The few people that knew Dr. Ervin Wolf (dad) appreciated his fun-loving and never-ending sense of humor. Despite his thick and endearing Hungarian accent, his mastery of the English language was better than most Americans. A friend of the family recently said that Dr. Wolf had a heart of gold, and his great attitude prevailed despite enduring many years of misery, repression, and persecution in mid-20th century Hungary. Dr. Wolf was described as a true hero under harrowing circumstances, and one would never have guessed what the good doctor had been through prior to his long awaited, normal way of living in the United States.
All he ever wanted to do was practice medicine like his late father, Joseph, a World War I veteran and a dentist practicing in an industrial town in Hungary. Nothing was ever going to get in the way of that and dad’ s determination and perseverance were unmatched.
In addition to his thriving OB/GYN practice, he had a wide array of interests. He and mom, Judit Wolf, were staunch American patriots, and loyal to the plight of Hungary and Israel. They had an extensive knowledge of history, devout followers of the events that occurred during and after the Holocaust, the subsequent Soviet occupation of their native land, and the Hungarian Revolution against the communists. Their interests also included ORT America, frequent travel, theater, opera, classical, and jazz music, the arts, museums, many genres of literature, nature, fine cuisine, and current events. Culture and etiquette were paramount, and education was a priority.
Ervin was a kind and gentle man, a warm and embracing individual to people he had met throughout the world. Integrity and honesty were integrated into his otherwise light and bubbly personality. His laugh was contagious, and he was courageous. He often took the young author and his friends to sports events sometimes located in the most dangerous areas of Detroit, not blinking an eye because of his love for his son and fearless after all he had faced. He would come home following a long day’s work at his busy office after being on call delivering babies all night and tell dirty jokes. The Wolfs threw many amazing Hungarian Goulash parties, dressed as gypsies with the appropriate background music, cooking food that one could smell for miles, concocted in a spit hanging from a tripod over a large fire. Duplicate soirées were the norm, one for his many medical colleagues and the other for the neighbors and numerous Hungarian and Eastern European friends, all belonging to an assortment of religions.
Lastly, Dr. and Mrs. Wolf were highly respected in the local community, as well as in the Jewish and medical communities. They often donated tzedakah, Hebrew for charity, to a wide variety of institutions and organizations, and they frequently tried to educate their family and friends about anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, persecution, and history in general. Both passing peacefully in suburban Michigan, their legacy and memories live on forever within the amazing stories included in Ervin’s biography Not a Real Enemy: The True Story of a Hungarian Jewish Man’s Fight for Freedom. To know him was to love him, and if you didn’t, you will!