Annemie and Helmuth Wolff Foundation
The year 1943
In January of 1943 Annemie Wolff started taking professional portraits on a regular basis. Her clients came to her apartment especially for that purpose. She also started a receipt book with the names of her clients, along with the number of the film roll, the date, and the amount her clients paid her. Most of her clients lived in South Amsterdam not far from Annemie Wolff’s apartment. Often, they were her neighbors and her friends.
Even during a war, events as a newborn baby, an engagement or a birthday, were reasons to get pictures taken. Or people wanted a family portrait to send to relatives, or a portrait of their loved ones in case they got separated during the war. Also, many photos were meant for identity cards, or rather for false identity papers. More than half of the 440 portrayed persons are Jews, some of them wearing a Star of David.
Annemie Wolff continued making this kind of portraits until 1953, as she recorded in her receipt book. But at some point afterwards, she destroyed the photo rolls containing these portraits. All except the first 100 rolls from the months January through October 1943. These were found in 2008 by Simon B. Kool, in the possession of Annemie’s heir.
In the summer of 2011, An Huitzing and Tamara Becker started the historical research for the 440 persons on these 100 photo rolls, aiming to identify the people in the portraits, to "return" the photographs to their families and to find out the stories behind the faces.
The result is the book Op de foto in oorlogstijd. Studio Wolff, 1943 (Portrayed during wartime) with the portraits taken by Annemie Wolff in 1943 and the stories behind them, published by Lecturis, March 2017.
As of February 2017, 325 of the portrayed persons have been identified.
It has been quite a puzzle, since the receipt book lists multiple names for one photo roll and not the exact photo that goes with each name. And of course, the name in the receipt book is not the name of the portrayed person: when the name is Mrs. X, the portrayed person could be one of her three daughters or her daughter in law, for instance!
On top of that, it turns out that many portrayed persons are not named in the receipt book at all. So the researchers will not find them, unless they are recognized, although the Foundation is very reluctant to publish unidentified photos because we know this could hurt the relatives of those portrayed.
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Searching: a girl with a Star of David
The photo of this girl is on one of the last of the hundred photo rolls Annemie Wolff saved from 1943. The photo was probably taken between September 17th and 20th, 1943. On this roll we find ten different persons, but only three names have been noted in the receipt book. The persons connected with these names have all been identified and we have been in touch with their relatives. These are: one gentleman, one baby boy and his mother and one lady.
The other six persons are not identified. One of them is this girl. She was Jewish and could be of Dutch, German, Austrian, Polish or Russian origin. She probably lived in South Amsterdam. She was approximately 12 to 15 years old in 1943. So she was born between 1928 and 1931 and – if still alive – could now be 84 till 87 years old.
In September 1943 most of the Jews living in Amsterdam had been captured and sent to transit camp Westerbork or had already been transported to concentration camps and murdered. Or they were in hiding, in which case they would not be wearing a Star of David. The last big razzia in Amsterdam was September 29th, 1943. This girl was might have been captured then.
Who knows this girl? We apologize for shocking them or their family by publishing this photo. But since their name is not in the receipt book, we depend on someone recognizing her.
Any suggestion of her identity and address can be send by e-mail or to Wolff Foundation, Cornelis van der Lindenstraat 11-1, 1071 TE Amsterdam.
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Searching: two young boys
These boys have been portrayed by Annemie Wolff around March 20th, 1943. Their photo has been found on photo roll number 24. On this roll we also find a small girl and her aunt. These have been identified and their relatives have been found. The family of the girl and aunt does not know these two boys. Their family name is just not mentioned in the receipt book in which Annemie Wolff noted most of the names of the persons she portrayed.
The smallest boy is about three years old. So he must be born in 1939 or 1940. If he is still alive he will now be about 75 years old.
The older boy is probably between 6 and 10 years old. He must be born between 1933 and 1937. If he is still alive, he will be between 78 and 82 years old now.
The boys are probably brothers.
We apologize to the boys or their families for publishing these photos like this. But this is our only chance to find persons who might identify them.
Who knows these boys? Any suggestion of their identity and address can be send by e-mail or to Wolff Foundation, Cornelis van der Lindenstraat 11-1, 1071 TE Amsterdam.