Children of the Holocaust Wolfgang Hellpap


Wolfgang Hellpap

Wolfgang Hellpap
Born 1931 in Berlin, Germany At the age of nine, he was sent to a Jewish orphanage, narrowly escaped being deported to a concentration camp, and survived the remainder of the war in hiding in Berlin.


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Wolfgang age 2, in Berlin, Germany.
Wolfgang’s mother, Clair Hellpap, in the 1920s. She raised him as a single mother because his father, Max Herschel, was married and had another family. After Kristallnacht, Herschel fled to Shanghai with his wife and their two sons, leaving Wolfgang and Clair behind.
Wolfgang, age 10, in Berlin.
The Nazis required everyone to have identity papers. Hellpap went back to Berlin many years after the Holocaust and found a copy of his in an archive. He was 10 years old when this photo was taken.
The Kamphs were friends of Clair Hellpap. As communists, they were against Hitler’s regime. Wolfgang hid in their home for a few months during the Holocaust.
In 1947, Wolfgang said goodbye to his mother and left Germany on the first ship to bring child survivors to Palestine. Clair Hellpap followed a year later.
Wolfgang (bottom row, second from left) with other Holocaust survivors on their way to Palestine.
Wolfgang (seated), age 16, and his mother with Wolfgang’s friend Moshe—also a survivor. Taken in Palestine in 1947.
Wolfgang and his mother in Palestine, circa 1949.
Wolfgang (right) with fellow survivor Gerhard in 1947 in Tel Aviv.
Wolfgang was 17 when he enlisted in the Haganah.
Wolfgang (third from left) fought in the the Arab-Israeli War of 1948.
During the 1948 war, Wolfgang was shot in the leg by a sniper. His comrade convinced the doctor not to amputate.
Wolfgang in 1949, serving in the Israeli army.
Wolfgang in 1949, serving in the Israeli army.
He was proud to have an Israeli passport.
He was proud to have an Israeli passport.
He was proud to have an Israeli passport.
After serving in the U.S. military, Wolfgang worked for a steel and aluminum manufacturing company and became an industrial lab technician. He had married a woman from Stuttgart, Aurelia, and they raised two sons, Daniel and Ronald. His second marriage was to Vilma, and they had a son, Michael. This photo was taken in the 1980s, at Vilma’s Mexican restaurant in San Francisco.
Wolfgang with wife, Vilma (left), son Michael, Michael’s partner, and their daughter, Jasmine.
Wolfgang at a book signing in Tucson in 2015 for the two-volume book, To Tell Our Stories: Holocaust Survivors of Southern Arizona, published by Jewish Family and Children's Services of Southern Arizona.
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