Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

German-born architect receives medal denied him during WW2

Anthony Wolffe with the 1944 City of Edinburgh Medal for Civic Design Image copyright David Cheskin

A German-born architect has been presented with a medal from the Edinburgh College of Art 70 years after he was denied it during World War Two.

Antony Wolffe, 94, was awarded the City of Edinburgh Medal for Civic Design in 1944, but then refused the honour because of his nationality.

He was given his medal on Monday at the opening of a retrospective exhibition of his student drawings in Edinburgh.

He said: "I am chuffed. I never thought this would happen."

Born in Berlin in 1920, Mr Wolffe fled Nazi Germany and arrived in Scotland in 1937. He won a scholarship to study at Edinburgh College of Art the following year.

His student years in Edinburgh were interrupted due to his status as an 'enemy alien', with a period of internment in Canada and the Isle of Man.

In May 1944, after finishing his college year with the highest marks, he was awarded the prestigious medal.

Politically sensitive

However, in the weeks before D-Day, it was decided that he should not receive the prize as giving the award to a German was seen as too politically sensitive at the time. Another student was offered the medal instead, but turned it down.

After his college years, Mr Wolffe spent the majority of his time in Dumfries and Galloway. He retired in 2012, at the age of 92.

In 1994, he was awarded an MBE in recognition of his services to architecture.

Mr Wolffe said: "It is wonderful and extraordinary. I've lived longer than I ever thought I truly would, so to see this exhibition of my work and to finally receive this medal, it is quite exciting."

The free exhibition of Mr Wolffe's work has been organised by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and the Edinburgh College of Art.

It can be seen by members of the public between 10:00 and 16:00 from 27 to 30 January at the college's Minto House.

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