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Oral history interview with Esthy Adler

Oral History | Accession Number: 1993.A.0091 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0014

Esthy Adler discusses not knowing her real name or when and where she was born, noting that many of her childhood memories are vague; her papers that say she was born in Kaliningrad, Russia, where she thinks her parents had a summer home; staying with her mother’s sister in a compound where there were frequent bombings; her mother’s death during their stay; her father’s remarriage, despite the family’s disapproval; how the Germans found her, her father, and stepmother; the last time she saw her father; how she, her aunt, cousins, and stepmother were relocated to another compound where they slept on cots in places similar to bunkers; seeing a man digging a ditch and holding a machine gun; being lined up and fired upon, but surviving; finding her way back to the barrack where she found her stepmother and another woman; being loaded onto a cattle car and taken to another location (possibly Treblinka); escaping into the forest with her stepmother via a hole and tunnel dug by another woman; living with a partisan group that consisted of Polish-Ukrainian prisoners of war and Russian deserters; the death of her stepmother by machine gun fire in the winter of 1942; being shot; becoming ill from drinking poisoned water and being nursed back to health by a peasant; living with a woman named Margot who got her a job in a factory sewing pants; leaving her job after a man paid for her to go to a private school; living with the Katz family; becoming legally independent after she turned 18; attending graduate school and being accepted into a program where she was trained as a paralegal; meeting her future husband Jim Adler at the University of Heidelberg in 1954; and immigrating to the United States.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Esthy Adler
Gail Schwartz
interview:  1993 January 13-1993 January 15
2 sound cassettes (120 min.).
Record last modified: 2023-11-16 08:11:56
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