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Transcript of Dorothea Neff
Dorothea Receiving the Certificate of Honor
Dorothea and Lilli's Story
Soon after Lilli's moving in, deportation of Jews began in Germany. Once Lilli received her deportation notice in October of 1941, Dorothea saw no way she could continue to help her. Just as Lilli was about to leave for her unknown destination, Dorothea realized she could not let her friend go. She knew she had to keep Lilli safe, and did so by letting her live in the back room of her apartment. For 3 years, Dorothea and Lilli lived in fear of being caught. Dorothea had to be careful of who she invited over to her house, find a way to care for Lilli when she was sick, and during air raids, come up with explanations of why there was a stranger joining her at the shelter. It was certainly not an easy 3 years, but it turned out to be most successful.
Who is She?
Dorothea Neff was born in Munich Germany in 1903. She had always loved acting, and in her 30's, was a part of the Cologne Theater. When she was offered a position at the well-known Volsktheater in Vienna, she graciously accepted and moved there.
How Did She Get Involved?
Dorothea became involved with "rescuing" when her old friend Lilli came to her apartment for her help after realizing she was in over her head. Dorothea was able to find her a place to stay where other a few other Jews were hiding, as well as support her financially, and provide proper medical care. After the many back-and-forth visits and complicated care system, Dorothea invited Lilli to simply move in with her.
Lilli was a young Jewish costume designer in the time of the Holocaust. She had worked for Dorothea at the Cologne Theater and grew close to her. However, when Dorothea switched theaters, Lilli remained behind and lost contact with her friend for several years. At the start of the Holocaust, after her city experienced a heavy dose of Jewish discrimination, Lilli decided to move to Vienna. She was under the impression that Jews were better treated there, but would ultimately discover she was wrong.
After the Holocaust
~After the war was over, Lilli Wolff immigrated to the United States and settled in Dallas, Texas.
~In 1979, Dorothea Neff was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
~In her acceptance speech she said:
"The greater the darkness of a period, the brighter is the light of a single candle."