Politics & Society

Theodor Wolff

Berlin 1868 – Berlin 1943 (Germany)
Country: Germany
Theodor Wolff Zoom Image
Theodor Wolff

Theodor Wolff lives for the newspaper and the newspaper lives from him. He defines the "Berliner Tageblatt" as its editor-in-chief with analytical insight and a pointed pen. The liberal capital-city newspaper, published by his cousin Rudolf Mosse, is mandatory reading for the erudite European society. Wolff is able to secure eminent intellectuals of his day, such as Alfred Kerr and Kurt Tucholsky, as writers. Wolff, who comes from a Jewish family, took up clear positions early on while working as a correspondent in Paris. The 12-year stint was to greatly influence his world view. His coverage of the Dreyfuss affair, a legal scandal provoked by anti-Semitism, drove circulation figures upward.

As editor-in-chief in Berlin, Wolff campaigns against the naval armament and three-class franchise from 1906. He soon warns against the Nazis and becomes an object of hate for the Hugenberg press. Very much the cosmopolite, he co-founds the German Democratic Party. Wolff is invited to a dinner hosted by the President at Harnack House in January 1933. He flees in peril of his life several weeks later. He is arrested in Nice in 1943 and deported to a concentration camp in Germany. Seriously ill, he dies at the Jewish Hospital in Berlin.

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