It’s 8 PM on a Saturday night and have just returned to Santa Cruz from a thirty-five mile drive over the hill from San Jose. The afternoon started when we watched and listened to a thoroughly exhilarating matinee performance of “Fats” Waller’s music in “Ain’t Misbehavin.’ ” An even more buoyant experience was to come in Room 503 in Good Samaritan Hospital where Adam Cintz was temporarily residing. Four days ago when I last stopped by, I thought that it would be my last visit with him. At ninety-nine years, two months and two weeks of age, on Tuesday he was barely able to open his eyes and was at the mercy of a vicious disease. But you can never underestimate the resiliency of a man who watched his son succumb to the fiery furnaces of Auschwitz while he survived. When I entered his room tonight, he looked up and asked me, “How are you doing?” As always, just being in his presence elevated my spirits, for his positive and caring outlook, his intellect, and humor offers a life lesson for everyone. When he first learned about his disease he said, “I try to laugh. It does no good to cry.” At barely five feet tall, Adam reminds me of my Great-uncle Sam who on his ninety-ninth birthday stood in front of family and friends at a deli in Florida and said, “”I hope that all of you will be healthy enough to celebrate my one-hundredth birthday next year,” which he did in style. Adam, I hope that your entire family and all of your friends will be healthy enough to celebrate your one-hundredth on July 1. Zei Gezundt.
For more insight into the extraordinary life of a truly original Adam, go to Google, type in “Adam Cintz,” and then click the entry “A Holocaust Survivor recalls his life.”