Alex Mayer was born in 1910 near Nancy into an old Jewish Lorraine family whose genealogy has been traced back to the 17th century.
An official decree signed by Stanislas Leszczynski, King of Poland and Duke of Lorraine, dated January 29, 1753, confirms the authorization granted to 180 families to continue residing in Lorraine.
His ancestor Molling, the son of Jolle (Mayer), was one of the 180 heads of household named in the royal decree, by which he was authorized to continue living at Schalbach, a small village located between Sarre-Union and Phalsbourg. The family was to remain rooted in Schalbach for nearly a century before « migrating » to western Lorraine.
Alex Mayer grew up in Lunéville. After his father left home, his mother brought up Alex and his brother André alone.
At the age of twenty he went to do his military service in Algeria, a country to which he would remain attached all his life. Back in Lunéville, he became a merchant.
When the Second World War broke out he was mobilized and posted with the 15th Corps of Engineers as a telephone switchboard operator. His courage during the German bombing of Arcy-sur–Aube enable the evacuation of the local hospital. For this act he received an army citation and was awarded the War Cross.
Demobilized at Vichy, he found employment as a switchboard operator in the War Ministry. When the anti-Jewish laws were put into effect he was ousted from his job.
Considered “persona non grataˮ at Vichy and thus likely to be arrested at any moment, he nevertheless decided to go into hiding there in order to watch over his mother, who was hidden, alone and deaf, with a host family in Lapalisse.
Working as a night watchman in a little hotel, he succeeded in hiding for several years without changing identities.
On June 17, 1944 he was turned in and arrested by the Gestapo, sent to Drancy, and deported to Auschwitz in convoy 77.
Back in France it was to require many long years for him to get over his suffering, and it was not until 1949, at nearly 40 years of age, that he married and started a family.
An independent-minded lover of art and literature, he was a broker for a publisher of art books.
He died in Colmar in March, 1980.