Alice Eckenstein

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Alice Eckenstein in 1935.

Alice Emilie Eckenstein (Basel, Switzerland 31 January 1890 – Riehen, Basel, Switzerland 12 May 1984). Swiss rescuer of children in need in occupied Belgium during World War I.

Tomb of Alice Eckenstein at the Wolfgottesacker cemetery in Basel.


At young age the daughter of Arnold Eckenstein-Marfort, merchant in Grellinger street in Basel, was already inspired by the wish to help others in need. Under the patronage of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) she established an office in Basel with the intention to repatriate children in need from occupied Belgium. Among the numerous documents and letters that passed through her hands, those of anxious parents got her attention. During the summer campaign of 1914 multiple parents were surprised by the rapid advance of the Germans and got separated from their children, cut off by the frontline. With immence dedication and patience and at risk of her life, she succeeded in repatriating - each time again - children from occupied Belgium to Switzerland and then to the unoccupied zones of Belgium or France where they were reunited with their parents. Even large groups of children made it out of occupied Belgium thanks to this courageous woman. Her ashes are buried at the Wolfgottesacker cemetery in Basel.

Source: Basler Zeitung, 30. January 1980