Dr. Ricardo Wolf (1887–1981) was a Jewish-German-Cuban-Israeli inventor, diplomat, philanthropist and former Cuban ambassador to Israel. He was the founder of the Wolf Foundation.
Ricardo Wolf was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1887. He was one of 14 children born to Moritz Wolf, a pillar of that city’s Jewish community.
For many years, Ricardo Wolf worked to develop a process for recovering iron from smelting process residue. Ultimately successful, his invention was utilized in steel factories all over the world, bringing him considerable wealth.
Dr. Wolf lent both moral and financial support to Fidel Castro from the onset of the Cuban revolution. Beholden to Ricardo Wolf for his unswerving support, and cognizant of his personality and natural gifts as a diplomat, the Cuban leader responded to Dr. Wolf’s request and appointed him in 1961 Cuban Ambassador to Israel.
Dr. Wolf held this position until 1973, the year Cuba severed diplomatic ties with Israel. Upon relinquishing his diplomatic post, Dr. Wolf decided to remain in Israel, where he spent his final years.
Establishment of Wolf Foundation
In 1975, Ricardo Wolf established the Wolf Foundation. The Wolf Prize has been awarded since 1978 by the Wolf Foundation. The Wolf Prize is awarded in six fields: Agriculture, Chemistry, Mathematics, Medicine, Physics, and an Arts prize that rotates annually between architecture, music, painting and sculpture. Each prize consists of a diploma and US$100,000.
In February 1981, Dr. Ricardo Wolf died at his home in Herzlia, Israel.