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Charlotte Wolff

Lawrence Bush
September 11, 2017

Charlotte Wolff, a Jewish lesbian refugee from Nazism who specialized in the study of the human hand, died in London on this date in 1986 at the age of 88. Wolff was a medical doctor with a strong interest in sexology, psychotherapy and chirology (hand-reading). Active in the Association of Socialist Physicians in Germany, she was dismissed from her clinic when the Nazis came to power in 1933 and was detained by the Gestapo as “a woman dressed as a man and [as] a spy.” She managed to escape to France and then England, where she conducted research in experimental psychology. In 1971, she published Love Between Women, based on interviews with more than a hundred lesbians; she also wrote books on bisexuality and on Magnus Hirschfeld, the German-Jewish sexologist.

“An international Jew with a British passport” — Charlotte Wolff’s self-description

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.