Inaugural Holocaust Survivor Day


Holocaust Survivor Day calls on us to celebrate survivors’ lives

By: Casey Albritton, ABC Action News
Posted at 4:51 PM, Jun 04, 2024

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The City of St. Petersburg is declaring June 4th as Holocaust Survivor Day, a day meant to honor the families who endured so much during World War II.

“Many of my childhood friends’ memories are with me, and very often when I’m in a situation, ‘Hm, Peter could probably solve this math problem better than I did…unfortunately, he is not here,'” said Laszlo Adler, a Holocaust survivor.

Adler and his wife, Vera Adler, have lived through the unimaginable.

“Very low food. During the winter, it was very cold. We didn’t have much clothing. There was mistreatment by the Germans and by the Ukrainian supporters,” said Laszlo Adler.

When Laszlo was eleven years old, he and his family were sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust.

“They wanted to finish their job, and they put us on a train, and they want to send us to an extermination camp,” said Laszlo Adler.

Laszlo said while being transferred to the concentration camp, the train rails were damaged, and the people on the train had to be sent elsewhere until Laszlo and his family were free at the end of World War II.

Vera was nine months old when her parents were forced into camps. Her mother sent Vera and her brother to hide with Christian families.

“They risked their own lives, they risked their whole family’s lives, their children’s life to save me,” said Vera Adler. Unfortunately, her brother did not survive.

“Living with the memory of my brother all my life didn’t make it an easy childhood for me to grow up… and as I’m growing older and older, there’s not a day that I don’t think of him and how he must have suffered,” said Vera Adler.

Eventually, Vera was reunited with her parents.

“When my mother came back from Auschwitz, she couldn’t believe her eyes that the 9-month-old baby she gave away survived. So, I’m here,” said Vera Adler.

Now, Vera and Laszlo have a love story rooted in tragedy. They married in 1963 after realizing how much they had in common. “We have had 61 very good years together, and I hope for many more to come,” said Vera Adler.

Laszlo and Vera are two Holocaust survivors who were celebrated Tuesday in honor of Holocaust Survivor Day, which is now recognized by the City of St. Petersburg.

“Today is about happiness. Today is about celebrating those who survived, their legacies, what they give to us, their resilience,” said Cindy Minetti with the Jewish Family Services Programs.

The Jewish Family Services Holocaust Survivors Program is raising money for survivors, helping them afford health services and housing.

“They survived through horrific conditions living in forests, living under false names, living in a barn, being quiet. A lot of them didn’t get their parents back,” said Minetti.

Now Vera and Laszlo have children and grandchildren of their own and said they will never stop sharing their story.

“We tell everyone, including our children, our neighbors, our friends, and educate them about how it was…and hope that with the education, they will understand and it will never happen again,” said Vera Adler.

Inaugural Holocaust Survivor Day