“Resilient” is a word often used to describe Holocaust Survivors, but it is particularly apt for Amek Adler.
Born on April 20, 1928, in Lublin, Poland, Amek was raised with three older brothers by his beloved parents, grandparents, and extended family. After moving to Lodz, Amek’s world changed on September 8, 1939, when the Germans occupied Poland. After enduring three months of restrictions in Lodz, the family escaped to Warsaw. They lived there in the ghetto for almost a year, suffering increasingly difficult conditions, and fled two weeks before the ghetto was sealed. Once in the ghetto in Radom, Amek had to work in a munitions factory for 12 hours a day with little food. When that ghetto was closed, Amek and his family were forced to walk four days to Auschwitz.
Eventually Amek was transported to Dachau, where he remained until mid-April 1945. During the “death march” out of the camp, Amek, barely alive, escaped into the countryside. A few days later, he reached the American army.
After being nursed back to health by the Americans, Amek reunited with two brothers: while visiting one of them stationed in Italy, Amek was recruited by the Irgun, a Zionist paramilitary group. From 1945 until 1947, Amek lived in Italy and took part in Aliyah Bet, illegally smuggling young people to British-occupied Palestine. He then moved to Sweden, where he met and married Ruth.
Once Amek and Ruth moved to Toronto in 1954, he worked in the fur industry, becoming a top salesman and a board member for the Fur Trade Association . In the 1970s, fur trade declined, so, reinventing himself yet again, Amek went into the jewellery business. Rising to the top in his profession, Amek was well known for his integrity and excellence in sales for over 21 years.
In 1989, he became President of the Canadian Jewellers Association.
Amek was involved with B’nai Brith of Toronto, Wilson Heights Lodge, for over 15 years, holding posts as Treasurer and Vice-President. He is involved in the Jewish War Veterans of Canada, serving as Vice-President. He was instrumental in having a monument erected in 2011 in Toronto to commemorate the thousands of Canadian Jewish war veterans who gave up their lives in both world wars.
Amek was a Survivor participant in the Toronto March of the Living from 2006 to 2010. He is also a regular Survivor speaker with the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and participates in Holocaust Education Week.
He is the proud father of two children and grandfather of four.