Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Recovering a Family's History

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Recovering a Family's History

Article excerpt

The following correction was published on Friday, March 17, 2017:A article in Wednesday's Herald-Tribune incorrectly stated who took over the pre-war, Berlin-based fur business headquarters owned by a British journalist's grandparents under Nazi rule. It was transferred to the Reichsbahn, or the German national railways.

Holocaust Memorial Museum

SARASOTA -- When former journalist Dina Gold's grandmother spoke of her memories of a luxurious lifestyle in pre-World War II Germany, Gold didn't know whether to treat them as fantasy or reality.

Gold's grandparents and their three children, including her mother, left Germany in the summer of 1933 for Tel Aviv, where they lost almost all of their money on a bad investment and the marriage split. But the legacy of her grandmother Nellie's life in Berlin remained. As a journalist working in London, Gold was assigned to cover the

first combined German elections in 1990, after the reunification of East and West Germany. At that point, she traveled to Berlin, where she located the building she believed to be her grandparents' -- at Krausenstrasse 17/18, an address she later incorporated into her book.

That moment, seeing the six-story building that had formerly been the location for her grandfather's fur company, H. Wolff, led Gold to talk with the current head of the structure, now the center for the German Ministry of Transport. She told him that she believed the building had belonged to her grandparents. At first, he scoffed, but after a phone call, his reaction visibly changed.

"He came back and he said, 'You're right, they've been waiting for this to happen. You've got to get the building back for your mother,'" Gold said, recounting the exchange. "I said, 'I can't -- I don't have the documents' and he said, 'The documents exist.'"

What Gold eventually found amounted to a land registry that showed the original ownership of the property and the 1937 transfer to the Reichstag, or the German parliament. …

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