The Holocaust survivor Sally Perel – known as “Hitlerjunge Salomon” – is dead. The Israeli died at the age of 97 in his home in Israel, as the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem announced on Thursday evening in Jerusalem. The native German 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. 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 for reporting and writing about this time and for repeatedly seeking contact with children and young people.”
According to the latest figures, a little more than 150,000 contemporary witnesses of the Holocaust still live in Israel. More than a thousand of them are already more than 100 years old.