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Bella Adler

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
October 1938
Interview number:


Dr Rosalyn Livshin

Date of Interview:

Interview Summary:

Bella Adler (née Sobelmann) was born in 1933 in Mattersdorf, Austria. She was an only child. Her mother, originally from Hungary, had moved to Vienna with her family; her father’s family was from Leipzig. Bella’s parents married in Vienna in 1931 and lived in a bungalow in Mattersdorf. Her father worked in his father’s grocery and hay shop. Bella did not go school in Austria and has few memories from that period. The family emigrated to London in October 1938. Her mother came as an au pair and Bella came to stay with that family’s newly married daughter. They initially lived in London and then moved a few times and lived in Bletchley and Milton Keynes before settling in Bedford, joining a Jewish community of approximately 50 families. Bella’s father worked in an aeroplane factory and her mother served in the small kosher shop selling meat and cheese. Another relative, the daughter of Bella’s cousin, also lived with them. The family went to London for the end of war celebrations, and later settled in Stoke Newington, Hackney. Bella attended Avigdor School and her father worked as a kashrus supervisor in a bakery. After leaving school Bella took the Nursery Nursing Examinations Board Course in CamdenTown and when qualified, worked in a Jewish school in Stamford Hill.


Full Interview


I do remember my auntie’s house a bit, ’cos they had an old-fashioned coach in their garden, which I used to use as a play-room. The type of coach that the queen goes in. Well that’s what they used to use...before they had cars or vans.

My mother told me that she was lucky that she got across because when they stopped her at one of the stations from Vienna, going to France, there was a young soldier who got on and he says: ‘Because the child is asleep we won’t make you to get off.’ So my mother always told me that I saved her life.

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