In 1831 he became active as a radical student organization member, something he was imprisoned for between 1834 and 1838. In 1846, in Brussels, he became a close friend of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. He was active in the Brussels Communist Correspondence Committee and a member of the League of the Just in addition to being Co-founder of the League of Communists in 1848 as a member of its central authority. He served as an editor of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in 1848-9 and as a member of the Frankfurt National Assembly. He emigrated to Switzerland in 1849 and then to England in 1851. Upon his death, Wolff left a substantial fortune to Marx, who dedicated the first volume of Capital to him with the line "To my unforgettable friend, Wilhelm Wolff. Intrepid, faithful, noble protagonist of the proletariat." Gerhart Hauptmann's famous play 'Die Weber' (The Weavers) is based on Wolffs essay about the weavers' uprising in Silesia in 1844 and its suppression Das Elend und der Aufuhr in Schlesien
- "Glossary of People: Wolff, Wilhelm". Marxist Internet Archive.
- Eyck, Frank The Revolutions of 1848 Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1972 p. 19
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