Louis Alexander and Elisabeth Nykerk

Louis Alexander fled Germany in 1934. He married Elisabeth Nykerk in Schaerbeek on August 6, 1938. Louis was arrested in 1940 and deported to Perpignan in France. After his release, he was arrested again and deported with transport XXIV. Louis died in 1945 in Theresienstadt. Elisabeth presumably stayed in the Netherlands and survived.

Louis Alexander and Elisabeth Nykerk
Louis Alexander

Louis Alexander was born on May 11, 1910 in Nuremberg. He left Germany in 1933 after being held and mistreated in a concentration camp. On October 3, 1933 Louis fled to the Netherlands where he met Elisabeth Nykerk. Elisabeth was born on October 31, 1909 in Amsterdam. Louis and Elisabeth married religiously on April 24, 1934 in the same city.

As a merchant, Louis left the Netherlands while Elisabeth remained in Amsterdam. On May 11, 1934 Louis arrived in Belgium and went to live at Jacob Jordaensstraat 54 in Antwerp. He stayed in Belgium as a stopover before emigrating to South America. However, Louis was not registered, had no visa and would stay in Belgium without any means of subsistence. For these reasons he was investigated while staying in a lodging house at Brialmontlei 38 in Antwerp and imprisoned one day later.

The Assistance Council for Jewish Refugees asked in a letter to the government to release the Jews arrested during the inspection in the lodging house, as they were candidates for emigration to Palestine and Brazil. As a German refugee with a German passport, Louis applied to be sent to the Netherlands since Elisabeth lived there. Pending a decision, Louis remained locked up.

On May 17, 1934, Louis was released and given a one-month travel warrant. He had to leave Belgium within 30 days but was ordered to leave within 15 days. Louis obeyed and returned to the Netherlands. However, six weeks later, on July 1, 1934, his wife Elisabeth arrived in Belgium and took up residence at Harmoniestraat 54 in Antwerp. On July 19, 1934 a certain M. Izaaks wrote a letter to the consulate of Belgium in Louis’ name, asking for a visa for one year as well. Louis worked for the Compagnie d’Assurances Adriatique, an Italian insurance agency based in Brussels and Antwerp. Although the consulate did not issue a visa, Louis was found in Berchem in August 1934 without means of subsistence and with incomplete papers. In December 1934, Elisabeth returned to the Netherlands. The further path of Louis and Elisabeth between 1934 and 1938 is unclear.

On April 6, 1938, the Dutch authorities handed Louis Alexander over to the Germans. However, he fled to Belgium and lived since April 16, 1938 on Koninginnelaan 15 in Schaarbeek. He was not in possession of a Belgian visa and declared to remain in Belgium as a political refugee awaiting emigration to South America. The Jewish Refugee Council again took his case. On July 28, 1938, Louis received a laissez-passer that was valid until 30 October 1938. In the meantime, Elisabeth also settled in Belgium and received a similar travel document.

On August 6, 1938, Louis and Elisabeth were legally married in Schaerbeek. Afterwards they went to live together at Aarschotstraat 178 in Schaerbeek. Their laissez-passer was extended and on November 27 the couple was registered in the register of aliens. On May 10, 1940, the day Nazi Germany invaded Belgium, Louis was arrested by the Belgian authorities and deported to Perpignan in France. Elisabeth lived in Schaerbeek until July 1941 but was then removed from the population register.

Louis was imprisoned in France for two years. On June 27, 1943, he was able to return to Belgium and went to live at Aarschotstraat 182 in Schaerbeek. To protect himself, Louis assumed the false identity of Alexander Verstegen. Nevertheless, he was arrested. On March 27, 1944, Louis was put on the list of transport XXIV under number 558 in the Dossin Barracks. Transport XXIV left for Auschwitz-Birkenau on April 4, 1944. Upon arrival on April 7, 1944, Louis was not immediately sent to the gas chamber. In January 1945, he participated in a death march and ended up in Theresienstadt. According to his post-war death certificate, Louis died there on March 11, 1945. Elisabeth probably stayed in the Netherlands during the war and survived. She died on May 1, 1978 at the age of 68.


Publication info:

ADRIAENS Ward, STEINBERG Maxime (et al.), Mecheln-Auschwitz, 1942-1944. The destruction of Jews and gypsies from Belgium, 4 volumes (volume 1), Brussels, 2009.

Dieter Porton