Tunisian Jewish boxing champion Victor Perez who survived by boxing until 1945, when he died during the death march from Auschwitz.
He was born to Khmaïssa Perez on October 18, 1911, and was raised in the Jewish quarter of Tunis. At age 14, alongside his older brother, he started training to be a boxer after being inspired by Senegalese boxer Battling Siki.
Standing at 5’1” and weighing 110lbs, Perez defeated Kid Oliva from Marseille to win the Flyweight title in Paris in 1930. The following year he won the International Boxing Union’s version of the Flyweight crown after knocking out American champion Frankie Genaro. This victory made him the youngest world boxing champion in history.
In September 1943, following the German Nazi invasion of France during the Second World War, Perez was denounced to the occupation authorities and was arrested and detained at the Drancy internment camp before being transported to Auschwitz in October. There, he was assigned to the Monowitz subcamp to serve as a slave laborer for I.G. Farben at the Buna-Werke.
Perez was killed on January 22, 1945 on the death march from Monowitz to Gleiwitz.
In 1986, Perez was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
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