, many a detail has been able to help resume trade relations between Germany and Italy.
Finally, the following may be of interest for the history of the Federal Foreign Office not only the information handed down in Wolf’s correspondence on the reconstruction of the German Embassy in Rome after the Second World War, but also the numerous documents about Wolf’s self-image as a member of the “old” Foreign Office (i.e., as a member of the and trained during the Weimar Republic and, after 1933 senior officials still working in the diplomatic service), his contacts to members of the “old” and “new” Foreign Office and his Difficulties with the “new” Federal Foreign Office, which was established in 1949. Diplomatic Passport Gerhard Wolf
Source: DHI Rom – Archiv, N 9 Gerhard Wolf. Translated by the author.
The Passport Diplomatic Passport Gerhard Wolf
This diplomatic passport is probably one of the last issued by the German Reich in March 1945 and is surely Wolf’s final passport when arrested in April 1945 by Italian partisans at the German Consulate General in Milan and interned by the Allied Command.
A most important document of German history and resistance during WWII.
Further reading: https://news.italy-museum.com/ponte-vecchio-guardian-gerhard-wolf/
Florence, the consul, and me (Video): https://vimeo.com/35478335