The Consul of Florence

16 May 19

Not everybody knows that during the confusing moment of the German retreat from Florence, a man from the opposite faction had as a priority to save the people and the art of the Tuscan regional capital.

The role of Grehard Wolf has been of great relevance for the recent history of Florence and the Ponte Vecchio.
Born in Dresda in 1886, his education was mainly focused on humanistic and artistic studies, which will make him a lover of aesthetics and Italian art. Once finished his academic studies, with a dissertation on philosophy, in 1927 he started his diplomatic service for the Weimar republic (the German state before the rise of the third Reich), while Gustav Stresemann was Minister of foreign affairs, a Nobel prize for peace winner in 1926 who strenuously fought for the peaceful entrance of the Reich in the Society of Nations.
When Hilter rose to power, in 1933, Wolf was already in Rome working for the German consulate. He refused in multiple occasions to join the Nazi party, but after being threatened of being sent back home and of being fired he had to join in 1939. Between 1940 and 1944 he was German consul in Florence and, after the German retreat from the city, he did everything he could to avoid that the Ponte Vecchio would be blown up, like it had happened to all the other Florentine bridges.
His work was extremely important also to save and aid many political and racial refugees which, along with his help in saving art masterpieces, granted him a memorial plaque on the bridge, the honorary Florentine citizenship and the everlasting gratitude of the Tuscan city.
Since then Gerhard Wolf was honored with the nickname “consul of Florence”.
Wolf died on March 23th 1962 in Munich, 10 years after his retirement.

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