(photo credit: Israel Hadari)
Peretz Hochman, one of six Holocaust survivors slated to light a torch at Yad
Vashem on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 7, died on Sunday at the
age of 86.
Hochman, born as Pavel in Warsaw in 1927, fought in the Polish
underground against the Nazis during World War II and, after his aliya in 1946,
was injured during the War of Independence while serving in the Palmah Brigade
of the Negev.
Hochman’s wife, Sima, will light the torch on her husband’s
behalf during the opening ceremony, said Yad Vashem’s Rachel
During the war years, Hochman and his brother Zanek escaped the
Warsaw Ghetto and survived on the outside by posing as Poles. The Hochman
brothers lived by selling cigarettes to German officers and through street
singing, smuggling food and clothing to their parents in the ghetto. Hochman’s
father died of starvation while his mother was shot to death in
Prior to the Warsaw uprising in 1944, just over a year after the
Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, the brothers joined the Polish
“Every time they needed someone to perform a complicated
mission, I volunteered,” Hochman recalled years later.
“All I wanted was
to hurt Germans, to take revenge on them.
In a sense, something within me
was already dead, and therefore I was not afraid of death.”
uprising was put down by the Germans, Hochman was interned in Germany until the
end of the war.
Following the war, Hochman received numerous decorations
from the Polish army.
“Peretz was a dear man with a wonderful sense of
humor, and was always full of optimism.
We were very saddened to hear of
his death,” said Barkai. “His extraordinary activities during the war exemplify
Even when others were afraid, he, a 15-year old in the
Polish uprising, volunteered for every mission, receiving a number of awards for
“Like many Holocaust survivors, when he arrived in the Land
of Israel he joined the struggle to build the state and rebuild his
Hochman was buried Tuesday in Herzliya, and is survived by his
wife, three children and six grandchildren.