Son eulogizes the 'ultimate survivor'

Holocaust survivor injured by Gaza rocket during last year’s fighting dies at 91

Naomi Perlman was seriously wounded when missile slammed into her Ashkelon home, killing her Indian caregiver; in death, family says, she was ‘released’ from 9 months of suffering

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Undated photo of Holocaust survivor Naomi Perlman. (Courtesy Perlman family)
Undated photo of Holocaust survivor Naomi Perlman. (Courtesy Perlman family)

A Holocaust survivor who was seriously injured when a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit her home in Ashkelon last year died early Sunday morning, aged 91.

Naomi Perlman suffered shrapnel wounds in the blast that killed her Indian caregiver, Soumya Santosh, 32, one of the first fatalities in the fighting between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in Gaza over eleven days in May 2021.

Perlman’s death brought the total number of Israeli deaths in what was referred to by Israel as Operation Guardian of the Wall to 13, of whom 12 were civilians and one an IDF soldier.

She was badly injured in her legs during the May 11 rocket attack that destroyed her home.

After her release from the hospital three weeks later, Feldman entered a nursing home. But she was readmitted to the hospital several times over the past nine months as her injuries required extensive follow-up treatment and surgery, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

She died early Sunday morning at the nursing home, the report said.

A heavily damaged house from rocket fire in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on May 11, 2021 (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Perlman is to be buried Sunday afternoon at the Givat Tzion cemetery at 4 p.m.

She is survived by her son Shuki Perlman and daughter Tzipi Malach, eight grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. Her most recent descendant was born last week, according to the report.

Shuki Perlman told Kan that with her death, his mother had been released from the nine months of suffering she had endured since the rocket hit.

“She survived the Holocaust, set up a wonderful family,” he said noting his mother was one of the earliest residents of what would eventually become the busy port city of Ashkelon.

He last saw his mother on Saturday night, he said.

“If there is anyone who can be called an ultimate survivor, it’s her,” Perlman said adding that he at first didn’t think that his mother would survive the attack as she had no pulse when she was brought to the hospital.

Soumya Santosh, an Indian national careworker killed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at Ashkelon on May 11, 2021. (Courtesy)

Photographs of Feldman after the attack and of her destroyed home were recently included in an annual exhibition of news media images at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv.

Feldman was born in 1931 in Sosnowiec, Poland. Her family managed a difficult escape to Ukraine and from there to Uzbekistan, according to the report.

After the war, the family returned to their home where they found the city destroyed, strong antisemitism, and their possessions confiscated.

They moved to Israel in 1950 and were settled in what was to become Ashkelon. There she met fellow Holocaust survivor Yankeleh and they married, raising their family in the port city.

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