Johannes Meijer

  • Date of Death: 11 December 1977
  • Place of Birth: Vlaardingen, Zuid Holland, Netherlands
  • Date of Deportation: 1942
  • Place of deportation: Alderney
  • Sites deported to: Norderney,

By Joke Meijer-Bogo

The story of Johannes Meijer is, like many of the people sent to Alderney, fragmentary. Experiences during the war were not always shared with family members, who consequently were left with a few anecdotes, no dates, no details, and perhaps a photograph, but little else. This is the case for Meijer’s children. However, this website is committed to sharing the stories of all, no matter how short or fragmentary. Together, these jigsaw pieces add up and ensure that those who were in Alderney are not forgotten.

Johannes Meijer was a Protestant Dutchman born on 3 November 1908 in Vlaardingen in Zuid Holland, in the Netherlands. The photograph shown here is assumed to date from 1941, when Dutch citizens were required to have an identity card.

A couple of years after the Netherlands was occupied, men were conscripted, from 1942 onwards, to work in Germany. It would seem that there was a choice in this whereby those who did not wish to work in Germany could ‘volunteer’ to work for the Organisation Todt. Such was the case with Meijer, who did not want to go to Germany to work, so ‘chose’ France. However, when he arrived in Cherbourg, he was sent to Alderney instead. Meijer was, by this point, already married with a son, and after 6 months in Alderney, he was able to return to Vlaardingen for a week, which seemed to be an option for ‘voluntary’ workers. He did everything he could not to return to Alderney and was able to work instead until the end of the war on the airfield at Istres (southern France), but still for the OT. For voluntary workers who wanted to work in France, this could only be done through the Organisation Todt, and mainly in the defence industry, such as working on the airfields.

Regarding Alderney, Meijer spoke little of his experiences, but enough for his family to understand that the conditions were tough. He told his family just two anecdotes. The first was this: as he was a heavy smoker, he tried, one day, through the open window of a German office, to grab cigarette butts from an ashtray and his fingers were hit hard as a result. The second was that, one morning, a companion from his barracks arrived with wild eyes and wanted to go home. This episode of what appeared to be a madness made an impression on Meijer’s children.

We cannot say which camp Meijer was in Alderney, but we note that Dutch OT labourer Deijbel was in Norderney and was in the island at around the same time. This indicates that the same may have been true for Meijer, but we do not know for sure.

In 1945, at the end of the war, during the repatriation of Dutch people abroad, he chose to stay in France. His wife and son did not join him. He married again and had two daughters: Joke and Olga. Meijer died in France on 11 December 1977.


  • Cemetery / Mass Grave
  • Concentration Camp
  • Forced Labour Camp
  • Prison
  • Worksite / Fortification