Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Wolff (Harry K. Jr.) papers
6128  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (151.85 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Content Description
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: USC Libraries Special Collections
    Title: Harry K. Wolff Jr. papers
    creator: Wolff, Harry K., Jr.
    Identifier/Call Number: 6128
    Physical Description: 9.39 Linear Feet 10 boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1929-1945
    Date (bulk): 1944-1945
    Language of Material: English
    Abstract: Harry K. Wolff Jr. was a Jewish lawyer from San Francisco who was a member of "C" Battery 120 AAA Gun Batallion, 3rd Army. His unit was initially under the command of General Omar Bradley, and ultimately General George Patton. Wolff was also called upon to represent American soldiers in military tribunal proceedings as a Judge Advocate, bore witness to the aftermath found at both Ohrdruf and Dachau concentration camps, and was one of the officers responsible for over 30,000 Nazi soldiers and SS officers held at Dachau after its liberation who were awaiting trial before war crimes tribunals held at Dachau and nearby Nuremberg. The Harry K. Wolff Jr. papers document Wolff's experiences in the United States Army from 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 papers also include the many souvenirs (realia, ephemera, and books) Wolff collected throughout these experiences, many of which are referred to in the letters, and often referred to by Wolff as "junk"; and photographs documenting his tour of service across France and Germany.

    Biographical / Historical

    Harry K. Wolff Jr. was a Jewish lawyer from San Francisco who was a member of "C" Battery 120 AAA Gun Batallion, 3rd Army. His unit was initially under the command of General Omar Bradley, and ultimately General George Patton. Wolff was also called upon to represent American soldiers in military tribunal proceedings as a Judge Advocate, bore witness to the aftermath found at both Ohrdruf and Dachau concentration camps, and was one of the officers responsible for over 30,000 Nazi soldiers and SS officers held at Dachau after its liberation who were awaiting trial before war crimes tribunals held at Dachau and nearby Nuremberg.
    [Adapted from a Wolff family narrative]

    Content Description

    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. Wolff's nearly 500, virtually unredacted letters to his wife, included in the papers, describe in great detail his personal experiences, and provide context and provenance for the other items in the papers. In the letters, Wolff expresses a great ability to maintain a sense of warmth and calm in even the most extreme situations, always appears in control, sensitive to the needs of others, and yet 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) Wolff collected throughout these experiences, many of which are referred to in the letters, and often referred to by Wolff as "junk"; and photographs documenting his tour of service across France and Germany.
    [Adapted from a Wolff family narrative]

    Conditions Governing Access

    Advance notice required for access.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder no. or item name], Harry K. Wolff Jr. papers, Collection no. 6128, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Andrea and David Stanley, October 13, 2016.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Soldiers -- 20th century -- Photographs
    Soldiers -- United States -- 20th century -- Archival resources
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Photographs
    United States. Army -- Military life -- Archival resources
    Ephemera
    Letters
    Photographs
    Realia
    Wolff, Harry K., Jr. -- Archives