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Photo of Friedrich Adler
Photo of Friedrich Adler

Friedrich (Fritz) Adler was born in Lugau, in the district of Chemnitz, Germany. He worked at the post office until 1925, when he became a full-time Bible Student “pilgrim,” or traveling minister. In 1935, Adler was arrested. A special court in Halle sentenced him to one year and six months. After his release, he resumed his religious activity, for which he went to prison again several times. Finally, prison authorities turned Adler over to the Gestapo, who sent him to Buchenwald concentration camp and gave him prisoner number 1808.

Adler served as secretary for the camp’s first Kommandant, Arthur Rödl. In this position, he found ways to help fellow prisoners, including some of the several hundred purple triangles in the camp. After five years of postwar freedom, from 1945 to 1950, Adler was arrested by the Stasi (East German secret police) on charges of espionage and sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentence was later reduced to 15 years, most of which he spent in solitary confinement in Brandenburg. He was released in August of 1964 and moved to West Germany. He died on December 2, 1970, and was buried in Wiesbaden. Adler spent a total of 9 years in Nazi prisons and camps and 15 years imprisoned in East Germany.

From Crucible of Terror: A Story of Survival Through the Nazi Storm by Max Liebster, page 95. (New Orleans: Grammaton Press, 2003)