JOHN E WULFF
Bowen Mountain, Australia
I, Johannes Eberhard Wulff (called John) was born in Lübeck, Germany on 8th December 1936 and was taken to Shiraz, Iran by my mother when three months old, where my father was. He set up technical colleges in Shiraz, Isfahan and Tabriz until 1941, when we were separated due to the start of the Second World War. The flight from Tabriz, with Russian tanks coming over the mountains from Azerbaijan and the subsequent bus trip through Turkey back to Germany, are some of my earliest memories as a five year old. I remember the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and admiring a steam engine in a ferry across the Bosporus.
At first we lived with our grandmother in Düsseldorf, but during a stay in Tübingen, grandmother’s house was bombed and we could not go back. First we lived in Herrenalb in the Black Forest but that town was cleared of refugees for Nazi bigwigs and we managed to get one room in Fredelsloh, where a former colleague of mother’s had started a pottery. Later we got a three-room apartment in the nearby town of Moringen, where I started primary school, and later Gymnasium in the nearby town of Northeim. Because the other grandfather had also been bombed we lived with three grown-ups and three children in the small apartment. I slept in the kitchen, which was warm, because it had a wood fired range.
In 1949 we joined our father in Sydney, Australia, travelling by ship from Genoa. We first lived in Surry Hills, where I went to the local primary school and then started high school in 1950, having already had two years of high school in Germany, which was very useful. In that year we bought a block of land in Wahroonga, where father started building a house. For the next three years I was his apprentice spending most spare hours after school and on weekends working on the building. One day I remember laying 100 bricks after school, before starting homework. Father did let me go on holidays. When I was 14 I travelled on my own to Wentworth near the South Australian border and did an apprenticeship in wood turning with Max Otto Schünemann. Aged 15 I worked the whole summer in a factory making steel parts with a capstan lathe. After that I applied myself at school and managed to get a commonwealth scholarship by taking three units of German, which I kept up all my life by reading.
At university I studied Electrical Engineering, which led to a job in the Telephone Industry, where I was lucky to be given the responsibility of designing a very early control computer for a large letter sorting machine. From 1967 I worked in research, developing very early control software using the emerging mini computers. In 1973 I went to work in Germany as chief engineer of a computer company using mini computers for businesses. With a break in the 80s in Australia I worked as a computer consultant in Germany until I was 72.
Dr. Pedram Khosronejad | Adjunct Professor
Religion and Society Research Cluster | Western Sydney University
Fellow | Department of Anthropology | Harvard University
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