Alfred Kristeller

Born October 7, 1937 - Amsterdam, Holland

Alfred, the son of Ilse (Gomperts) and Adolph Kristeller, was two years old when the Germans invaded Holland. The Kristellers had moved in 1933 to Amsterdam from Duesseldorf, Germany, to escape living under Nazi oppression. Alfred's father worked for the Deutsche Bank in Amsterdam.

Before the German occupation, life was comfortable for Alfred and his parents. Amsterdam was a large, cosmopolitan city with a substantial, assimilated, Jewish population. Jews were found in all occupations and contributed to the economic, cultural and social life of the city. Jews were considered as equals by their non-Jewish fellow citizens.

With the occupation, the Germans enacted harsh antisemitic measures. Jewish businesses and bank accounts were confiscated and Jews were barred from most professions. In addition, Jews were excluded from public schools and universities. When the Nazis began perpetrating acts of violence against the Jews, the Dutch people were outraged. Large-scale strikes were organized in protest. They were soon crushed by the Germans. The Jews of Amsterdam were forced to live in sealed-off ghettos, and after May 1942 they were forced to wear the yellow star. By the end of 1942, approximately 38,500 Jews had been deported from Holland to death camps in Poland. Dutch Christians made thousands of heroic efforts to save Jews and hide them, but most were caught by the Nazis.

Alfred and his parents were transported to the Sobibor death camp near Lublin, Poland. As soon as they stepped off the overcrowded, sealed cattle cars in which they were forced to travel, they were taken to the gas chambers and murdered. Alfred was five years old.

In This Section

Buy Tickets Contact Us Simon Wiesenthal Center

Become a Member Volunteer Calendar

Sign up for E-News