Hana Adlerová

* 1934  

  • “It was February 1948 and things changed. People started informing on us. Say, that my fifteen-year-old brother had celebrated the American hockey victory over Russia. Such a silly matter. But it got written down, and then they reprimanded my father for it together with other things they read out to him during some kind of trial. The funny thing was that the committee included Jews that my father had healed after the war. They invited my father and read out what he had done wrong and what his wife and son had done wrong. Dad got up and left, and with Mum they decided we had to flee again.”

  • “In October 1944 the Germans were worried about the Russians’ advance. So they decided to evacuate the region of northern Norway called Finnmark, and they burnt everything. Not many people know about it nowadays, but the whole northern part of Norway was scorched. Here and there a church remained, otherwise everything was burnt and the inhabitants were expelled. Of course, we were evacuated among the patients too, and we came by boat to Trondheim. There, we got in touch with some partisans, who told us we mustn’t go on, because the Gestapo was waiting for us in Oslo. And they helped us get to Sweden. They led us across the Swedish borders by night, it was in November 1944, during a snowstorm. Before that they’d sent us from one partisan to the other. They took us from Trondheim back north by train. We slept in a train station that was managed by one of the partisans. Then he took us to the mines, where we slept in someone’s attic, then we went to the borders on foot. Some other partisans told us the borders had been bolstered by a new German garrison. We had to decide whether to risk it and cross here, or to go around and spend another on the road. Mum decided we’d risk it, so we went. Seeing that the weather was bad, I reckon the soldiers slept, and that very night we crossed over into Sweden.”

  • “I’d rather not speak about our standing after our return from exile. People treated us variously. I remember going by train after the war with my cousin, who had spent the war in England thanks to Winton. She spoke English. And someone in the compartment remarked: ‘Well lookie, before the war the Jews spoke German, and now they speak English.’ It was unpleasant, so you remember that. But it was okay overall. My father was a specialist, so people accepted him. It was difficult with ordinary people, for whom Jews were still a foreign element. When they found out where we were during the war, they begrudged us that we’d fled. Those are the things that people see. The fact that we owned a house before the war, which we didn’t get back, that they didn’t see...”

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    Františkovy Lázně, 21.05.2015

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    duration: 54:04
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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To avoid illusions, we have to learn to see what is around us

Hanna Adlerová Františkovy Lázně  y.2015
Hanna Adlerová Františkovy Lázně y.2015
photo: L.Květoň

Hana Adlerová was born in 1934 into the family of a Jewish doctor in Ústí nad Labem. In autumn 1938 they fled inland. As a specialist, her father succeeded in obtaining asylum at a lung clinic in Norway. The whole family moved with him to fjord-region of Finnmark. When the German army arrived in northern Norway, the family managed to hide among the patients at the clinic. However, in October the Germans decided to turn the region into scorched earth for fear of a Russian offensive, and Hana’s family was thus evacuated inland with the other patients. They escaped the transport with the help of partisans and journeyed to Sweden. The situation there was more favourable to the Jewish family. The waited the war out in a refugee camp. In autumn 1945 Hana Adlerová and her family returned to Czechoslovakia. After the formation of a new totality in 1948, the family’s position started to crumble, and this all culminated in the voyage to a newly-forming Israel. Hana Adlerová studied veterinary medicine and worked as a vet all her life.