SLO resident who survived Kristallnacht shares hope for the future | Opinion


Hope for a better future

2 Jewish students at Cal Poly were victims of a hate crime, university says,” (, Oct. 13)

This upcoming Friday will mark the 85th anniversary of a pivotal historical date: November 10, 1938 was Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. Shortly past midnight, this baffled and shocked 9-year-old crouched at the second floor landing of the winding entry stair of my comfortable home in Hamburg, Germany. Three gestapo agents marched into our home. The radio had alerted us that all Jews over the age of 18 would be incarcerated. I could hardly believe it as I watched my father be arrested — despite my mother presenting the officers with papers as well as the medals (Iron Cross) attesting to his four years of service as a German captain fighting the French in World War I.

Fortunately, our family of five hastily secured a transit visa to emigrate to London as fast as possible. We arrived in San Francisco on August 1, 1939, only 30 days prior to the eruption of WWII.

This early introduction to persecution prompted me to speak for the past 50 years to many organizations, universities and schools here and in Europe about the ignorance and violence caused by racial and religious discrimination. Now, it seems clear that 85 years is far too little time to notably reduce prejudices and discrimination. Today’s increasingly divided world requires much growth and maturity in order for us to value our incredibly rich human diversity. May the next 85 years show greater progress and maturity in reducing discrimination.

Paul Wolff

San Luis Obispo

Airline woes

More travelers used SLO County airport in 2022 than ever before: ‘An incredible achievement’,” (, Jan. 24)

Not long ago, I scheduled two trips from the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP) to New York City leaving early in the morning, one on United in early February and the other on American in late April. The United connection was at San Francisco International Airport, and the American connection was at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, each with a comfortable connection time of roughly two hours. Then the inevitable occurred: each airline sent me an itinerary change.

The new United itinerary has me leaving from SBP on the same flight, but now with a 40 minute connection. And my original flight from SFO to NYC had completely disappeared. The only options were a 40 minute connection (which was insufficient, particularly because carry-ons must be gate checked and then retrieved) or a three-and-a-half hour connection at SFO.

A bit of research then revealed that American had eliminated the early morning flight to Dallas/Fort Worth.

Of course, neither airline offered an explanation for the flight eliminations. With the huge infusion of cash provided by our government to the airline industry during COVID, one would think the airlines would be more considerate of their customers’ welfare.

Jay Devore

San Luis Obispo


Ceasefire now

Following an Israeli airstrike, crowded Gaza hospital struggles to treat wounded children,” (, Nov. 2)

The staggering death tolls of innocent civilians in Gaza are unacceptable. The U.S. should not be complicit in the unfolding humanitarian tragedy. The world needs better solutions in response to Hamas’ terrorist threats than large-scale bombing and ground invasions. We must take bold actions now for peace.

How can we limit loss of civilian lives and critical infrastructure, ensure adequate humanitarian aid to meet basic needs and neutralize Hamas and other terrorists who threaten security in the area? Here’s one option: Create a short-term ceasefire with the conditions that during this time all hostages will be released and a massive infusion of humanitarian aid will occur to stabilize civilian lives in Gaza. Concurrently, world leaders will determine how they can collectively control Hamas’ terrorism or otherwise protect civilians so that Hamas can be rooted out.

In order to focus attention and prompt action, the U.S. should withhold military aid to any party in the Middle East unwilling to support such a balanced solution. If Hamas and other players in the Middle East refuse to participate in a constructive ceasefire solution, they will bear responsibility for the consequences of continued conflict and the loss of civilian lives and infrastructure.

Don Maruska

Los Osos

Protect innocent lives

Following an Israeli airstrike, crowded Gaza hospital struggles to treat wounded children,” (, Nov. 2)

I am writing as a concerned citizen deeply troubled by the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict. It is evident that the situation calls for a nuanced approach that goes beyond the conventional discourse surrounding military aid to Israel.

The conflict has perpetuated immense suffering among innocent civilians in Gaza, prompting me to advocate for a fundamental change in our response. I strongly believe that any military aid allocated to Israel by Congress should be contingent upon a reciprocal agreement with the Netanyahu administration to ensure consistent and sustained humanitarian aid for civilians caught in the crossfire.

The dire circumstances demand intermittent ceasefires to provide a moment of respite for trapped civilians in Gaza. Furthermore, the establishment of humanitarian corridors is imperative to allow not only the local Gazan populace but also hostages and foreign residents the opportunity to escape the horrors of the conflict zone.

Our support to parties involved in this conflict should be contingent on their commitment to preserving innocent lives, irrespective of their nationality or origin. I urge our leaders to consider a more comprehensive and humanitarian-oriented strategy that prioritizes the safety and well-being of civilians affected by the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

Scott Glancy

San Luis Obispo

Reject proposal

Dana Reserve housing development clears SLO County Planning Commission — but with key changes,” (, Oct. 27)

Unless the county’s pockets are lined with corruption, it would be very foolish to consider — let alone approve — any aspect of this proposed development. The entire project reeks of pure profit, community disregard and a pull-the-wool-over-our-eyes duplicity.

Say no.

Mary Giacoletti

San Simeon