Paul Alexander (one of the youngest Kind)
Paul arrived in the UK from Leipzig via Berlin in July 1939 aged 1.
Paul's mother Eva Minikes had suffered 2 still-births before being taken to hospital in 1936 to be sterilised under Nuremberg laws. By a stroke of luck she managed to escape and a year later she fell pregnant. She was overjoyed to give birth to her beautiful baby boy, whom she named Paul. The happiness wasn't to last as on the night of Kristallnacht her beloved husband Alfons was taken and thrown into Buchenwald concentration camp. For the next few months Eva agonised over the hardest decision of her life, should she hold on to her miracle child and hope for the best, or should she put her only son onto the Kindertransport and send him alone into the unknown hoping he would find safety and survive. Eva did the almost impossible and in July '39 bravely put her baby into the arms of a volunteer nurse and watched as the train pulled out from the station.
Paul on his first birthday.
In the UK, baby Paul was cared for by a wonderful benefactor named Harry Jacobs. What Paul never knew until World Jewish Relief presented him with his father's case file was that Alfons was released from Buchenwald under the CBF's Kitchener Camp initiative and two weeks later also arrived safely into the UK. Eva was left behind in Leipzig but determined to be reunited with her child she tried everything to get out of Germany. A British friend helped her secure a visa in late August 1939 and she promptly booked a flight only to be turned away at the airport. Undeterred she got herself a first class train ticket and acted the role of a rich entitled lady. The scheme worked and just days before the outbreak of war she too arrived in Britain. However, it would be three years before the family were finally reunited.
Together again, the family were evacuated to the North of England during the Blitz and decided to settle in Leeds.
Paul finished High School, got a law degree and qualified as a Solicitor, working in the profession from 1963-1969. He met and married Nili, an Israeli living in London in 1968, and they settled in Israel in 1971 and had 3 children. He re-qualified as an attorney in Israel and worked as in-House Counsel in a commercial bank for almost 30 years while Nili worked as a real-estate agent.
Since retiring from the bank in 2002, he is still very active, working as a notary and translator, as well as enjoying an enduring love of music, sport and travel.
Paul and Nili live in Ra’anana, and now have 9 grandchildren.
Paul, his son and grandson will be riding the Berlin to London Kindertransport Commemorative Cycle together. Paul says this will be a real victory and his answer to Hitler!
Paul, Nadav and Daniel
Paul, his wife Nili with parents Alfons and Eva.