Two dollars won’t even get you a subway ride in NYC today. But for the family of Benzion Peresecki, it helped piece together an incredible story of survival from the Dachau concentration camp.
Last year, a woman named Jillian Eisman was at a tag sale on Long Island when she saw a Holocaust prisoner’s jacket hidden in the back of a closet.
“I knew exactly what it was, even before I saw the numbers (84679 on the chest),” Eisman told the Associated Press. She bought it for $2 and donated it to the Kupferberg Holocaust Center in New York City. The Kupferberg staff was very helpful in tracing the serial number back to Peresecki and learning more about him. Though Peresecki hadn’t shared much with his family about his Holocaust experiences, he had kept secret detailed accounts about his brutal beatings and losing his father and brother.
Peresecki was taken by the Nazis from his home in Lithuania and forced to make German munitions. He also survived four years in a “displaced persons” camp. After the liberation, he made it to the U.S. with his mother. He married, worked as a mechanical engineer, and raised a family lovingly on Long Island before dying of a stroke in 1978.
His children are so grateful to have these new insights into their father’s life, and for that two-dollar price tag.
(Image: Kupferberg Holocaust Center)