George Wolf, Caring Neighbor Who Once Glimpsed the Face of Evil, Dies at 92

After Berlin fell, Mr. Wolf headed to Nuremberg, where he served as a translator during the war crimes trials. In 1946, at 19, he boarded a ship to New York, where he started his business and married Beth Horelick, a gifted pianist.

Mr. Wolf was a voracious reader, a keen listener and a witty conversationalist who surrounded himself with artists, musicians, dancers and poets. Above all, he embraced the role of neighbor, and he opened his 16th-floor apartment on Central Park West, with its panoramic views of the park, to friends, many of them fellow tenants he had met in the laundry room or lobby.

Sarah Grunstein, a concert pianist, moved there four years ago. When she opened her front door, she found a notecard from Mr. Wolf that read, “I hear you are a concert pianist and love cats. Welcome to the building. I too love music, the piano, and cats.”

Another neighbor and friend, Joey Smith, a choreographer and teacher, remembers Mr. Wolf as puckish and oblivious of his age. He drove his Mercedes into his 90s, and got a special kick out of parking it wherever he liked, thanks to a handicapped permit still registered to his wife, who had died in 2015 at 85.

The day before Mr. Wolf died, Ms. Grunstein performed an audience-of-one recital for him that he watched on a propped-up iPad. She planned to deliver another performance the next day, this time looping in several of their mutual friends, on Zoom.

Mr. Wolf died about an hour before she was scheduled to start.

The show went on. Ms. Grunstein began by reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish, tuneless and grave, quite unlike the man being honored.

She quickly moved on to one of his favorite Bach works, the lilting opening Aria of the Goldberg Variations.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.