Chaje Isakovic Adler
Born: March 21, 1903
The youngest of 11 children, Chaje was raised by religious, Yiddish-speaking Jewish parents in a village in Czechoslovakia's easternmost province. At the age of 12, she was apprenticed to a men's tailor. In the 1920s she married Jermie Adler from Selo-Solotvina. Together, they moved to Liege, Belgium, where they raised three daughters and she continued to work as a tailor.
1933-39: Chaje's customers called her the "Polish tailor." Raising her children as Jews in the largely Catholic city of Liege did not pose a problem. The family spoke Yiddish at home, and Chaje made sure that her children studied Hebrew. When war broke out in Poland in September 1939, Chaje was fearful because it brought back troubling memories of her village being overrun during World War I.
1940-44: The Germans conquered Belgium in May 1940. Two years later, Chaje's family was ordered by the Nazis to register. Catholic friends managed to obtain false papers for the Adlers and rent them a house in a nearby village. On Sunday, March 5, 1944, while her husband and eldest daughter were away, the Gestapo came to the door at 5 a.m. They had been told there was a Jewish family at that house. Chaje tried to insist that the children were not hers, hoping they would be spared, but the Gestapo arrested them all.