Henry E. Hockeimer Sr.
Henry E. Hockeimer Sr.
Henry E. Hockeimer Sr., 92, a former vice president of Ford Motor Co. who during World War II survived more than two years in Nazi concentration camps before escaping and joining the U.S. military intelligence, died July 13 at his home in Washington.
He had acute myeloid leukemia, said his son Henry E. Hockeimer Jr.
Mr. Hockeimer was born Heinz Hochheimer in Winzig, Germany, a city now located in Poland. He began studying engineering as a young man. As the Nazi government increased persecution of Jews such as Mr. Hockeimer and his family, he was forced to end his studies and was sent to a work camp in Silesia.
In 1943, Mr. Hockeimer was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where his younger sister was killed. His parents, too, would die in concentration camps. Mr. Hockeimer was ultimately transferred to the Nordhausen camp in central Germany.
There, he escaped German control during a bombardment. He reached Allied lines and embedded with the U.S. Army intelligence, which employed him as a translator and interrogator.
Shortly after the end of the war in 1945, Mr. Hockeimer came to the United States to live with relatives in New Jersey. He changed his name to Henry Eric Hockeimer when he became a naturalized U.S. citizen and served in the U.S. National Guard from 1947 to 1949.
He continued his engineering and other academic studies at institutions including New York University, the RCA Institute in New York City and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school.
Mr. Hockeimer began his career in the late 1940s as a radio and television engineer in Philadelphia at Philco, which was bought by Ford in 1961. Mr. Hockeimer rose through the ranks until becoming president of Ford Aerospace and Communications, a Ford subsidiary that worked prominently on NASA’s space shuttle program, in 1975. He retired in 1985.
After his retirement, during the administrations of presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Mr. Hockeimer worked at the U.S. Information Agency in various capacities including associate director for management. He had lived full time in Washington for more than 20 years.
Mr. Hockeimer converted to Catholicism after his marriage in 1956 to the former Margaret Feeny, who died in 2006. Survivors include two children, Henry E. Hockeimer Jr. of Philadelphia and Ellen Vincent of Newtown, Conn.; and two grandchildren.
— Emily Langer