Victor Perez

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Messaoud Hai Victor 'Young' Perez
Victor Young Perez French Boxer.jpg
Messaoud Hai Victor 'Young' Perez
Height5 ft 1 in (155 cm)
Born(1911-10-18)18 October 1911
Tunis, French Tunisia
Died21 January 1945(1945-01-21) (aged 33)
Gleiwitz, Nazi Germany
Boxing record
Wins by KO28

Messaoud Hai Victor "Young" Perez (October 18, 1911 – January 21, 1945) was a Tunisian Jewish boxer, who became the World Flyweight Champion in 1931 and 1932.

Perez was denounced to the Occupation authorities and arrested in Paris on September 21, 1943 and detained in the Drancy internment camp before being transported to the German extermination camp of Auschwitz where he was assigned to the Monowitz subcamp to serve as a slave laborer for I.G. Farben at the Buna-Werke. He was killed on January 21, 1945 on the death march from Monowitz to Gleiwitz.[1]

His life was made into the film Victor Young Perez in French and German (also known as "Surviving Auschwitz" or "Perez ha'tza'ir").

Early life[edit]

He was born to Khomsa "Khmaïssa" Nizard, and Makhlouf "Khaïlou" René Perez, a household goods salesman. He was raised along with his four siblings in Dar-El Berdgana, the Jewish quarter of Tunis. He started training as a boxer at age 14 along with his older brother Benjamin “Kid” Perez to emulate his idol Battling Siki, a boxing champion from Senegal. Perez had a brief relationship with French-Italian actress Mireille Balin of Monaco.[2]

Boxing career[edit]

Taking the French flyweight title from Kid Oliva, 1930[edit]

Perez won the French Flyweight title in Paris in 1930, defeating Kid Oliva from Marseille. On October 24, 1931, he won the International Boxing Union and National Boxing Association (NBA) World Flyweight crown by knocking out Frankie Genaro in the second round.[3] He was the youngest world champion in boxing history.[2]

He lost the title the next year to Jackie Brown. He moved to the bantamweight class. In February 1934, he was defeated by "Panama" Al Brown in an attempt at the bantamweight title. He retired from boxing in December 1938 with a record of 92 wins (28 of them knockouts), 26 losses, and 15 draws.[3]


Perez arrived at the German death camp of Auschwitz on October 10, 1943, as part of "Transport 60" a group of 1,000 prisoners shipped from Drancy internment camp, France. He was held in AuschwitzIII/Monowitz. While there he was forced to participate in boxing matches for the amusement of the Germans.[2] By 1945, Perez was one of just 31 survivors of the original 1,000.

Perez was one of the prisoners on the death march that left the camp on January 18, 1945. He was reported as being killed on January 22, 1945.[4]

Perez was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ André Nahum: Quatre boules de cuir ou l'étrange destin de Young Perez, champion du monde de boxe ISBN 2-86970-060-1
  2. ^ a b c "Victor "Young" Perez (1911–1945)". Wollheim Memorial. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Victor "Young" Perez". International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  4. ^ Quatre boules de cuir ou l’étrange destin de Young Perez, champion du monde de boxe by André Nahum: Publisher: Bibliophane (April 24, 2002) ISBN 2-86970-060-1 ISBN 978-2869700604

External links[edit]