Rabbi Sinaj Adler

* 1928  

  • “After the war? After the war I arrived to Prague in July 1945. There was Přemysl Pitter, we were in Štiřín, there was a sanatorium. We spent about six weeks there. My brother was in Palestine, I also wanted to go to Palestine. From Prague we went to England. There I spent six months and from there I went to Palestine. It was in February 1946. I was in touch with my brother. – (He organized the journey to Palestine for you?) – Yes.”

  • “My name is Sinaj Adler. I was born July 11th 1928 in Prague. My father was born 1884 in Dobrá Voda in the Šumava Mountains. My mother was born in Germany. The father of my mother was a rabbi in Karlsruhe. My grandfather, the father of my father, came from the Šumava region, his family had been living there for four hundred years. I have the documents here. My father was a rabbi; he also studied history and philosophy in Switzerland.”

  • “In February 1945 I came from Auschwitz to Mauthausen. Alois Holub had already been there for four years. He was a communist. The Germans imprisoned communists in concentration camps. He heard that a boy from Czechoslovakia who was speaking Czech arrived there. When I came there he found me. Everyday he would bring me some bread, or little of food. (Quoting from his text:) He was arrested because of his communist activities. Although he was several years older than me, we became friends. And our friendship has lasted till today. Because he had already been in the camp for four years, his position was better than mine. He was bringing me bread or soup everyday, and under the circumstances which prevailed there, he really saved my life by that. I promised I would never forget what he had done for me, and I did not forget. Several years ago he received the decoration Righteous Among the Nations from the State of Israel.”

  • “My father was born in Dobrá Voda, he was teaching in Slovakia, and then in Germany and Switzerland. He met my mother in 1919 (?). My brother was born in 1920 in Prague. I had another brother, who was born in 1922 in Belgium. I was born in 1928 in Prague. My parents returned to Prague in 1927. I attended a school in Prague. When I was in the fifth grade, the Germans came to Prague. I studied till 1942, then the Germans banned studying and closed the schools. In 1943 the Germans sent us to a ghetto, to Terezín. My older brother arrived to Palestine in 1939. – (He was a Zionist?) – Yes, a Zionist. When he was nineteen, he arrived to Palestine. My second brother died in 1937.”

  • “I was fifteen then. I arrived to Terezín when I was fourteen (fifteen) years old, and stayed there for fifteen months. When I was sixteen I arrived to Auschwitz. We went through a selection process in Auschwitz; my father was sixty-four, my mother fifty-four. They cremated both of them. I worked. I was in Auschwitz till January 1945. The front was advancing, together with the Red Army, there was an evacuation. We were evacuated to Austria. I spent five weeks on the way, after five weeks I arrived to Mauthausen, a concentration camp in Austria. – (You wrote that that was the worst experience for you.) – No, it was in Gunskirchen, it was at the end of the war. I wrote this sentence: ´In Gunskirchen there is a large cemetery, where among the dead living human skeletons were wandering, who with the last bits of their strength and willpower were fighting against the most cruel and most murderous power in the world in the last hours of its existence.´”

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  • 6

    Mevaseret Zion, Jeruzalém, Izrael, 05.03.2008

    (audio)
    duration: 58:40
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Sometimes a person here in Czechoslovakia would tell me: ´You are a Jew, go to Palestine.´ Now the Arabs here tell us: ´Go to the Czech Republic.´

Sinai Adler studying
Sinai Adler studying
photo: archiv pamětníka

Sinaj Adler was born July 11th 1928 in Prague in a rabbi’s family. He comes of a family of rabbis from the Šumava region from Dobrá Voda near Hartmanice; before the war he lived with his parents in Prague and in Zbraslav. In March 1943 the family was transported to Terezín; from May 1944 to January 1945 he was in Auschwitz, where his parents died. Afterward he was transported to camps in Gunskirchen and Mauthausen. After the war he spent several weeks in the Štiřín chateau in care of Přemysl Pitter, who was helping children who had been affected by war and imprisoned in concentration camps. During the summer of 1945 recorded his experiences from the concentrating camp. He wrote in Czech, his native language. Several months later, after his arrival to Palestine, when spoke Czech only rarely, Hebrew became his new native tongue; today he often struggles for words in Czech. Since February 1946 he has been living in Palestine (Israel). He studied at religious schools; he served as a rabbi in various places in Israel (for over 20 years in Ashdod in south Israel). For the last twenty years he has been living on the outskirts of Jerusalem in the town of Mevaseret Zion.