Djordje Alpar

A cheerful attitude was what the Alpars maintained throughout their lives. Djordje Alpar was cheerful and open during our meetings. He kept looking back at his wife Lili, who accompanied our interview, for reassurance. Mrs Alpar was calmer, very thoughtful in her statements, hospitable and at peace with herself.

About Djordje Alpar

Djordje Alpar was born in Hungary on 28 January 1922. He grew up happily and undisturbed together with his older brother and parents in Belgrade. In 1938, Djordje spent a school year in Vienna, where he experienced hatred of the Jews for the first time after the takeover. Remembering what he had experienced, he returned to Belgrade and joined the partisans in 1941, just after the start of the war in Serbia. In the fight against the Nazis, he quickly rose through the hierarchy of his group to become group leader. He survived this difficult time and started a new life in Belgrade with a good job at a large company. It was there that Djordje met his wife Lili. In the 1960s, the couple emigrated to Germany for professional reasons, although their home was always Israel in their hearts.

Djordje Alpar died in April 2018. In our obituary, we remember his life story and the wonderful encounters we had with him. We will miss him.

"We were enemies and had to fight back. It was either us or you."

Djordje Alpar


Our interview with Djordje was actually an interview with Djordje and Lili. Because although she didn't want to be the centre of attention herself, Lili Alpar complemented her husband exactly where he was at a loss for words. She supported him at every moment. When we asked him what helped him to carry on, he replied somewhat helplessly: "The tenacious nature of man." Djordje couldn't put his finger on a specific reason for continuing to live. During our conversation, the incredibly strong bond between Djordje and Lili became more and more tangible. She had not only built up their company and a family with him. The two of them went about their daily lives together and protected each other.

For this reason, we asked Djordje to think back to his first meeting with Lili and captured this moment in our commentary picture.

Our encounter

We contacted Mr Alpar with a letter after seeing him in a documentary. His wife Lili later told us how proud he was of the letter and that he had shown it to all his friends. When we first met, a white-haired man smiled at us, his eyes clearly showing his mischief. He was keen to tell us his story and brought photos and a CV to our first meeting. It was a very unusual CV for us, as it was the first time we had met someone who had actively fought in the resistance. We were accordingly excited before the meeting. But as soon as we entered the Alpars' flat, this nervousness was gone. The couple greeted us warmly, were delighted with our visit and even served us cake, of which we had to eat two pieces without hesitation.

Djordje and Lili Alpar were very familiar and affectionate with each other, always looking at each other as they talked and complementing each other. Both of them had experienced unspeakable things and Mrs Alpar in particular showed the pain of the memories. Mr Alpar seemed very proud of his path, explained his rise as a soldier in the resistance and repeatedly made it clear how important education and advancement were and are for him. Fate welded the two together, the Alpars married just three months after they met and they had a happy marriage without a prescription. Maybe that's why they both seem strong and stable and were also interested in us and the love in our lives. Mr Alpar kept joking about the lack of marriage proposals from us, while his wife laughingly admitted that she didn't remember any proposals from him. And so we all ended up laughing together.

I looked with admiration at this friendly, cheerful and hospitable couple and the solidarity they showed us. I was deeply impressed by the determination and naturalness with which they both took action against the Nazis.