PERKOWSKI, HENRY

A memorial visitation took place May 17 for Henry Perkowski, 102, of North Bergen. He passed away May 11. Henry was born in Jersey City, the third child of six, and lived for many years in North Bergen. He was an electrician for Standard Brands in Hoboken for many years before retiring. Henry was a decorated veteran of the Army serving in World War II. He was drafted on Jan. 7, 1942, while he was working at the Lipton Tea factory in Hoboken. Perkowski lived for a number of years at Sunrise of Edgewater, a senior facility on River Road, surrounded by medals and other honors he earned while serving during his Army days. “The Army life was like an adventure,” he told NJ.com in an interview published in 2014. “The Army was happy.” But much of his experience was devastating. He told the interviewer that guard duty saved his life just before German forces attacked the Belgian city of Bastogne in December 1944. When Allied forces arrived in the city, the men thought the war was basically over, he said. He and his fellow soldiers were enjoying their time with the Belgians, unaware that a firestorm was heading their way. Perkowski said he would have likely been killed if he hadn’t been placed on guard duty on a hill in the city the first night of the attack. Perkowski also helped liberate the concentration camp at Buchenwald. He said many of the people were so starved that they couldn’t be fed. “I saw the young ones,” he said, unable to finish the thought, as he started to cry. “We saw the people were just like skeletons walking around.” While in the Army, Perkowski earned five medals, including a Bronze Star and a New Jersey medal for Distinguished Military Service. After the war, Perkowski met his wife Norma and they moved to North Bergen, where they lived with their daughter Adrian, he said. He continued to work at the Lipton factory, retiring after 38 years. Services arranged by the Leber Funeral Home, Union City.