William R. Perl

picture of William R. Perl  

William R.Perl was born in Prague in 1906 and spent his youth and early adulthood in Vienna. He received a PhD. in law and a master's degree in International Business from Vienna university and ran a successful law firm in the city until the Nazi occupation of 1938. 

A follower of Zeev Jabotinsky, Perl managed to rescue an estimated 40,000 Jewish refugees and smuggle them to British Mandate Palestine as the founder of Die Aktion. The group was made up of a circle of young Viennese Jews who worked towards making the Zionist dream of a Jewish state a reality.

In 1938, Perl married Lore Rollig, who converted to Judaism the same year. The marriage was kept secret, as intermarriage, even to a convert, was viewed as a serious crime. In 1940, Perl moved to the US and had plans to have Lore join him, but in 1943, she was arrested for aiding Jewish children and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. 

In 1941, William joined the US army, as a military intelligence officer. He worked with Allied Intelligence in London and managed to rescue Lore in 1945.

Perl was a chief interrogator during the Malmedy masscre trial, where members of the Waffen SS were prosecuted for the murder of American Prisoners of War in Malmedy, Belgium in 1944. 

William and Lore settled in the US with their sons Raphael and Solomon and William continued his university study in psychology, and was an army psychologist until retirement in 1966.

During the 70s, Perl joined the Jewish Defense League and fought for the release of Soviet Jury. He was arrested and convicted in 1977 of shooting through the windows of the apartments of two Soviet Embassy officials.

Perl developed Parkinson's disease and passed away in 1998.