SACRAMENTO, Calif. -

Santa Cruz resident Gitta Ryle was honored Monday at the California State Assembly's observance of the state's annual Holocaust Memorial Week.

"Mrs. Ryle endured unspeakable tragedy as a child during the war. It’s our duty to honor and remember what she, her family, and millions of others experienced,” said Assemblyman Mark Stone. “Today, she embodies the spirit of hope and triumph as she shares her story with Santa Cruz area schoolchildren."

Ryle, who is Jewish, was born in Austria in the 1930s and escaped with her family to France during the German takeover of Austria. She and her sister were separated from their parents after they all went into hiding. The two sisters were reunited with their mother after the war, but their father died in a Nazi concentration camp.

After World War II, Ryle and her family moved to Southern California, where she later met her husband and raised three children. She has lived in Santa Cruz since 1984 and shares her story with students at schools throughout the area.