Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Marton Adler - July 13, 1989

Religious Life

Was your family at home a religious family?

Yes. Yes. Over there everybody was religious. There was no such thing as religious or not religious. The only thing that could have been was very religious. I mean everybody was religious just a question how religious. How you know ultra, ultra or just religious. But everybody was religious.

Do you remember going to Synagogue regularly?

Oh yes, definitely. We were taught from the first thing you got up in the morning you had to say a prayer which I know until today by heart ??? I acknowledge to you God. You gave me back my soul ??? my belief in you is forever. ??? The first rule of Israel is to fear God. ??? All those that do it have good sense. ??? At the time I just knew the prayer but today at the age of sixty I understand it. And we washed our hands and we, again we went to Cheder and we studied. I mean this was all day long we, as children we had to go to Cheder and to religious school, to Jewish school, and from there we went to secular school which was the law. You had to do it. So we complied with the law.

So you would go first in the morning to Hebrew school?

Yeah, well to explain it to you, about the simplest way would be that we took off time from the school, from the Hebrew school to go to regular school. You went to school all day long starting as early as six o'clock in the morning. Six o'clock in the morning you were already in school and they would teach you Chumash, and Rashi as you progressed and in the afternoon then you went to regular school and from school you may of went home, maybe ate lunch and then two o'clock, three o'clock, you went back to Cheder and you studied as late 'til eight or nine o'clock at night. Eight o'clock. I mean that was their aim in life. Their aim in life in that region was simply to give an education to the children.

It sounds like you were in school almost to become a rabbi?

That is true. I mean you were in school actually all week long. The only time when school ended was Friday afternoon, Friday around two o'clock to prepare for the Sabbath and Friday night we went to the synagogue. Everybody, my father would take me, you know, by the hand, I would sit next to him, I was the oldest. And my brothers, my two brothers, we all went to this so my mother was at home preparing getting ready for the Sabbath meal. And you'd come back from the synagogue, everything was sparkled and clean and you had this Sabbath meal. If you starved through the week what for the Sabbath, you had a little meat and a little fish and we sang songs and praised God and Saturday morning again we'd go to the synagogue and have the meal and maybe the parents would take a little nap after the meal and like myself I went back to school and we would study on the Saturday in the summer time we studied Pirkey Avot, chapter of our fathers or Ethics of our Fathers, the Trabus [Talmud], or we would go the rabbi he would examine us like a test if we studied for the week. And that was our life and so laid back and Sunday all day in school again, Hebrew school. They might give you off ten or fifteen minutes to play in the yard but I was in school seven days a week.

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