Widow of Polish Resistance Fighter to Light Torch at Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony

Peretz Hochman, a hero of the Warsaw underground that fought the Nazis, had been chosen to light a torch at this year’s ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. His wife Sima will take his place.

Sima Hochman will light a torch at the main opening ceremony for Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday night, in place of her husband, Peretz, a Polish resistance fighter who died March 31.

Peretz Hochman, a hero of the Warsaw underground that fought the Nazis, had been chosen to light a torch at this year’s ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. The ceremony is dedicated to the Jewish uprisings and rebellions during World War II.

The theme was chosen in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Hochman and his brother Zanek fought the Nazis as part of the Polish underground, surviving in part by assuming Christian identities and selling cigarettes at Warsaw’s Three Crosses Square.

Holocaust Remembrance Day is marked on the 27th of the Jewish month of Nissan. But because that date falls on a Sunday, the commemoration will be put off a day to avoid desecrating Shabbat during preparations for the ceremonies.

The day’s events will thus begin on Sunday night at 8 P.M. with the state ceremony at Yad Vashem. The gathering will be addressed by President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The other five torches will be lit by Otto Dov Pressburger, Dina Ostrover, Eliezer Eisenschmidt, Miriam Liptcher, and Baruch Kopold.

During the ceremony, short videos about each of the torch-lighters will be screened. All had participated in armed resistance or provided aid to fellow Jews in the ghettos and concentration camps. Eisenschmidt, now 93, was involved in the 1944 revolt by members of the Sonderkommando, who disposed of gas chamber victims at Auschwitz. Kopold fought with the partisans, irregular military groups involved in the resistance.

AP