SACRAMENTO – As part of the California Legislature commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day – or Yom HaShoah – this week, Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay) recognized San Luis Obispo County resident Paul Wolff, who survived the Holocaust by escaping Nazi Germany in 1939. Mr. Wolff joined Addis on the Assembly floor for the ceremony.
"It's so important to remember the stories of brutality and genocide of the Holocaust so we can prevent it from happening again," Addis said. "At the same time, we honor those who were lost and those who survived – that's why I'm thankful that Paul Wolff could join us to share his extraordinary experiences."
Another resident of Addis' Assembly District, Rabbi Paula Marcus – from Aptos – delivered the convocation during the Assembly ceremony at Addis' invitation.
Mr. Wolff was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1929. His father, a highly decorated German Army Officer in World War 1, was arrested on Kristallnacht in 1938 and jailed for 9 days. Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) was the day in November 1938 when Nazi leaders unleashed vandalism and destruction of Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, and homes.
In January 1939, Mr. Wolff and his sisters were stoned on their way home from school by their schoolmates, as Jewish children were all expelled from school. The Wolffs escaped from Hamburg in April 1939, arriving in the United States, via England on August 1, 1939, 30 days before the start of World War II.
Mr. Wolff, together with his wife Marion, also a Holocaust survivor, spent much of the past 20 years speaking to students (locally and in Germany) sharing their histories of escape from Nazi Germany and connecting it with the evils of the prejudice and discrimination we see today. Since his wife's passing in 2021, Mr. Wolff continues to give these talks on his own, as he is passionate about sharing their stories so that we shall never forget.
In 1971, Mr. Wolff began his distinguished teaching career at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, developing a course entitled "Towards a Barrier-Free Environment" in 1979, and subsequently launching Universal Design as an integral part of the architecture department. He became a tireless advocate of Universal Access for people with disabilities, helping to start Access for All, a local community advocacy group promoting accessibility.
CONTACT: Jim Evans, 916-319-2030