About Sally and „Jupp“
The life and survival of Salomon Perel
Sally Perel was born on April 21, 1925, the youngest child of a Jewish family in Peine, a good 60 kilometers southwest of Wolfsburg. When Sally was ten years old, his family of six moved to the Polish city of Łódź to escape anti-Semitic persecution. When the war broke out in 1939, their flight continued. Perel found refuge in an orphanage in Grodno, Belarus. When the German Wehrmacht invaded the Soviet Union, he was seized by soldiers. Luckily, he had had the presence of mind to bury his papers beforehand. He gave himself a false identity as an “ethnic German,” which allowed him to escape certain death: Sally Perel became Josef “Jupp” Perjell. He traveled as an interpreter with the soldiers as far
The young man, barely 18 years old, arrived at the satellite plant of Volkswagenwerk GmbH in Braunschweig in the summer of 1943 and started an apprenticeship as a toolmaker. At the time, that apprenticeship was considered an elite course. “Jupp” also joined the Hitler Youth during his time there. The young men were housed in dorms on the plant campus. “Jupp” was liberated by the Americans in Braunschweig on April 22, 1945 – one day after his 20th birthday. “Jupp” slowly started becoming Sally again.
In Israel, Perel and his two brothers, who – unlike their parents and sister – also survived the Holocaust, started to build a new life for themselves. In 1959, he got married and had two sons with his wife, Dvora. Only decades later would he tell his family about surviving “in the role of the enemy.” In 1992, his book Ich war Hitlerjunge Salomon (“I was Salomon, the Hitler Youth”) was published in German. Since then, he has traveled around German schools to bear witness to this story and has held readings in front of audiences of young people.