Sally Perel: He had to fear exposure
Photo: Marijan Murat / dpa
Holocaust survivor Sally Perel – known as “Hitlerjunge Salomon” – is dead. He died at his home in Israel at the age of 97, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem on Thursday evening.
Born in Germany, he became internationally known through his autobiography »I was Hitler Youth Salomon«.
In 1990, the book was also the basis for a multi-award-winning film by director Agnieszka Holland.
Perel was born in Peine near Braunschweig in 1925, the son of a rabbi.
After fleeing Germany and later Poland, he fell into the hands of German troops in 1941 in what was then the Soviet Union.
He survived the Holocaust by adopting the identity of an ethnic German.
After a year on the Eastern Front, he was sent to a Hitler Youth school.
There he feared being exposed every day until the end of the war.
After World War II, Perel emigrated to what is now Israel.
In 1999 he received the Federal Cross of Merit for his efforts to promote German-Israeli understanding.
Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) condoled the relatives with the words: "We are all infinitely grateful to him that he reported on this time, wrote and repeatedly sought contact with children and young people."
Fewer and fewer eyewitnesses
In 2018, Perel spoke to SPIEGEL – about the AfD, about parallels he saw with the Weimar Republic and why he still has hope.
Read the whole interview here.
According to the latest figures, around 150,600 contemporary witnesses of the Holocaust still live in Israel.
More than a thousand of them are already over 100 years old.
Younger people in particular often do not know what the Holocaust is.
In the culture of remembrance, new ways are therefore being sought to bring history and destinies closer.
A computer program, for example, converts stories from Holocaust survivors into digital images.