August 7, 1944 - Otto Wolf


August 7, 1944


Forests in Czechoslovakia

The Diary of Otto Wolf

Otto Wolf wrote one of the most remarkable diaries to survive the Holocaust era. It contained over 1000 entries and covered a span of almost three years. For most of that time, Otto and his family were hiding from Nazi authorities in makeshift shelters.  Sometimes they had to move from place to place in order to remain hidden. They had non-Jewish helpers who supplied them with food and information, but this was dangerous for everyone involved. Otto’s diary revealed the daily struggles and tensions inherent in this situation. Good news about the war was therefore very welcome and helped to improve everyone’s mood.


On August 7, 1944, Otto recorded news and observations about the progress of the war.  It was his family’s 112th week in hiding. He wrote, “Around quarter past eleven, we see Americans flying overhead. There are huge numbers of them. It is very pretty, all glittering in the sunlight.” One of their helpers also brought news. “Before she goes, she [Mrs. Ticha] says that the radio reported that the Russians are 15 kilometers from Krakow. The papers say that they are west of Mielce. Things are really looking up in France now: the American breakthrough is now a hundred kilometers deep. Just let it go on like that!” 


“Things are really looking up in France now: the American breakthrough is now a hundred kilometers deep.”

By August 1944, the war had turned decisively against Germany. Allied forces were making great progress on both the eastern and western fronts. Of course, the victims of Nazi tyranny were heartened, but these developments actually brought new dangers to those in hiding. Even though they faced military defeat, Nazi Germany did not diminish its persecution of Jews. As Axis forces retreated toward Germany, they crossed again through territories that they had previously conquered.  Greater numbers of soldiers in the area made hiding places more vulnerable. As a result, many who had successfully hidden for months or even years were discovered. They lost their struggle in the last days before their liberation would have come. Sadly, this was the case for Otto.

Excerpts from Otto Wolf’s have been published in a book entitled, Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust

View a copy of his last diary entry in his own handwriting in the of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s photo archives.Excerpts from Otto Wolf’s have been published in a book entitled, Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust.