Harry K. Wolff Jr. Papers

Special Collections
Two fragments from a 50' swastika at Nuremberg’s Zeppelinfeld. (Harry K. Wolff Jr. Papers)

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Two fragments from a 50' swastika at Nuremberg’s Zeppelinfeld. (Harry K. Wolff Jr. Papers)

Two fragments from a 50' swastika at Nuremberg’s Zeppelinfeld.(Harry K. Wolff Jr. Papers)

Image: Two fragments from a 50' swastika from Nuremberg’s Zeppelinfeld. Part of the Harry K. Wolff Jr. Papers.


The Harry K. Wolff Jr. papers document Lt. Wolff's experiences as a member of "C" Battery 120 AAA Gun Battalion, 3rd Army, 1942-1945. The papers include the letters sent by Wolff to his new wife, Natalie, that describe his experiences from basic training to combat to his time spent at Dachau guarding German prisoners and attending the War Crimes Trials. The collection includes nearly 500 virtually unredacted letters that Wolff wrote to his wife. These letters detail his personal experiences, and provide context and provenance for the other items in the collection. In the letters, Wolff expresses a great ability to maintain a sense of warmth and calm in even the most extreme situations; he always appears in control, is sensitive to the needs of others, and also manages to keep things light. He describes capturing Germans, painting swastikas on US military equipment to fool Germans, shooting down German planes, warm greetings by the French, life in Dachau, and his visit to the crematorium there. The papers also include the many souvenirs (realia, ephemera, and books) that Wolff collected throughout these experiences (which are often referred to by Wolff in his letters as "junk") and photographs documenting his tour of service across France and Germany.

More information: https://libraries.usc.edu/locations/special-collections/holocaust-genocide-studies