Fran Sonshine, National Chair

Andrew Adler

Finding the Missing Piece

You can be very successful and still feel something is missing. Such was the case with Andrew Adler.

Andrew was born in 1924 in Pusztadobos, Hungary, the youngest of six children. In 1942, at age 18, he left home to seek work in Budapest. It was the last time he would ever see his mother and father. During that time, Andrew cultivated business skills, which helped him to survive the war and later flourish as an entrepreneur. By 1944, he found himself working as a forced labourer for Hungarian Nazis, building underground tunnels for Eichmann’s headquarters. With mazel (luck) and ingenuity, he escaped forced labour, using false documentation purchased from gentiles whose teenaged son had died in the war. Andrew eventually found refuge with the Hungarian Red Cross, living in one of their safe houses until liberated by the Russians in December 1944.

Livia Eva Szenes was born in Budapest in 1935. As a child during the war, she lived with her family in an apartment designated for Jews. She spent the final year of the war in the Budapest ghetto until liberation by the Soviets in 1945.

Eva studied to become a chemist. Following the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, Eva’s parents encouraged her to leave Hungary with her younger brother. As a teary-eyed teenager, she said good-bye to her parents and snuck across the Austrian border, arriving in Canada in 1957, where she found work in a lab. The loss of his children broke her father’s heart, and he died shortly after their departure.

Following the war, Andrew returned to his hometown, where he rejoiced in finding two brothers and a sister who had survived. In 1949, he went to Austria where he lived in a displaced persons camp until his immigration to Canada in February 1951.

After six months working in a lumber camp in Canada, Andrew was able to save enough money to buy a truck to sell produce and collect scrap in Northern Ontario. His keen intuition led him into the scrap plastics business, which exists today as A & B Plastics, the largest national distributor of vinyl in Canada.

The missing piece was filled when Andrew met his wife, Eva Szenes. They were married in 1960.

Eva and Andrew are blessed with three children and ten grandchildren.