A Danish Jew in West Africa: Wulff Joseph Wulff Biography And Letters (1836-1842)
Wulff’s life history is of considerable interest in itself. In her biographical essay (Part I) Selena Axelrod Winsnes portrays him as a ‘marginal man’: being a Jew in Denmark at the beginning of the 19th century was to some extent an uphill struggle for those who sought public recognition, and Wulff did not escape discrimination in his administrative career at Christiansborg either, although special circumstances allowed him to hold important positions, and yet, only for the short term.
Paradoxically, on his arrival to the Gold Coast Wulff — as a Jew — was placed in a middle position in the racial hierarchy dominating the mind-set of his superiors in Copenhagen — between Africans and Europeans. In many respects he shared the fate of Euro-Africans, straddling two worlds and being ‘sealed off’ from the top echelons of the European establishments on the Coast.
This book comprises two parts. The first is a biographical presentation of Wulff Joseph Wulff , a Danish Jew. It is an essay concerning the last six years of his life, spent on the Gold Coast of West Africa, based on letters he wrote to his family in Denmark. Those letters were published in 1917 as Da Guinea var Dansk [When Guinea was Danish], by Carl Behrens, a member of his family in Denmark. The second part of the book is an edited translation of the letters from Danish into English.
Selena Axelrod Winsnes lived in Ghana for five years and studied at the University of Ghana, Legon. Her mother tongue is English; and, working free-lance, she resides premanently in Norway with her husband, four children and eight grandchildren. In 2008, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters for distinguished scholarship by the University of Ghana, Legon.