Holocaust survivor slated to be honored dies

Wife of Peretz Hochman, who took part in uprising against Nazis, to light torch at Remembrance ceremony in his place.

PERETZ HOCHMAN370 (photo credit: Israel Hadari)
(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 Barkai.
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 1942.
Prior to the Warsaw uprising in 1944, just over a year after the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, the brothers joined the Polish underground.
“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.”
After the 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 his courage.
Even when others were afraid, he, a 15-year old in the Polish uprising, volunteered for every mission, receiving a number of awards for his courage.
“Like many Holocaust survivors, when he arrived in the Land of Israel he joined the struggle to build the state and rebuild his life.”
Hochman was buried Tuesday in Herzliya, and is survived by his wife, three children and six grandchildren.