Alexander, the son of Philip and Elizabeth Hornemann, was born in Eindhoven, Holland, on May 31, 1936. His father, an executive with the Philips Corporation, provided a comfortable living for his family.
When the Germans occupied Holland in May 1940, Alexander was four years old. The Nazis immediately instituted harsh anti-Jewish measures. Alexander's family was temporarily exempted from many of the restrictions because of his father's position with the Philips Corporation. After the Germans began deporting Jews to death camps, the Philips Corporation set up a special section for its Jewish employees.
On August 18, 1943, German troops surrounded the Philips plant in Eindhoven, and arrested all the Jews. Alexander's father and the rest of the Jewish employees were sent to Vught, a Dutch concentration camp, where they were put to work in a Philips operation that employed over 3,000 of the prisoners. The Philips workers received extra rations and were given the special privilege of living together with their wives and children. When a Philips Corporation representative told Alexander's mother that the company could guarantee her family's safety only if she joined her husband in the camp, she felt that she had no choice but to go.
On June 3, 1944, the Hornemanns were deported to the Birkenau death camp in Poland. Alexander and his brother remained with their mother and were sent to the women's barracks. Conditions in the camp were horrendous. There was little food, and disease was rampant. Alexander's mother contracted typhoid fever three months after their arrival, and died soon after. A few days after their mother's death, Alexander and his brother, along with 20 other Jewish children, were chosen to be used in horrific medical experiments. In the fall of 1944, the children were transferred to the Neuengamme concentration camp. The children were injected with tuberculosis cultures and became extremely ill.
On April 20, 1945, when the British were less than three miles from the camp, the sick children were put into a truck and brought to a school in Hamburg. They were injected with morphine and hanged. Alexander was eight years old.