NEW YORK — The 31 victims of the Belgian terrorist attacks, who were just starting their day when bombs went off at Brussels Airport and a subway station Tuesday, represented a wide array of nationalities and backgrounds.
■ New York-bound siblings: Alexander and Sascha Pinczowski, a Dutch brother and sister, never lingered in one place for long. The children of a hotel manager, they had lived in Turkey, Greece, and Germany, and were on their way back to New York when they arrived at the departures hall at Brussels Airport.
Alexander Pinczowski was going to meet his fiancée in New York, where he and his sister had recently lived, so they could attend a wedding together in North Carolina.
His sister was planning to spend the weekend with friends. They were standing in the Delta ticket line and were on the phone with their mother, Marjan Pinczowski-Fasbender, when two bombs exploded.
James Cain, the father of Alexander Pinczowski’s fiancée, Cameron Cain, said that family learned Friday morning that Sascha Pinczowski, 26, and Alexander Pinczowski, 29, had not survived the blasts.
Alexander Pinczowski and Cameron Cain, who met five years ago in North Carolina, both loved to travel and were interested in world news and politics.
The siblings hoped to become US citizens and considered New York a second home, said James Cain, a former US ambassador to Denmark.
■ Volunteer for the elderly: A native of Liberia who lived in Deventer, Netherlands, Elita Borbor Weah was on her way to the United States to attend a funeral in Rhode Island when she was killed in the attack on the airport.
A member of a large family spread across the world, Weah, 41, was one of eight siblings. Many of her relatives were to meet in Providence, to attend her stepfather’s memorial. Her death was confirmed by a family member in Rhode Island.
In Deventer, Elita Weah was a single mother with a 13-year-old daughter, whom family members said was in the care of a relative.
Weah was a talented cook who often made traditional African dishes like Jollof rice, Ajala said. She had been living in the Netherlands since 1999, after fleeing Liberia as a refugee, he said.
■ Law student: Léopold Hecht was a second-year law student at the Université Saint-Louis in Brussels who enjoyed skiing and had a knack for acting.
In the hours after the terrorist attacks Tuesday, his name appeared on a list of missing people as friends and family sent desperate appeals for information on social media.
On Wednesday, Pierre Jadoul, president of the university, posted on Facebook that Hecht had died, calling him a “victim of the barbaric acts perpetrated on March 22 at the Maelbeek metro station.”
Many students took to Facebook to remember Hecht, 20, as a brilliant theater improviser.
“It is horrible to say that you, who made me laugh so much that night, could be wrested from such a promising life,” Martin Sas wrote on the university’s Facebook page, which became a memorial to Hecht.
Véronique Gigot described Hecht as “radiant” at an improv show on March 14. “Your sense of humor, your smile, your energy, your talent brightened up the evening,” she wrote.
■ Teacher at Islamic School: A gym instructor at an Islamic school in Brussels, Loubna Lafquiri was dedicated to teaching children respect for others, self-confidence, perseverance and forgiveness, all with a love and appreciation for Islam.
School officials, and her students, were surprised when she did not arrive for class Tuesday.
They later learned that she was one of the victims of the attack in the subway. Ihsane Bari, a woman who identified herself on Facebook as Lafquiri’s sister, confirmed her death Thursday night. She called Lafquiri, the mother of three boys, “an exemplary teacher” who had been “torn from her family by cowards.”
“She was an exceptional woman,” Mohamed Allaf, the school’s co-founder told CNN. “She represented the true values of Islam with generosity and caring.”
■ Mother of twins: Adelma Tapia Ruiz, a Peruvian woman who had lived in Brussels for almost nine years, was traveling with her twin 3-year-old daughters to visit her mother in New York when two bombs exploded at Brussels Airport on Tuesday.
One daughter, Maureen, received shrapnel wounds in one arm, while the other, Alondra, was not injured. Tapia’s husband, Christopher Delcambe, who was seeing his family off at the airport, was also injured during the explosion.
Tapia, 36, was the first confirmed victim of the attacks.
Tapia’s brother, Fernando Tapia Coral, said, “Adelma was a chef and had studied marketing; she wanted to set up a Peruvian restaurant in Brussels.”