PASSPORT FOR STEPHEN ADLER
This passport was issued in 1939 in Germany.
Notice the large red “J”. This letter was printed on all German Jewish passports
A law was passed in Germany stating that beginning on January 1, 1939, all Jewish men must
take the middle name “Israel” and all Jewish women must take the middle name “Sara.”
In November 1938, the Germans initiated a violent pogrom during which they burned all the synagogues, looted thousands of stores owned by Jewish merchants and arrested 30,000 Jewish men. My Dad was one of the men arrested. He was taken to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp in Germany, not far from Berlin, for six weeks.
After his release in late December, my parents began arranging for my brother’s and my emigration. My parents submitted applications for both of us to go on the Kindertransport to England. My application was selected, but my brother’s was not. In March of 1939, my parents took me to a train station in Berlin for the trip to Hamburg. From there, I boarded a ship to Southampton, England, along with hundreds of other Jewish boys and girls. I didn’t know then whether I would see my family again….
In England I lived in a small house with a new family. I slept in an unheated attic room. In the spring of 1940, I was reunited with my brother, and that summer we met our mother and father again before traveling by ship to the United States in November 1940.
Stephen Adler, born in Berlin, Germany in 1930, was part of the Kindertransport. Stephen was one of the lucky few – most children who were saved by the Kindertransport program became orphans. Their parents did not survive the Holocaust. Stephen is a member of the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s Speakers Bureau.