Ruth Nadelman Lynn is the daughter of Hildegard (later Nadelmann) Wolff and the granddaughter of Martin and Paula (nee Lewinsohn) Wolff. Martin and Paula Wolff were born in Thorn, West Prussia and lived in a small town named Braunsberg, near Koenigsberg in East Prussia. They had two children, Hans Georg (b. 1910) and Hildegard (b. 1913). Martin was a World War I German army veteran trained in chemistry who later owned and ran the Neustadt-Apotheke pharmacy out of the first floor of the family home in Braunsberg. Both Martin and Paula were very active in the town's largely middle-class society; Martin was the president of the Braunsberg synagogue, and Paula hosted a well-respected weekly literary circle. In October of 1936 the couple had to sell their pharmacy. They moved to Berlin, where they waited expectantly to move to the United States to rejoin their children. Hans Georg had emigrated to New York in the early 1930s, and Hildegard made the trans-Atlantic journey to New York aboard the Lafayette in September of 1937, at the age of 23. A series of seventy letters and telegrams chronicle Martin and Paula's repeated and ultimately failed attempts to emigrate. They tried to find shelter not only in the United States but also in Cuba, Ecuador, Australia, Siberia, England, and Japan. After exhausting all possible immigration avenues, they went into hiding late in 1942. Soon after, they were apprehended and sent to the Reval labor camp in Estonia on October 3, 1942. They were never heard from again. According to the few survivors from this transport, upon arrival more than 1,600 people were forced into sand pits, shot by Estonina policemen, and covered with sand. In 1944 the pits were opened by security police, and the corpses were burned.
After arriving in the United States Hildegard was reintroduced to Alfred Nadelman by her brother. Alfred Hans Nadelman is the son of Hugo Nadelman and Elise Russ Nadelman. He was born on July 21, 1904 in Stettin, Pomerania, Germany where his family also owned a pharmacy, the Hof-und Garnison-Apotheke. Hilde's brother, Hans Georg Wolff, served as an apprentice in the Nadelman pharmacy before leaving Germany. Alfred's parents passed away in the 1930s and his two sisters, Erna Bloch and Alice Schlesinger, immigrated to Palestine. Alfred sold the family pharmacy and immigrated to the United States in 1935. He had received a PhD in organic chemistry, became an industry chemist in Heidelberg, Germany , and after coming to the United States became an industry chemist with a specialty in paper technology. He and Hildegard Wolff married in 1945. They moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan where Alfred became a professor and department head at Western Michigan University and where they raised two children, Ruth and David.